Beauty in the Now

I don’t like to force ideas to write about, and I’ve been dealing with some health issues, so sometimes I write one or two days apart, and sometimes it’s one or two months apart.

I’m starting to flesh out my life story. It is easier for me to write about my life in a just the facts kind of way to avoid feeling all the pain I felt during the hard times. But it is time. So I started with the event I remember the best. It happened when I was around eight, and for years I couldn’t understand why this event was seared into my memories. It has come to my mind unbidden at least weekly for the last 40 years.

I decided to flesh out these stories long-hand with a pencil. It seems more intimate, and I need all the help I can get to reconnect with my emotions during these times. So as I wrote out the story, I started to remember the joy I had with my sister that day. It was one of the only times, as a child, I remember being alone with her – interacting in a big sister/little sister kind of way. She taught me how to make little cakes, and we went ice skating on the pond behind her house. And then I began to remember coming home and having my spirit crushed by my step-mom. She screamed, ranted, and raved about me wanting to spend time alone with my sister. How ungrateful I was to her. I was eight and wanted some quality time with my sister, who lived in another house, and who I never got to see.

I suddenly realized this moment imprinted the feeling or even knowing that when something good happens in my life, the “other shoe” will drop and stomp all the joy and good feelings away. After experiencing so much joy, feeling like it was the best day of my life, and then coming home to my step-mom crushing my spirit, this has affected me my entire life.

We live in California, and through God’s grace, we are able to rent this amazing apartment where the ocean is 100 feet from us. The timing was perfect, and the price, relatively speaking, is doable. I have not been able to fully appreciate my view in these ten years because I live in fear of it being taken away. I try so hard to experience the beauty and awe of it in the present, but my core reaction is to wonder how or when it will all end. I love living by the ocean so much that it feels like I would be destroyed if I had to leave it, but I can’t enjoy it like I should because of my core reaction of – when will it end.

Now that I know the moment this feeling was solidified in my person, the moment this became my core reaction, I can lift the wounded little girl in me to God for healing. I can truly work on forgiveness. And hopefully, more fully enjoy the beauty of the moment.


Why I Love Happy Endings.

I decided to go back to school to get a degree in English, emphasizing creative writing. My hardest classes are the creative writing classes. That is because we have to read and write like the classics. If there is a happy ending, then it’s not literature. I have been ridiculed for wanting everyone to live happily ever after. I’ve had people tell me that’s not real life. My come back has always been, I don’t read for real life. I read for to experience another life.

That’s not true anymore. I love my life.

Tonight I’ve come to the realization that my desire for happy endings is really God’s heart. He is the ultimate writer and is completely geeked out by happy endings. Think about our story. God creates us to share with us his abundant love. Man listens to a snake instead of the God of the Universe. God sends his Son to die for us. His Son is raised to life and lives again and we get to enjoy the original love God gave us, ramped up a million times over, because we know we absolutely don’t deserve it.

That is an awesome story. That is a happy ending. I just have to show people, like Jesus did while on this earth, that story. I don’t have to preach it. I have to show it. Jesus came in power and he imparted that power to us. It is much more effective to have a direct word from God for someone and then tell them how much God loves them, then to just say the words, “Jesus loves you.” It is much more powerful to heal someone in Jesus name and then tell them who he is, then to just show them the Roman’s road. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

I want to be apart of people’s happily ever after. I want to be used to show people who God is instead of just telling them. The awesome thing is, he’s giving me my heart’s desire. He is using me to show people instead of tell. I am so thankful.

I was born into a wounded family and sustained wounds as a result. I have been told you have to have healing yourself or you won’t have the authority to heal other’s through Jesus. I say, I am being healed while being used by God to heal others.

Isaiah 58 tells me that it is as I do these things that my healing will come.

The wounded are not discounted from healing the wounded.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

7Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousnessa will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

11The Lord will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

I want to be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Repairer and Restorer is my destiny in Jesus.

Getting back into the Saddle

I need to write something for the Writer’s Digest Contest in May. I think I want to write something from my life in the inspirational category, but I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to write stories, but my life has not lent itself to a lot of free time to do that. I think I’ve used that as an excuse though, because I’m afraid. I think it’s time to come out of that fear and get moving.

What did I learn from my experiences with how Matt and I got together, the death of our first child and the subsequent beautiful child, Pearl, that the Lord blessed us with? I learned that forgiveness is easily received from Jesus, but not without the high cost of His death on the cross. I learned that Love covers a multitude of sins. I learned that His ways are higher than our ways. When our baby died, that could have torn Matt and I apart, but instead we became even closer as we navigated our healing from that loss. We allowed each other the time to mourn in our own way. We talked to each other and didn’t hide our feelings. That was a big step for me because I almost alway internalize my feelings. I accepted that even though Matt didn’t have a child inside of him, he still felt the loss just as keenly. It helped that he was with me each step of the way and was with me in the room when we saw the baby inside me without a heart beat. That is what I really love about Matt is he always wants us to be together in work and play. That has always been his goal and I know God will honor him someday with his dream of us working together in our own business. Matt is my dreamer and I love him for that.

I learned that God can give you something beautiful out of the ashes of a great loss. I can’t imagine life without Pearl. God’s ways are perfect and past finding out.

Well this has been a rambling post, but I just needed to get back into the habit of writing on my blog again. After today, I will be working on my Writer’s Digest submission. I have to read the rules to see if it can be posted on my blog first or not. If not, I’ll still write on my blog. Maybe I’ll try my hand at poetry again.

New Baby!

While I was pregnant, we started looking for a house to buy. We needed something with three bedrooms as I have two older boys and couldn’t very well put her in their room.

My mother-in-law had a cousin who was a realtor and told her about this thing called the Rural Housing Development Loan. They give loans with the interest based on your income in rural areas. We got 70% of our loan with a 1% interest rate. That was unheard of in the year 2000. So after stacks of paperwork and many hoops jumped through, we moved into our house in May. I was eight months pregnant. I’m very short, so I looked like I was ready to pop any second.

I was put on bed rest for the last month of my pregnancy due to high blood pressure and water retention.

My due date came and went. The boys went to camp, so the doctor decided it was a good time to induce. The baby was doing fine, but she wasn’t really in place. We went into the hospital on the 26th of June. They tried all night to soften my cirvex. I couldn’t eat or drink anything except ice chips. The next day around 11:00am the doctor came in. He sat on my bed and told me he thought they should do a cesarean. I was so scared. I had my two boys naturally, but all the other women in my family have had their children through cesarean births. He said he would schedule it for the next morning. He sent us home and told me I could have something to eat. Just as the nurse was unhooking me from the contractions monitor, I had a strong contraction. All she said was, “hmm.”

We got home and Matt made me a sandwich. I had another strong contraction. They started coming more frequently and became more painful. I told him we had to get to the hospital. He didn’t believe me. “I don’t think so. I’m sure it’s not real. We’re just going to get to the hospital and they’ll send us home.”

I insisted, so away we went to the hospital. I got in and I was definitely in labor. It was about 1:00pm. It was a fast and painful labor. I was in the pushing stage and I had gotten to that part where you just don’t think you can go on. I said, “Jesus, I’m so tired. Please let her be born.” Something to that effect. I heard him say, “She’ll be born at 6:01pm.” I forgot all about that as the next contraction came and I had to push. They put a monitor on her because her heart rate kept going down. Fortunately, I am a quick pusher and the next contraction she came out. They whisked her away and that scared me. I found out the cord was wrapped around her neck three times.

I asked what her Apgar score was. They just said they were giving her oxygen. After five minutes they told me her Apgar was seven, which gave me some relief. They finally brought her over to me. The grandmas came into the room and held her.

We had our Precious Victory and she is beautiful. God redeems every situation and I know I have a baby in heaven waiting for me. She never had to go through the hardships of life, but got to go straight into the Father’s arms. I am thankful for that and I’m so very thankful for our Pearl Victoria Schulz.

A few weeks after Pearl was born, I received a present from the doctor’s office. It was a little ceramic bootie with Pearl’s weight, height, date and time of birth. I looked at the time. It said 6:01pm and then I remembered what God had told me during labor.

He is an awesome God!

Precious Victory

As I stated earlier, we decided to wait a year and then try again after my miscarriage. I could not take birth control because it messed with me too much emotionally. The first week after my period we didn’t bother with birth control because it shouldn’t be an issue. You know – The Rhythm Method. Well my body decided it was the perfect time to disregard the standard 28 days.

We went to hear my son’s first band recital in 6th grade. It was over and we were walking down the stands to leave. I felt that same weirdness I felt in Maine and knew what thousands of women have already found out that The Rhythm Method didn’t work. I told Matt that I was pregnant. He didn’t believe me. He said, “You’re not even a day late.”

I went and bought a test. “That’s just a waste of money.” Matt said.

Three minutes later, there were two lines staring up at me telling me I was pregnant. That began nine months of worry and anxiety. I was so afraid that something would happen to this baby. We went to hear the baby’s heart beat and the doctor could not find it. The doctor said, “We are not having any of this.” He reached in and pushed my uterus up and then found the baby’s heart beat. While this was very uncomfortable, especially since he didn’t warn me, I was happy to hear the baby’s heartbeat. He then sent me over to get an ultra sound. The technician found the baby, but the heart beat was very slow. They had me come back two weeks later to see what was happening. When we came back, everything was normal. I was grateful.

Throughout my pregnancy we kept trying to come up with names. I’ve always liked Pearl and I wanted that to be the middle name, but I couldn’t come up with a good first name. I really liked Victoria and so did Matt, but we didn’t want it to be shorted to Vickie. We kept tossing around names until finally, when I was in my seventh month, Matt called me at work. He said, “I’ve got it. We’ll name her Pearl Victoria. Do you know what that means?” He was getting choked up.


“It means precious victory.” I started crying.

That was perfect and I felt it was directly from God.

Marriage and a Baby.

We moved in together. We always said if we could have gotten married that night we would have. That was an excuse of course. We should have done it correctly by living separately until we were married. It didn’t set the best example to my children who were ten and eight at the time. We did get married very shortly after Matt’s divorce was final. During that first year, we got to know each other. I had to learn to live with someone as I had been a single parent for a long time. The kids had to learn how to live with a dad. My oldest was use to doing basically what he wanted. I wasn’t a very good disciplinarian. After Matt was divorced and before we got married – about a month apart – I asked him if he wanted to get married. I mean he had been married for eight years and was about to jump right into another marriage. He said he very definitely wanted to get married. We got married in front of the Justice of the Peace with only my boys and our mothers in attendance.

About a year and a half after we got together, I became pregnant. Before I realized I was pregnant, we traveled to Maine to watch his father get married. His father had finally found his Mrs. Right. The day after we got to Maine, I had a day where I didn’t feel quite right. A little unsteady. I attributed it to jet lag. I realize that is silly since we were in the same time zone. We went to the Vineyard church where Matt’s father went. (Matt introduced his dad to the Vineyard) We went up for prayer. The person who prayed for us said she sensed we had lost a child. At the time, I thought she was sensing the loss of our home church. We told her about what we had done and she quickly ended the prayer and left. She didn’t seem too excited to be with us anymore. We went home and shortly after that I found out I was pregnant. I forgot all about the lady who prayed for us about the “loss of our child.” In early August we went in to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time. The doctor couldn’t find it and sent us to get an ultrasound. I lay there on the table not anxious at all because I already had two boys and it never occurred to me that something bad could happen. She put the wand on my stomach and looked at the screen. I heard the words, “I’m sorry.” I still couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Matt was holding my hand with his head down. I didn’t understand. I looked at the technician. She said it again. “I’m sorry, but the baby is dead.”

“How can you be sure?” I looked at the baby not sure what I was seeing.

“The heart is not beating.” She left to give us a moment.

Matt held me and I cried. Now all of a sudden there wasn’t a baby in me, but a corpse.

We went back to the doctor’s and he scheduled a time for a D&C the next morning. I can’t remember that night at all. I just remember the next morning when Matt’s mom came over. She was crying. (Matt wasn’t an only child on purpose.) They did the D&C. The doctor said he couldn’t get it all and hoped it would pass naturally. He sent us home.

When Matt and the boys were gone the next day, I woke up and stood. I worshiped God as that was all I could do.

The next day I went back to work. A week later I woke up in extreme pain. Matt rushed me to the hospital and they did an ultrasound. I had an infection. They had to perform another D&C and started me on two different antibiotic IVs. My family doctor came to see me in the hospital. He went to our old church. He wanted to make sure we knew that this wasn’t God’s punishment. He was sweet. His wife had a stillbirth baby once and he knew the pain we were in. I again went home and this time I was told to take time off work. A week later I went back to work and it was a little awkward with my coworkers. One finally came to me and said she just didn’t know what to say. I appreciated that. I heard far to many times, “It must have been meant to be.” Please, Please don’t ever say that to someone who has lost a baby. Don’t say that to anyone who has lost someone who is younger than 100 years old. Obviously God is in control, but no one wants to hear that after their loss of a loved one.

We decided it would be good to wait a year before trying again. Just to give my body a rest and to give us time to heal. For the next month we took turns grieving. I would breakdown and he would be there to hold me. He would breakdown and I would hold him. It definitely solidified our relationship and love for each other. I’m so blessed it did as I’ve seen that sort of loss result in divorce. More to come…

It was over…

It was pretty much over after Matt saw my car. There was a week of trying to decide what to do, none of which involved praying. At least not on my end. I was just waiting for his decision. I will admit to some inappropriate behavior during that week to two weeks, but Matt wouldn’t go much past second base without leaving his wife. At the end of the week, he called me at work. He said he was going to leave his wife and asked if I would still respect him. I broke down crying hysterically not sure what to do as it was now on me.

As a side note, now 15 years later, we’ve been reading, “How to Hug A Porcupine: Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities” by Dr. John Lewis Lund. Matt was thinking out loud how things might have been different if he knew how to handle his first wife. Maybe if he had known and tried to do the things in the book, they would still be together. That didn’t make me feel bad at all. I wondered the same thing as I was reading it.

Anyway, back to the story. The job I was in was a cubicle world so everyone heard me breakdown. I didn’t even care. I called my mother and she only said, “I’ll love you no matter what.” I called a close friend and she only said, “I wish I was in your place, but don’t do it, it will ruin your life.” That sent conflicting messages. Really what it boiled down to was I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway.

I called Matt and told him I would be with him if he left his wife. Either that night or the next he sat down with her and told her it was over. He was leaving her and moving in with me. He left everything to her except his guitar, pillow and clothes. He closed his business and sold his equipment, giving her all of the proceeds. We both left the church. We weren’t asked to, but why make them ask us.

All of our friends, were no longer our friends. We received lots of condemning letters. Most of them deserved. The hardest letter to receive was the one from my pastor. He had always said, I was the most honest person he knew. He felt betrayed. That letter broke my heart. Mainly because I knew I had broken his. I told only one friend face to face and huge crocodile tears rolled out her big blue eyes. It’s making me cry even now. Everyone thought we were having an affair for a while and planned it. But it was literally a matter of 1 to 2 weeks. We were selfish and hurtful and to this day I wish we had done things differently. Even if only to have Matt leave his wife due to a toxic personality and live on his own for a year or so. So as to not hurt so many people.

But God has redeemed this as he has everything else. I’m just heartbroken that his redemption was the bloodied welted stripes on his back and the nails in his hands.

More story to come.

smashed car/Matt loses it.

I really don’t know how to do this next part and still have people continue to read, but I’ll give it a shot.

I went into a little grocery store to see if I could use their phone. They let me use it and I called my future husband, Matt’s house to see if he or his wife at the time could come get me as they lived very close to where I crashed. They came and got me and took me home. My insurance covered a rental car while they determined what they were going to do with my wrecked car. I went to the doctor’s office the next day and he touched my back and asked me if it hurt. I told him it hurt a little. He said he was barely touching me and the next day my back would hurt terribly. He put me on some drugs and sent me home.

When Matt’s wife found out I was on drugs, she refused to let me drive. She took my keys away and made Matt drive me to work everyday and pick me up. Matt was not happy about that. He didn’t want to drive someone around. He had his own business and time was money, but he didn’t cross his wife, so he did it.

Then one little request of mine changed both of our worlds drastically. I asked them to go to my wrecked car on their way to my house and grab a few things from it as the insurance company had totaled it.

When Matt and his wife came to my house, Matt threw open the door and rushed in and held me and wouldn’t let go. It got very awkward with his wife right there. He didn’t realize how bad the accident had been and how blessed I was to had just bought a new car a few months before with an airbag. The front end of my car was crunched in dramatically and my windshield was smashed out by the airbags.

Matt completely lost it when he saw the car. He realized he was in love with me. He realized life was so short and he was extremely unhappy with it so far. He didn’t take those thoughts to God though and when he started to make it known how he felt, I didn’t tell him no or direct him back to God either.

Some more…

I had stopped spending time with God. I started to try and recapture my youth, which is hard to do with two little boys. I started smoking cigarettes again, I don’t even know why – twenty-five and stupid I guess. (I know there are some smart twenty-five year olds out there.) I was driving down the road and trying to light a cigarette while looking back to see if I could change lanes. I look up and there are cars stopped ahead of me. There shouldn’t have been. I didn’t even have time to break. I smashed my Cavalier into a Pontiac while going 45 miles an hour. In a tribute to Pontiacs, the woman I hit only suffered a mild whip lash and a small dent in her bumper. My car was totaled. I did a face plant into my airbag. I didn’t have a seatbelt on. (We’ll talk about my self destructive behavior later)

The ambulance came and patched me up, while the cops wrote me a ticket. I refused to go to the hospital because I wasn’t sure if my insurance would pay for it. They towed my car and left me at the scene of the accident with no way to get home.

A little more details…

By now probably the only ones reading this are those who have been there or have been in a similar situation. While that is my target audience, the others might learn something too.

Here’s how it went down.

My husband’s first wife was toxic for him and maybe he was toxic for her. They fought every hour of the day and had to argue across the house to not get into physical blows. Those who know my husband now would not have recognized him then.

I came from a love starved upbringing and had a very rough life up until that point. God had redeemed a lot up until then, but I always kept myself too busy. I had two little boys and worked full-time. We both went to church and as I stated previously, Matt was on the worship team and we both were youth leaders.

Matt and I started by sinning in our heads. We compared notes after we were together. We both started fantasizing about each other thinking it would never happen because he was married and we were Christians. Matthew 5:28 was forgotten by both of us. A lot of times, for me anyway, the fantasy was just being with him. I remember thinking, “I would take a bullet for him in a second.” But he wasn’t mine to fall in love with and I was coveting my neighbor’s husband.

Still, we both thought we were safe because A) We didn’t know we both liked/loved each other and B) We were Christians and Christians don’t ever divorce.

I’ll finish this up soon, but just to leave you with this, the Bible doesn’t lie. James 1:13-15 is real.