365 days since that night it all changed.
I am two weeks away from approaching the year mark. I have been anticipating this anniversary for months. Even as I type this, I remember sitting in a similar spot in this same library, frantically and furiously typing, trying to understand what had just happened to my life.
June 30, 2015 was the day I wrote the rawest blog post I have ever written. A mere 8 days after my world changed.
I just reread my words and the emotions came flooding back. I was terrified to post those words. I didn’t want the world to see my shame, my brokenness, my failure.
But something inside that day told me it was the right thing for me to do. Some deep, passionate part of me knew God was asking me to be vulnerable with my story and with my soul.
So I wrote the words I never wanted to write. I wrote about hope and emotions and pain (For that blog post click here). And what’s amazing with God’s love and plan, is that even through the doubt and fear of being too vulnerable or over-sharing, I still find the courage to write. I do this because I have learned it is no longer about me. I write to bring hope to someone else going through a divorce.
I write because the world deserves and needs to know that God is good, even in the pain and tragedy that happens daily in our broken world. The world needs to know that there is always, always hope and that beauty truly does rise from the ashes. It just takes time. And it takes God.
It’s a strange feeling; that feeling that life is moving forward and things are changing, but yet things also seem to stay the same. This current season of my life is my soul searching season, my season to learn the hard lessons and admit the hard truths about myself. This is my season to grow exponentially.
I am so much more full now than I was a year ago. I remember people telling me I would get to this point and not believing them. That is one of my lessons I am learning. Believe people. They know things.
I have had a large amount of guidance from my therapist and loved ones over the last year because I felt too broken to make decisions. I’ve made some not so great decisions, mostly in my dating life. But I’ve also made some healing and strengthening decisions in how I’m taking care of myself and Owen and how I want and believe our lives are meant to be lived.
God has brought more beauty and peace to my life than I could have imagined in this broken valley. But there has also been a lot of doubt and confusion and heartache. The word balance pops into my head daily. And trust. And patience.
I truly understand now that to appreciate the good, you have to endure the bad.
When the divorce first happened, I remember wondering how I would ever see the good in the world again. Would I ever feel loved? Would I ever trust again? Would I see the beauty in the world? How could God allow a family to be torn apart after the birth of a child?
I remember wondering how I could believe in a God that would allow death and senseless tragedy and divorce in a world where He is supposedly in control, where He is supposed to love us and give us our hearts desires. How is this all possible in the brokenness?
I wish I could write a simple, poetic answer. I wish I had the words to comfort the brokenhearted. And if I had read what I am about to write a year ago, I would have said there is no way. That this isn’t possible. But here is the biggest lesson I have learned:
Be grateful for the pain.
Those first few weeks after Owen’s dad left were the most raw and painful moments of my 30 years. It was in those weeks that I doubted everything. I wasn’t sure how I could face my son who I had felt I had failed as a mother because his dad no longer wanted our family.
But those were also the weeks that begin to build my foundation for faith and for strength. I am grateful for that time. Because it showed me that there is truth to what doesn’t kill you makes me stronger. Those weeks and months after the initial shock showed me that I am broken, but I am also made beautiful and strong by a God who loves me, a God who loves all of us.
Fast forward to present day. Owen’s dad and I have made it to the other side of that pain. We are still working out the kinks in co-parenting. Our redemption story does not look like what I thought, but it is so much better. His dad and I now have the opportunity to give each other grace and forgiveness. We have the opportunity to find the love we deserve, just with different people. And in the middle of it all, we still love each other, just in a very different way.
Love and gratitude are what saved me this year. I don’t have any other explanation on how I can feel grateful for my divorce except for the fact that God is good and He provides. I cannot wait to see what is next on this journey. I know there will still be hard days, and days where I don’t see the joy and beauty in the world. But I will always hold on to hope, and the fact that God is good, and beauty will always rise from ash.