Sharing My Feelings

This may come out in a bit of jumble. I love my family. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing husband and four wonderful children. Marissa and I have started making invitations for the Madsen family Thanksgiving party which we are hosting at our home this year. We're hoping most of David's family can make it. It means so much to him. Lately he's been feeling very strongly that he needs to make sure his family knows he loves them.

We are looking forward to spending this Thanksgiving and Christmas in Utah. I had hoped to host my side of the family for Christmas, but it didn't work out. I know my family doesn't understand why it meant so much to me to have our family party at my home. I was remembering how much fun we had together the last time we had our family party at my home. It was like a little get away for those in Salt Lake. We did out-of-the-normal activities such as going on a wagon sleigh ride through a herd of elk and the kids loved sledding in my backyard. This year I thought we could go ice skating or tubing at the nearby ski resort. Anyway, it doesn't matter now. The way that it all went down, behind my back, no attempt to contact me for my input, felt like a slap in the face. It hurt a lot, especially when no one in my family stood up for me. I only wish I could understand why. I always feel so alone in my family. I love all of them so much, but some of those relationships are complicated, and I feel helpless to change them.

Under the circumstances and the way things went down, my husband and I talked it over and felt it best to bow out of my family's gatherings this year, including the sibling and cousin gift exchanges. I know my sisters-in-law, who are both very sweet, don't understand. Or maybe they do understand a little bit. I hope they know my decision has nothing to do with them. I love spending time with them and I love their families. It's just that, I can't do this anymore. I can't go and pretend that I'm comfortable around two family members who have hurt me time and again. I can't go where I don't feel I belong, where I don't feel completely loved, valued, respected and accepted. I can't go and watch what I say so as not to offend. I want to be free to be myself. I deserve that much.

As much as I love my family, as much as I have forgiven those who set out to deliberately hurt me, I've reached a point in my life where I can't worry about certain relationships that are out of my control. I have to focus on my life with my husband and our children. I will never give up hope that someday those troubled relationships will mend. I will wait patiently, knowing I've done and am doing all I can do to demonstrate my unconditional love for each and every one of my extended family. I care about them and will always be there for them. However, where the broken relationships are concerned, I will be there on my terms. I've actually been counseled to do this because I usually give more of myself to the relationship than I get in return, So it's up to me to draw the line and it's not a selfish boundary, it's a healthy boundary.

I wish all of my family, on both sides, a joyous holiday season. May you all feel our Savior's love for us. And if I don't get the chance to spend time with you, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you all the best life has to offer you. I especially wish you peace, harmony and joy.

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