What A Difference A Year Makes…

‘Knowing when to walk away is wisdom.

Being able to is courage.

Walking away with your head held high is dignity.”

April 14…a date marked in history.

Last year on April 14, I stood alone before a Judicial Magistrate as she told me I was about to break the contract I had made some 22 years before, an action I did not take lightly by any means.  She asked if my estranged spouse was present, and as I explained he had been, but he had left angry, she paused to question what had upset him, then struck her own comments from the record.  She trudged through the formalities I’m certain she had cited many, many times before – about alimony, name changes, child support, living arrangements, custody and the like.  I listened intently with my brain; my heart had left the building quite some time before.  As she finished, she thanked me for taking the children – a comment I thought odd at the time, but would all too soon realize the wisdom of, and wished me well.  I walked out the double doors, the sun shining on my face, grabbed my phone, and posted my first Facebook post as a single woman, “I AM FREE!”  I walked down the street to my car with a pep in my step I’d never experienced before…a huge weight had been lifted off me, and it seemed like it was visible to all those around me.

The first few months were awkward but manageable.  He wasn’t going to make it easy, by any stretch, but we’d left things flexible enough to work through them.  The summer came and he took the kids half the week, and I had them the rest of the week, as agreed verbally.  I was working a job, working on myself, personally, to figure out who I was without him and who I wanted to really be and trying to redefine myself as a parent in the wake of the damage left behind by his hurtfulness.  This went along fine through summer, and I was rebuilding the me I’d lost as some point along the way.

Then school started back up for the kids.  And something inside of him broke for good.  There really is no other way to describe the events that took place – or the person he became – from that point forward.  He started following us, threatening me with evil and angry texts and phone calls, texting the children in inappropriate ways, breaking into our home, staking out our home – he basically was a predator.  My personality morphed instantly into one of paranoia and intense fear for our safety – quickly transitioning from the locked car to the locked house, my cell phone constantly at the ready to call for help.  I was forced to seek out police support, and eventually obtained a restraining order to protect all 4 of us – against the man I had built my life with; the father of my children – he was now no longer to come into contact with us directly and only had minimal contact with his children.

The most important constant during all of this has been my resolve to work on ME through anything that comes forward.  I have come last for so very long, when I started the process, I hardly recognized myself.  I was a mere shell of myself – beaten down so badly – emotionally and intellectually…the only way I could build was upward.  Looking back over the last year, it’s painful to see where I was, and yet so glorious to see where I’m headed!

I am so incredibly happy right now – happy…I may have never been happy in my entire life, and after all this time I’m learning what happy is all about.  I am learning what the purpose of feeling my emotions is all about – and how truly beneficial that simple act is.  I have learned that coping strategies that worked as a child no longer work effectively as an adult, and that I need new strategies – I’ve gained them, had the courage to use them, and realize their worth.  I am excited when I see someone who hasn’t seen me in a while – the change in me is VISIBLE.  I am whole – not fixed…because I wasn’t broken.  And I certainly still have work to do…as we all do.  But with the dead-weight of that broken, defective relationship off my back, I am free to work on my junk, my issues, my life – it’s so incredibly freeing…I just want to shout it out!

Most excitedly and terrifying, I am dating!  Yes…I am dating…and it’s crazy and complicated and ridiculous.  But one thing is certain – and a year ago, I never would have said this out loud – I am worth it!  I am worth a great guy and happiness and the old-fashioned love I am looking for.  And if that takes another forever to find, I’m worth waiting for!  And that statement alone – that took me a lifetime to realize…but this year, this past 365 days were not wasted on me.  And neither will the next 365.  I can hardly wait to see where I’ll be!


By the Light of Day



Over my years, I’ve discovered that life is spent in seasons: unspecific time periods of -ness that we react to.  For example, when our children are young and they rely on us for their every need, we find ourselves sleep-deprived, unwashed, unshaven, and just plain unpleasant to be around, we term this a ‘season of life.’  We don’t have particular names for these ‘seasons’ as there are simply too many, unless you’re feeling particularly masochistic, in which case you might be so inclined to name your personal ‘seasons’…”You’ve got to be kidding me”, “God, Loving Your Humor”, “This Is What My Life’s Become?”, “Not THIS again?!”, and so on.

Recently as I’ve been reflecting on the ‘season’ I find my ship currently docked, or STUCK, as it might more accurately be phrased, I noticed myself looking around to the situations of others.  I’m reflective of how carefree appearing their lives seem from the outside looking in, and wonder if they think the same as they see me.  I remember a time when I would have agreed – my life DID seem more carefree, easier to swallow in a daily dosage instead of the horse-pill I have with my breakfast currently.  I wonder what the common theme is – those families who seem to have the Gummy Vitamins of life.  Is it less children; younger children; a functional spousal partnership; less bags under their eyes?  For some reason, I must have missed the Old Age Happiness badge in Girl Scouts…better dig up that old sash.

So I then turned the God’s Word to see if I might find an answer for my melancholy there (yes, I did say ‘then’…obviously I’ve got a few kinks in my system…I realize this…) and found John 10:10, which says:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Oh, so basically now I not only have to watch out for these ‘seasonal’ changes at whim, but also a thief of unknown origin?  Who am I, CSI?  It’s all I can do to work on MY issues, keep these teenagers happy (oxymoron, I know!), love others and keep my job.  When is enough enough?!

But in the light of day, I realize one critical thing…this thief…he doesn’t look like this:Image


He looks much more like this…Image

Because every time I compare my situation, my ‘season’ to someone else’s, I steal my own chance at happiness.  My ‘seasons’, each and every one, serve a purpose.  Though during the wind and the rain, they may not make any stinking sense to me, they EACH serve part of a plan.

And the plan I made, so very long ago for my life – it was fatally flawed.  Let me tell you a big secret – so is YOURS!

Oh, we might think we’re acting in our own best interest, making the ‘best laid plans’…but those plans we make…they can’t hold a candle to the plans our Father has made for us.  And I’d be the first to tell you of the sting when one of our plans falls apart – but there is always pain in deconstruction and rebuilding.  When a new plan begins, you have to start at the foundation…always.  As long as your foundation is strong, any work begun will stand tall.

So now, instead of looking at the Gummy Vitamin families, I’ll be reviewing my foundation for small cracks, signs of water damage or just plain signs of lack of attentiveness.  Who knows…maybe a trip to Home Depot is in order.