I can scarcely believe the woman I've become today.
When I look back on the empty shell of a person I was nearly three years ago. On October 5th, 2007 I decided it was time to leave my husband (after he requested it on my birthday) while 8 months pregnant with the twins and a 14 month old toddler in tow, loaded up my SUV with only the most dire necessities and drove from Alabama back home to Idaho to have my babies in sanity and peace, hoping against hope that my husband would get himself together... and even as I hugged my husband goodbye, I sensed the finality. Something was about to change, and NEVER go back to the way it once was.
I lived in people's basements for nearly two years, totally dependent on the mercy of strangers before I had a home of my own (even though it's just a rental). Now, the home I was miraculously blessed with has become comfortably OUR HOME.... filled with pictures, momentos and a place for everything.
I am feeling an overwhelming sense of peace and strength while looking back on these memories.
For me, life began again in the fall. It has always been my favorite season, but now I'm able to recognize this time with even more joy and thankfulness than ever before. I was set free from a marriage that was becoming a daily pain beyond tolerance, where truth and goodness were locked away forever. Given a fresh start by God.
Today, I'm happy, fulfilled, driven, and STILL hopeful in finding love again. I find that the most significant victory of all. I had a lovely chat with my ex over the phone today (really!) about how the boys are doing, and felt a glowing sense of pride in how well they're maturing and growing up. And.... I've done it all myself, with God to guide me every step of the way. I didn't have a husband to lean on when times got tough. When all three were sick, with toxic things coming from all parts of their bodies, and I was so sick I could barely move, I made it work. When Will stopped eating when his dad visited, I was the one to talk him back into it. When the kids cry or ask difficult questions about why their Daddy "left them all alone", I talk to them. When they go up to random 20 something guys in the park and ask them to be their new Daddy, I'm the one to shoo them away and tell them that they already have a Father - a heavenly Father that loves them more than they can imagine. I prayed for strength every step of the way, and gave them the care (both physically and emotionally) that they needed.
I also have my career within my sights. I wonder why on earth I hadn't thought of teaching seriously before. I *know* this is what I was born to do. I received an unexpected email from my teacher regarding a paper I wrote - my very first "lesson reflection", and she said, "The content of this paper leads me to believe that you have a profound gift of empathy and understanding. These are valuable traits in the world of education. Both the mechanics and the content of this paper were outstanding. Congratulations on a job well done!" It was humbling. I never would have gotten such a sense of empathy and understanding had it not been for the journey God has taken me on, and it gave me a renewed appreciation for any suffering I had endured. If it helps me to understand and help the heart of a hurting child, it was all worth it.
For the last several months, I've seen the fruits of my years of labor beginning to truly pay off. Focusing on my children, finishing school, waiting for the man God has for me instead of doing what feels good at the moment, or even what I think is right.... it's all creating a whirlwind of blessings both in my heart and my life.
How blessed could you be if you made a few changes in the choices you're making right now? How grateful are you for your own suffering in this life? How amazing is this God we serve? These are all questions I seem to be asking myself often as of late. Prayerfully considering each step I take, one day at a time, and taking care of myself and my children before anyone else in my life has greatly increased my ability to do great things for our life and for others.
I absolutely love the feeling I'm getting while I am hitting my stride.