March 21, 2014

ENOUGH

Tiffanie had gone home for the weekend, and I had just gotten the kids down for a nap. It was just me and a quiet house and I was almost excited to have nothing to think about. I couldn’t wait to just relax and not move. I sat down to turn on the TV and turn off my brain. However, just as I found a show to watch, my phone rang. The caller ID showed it was an unknown caller.

     
I was disappointed to interrupt my quiet moment and I was always reluctant to answer calls from anonymous callers because my new reality meant answering random calls from all types of people, including crazies. However, I was also anxious to hear about any progress in the legal case. Everything inside of me was waiting for the trial to be over to be able to move on with my life . . . and any progress brought it closer to its finale.
   
I accepted the call, and sure enough, it was the principle detective on the case calling from the police department. “Ashlee,” he said, “I have some good news. We’ve been waiting and waiting for the results of Emmett’s blood work to come back, and they’ve finally come in. His blood was clean, Ashlee. There wasn’t a sign of anything in his blood but those supplements you told us he was taking. There was none of the stuff the Defense has been trying to suggest he was on. Nothing. His blood was totally clean!”
   
I stared at the floor as he spoke. My mind raced back to that final night and the way Emmett had treated me. “Yeah . . . that . . . that’s good . . . I just thought . . . he . . . yes. No DRUGS. That’s a good thing . . . right? Yeah.  Thanks for letting me know. I’ve also been waiting to hear about the results, and it means a lot that you called to tell me yourself. … It’s hard when everyone else learns about things at the same time as I do, and it’s nice to hear something from you guys . . . before the whole town reads it in the paper and sees it on the news. So thank you. Really, I appreciate your call.”
   
The detective let me know he would call back when any other test results came in to ease my mind about hearing the information from the police first before it was made public,

I hung up the phone. Good news? Right? This was good news . . . wasn’t it? Then why were my eyes burning and my heart pounding? Why was I on the verge of a meltdown?
  
All of the emotions I’d been bottling up about the possibility of drugs being involved came seeping out of every pour of my body. I let out a sigh filled with fear and pain . . . and then took a deep breath. I held it in for a few seconds as it whirled around inside of my lungs. Panic overtook my body.
   
I had to be certain I’d understood the detective correctly. I had to be sure! I grabbed the phone from where it had fallen to the floor and called him back. He answered, “Hey Ashlee . . .did you have another question about the results?”

I burst into tears. “Hey . . . no . . . so . . . what am I supposed to do now? … I . . . I . . . I just kind of hoped . . . that there might have been something . . . anything . . . that they found. Are you absolutely certain he hadn’t been smoking pot . . . or that he hadn’t taken some prescription pills or something. Isn’t there anything? How can there be NOTHING? It just doesn’t make any sense . . . there has to be something! Because why was he yelling at me . . . and why was he acting so distant? …Why was he gone all the time? … Why was he spending time with her? …Why didn’t he want me? It had to be some type of drug . . . or something that was making him act that way. Why was he being so mean to me, and why wasn’t I enough for him? …I need you to tell me that you found something . . . so that it wasn’t me he was rejecting. If he wasn’t taking drugs or doing something else that was altering his thinking . . . then that just leaves HIM. I have nothing to blame for the reason he didn’t want me. This isn’t good news for me . . . like I thought it would be. If there was no sign of drugs . . . it means . . . it means he didn’t want me! I can’t breath . . . I can’t breath . . . I . . . I . . . I just . . . I just hoped . . . a part of me just needed to know that there were drugs in his system, so they could be the reason he wasn’t coming home. … They could be what I’m mad about . . . and they could be what I blame when I look into the mirror tonight . . . all alone . . . and wonder WHY I wasn’t enough.”
   
“Ashlee,” he replied. “I am so sorry.  I . . . I . . . was just trying to help give you what I thought would be some good news for a change. ... I thought . . . I thought this might help you.”

And that was the moment I hated Emmett. I hated everything he was, and everything he’d been in the past. I hated the fact that there weren’t any drugs in his system . . . and that any excuses about why I hadn’t been good enough for Emmett were now gone. There was no longer anything else to blame. I hated the fact that Emmett left me, and I hated that he died. I hated that he refused to see me when I was standing right there, waiting for him. I hated that every time I looked into the mirror I just saw nothing, not because I was nothing, but because he had treated me like I was nothing. I hated hearing his name. I hated the fact that there was a town nearby named E M M E T T, spelled just like his name to the letter. I hated that he chose to share the intimate part of our marriage with another woman. I hated the fact that that other woman had held my baby, and that he had let her! He slept with her . . . not because he was high on drugs . . . but because he wanted to! He did this to me . . . and I hated him for it.

The bitterness swelled inside of me like a sea of ice cold blood. While my babies slept soundly in their rooms, hatred filled my heart. I looked up at our mantel to the giant family portrait that graced the room. I didn’t want to see his damn face. I ran over to the photo and tore it off its perch. It had no place in this room. I had no desire to stare at it any longer. I didn’t want to feel him near me. I didn’t want to hear his voice.
   
I no longer craved his presence at my side, but just in case he was there, I screamed at him to let him know how much I was hurting inside . . . and how much I hated him!

“Emmett . . . I know you can hear me . . . and I need you to listen to me right now. I didn’t deserve any of this. YOU did this to me . . . and I hate you more than anything I have ever hated before. I hate your face, I hate that I gave you my heart . . . and that you ripped it right out of my chest. I hate that I saved myself for you, and that you spit at my feet. I hate that everything I see in this picture means NOTHING to you. You did not deserve us . . . and I hate you for making me believe that I should have shared it with you. I TRUSTED YOU! This family deserved the world, EMMETT . . . and our children deserved to see us live up to all the covenants and promises we made. ... They deserved to know that we believed in them! We created them together, Emmett, to give them a wonderful life . . . and you chose THIS . . . and I hate you for it! YOU did this to us . . . you brought us down . . . and we deserve to fly. WE didn’t push you away! … We were there waiting for you. YOU chose her . . . her? Why weren’t we worth it? …Why . . . why . . . why wasn’t I . . . WHY WASN’T I ENOUGH?”

After that day, I never wore my wedding ring again. As broken as I had felt before, I was now at the lowest point possible. Before that day, in the back of my mind, I truly believed Emmett must have been taking drugs and that I could blame drugs for the changes in him. It wasn’t really that he didn’t want me . . . it was that the drugs had clouded his thinking. But, that call from the detective changed everything. I could no longer blame drugs for Emmett’s behavior, and that hurt more than I could have ever imagined.
   
In addition to never again wearing my wedding ring, I never put that family picture back up on the mantel again. The pain and anger mounting in my heart took on a whole new aspect that day. The feeling of not being enough seemed to be growing deep inside my soul. My hair began to fall out; my skin was a mess. I spent most mornings trying to push the nausea aside long enough to force myself to eat. Hatred was my constant companion, and fear was its best friend.

I remember the first time I really felt hate in my heart. I had been invited to a good friend’s birthday party. She was turning eight years old. I was so excited to go and was counting down the days until the big event. One day at lunch time, on my way to recess, I stopped in the girls’ bathroom and was taking my time in the stall when I heard two girls walk in. It was my friend talking about her upcoming birthday party with another girl. All of the sudden, she said in a snotty little voice, “Well . . . I wish I didn’t have to, but my mom made me invite stupid Ashlee . . . so that is the only bad part . . . but we can still have fun.”
   
Never in my life had I struggled with friends, and I didn’t know what to say or do. I sat quietly, slowly pulling up my feet so that they wouldn’t notice me inside the stall. I stayed in that bathroom the entire recess . . . wishing I could get that feeling of hate out of my heart. I didn’t even cry . . . but just sat there angry that my friend was not really my friend after all. We had made so many great memories together, and I was shocked and hurt that that was how she talked about me when I wasn’t there. It didn’t make any sense to my little third-grade mind. Why didn’t she like me? What had I done to make her not want to be with me? Why wasn’t I enough for her?
  
Since Emmett’s death, I have spent hundreds of hours asking myself those kinds of futile questions . . . questions that cannot be answered. Why wasn’t I enough for Rob? … Wasn’t the fact that I existed . . . another spouse suffering from the pain of infidelity . . . enough for him to know how badly those two bullets would impact me? Bullets. … Why didn’t the fact that he also had children help Rob to understand that he should have used words in their place? At the trial, I would later learn that Rob had reminded Emmett of his five children at home . . . just minutes before he aimed at Emmett’s heart. Why didn’t Rob tell that gun that it had better stay hidden . . . because Emmett was a father of babies . . . babies who still wanted and needed him, in spite of the poor choices he was making? Why weren’t we enough for Rob to just stay home and wait . . . as we were doing.

Why wasn’t I enough for Kandi? She knew I existed. She saw the picture Emmett once proudly displayed of us. She shook my hand and looked me in the eyes. Why wasn’t that picture enough for her to know that Emmett had a great life . . . one that had no place for her? Couldn’t we have been enough for her to just stick to her job description and then go home to her own family?

These three individuals—the creators of the crossroads that destroyed my world—proved to me that I was not enough. Not one of them thought about me as they took that next step along their chosen paths. I was not worth any of their time or consideration.

To all of you who have ever felt like you were not enough for someone else, I want to share what I have come to learn in the last three years. It isn’t about you. It is about the selfishness of others.
     
Emmett didn’t cheat on me because I wasn’t enough for him. … He cheated on me because he gave in to selfish impulses. However, until I found that out for myself . . . I hated him because I believed it was his fault that I couldn’t find myself again. Kandi didn’t have an affair with my husband because she wanted to punish or hurt me. No, she only had one person in mind, and that was herself. Rob didn’t stop to think about me when he reached into his pocket for that gun . . . because he was only thinking about himself and his own anger.
   
Until about four months ago, I walked around with hate permanently implanted in my heart. I dreamed about it, I cried about it, I ran from things because of it, and I couldn’t let myself be fully happy . . . with it in my heart.

Hate will destroy you. Its power is greater than almost anything that has ever brought me down before. Hate will make you want to turn everyone else’s worlds upside down . . . merely to make their views match your own. Hate will take hold of your heart . . . and it will try to ruin you.

My hate was a REACTION to the selfishness around me, and not an ACTION that I intentionally chose.

We must learn that there will be explosions in our faces. In one way or another, there will not be anyone who lives in this world who will not suffer from one of life’s nasty blasts. What I wish I had known before having to walk down the aisles of the school of hard knocks, is that I could have chosen to stand. But I know it now. I can stand. I can stand against hate. I can leave no place for it in my heart. I can stand against the actions of others. I do not have to react to anyone else’s choices, or words. I can stand in the truths that I know. I can stand even when others’ selfishness tries to pull me down.
   
Sometimes—because of the selfishness of others—the answer that is the most difficult to find is to the question: AM I ENOUGH? The damage others may cause us leaves a pain that is hard to console. At times, we are left not only with the fear that we are alone . . . but with the belief that we were not worth fighting for . . . that we were not enough.
     
However, the truth that can prove us wrong in our thinking is always close by. There is a message of hope that we can all seek, and it will teach us what is real:

I am enough, for myself . . . and I am enough for God.
  
Everything else, well . . . frankly doesn’t really matter. Husbands may cheat; wives may leave. Bosses may fire employees; children may mock. Strangers may steal; neighbors may offend. Spouses may die, and tragedies may come . . . but even after the dust settles . . . you are still you. No person or event can take that away from you or determine who you will become.
     
The selfishness of others may make you feel as if you are being thrown into a pack of wolves . . . and you may feel like you are all alone with just a stick with which to fight them off. But . . . YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The wolves may snap at you. They may even take a bite out of your heart . . . without a second thought as to how it might affect you. They may slink away, leaving you to die alone, or they may howl out to the world that you weren’t enough for them. You may be left with nothing but your insecurities and despair . . . and even after the blood dries and the wounds close . . . their voices might still echo in your heart. They may even howl each night at the moon . . . and you may wonder if it is your nothingness that they continue to shriek about. Their powerful wails may be heard for years to come . . . but their lies do not have to define who you view yourself to be.
   
I have two words for you about all the wolves in the world who have tried or continue to try to bring you down: who cares? It doesn’t matter. They don’t matter. Even if you are standing alone . . . at least you are not falling into the darkness with them.
   
Their cries may be overpowering . . . but you do not have to listen. You may feel the darkness as their howling seeks you out . . . but you can move back into the light. You will be presented with many reasons to doubt yourself and Satan will keep sending the wolves . . . over and over to convince you of the worthlessness of your soul . . . but you can remember who you really are. The wolves may claw at your door every hour of every day . . . but you can FIGHT.
     
Satan does not own you, and he hates you for that, but he will continue to send selfishness and hate to consume you. He will send packs of wolves to try to rip you to shreds. FIGHT.

And don’t stop fighting.
  
You are enough. I was enough then . . . and I am enough now. I have to tell myself that every single day. I am not alone, and I am worth dying for. Emmett may not have died fighting for me, but Jesus Christ did.

Every time I want to just give up, and every moment I focus on the fact that Emmett was shot fighting for her . . . darkness envelopes me. All the months I let those thoughts fester and focused on my pain . . . I was literally eaten alive and consumed by hatred. Once I realized that my pain wasn’t worth living with, and that my hatred was not allowing me to breath . . . I felt free. The only way I was going to live through it . . . was by letting it go.
     
I fight the darkness now when it surrounds me. I try hard not to let it find a corner inside my heart for even a second. When I feel it come, I immediately get down on my knees and pray for Christ’s light. I have felt Him send Angels to take my pain back to Him. He promised He would carry me when I could not stand alone . . . and He has. He died for me because I was enough, and He wants me to live for Him . . . because He is all I need. He is enough for me.
      
He wants each of us to know that we are worth dying for. He wants us to know that He loves us. He wants us to fight to be on His side. His way does not always come easily . . . especially when we have made a home for hatred in our hearts. When the “good news” of the world brings you to your knees in pain . . . Christ is the only one who can help you let go of the hate in your heart. The world will tell you that His way is not enough. It will promise you a life full of passion and excitement and lead you to believe that you deserve better than the simple life you are living. The world will try to convince you that it isn’t enough. The world is wrong.

You are the perfect creation of a perfect Heavenly Father. He sent His Son to die for you . . . because you are enough for Him.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

So beautifully written. I love your blog

Brooke said...

Thank you! Thank you for that reminder that we are enough to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You are amazing!

M&M said...

I am seriously left speechless after every time I read a post you write! I always feel the spirit so strong when I read and I LOVE it! I love that even threw your darkest moments you turn to Him! A lot turn away but you chose to turn to Heavenly Father. I think that says a lot about you and your strength. I am sure at times you didn't feel strong at all but as I read I can see it. What an amazing women and mother you are. I LOVE how you are sharing your story. I love that I can apply the wisdom you are sharing to my life!!

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

One of the best things I've read in a long, long, long time. Thank you for the reminder that hate isn't worth it. Thank you for the message of hope.

Perfectly written.

Luci Rojas said...

The lessons you have learned and shared here have touched me very deeply. It made me wept like a baby. Thank you for your courage to stand and be willing to share. Your post today was THE thing that I really needed to hear. Thank you for your powerful testimony of the Atonement of our Savior and Redeemer...for speaking it out loud. Thank you!!

Jen said...

"Emmett didn't die fighting for me, but Jesus Christ did." So powerful. Thank you so much for your beautiful testimony. I needed to read this today.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee... I love all of your stories and testimonies, but this one really touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your tragedy and triumph with people (especially me)... Each week I look forward to your words of encouragement, love, forgiveness, and how God guides you.

Holly said...

This was exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you.

Heather Maile said...

Beautiful Ash! Thank you for your testimony!

New Adventures Await Us... said...

This is exactly what I needed to read at this moment in my life! Thank you for this!

Sandra said...

Well said!

Lisa said...

Amen. Beautifully written Ashlee. It brought tears to my eyes when you said, "Emmett didn't die fighting for me...but Jesus Christ did." Yes, he did. I am so grateful for the Savior and how He has always been there for me when nobody else has. We are enough. I have often heard that during difficult trials, people either allow the trials to make them better or bitter-- a person either strengthens their faith or loses their faith. You are such a great example of someone who has allowed such a difficult trial to make you better and stronger. In fact, I can honestly say the strongest, most faithful, good hearted people I know are those who have been through some of life's most difficult trials. Thank you for your example and honesty. You make it clear that it is not easy, it is a process that we go through in getting there but with the Lord it is possible...and it is worth it! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,
I have been reading your blog for a month now and I just wanted to say thank you for your testimony and teachings. Words cannot express how much your writings have influenced my life, emotionally and spiritually. You have the light of Christ in your words, and I feel the Spirit strongly with each post. Thank you for being a light in this dark world! You are an amazing woman. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your life and experiences on this blog!!! You are a great wonderful, strong woman!

lil.knight.fam said...

I've been reading all your posts for a while now. They all have been so well written, but this has especially touched my heart. This relates to every person in every walk of life. What a universal struggle- feeling like we are not good enough. Even though I've never met you Ashlee I feel like I've come to know you so well. I relate to your story because I'm a new mom living my "dream". I can't imagine experiencing what you have experienced, but I am deeply grateful for you sharing it. Thank you friend

Anonymous said...

My husband has broken all covenants and promises made to me. He found "real truth"and started drinking and pornography and drugs and didn't feel any guilt. Eventually he started online dating and cheating on me. I wanted a divorce but I just couldn't bare the thought of a split family. I was so worried about him. He had been such a good man and I couldn't believe what was happening to him and our family. I reached out for help to his mother and family and friends. They didn't want to hear it. They thought I was dramatic and even lying sometimes. When my husband asked for a divorce his family cut me out. I wasn't enough for my husband and I wasn't enough for them. It has been so painful. I have worked so hard to get back into my husbands heart. I have had to let go of a lot of fear and and a lot of pride. We are now trying to work it out. His mother gave me a short blanket apology the other day, because things look like they are going well again. But if things go bad again I know I will be right back OUT again. I have so much hurt, anger and hate in my heart. It has been swirling in my head and heart. I have prayed and asked for it to go away. I know that it doesn't hurt them one bit. It only hurts myself. I don't want to live life feeling like this. Thank you for this post! They don't know what is really going on because they are not sure what to believe. God knows. He knows. I'm enough for him. Who cares about the wolves right? God loves the wolves too. I hope I can let it go soon. I want to be free of it. Thanks for sharing this post. I really needed it. You are amazing! You are enough!

Anonymous said...

WOW

Elise said...

By far one of my very favorites... Your amazing

Jennifer O'Neal said...

It's such a beautiful thing, isn't it, that we are each enough. We are enough regardless of our personal circumstances. And someone did die for us. It's beautiful, amazing, hard to really grasp, and, in the end, all that matters.

Thanks for sharing.

Beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

It is me Nikki Sims, Thank you for everything! I needed to tell you thank you always for you perfect example, even when I met you. I remember when you would put the twins to bed at night you would cuddle with them, talk to them, read the scriptures to them, and pray with them, even if it was just you and the girls and not as a whole family together. At that moment I promised myself I would do that with my children too, and I have. That is a sure way to tell your babies they are "enough" also. I remember your saying "you are so cute, I just want to kiss your face off". I tell that to my babies too. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have been struggling this week with the am I enough questions. You said so much I have been feeling and left a gentle reminder that I AM enough for the only one that matters. All of your posts are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your great words of encouragement and strength.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is powerful. You have a real testimony in a real and very cruel world. I'm so sorry for the deep pain you have felt, and I'm equally amazed at how you worked through healing and have chosen to help others. You are not only loved by Heavenly Father but also used by him as an instrument to help so many of his children. Wow is an understatement. Thank you for what this means to me personally. I read your words and they change me....my perspective...they encourage, give hope and invite me to chime to my Savior. That is what you are accomplishing through this blog.

Anonymous said...

Your words are saving me. I am able to see my role in my relationship with the Savior and those that constantly tell me I am not enough more clearly than I have in the past because of this post. Thank you. I have been so angry at Emmett and devastated for what you have gone through - but your choice to share this is having an incredible impact in many lives. Thank you for standing strong and being the force for positive and good that you are in a world where so much hurt and heart ache exist. May God continue to heal and bless you - your sister in the gospel.

Anonymous said...

I needed every word of that today. Wow and thank you

Anonymous said...

Amazing! You so perfectly share your love and testimony through your words. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog so much. I check it a few times a day.
My husband has done things that have made me feel Exackly what you wrote. Thank you for honesty- you are an angel sent from god. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I teach the Young Women in my ward and tomorrow's lesson is on Grace & Forgiveness. Your testimony sums up my lesson perfectly. Thank you so much for shining Christ's light for all the world to see! You are an amazing example of love to us all, no matter our own individual trials!

Alli E. said...

That was beautiful!

Erin Rebecca said...

I have loved reading your blog. I was wondering if you have read the book "The Peacegiver" by James Ferrell. It is a wonderful book! You should read it if you haven't already!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you. I can't express how much I needed to read this today. I am struggling with a cheating husband and the feelings of inadequacy and hate in my heart are so strong. Thank you for the reminder that I am enough for my Heavenly Father. Your faith and testimony are so inspiring and encouraging.

Amberlee said...

Another fabulous post. You give me courage with your words.

Anonymous said...

Wow, such STRENGTH.

Their own selfishness will be their destruction.

Sherri said...

Thank you for being so honest, for your example, and sharing your story. I have found that it is therapeutic to share. I hope you continue to find your way on this journey.

Anonymous said...

You were just an answer to prayers. I've had 2 husbands leave me and I carry the guilt. I just realized it wasn't that I wasn't good enough, they just chose different paths to take, paths I have no interest in... YOU are so right, it doesn't matter what others think, it only matters what the Lord thinks and that we are doing ALL we can to be closer to Him and follow HIS example. This has truly touched my heart in a way you may never realize. YOU are an angel as you share your intimate feelings and struggles you enlighten, encourage and inspire me (and others) to let it go and be the best I (we) can be. THANK YOU for sharing this!!!!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to tell you thank you for sharing your story, for taking something so hard and turning it into a way to bring people unto Christ. Your words today especially hit home for me and they made a difference in my day, today! You are a beautiful soul!

Anonymous said...

I really feel that through reading your blog I have been able to better understand the strengthening and enabling power of the atonement. It is real. Your experiences testify of this truth.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this profound piece. What a great reminder of Christ's love for us and the fact that we are all indeed enough. Thank you also for reminding me of two important words, "Who cares?" While I was going through a hard time with a boyfriend, my friend taught me those two words. It was a HUGE blessing. Right now, I am having a struggle with a family member who, for whatever reason, treats me badly and has done for quite some time. I have spent hours wondering what I ever did to this person and gradually feeling hatred toward them. Your words in this post have calmed my soul quite a bit. Thank you for sharing your story, your feelings, your testimony. I am forever thankful for you.

Anonymous said...

I was 5 when my father was shot in a very similar situation. My parents also had 5 children & I am #4. I can't begin to explain the road ahead of them. It will get harder & even carry into adulthood. I'm glad you are so strong for them. The over all feeling of being enough & loved over all else from a parent is huge & will be an issue regardless. I'm so glad you see that, just know the intensity of that concept as it relates to them growing up in the shadow of this tragedy. It doesn't go away & still hurts at 39 years old.

Meg said...

I've been reading your blog for the past week. I'm so sorry for everything you have been through! This post today left me speechless... so much truth in here! My family has been completely split apart from hatred, selfishness... it's been devastating to me. I really appreciate your words and putting yourself out there in this way. I have no doubt that you are moving mountains in peoples hearts with your words.

Forever Young said...

My favorite post! I love it! I could feel the power of the atonement in what you wrote here. I try to live my life knowing I'm enough and who cares! I have so much more peace in my heart because I let go of all that anger and hate. It really doesn't benefit us in the and and stops us from progressing. You are an amazing woman and a great example to me and so many. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful to have found your blog. It has been incredibly thought provoking. I am sorry to say, I was on the other side of the equation, and I was the source of pain for someone else. It's a choice that I have had to ponder, and suffer with. I was selfish pure and simple. Yes, there were extenuating circumstances (there always are) But, it was based on selfishness and lies. Fortunately, the atonement covers even one like me. I have had to go through true repentance and remorse, and it has not been a short process, I'm still learning the depths of my choices and having to process that as it comes up. I do know that repentance is real. I know because, while I was 'doing my thing' I didn't have the spirit at all. I would find fault with my spouse because that is the only way I could justify my poor choices. They didn't deserve what they got. Fortunately for me, my spouse has been incredibly forgiving and our marriage has survived. I am grateful that you are able to share your message and help others who are hurting....

Anonymous said...

Proud of you!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog and how you are able to look to the Lord for strength and see Him in your daily life. It is so true that he helps carry each of us in so many of our every day struggles. I went through a divorce 10 years ago. What I have realized with my children is that due to the fracture of their family, they have become stronger in their relationships with each other and are extremely close. I think you might see this as your children grow older. Everyone deals with grief and sadness in different ways - just because a child going through something similar experiences pain and grief in one way does not mean that it will affect your children the same. You have a very strong testimony, a loving heart and the support of a wonderful father figure to your children. They will assuredly grow up appreciating their father, but will also base their lives on all the wonderful experiences they have and those will be their memories. They have each other and they have you and they will know that they are loved.

Em said...

In your post you said "The only way I was going to live through it... was by letting it go." How did you let it go? I have anger/hate from other's choices . The one thing I struggle with is letting it go. I know that is what I have to do, but I don't know how to let it go. How did you let it go?

Benjamin House (Anonymous) said...

From one who has been personally consumed in lies that I created, please know that you are correct, selfishness is the root cause and while no physical drugs may have been present chemical ones were. He was not the man you fell in love with. You are a strong and amazing lady. Keep up the good fight! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

One explanation for Emmett not seeing you, his 5 sweet children, and the family you had with each other as enough is he perhaps could have been a sex addict. Sex addiction rewires the brain, in the same way drugs do. And from the way you describe his behavior, it sounds like he was behaving just as an 'addict' would. I know addict seems like a strong term, but it's more common than most of us really suppose. I happen to be married to a sex addict. His behavior is selfish when in addict mode. I'm not saying Emmett was a sex addict, just throwing it out there as one possibility why he behaved the way he did (for months), and yet no drugs was found in his system. Sex addicts can range from being a lust addict (lusting after other women constantly, to being into porn, it can include masturbation, and many times leads to casual sex with others outside of their primary relationship. I am SO sorry for your pain and suffering, and that you haven't felt like you were "enough." There is a term for what you are experiencing Ashlee, it is called, "Betrayal Trauma." The book, "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse" talks a lot about validating all the strong emotions we go through when we are betrayed, and how normal they are. Even the anger, it is normal -- especially in a situation like yours. You were going through 2 grief cycles, it seems: one mourning the loss of Emmett as a tangible husband and father; and two mourning and grieving the loss of the person who you knew and loved as your primary attachment partner. Another book I'll make quick mention of is by Donald Hilton and he talks in that book from a neurosurgeons perspective, how the brain gets rewired-literally, by sex addiction. New reward pathways are created as the addiction grows. The book is called, "He Restoreth My Soul." And Donald Hilton is LDS. Thank you for a wonderful message of HOPE in this post!!!! And again, please ignore this about sex addiction if you don't believe it applies in your situation, only YOU and Emmett experienced what you experienced, and it am not familiar enough with the entire story to say for sure. But I did see a lot of commonalities - even before I read this post, in reading other posts, that made me wonder if he had a sex addiction. Sending you love and support!! ~K

Anonymous said...

No one said what affect this will have on her children. I only see people relating to her and sharing experiences.

Molly said...

I have been following your blog for a few weeks now and I am just truly amazed at the beautiful person you are....I have 5 children also, ranging from 8 yrs- infant and I thought they were close in age! It is hard to even think about the pain that you have had to go through, and right after having your fifth baby?! It hits close to home just trying to imagine that (and i am 31 with my 5th and thought i was young!)....when you speak of how your dream your whole life was to be a mother and a wife-mine was too....I have never commented on a random blog before, but I can't continue to read yours without letting you know I am so touched by what you share...you are so honest, real, genuine, and open...your testimony is so strong and can be felt by all who read this blog...I am in awe of how you've gotten through all of this, how you continue to be an incredible mother and find joy, love and peace...your children are so blessed to have you...it is so true that we have all felt those feelings of "why am i not enough" in one form of another...I think you nailed it right on the head...YOU ARE ENOUGH, we are all enough, when it comes to a situation like this, it isn't YOU, it is the other person's selfishness...I have no doubt if you were able to speak with your late husband now, he would be the first to tell you that you WERE ENOUGH, MORE THAN ENOUGH, but that it was his selfish choices that got him to that point, not that you weren't the beautiful loving wonderful wife and mother that you no doubt were/are....I wish you all the best, you are an inspiration...makes me feel sheepish for all the trivial things I think are my "big problems"....thank you for sharing your journey with us all...my blog is nickandmolly.blogspot.com..it is private, but you're more than welcome to email me (molly.birchall@gmail.com) if you care to take a look, i know you're like uhmm i have no idea who you are! ha but i just felt like i should at least mention it since i'm some random person looking at yours!! and its always fun to see another mommy doing her thing with 5 little ones :) you are wonderful!! xoxo molly

Beth Wintlend said...

Thank you! I needed to hear this right now more than you could ever know. I believe it was on purpose that I was suppose to read this on this very day! Much love & God bless you Ashlee!

Beth Wintlend said...

Thank you! I needed to hear this right now more than you could ever know. I believe it was on purpose that I was suppose to read this on this very day! Much love & God bless you Ashlee!

Kathy said...

Thank you for your inspiring words. When I'm having my moments of self doubt, I hear your words in my head. I am enough!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... You just wrote my post! This is my life & the life I now find myself living because none of my husbands siblings have any idea... But his mother & father do. And they are the ones who along with their son have become so hurtful to me. I struggle everyday forgiving them for not realizing how his selfishness tears me apart, how I feel broken & not enough for anyone. Hate as filled my heart & soul... I need to "Let it go.... Let it go"... It is hurting me by not forgetting about it. I wish I could erase the images I have seen & I wish I could forgive him fully. I know I am Enough in the Lords eyes. But I do struggle everyday with sadness & darkness. I pray that someday the Atonement will erase the memories so I can find peace & happiness. Ashlee... You help me everyday.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for sharing your story. My husband also had an affair and thankfully we are working through it, but I have hard moments when I become consumed with these same thoughts. Then, I read your blog and it's my answer to prayers! When you are finished telling your story I think I will have to read your old posts over and over again!

Brook said...

Unfortunately, I too have been the source of pain for my husband. I am so very grateful for the atonement and for the repentance process. For my husband to be so forgiving and for our marriage to be so open and honest. I have written forgiveness letters (without sending them) to those that have offended me and that I have offended. Those that I have offended continue to hurt me, because they are hurting. How do I send those letters knowing that it will not be accepted, knowing that I am "letting it go" The question for myself is how to forgive those who continually hurt me?

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing a sexual "addict." A true "addiction" leads to withdrawals that can lead to death. Many people use the term "addiction" very losely. While I'm sure there are people who have a problem with breaking an extremely bad habit of pornography, masturbation, and inappropriate sexual relationships, to use the word addict is wrong. Neurons rewire anytime a habit is being broken. Unless someone has withdrawals from sex or gaming that are physically painful and dangerous to the point they could potentially die you cannot claim they are an addict. Alcohol addict? Sure. Drug addict? Yep. Sex addict? Never heard of anyone getting the shakes an starting to hallucinate because they are going through withdrawals and need a fix.

Anonymous said...

I was addicted to pornography for a few years and when I quit, I got the shakes and headaches. I can attest that there is such thing as being a sex addict....But it can be overcome! Thanks Ashlee! Your blogs are amazing!

Anonymous said...

There is such a thing as sexual compulsion. It is characterized by many of the same features as chemical addiction. I add this here only to ask people to do their own research if they feel that "sex addiction" is affecting their life. Though it is not a recognized mental disorder, it is real, and there are resources that can help.

Auntie Mip said...

You are precious, smart, miraculous, worthy of love, worthy of goodness, worthy of life. of happiness You are a treasure You ARE enough.

I stand in awe of your faith, your power, your courage. I have been praying since that cold Friday night when Dateline first aired. A complete stranger. Not even sure how I found your blog because I wasn't looking. But I will keep praying. Because you and your children are worthy of it. Because there is goodness in this life. Because there is joy in this life and you deserve it all precisely because you are enough!

Anonymous said...

To "anonymous" above who said there is no such thing as a sexual addiction: you are wrong. Anyone who has lived with it themselves or has a loved one who struggles with it can attest to the FACT that it exists and it is painful. Your comment was neither true nor helpful to those who suffer.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? There are therapists for people who are sex addicts. Maybe you should research it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you finally got mad at Emmett. I've been waiting for this. From the outside looking in, he wasn't a very nice person.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry- I cannot sit here and listen to anonymous say there is no such thing as a sex "addict." I was married to one for 13 years. He was diagnosed and labeled as one by a professional psychologist who also happened to be a recovered sex "addict" and knew first hand the depth of the addiction. It is why he became a therapist- so he could help others.
Number ONE sign of an addict-- DENIAL that they are an addict- or even have a problem at all. Anonymous sounds just like my ex-husband. He didn't think he was an addict either. Yet, his addiction was not simply pornography viewing- it progressed to adultery (multiple), and his addiction lead to more violent behavior (abuse)--and eventually to attempted murder! Anyone ever heard Ted Bundy's last interview when he pointed out that everyone he knew on death row got to where they were because they first started viewing pornography??!!
Sex compulsion is a real thing, yes, but so is sex ADDICTION. Addicts don't care how or what they have to do to get their "fix" they will steal, lie, and even kill for their "fix." After my divorce, I studied psychology and got my degree. There are a lot of different theories in the world of psychology- But I do believe that sex "addiction" is a real thing. I am grateful for the Spirit of discernment in knowing what is truth and what is not. I sat in a class once listening for an hour - about why a pornography and sex addiction is worse than any drug or alcohol addiction ever dreamed of being...and I believe it. An image reaches the brain and triggers the "high" much faster than alcohol and drug addictions trigger the "high." It is a faster addiction and it also progresses fast too. An image that once could trigger the high is no longer able to do that and so the addict turns to something more "hard core" and it progresses to worse and worse stuff. I know. I witnessed the progression of a sex addict.
With drugs and alcohol, the body is able to rid itself of the physical toxins consumed- but when you start contaminating the brain with images and unrealistic twisted ideas it is not so easy to purge those toxins from the brain. In fact, it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that it is possible. But science won't tell you that because science can't "prove" it. But if you look at any 12 step program (AAA) they all refer to a higher power beyond your own. Sex addiction is very real and to say otherwise is complete ignorance. I appreciate the former addict speaking out and letting people know it is a real thing. Yes, it can be overcome but it is not easy. At all. -L.A.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee, Thank you for your blog, I am in my third marriage of nine years. My first husband cheated on me twice, I had four children with him, my second husband cheated on me after having two children with him and left me for Her. Now, this current husband came to me and told me about a short little affair last April 2013, I forgave him, he seemed so sincere and he did cut things off with her, and I told him then that this could never happen again because I did not know if I would be able to deal with that after my last two husbands cheating relationsips. But, in the summer He called Her and recindled the relationship. He came to me at the end of Jan 2014 and told me of His relationship with Her again, then asked my forgiveness and He wants us to make our marriage work. We are seeing a counselor and I do believe in the atonement and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but, I am feeling so mortal, feeling so many of the feelings that you have explained you have experienced, especially these above of not feeling 'good enough' ' ever'. I am struggling wrapping my head around the fact that He and She did not consider anyone else but their own selfishness, that it wasn't about You, or Me, it was something wrong with them, they, going and doing everything against everything they have stood for, the hypocrites! She left her husband and I believe that my husband was the cause of that. I don't respect him for that. I could go on and on, I AM IN PAIN this very moment. I don't know if it will work with my current husband or not, but what I do know is that I am supposed to learn something from this, and hopefully I will come out a better person for it someday. There are alot of challenges under every rooftop, but, there is so much good in the world too. I know that as we turn our hearts to God and ask for his devine intervention in our lives, he will answer our prayers, remember, in His timeframe :). May God pour his blessing upon you and your lovely children, may he give you the strength during those overwhelming times that you need to make it through another minute, hour day, week or month.

Unknown said...

When my situation seemed so overwhelming and I felt it was more than I could bear- the counselor told me to "just look at the next step...what is the most important thing you need to do next." and do that. Don't look at everything because it will be way too overwhelming. I was so grateful for that advice because sometimes it is minute to minute survival.

Anonymous said...

I was involved with another woman's husband. I was completely in the wrong it was so selfish of me. I didn't go out to hurt anyone, we were just friends. What I wish I would have realized though is that you can't be just friends with someone else's spouse. I can't say that I was addicted, but, I was really tied in and connected. I couldn't seem to get enough of someone treating me like I was the most important thing in their world. Yet, if I would have really thought through things logically, I would have realized that if he was treating me that way..... How was he treating the person who was supposed to be the center of his world? How was I treating my spouse? I wasn't unkind to him, yet, I was disconnected. I just no longer cared anymore and I would find fault instead of seeing the good. Fortunately we didn't cross the point of no return, and we were able to both work on our marriages. I am so grateful for the loving, forgiving individual that I am married to. He is genuine to the core and loves me even though I am so undeserving. Sometimes there can be a happy ending if both parties are truly willing to work on it and use the atonement to deal with it. Thanks Ashlee for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

Ashlee, When I saw your story on dateline, I was filled with anger, How could this have happened ? Didn't any one of those three people stop to think about who would be affected and hurt by their actions. I felt hate and disgust and extreme sadness for you and your family and the Hall children as well. It brought me to a sermon by my pastor, which he stated that all sin is born from one act "Selfishness" In reading this post you state the exact same statement. I am amazed at how you have been able to move on from this tragedy, but know that you did not do it alone and without Jesus Christ you would not be able to stand. Your writings are so beautifully written and have touched my heart. My faith has been strengthened by reading your post. Keep on writing, you have much to share and many to help and it is working. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers God Bless!

Henich Family said...

I love this Ashlee....

Anonymous said...

Wow, just wow. I feel exactly what you are saying because I am experiencing it myself. It really hurts. Thank you isnt enough.

Anonymous said...

This is my most favorite post. I have read and re-read it many times. I catch myself a few times a week thinking, "It's ok, I am enough" I am a single mom of six kids ages 2-12. Often feeling that I have failed more in life than succeeded, I have found peace thinking He loved me before any of these things happened. He still loves me and His love is not conditional on daily failures or successes. I am not a lot but I am enough. When I sift through the hurt, rejection, anxiety, and depression, I see that what is there is enough. And that has to be a good place to start.
Thank you.

C said...

Once again I am sobbing! My heart burns for you. I can't even imagine what you have gone through. You are a pillar of strength! Thank you, thank you for writing from your heart.

Anonymous said...

Ashley, I am so thankful for you. You truly have no idea how profoundly influential your words are. I have read many of your posts today and was especially moved by the posts titled, "Enough" and "Walk Away". Your experiences and inspiring way of expressing them have made me realize that the who I am and what I have are "Enough" for my Heavenly Father and should be for me also and that I have to "Walk Away" from those temptations that threaten to destroy all the blessings that I have in my life right now. Thank you for being so strong and faithful and for being a powerful tool in the hands of our Heavenly Father.

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