Definition of Noel: A shout of joy... Definition of Joy: a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace...
Excerpt from my personal journal, June, 2007 -After 9 years of driving 90 miles to work and 90 miles back home everyday... after 9 years of praying that God would bless Steve for how he takes care of me... after 9 years of interviewing for jobs closer to our city and anguishing over why it never happened... His current employer offered him a position working from home full time! A friend said today, "You asked God for help with your fears and he put the one person you trust more than anybody right beside you 24/7!" No more surprise visits in the middle of the day! AND my attorney said, "Don't even open any mail from him, just send it directly to me and I'll handle it ." (And he hasn't charged me for it.) I don't answer the door, I don't accept any calls from him, I don't look at any mail from him. I'm not even present for pick-up and drop-off of visitation. Mom and Dad have been helping out with that. I can't even believe that finally, finally - 18 years into this, I can rest! Noel! Noel! Noel!

I know it can't be this way forever. It's life in a bubble. But solitude, peace and really trusting are new to me - even trusting Steve and my lawyer to handle what I thought only I could/should handle. In the beginning it was hard to not know what was in those letters (what to expect next). It was hard to not ask what happened at the drop-off. Not knowing his frame of mind, not able to read between the lines & not able to prepare to protect myself and my sons. But, can you believe it? His letters didn't intimidate my lawyer! =)

I have a file that is about an inch thick filled with just holiday and vacation petitions, orders, and mediation recommendations. Christmas is always a problem. No matter how I try to work it out, there always has to be more court dates, more calls to the Guardian ad Litem, more frustration. Somehow the hotel he's supposed to be staying at never has a guest registered with that name... More than once I've had to request hotel security to search a room... One year we had to get a court order for my son to be returned.

A few days ago, I talked to him for the first time in a long time. I forgot to check the caller id before I answered the phone (there was a little bliss just in the simple act of forgetting to check, I have to admit that). He wanted to discuss his Christmas visitation. I cringed and took a deep breath, just waiting for the demands. He offered to let Noah stay with me this year.... Of course, I'm suspicious!! ...but for the first time in 18 years I'm not going to borrow problems from tomorrow.

There have been little blessings and little miracles along this journey so far and I'd tell you each and every one if you asked. There have also been struggles and doubt and issues but, you know what there hasn't been? A court appearance, a petition, or even so much as a call from a lawyer!

Definition of Blessings: To make happy, blithesome, or joyous... Definition of Counting: the study of the arrangement of objects. As I sit here contemplating "studying", I'm suddenly struck by one thought... numbers are infinite! Definition of Counting Your Blessings: the study of the infinite arrangements of joy!

Father, YOU are my joy, my peace, my blessing. You are my Christmas noel.

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