Flourish Flock Feature | Melody Reid

Hi friends! Gosh I am thrilled to share today's feature!

If you've been around here for a while you know how much I value gleaning wisdom from women who have lived more life than me- I truly believe this is one of the best ways for us to learn!

I had the opportunity to meet Melody when I led the Peachtree Presbyterian Women's retreat last March. Her daughter, Frances, led worship at the retreat so Melody was there with her... we chatted after one of the sessions and then quickly got back in touch when the retreat was over. 

I then had the privilege of working with Melody and a friend of hers through some coaching exercises and in hearing more of her story and heart, I was sure I wanted to have her share more with us!

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living Marriage Parenting

Share where you currently live:

Greenville, South Carolina

Share where you grew up:

I was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma but moved to Abilene, Texas when I was three. At nine, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama, which is really where I call home.

Share about your family/your job/living situation:

I’ve been married to Will for 32 years, and we have three adult daughters. Our oldest, Anna,  is married to Brad and they live in Florence, Alabama. Middle girl, Caroline, lives here in Greenville with her husband Matthew. Frances, our youngest, married Mike in October and they live in Atlanta, Georgia. We LOVE being the parents of adult kids! We live on 13 acres outside of Greenville and two of our girls married here. No rain for either bride. I’m a Licensed Counselor and have a small private practice with two other female practitioners who happen to be close friends. We love being our own bosses and getting to decide how we want to work. I’m currently working two and a half days each week, which feels like a good fit in my life. I went back to graduate school to be a counselor when I was 47, so I’m still relatively new to counseling. I think I make up in life experience what I lack in clinical experience, since I primarily see women and teenage girls. It gives me so much joy to work with clients and be a part of their journey to emotional healthiness.

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living Marriage Parenting

Share your favorite book and/or podcast:

Right now they are actually the same! The Road Back to You book and podcast with Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile.  I’m very fascinated with the Enneagram personality typing system, and Ian and Suzanne wrote a fascinating book about it, which then led me to listening to the podcast. They interview different people who are different numbers, which has helped me get a better feel for my own number as well as understanding the numbers of other people in my life. In March I’m attending the Why Christian conference at Duke, and Suzanne is doing a seminar on Knowing Your Number. I can’t wait to meet her in person and learn more about myself through the seminar.

Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:

“Let nothing disturb you.

Let nothing make you afraid.

All things are passing.

God alone never changes.

Patience gains all things.

If you have God,

You will want for nothing.’

God alone suffices.’ - Teresa of Avila

Share your favorite beverage:

I actually love water, but probably a good Margarita is my very favorite!

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living Marriage Parenting

Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:  

In 2005, our girls were 11, 13, and 15, so we were in full on parenting mode. School sports, extracurricular activities, church activities, friend issues, boyfriend drama. Will worked all day and I stayed busy with volunteering at the girls’ school and doing things at church. We had a great life. Looking at us, you would have thought things were pretty perfect. But instead, I was feeling more and more dissatisfied and lonely. I was often angry and Will and I were always fighting about the same old things.  He fought to win, and I  felt like I lost every time we disagreed about something. I realized that I was feeling a deep sense of loneliness and of not being content in my marriage.

Our intimacy level was low. I talked to my mother or to my friends when I needed someone to understand my heart. We did have a lot going on. Will had been displaced from his job as a result of a buyout, so he was job hunting. We did something we said we’d never do and bought a house before we had sold the one we were living in. That meant six months of two mortgages, which added a great deal of financial stress to our lives. In all of it, I felt like we were growing farther and farther apart. Here’s an excerpt from a letter I wrote Will in August of 2005:                                     

Part of me feels like I have gotten lost in our relationship over the last 20 years. We watch what you want to watch on TV, when we take a trip, it is going to be one where you can do the things you love, and I don't see myself doing much that matters to me.  I don't have time to sew because of my responsibilities at home; I don't go to the movies because that's not at the top of your list of things to do.  I know you will say to me, "If those things are important to you,  you should make time to do them.  That's what I do, make time for what is important to me."  But it is not that simple for me.  I can't just not do things at home and sew for the day.  The things at home still have to get done.  You don't have to worry about the children when you go or do.  It has always been that way. I know you love me. Reach out to me instead of pulling away.  Draw close to me instead of pulling away.  You do not have to be perfect for me.  When you are vulnerable and share your heart with me, my heart opens up to you.  When you shut me out, you close my spirit down and push me further and further away. I can't stand it when we are apart.                   

Finally I decided that I was going to see a counselor.  I really felt like I needed someone to help me sort through all this junk I was feeling.  When I tried to explain to Will how I was feeling, it was as if I was talking to a brick.  At one point, he even said to me, “I just don’t understand what is wrong with you.  I’m not clear on what the problem is.”  I could not explain my feelings in such a way that Will could understand. He was not happy about my decision to pursue counseling and refused to go with me. I went anyway. He felt threatened and uncomfortable.

In November, he asked me to go away for the weekend to the beach, which is my favorite place to be ever.  I knew Will was reaching out to me, but in a way, I didn’t even want to be reached out to.  My counselor had suggested I read John and Staci Eldridge's book “Captivating” and work through the companion journal. I started reading the book, and in the introduction, Staci Eldridge described feeling like she was “too much and not enough, all at the same time.”  I told Will that described how I felt. I bought the book on CD’s and asked Will if he would listen to it on the way to the beach.  He agreed.  I honestly had no agenda about the book.  I knew how Wild at Heart had affected Will and me, for that matter, and I thought we might hear something that would help us.

So we are driving down I-26 listening to these CD’s and the author said these words:

Most marriages reach this sort of unspoken settlement. “I’m not coming any closer. This is as far as I’m willing to go. But, I won’t leave, and that ought to make you happy.”

I pushed the power button on the CD player to turn it off, turned to Will and said, “That is how I feel.”  He looked at me and said, “And that is how I feel.”  It had all came down to this.  I needed and wanted Will to go deeper with me emotionally.  I wanted him to be my intimate companion.  But he was on some level afraid to go there.  What if he didn’t have what it took to help me?  So we, like most marriages, perhaps even yours, had reached that unspoken settlement, that “live with the breakdown” form of settling for what we had.  “I’m not coming any closer.  This is as far as I’m willing to go. But I won’t leave, and that ought to make you happy.”

It was an epiphany moment of interruption in our marriage for both of us.  We had stopped on a dime, and made a 180-degree turn in the other direction.  In that instant, we both knew we were going to go down that road.  Will was willing to go there with me.  He was going to come closer, even if it killed him.

The next week, we went together to the counselor, who is helping us figure ourselves out.  It has been a very hard journey, one that I would not trade for anything.  God has grabbed us and is teaching us to look more like him, to be more like him and treat each other more like him.  We’re so grateful that He loves us enough to help us learn to be intimate with each other.

Self Care Self Love Loss Intentional Living Marriage Parenting

Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and support you while you are healing:

Definitely going to counseling was a game changer in our marriage. I don’t know what would have happened to us if we had not been willing to commit to figuring out some hard things in our relationship.

Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:

I like to think that I am really funny! At least my parents always said I was. Humor is one of the most attractive traits in a person to me, and Will shares my quirky sense of humor. We laugh at the same things, and we even have a private sense of what the other finds hilarious. Sometimes we can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking and how funny something is.

Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:

I don’t think I would be a counselor today if Will and I hadn’t experienced the hard spot in our marriage that led us into counseling. I had a sense of calling around going back to graduate school that felt directly connected to my own experience in counseling. Also, I know what it feels like to be in counseling, and I think that stays in the forefront of my mind as I sit with people in pain.

Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Tell a close friend, talk with a family member or pastor, and consider professional help. Licensed counselors are trained to help you navigate what you’re dealing with, and though it feels scary, it can be life changing.

W {personal blog}: melodyreid.com

W {counseling practice}: carolinacounselingpartners.com

IG: Melody Reid

FB: Facebook page

Twitter: Melody Reid

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