I get told all the time how strong I am. I love hearing it, who wouldn’t. I wonder to myself, why? Why do people think I’m strong? What is strong anyways. The way I see it is, GOD. God is literally my reason. Without Him, I just can’t. There have been so many times in my life when I tried to steer the ship and every time I ended up shipwrecked. Everyone has a story, a testimony. I feel like mine is a lot of heartache and joy wrapped together that today makes me, me. I think on the outside it may look like strength, but to me, it feels like surrender. I surrender to Jesus. I give it to him – all of it. I have learned that going to Him equals strength, peace, joy, love, and LIFE. The parts of my life that I didn’t equated to over-drinking, over apologizing, quick decisions, and ultimately more heartache.
I am passionate. From a young age I have felt overwhelming love and longing. I am sentimental and sensitive. I feel all the feels. What comes with that is trusting too quickly, acting too quickly, independently making decisions for my life that unnecessarily lead me to unbearable heartache. I say this, so that if you relate, if you have been there, or are there now, maybe you don’t have to do the hardest ways like I have.
Let me start by explaining where I come from. I am the middle child of seven children. I have always been so grateful for my family, especially my siblings. Our family (and I) started to fall apart my senior year of high school during my parent’s divorce. During their divorce I found out my Dad wasn’t my biological father. This s h o o k me. But not as much as losing my relationship with him. To me, family is family, regardless of genetic makeup; but, perhaps, he didn’t feel the same. Dealing with this family division was even harder while trying to figure out who I was now feeling like I had no idea. Not only because I was a very young adult, but because I didn’t know where 1/2 of me came from. Shortly after all this, my first boyfriend, my (thought to be) first love, had been cheating on me. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we had an abusive relationship. But this season of my life was hard. I didn’t handle these heartaches well and I turned to alcohol. I can genuinely say for most of that year, I have very little memory because I drank until I blacked out more nights than not. My best friend was amazing and kept me safe but embarrassing to admit, but I was apologizing every other day for all the things I did and didn’t do while I was drinking. I wanted to be better and get back to me so I uprooted my life and moved to NC. I went to a military town and had no idea how different life is there, where tomorrow is never promised. I met a man I was crazy about and married him way too quickly. Had I waited, I would have seen how incompatible we were. But ultimately I left NC heartbroken again. I
went home and healed with my family. Got to a good place in my life with myself and with God, but I was still steering my own ship. A couple years later I met someone I really thought I had gotten it right with. Though looking back (isn’t hindsight always 20/20, darn it) he showed me what I didn’t want to believe. We didn’t work out and in the end, I was broken hearted again but this time eight months pregnant about to be a single mom. It took this moment, so many heart breaks later to finally STOP. I stopped. I stopped my expectations, my wishes, my dreams, my plans, all the things I thought my life should be and I laid it at the cross. I for the very first time, though I had been saved since I was 12, I gave my life to God. Not salvation, I was saved. I surrendered. I stopped trying to be captain and I made God the captain of my life. I have never, ever, ever been able to handle things like I had in that phase of life. Through birth, fresh breakup after 5 years, new life away from my stepchildren (this was the hardest by far!!), custody arrangements and ultimately divorce; I was able to stay levelheaded, calm, kind, and filled with peace. God literally put words in my mouth and actions in my steps- because I know it wasn’t me. I am far too human to have given the grace that God flowed through me at that time. After this, I dedicated to giving all of my life over to God. His will over mine.
When enough time had passed to work on me and my healing from the breakup, as well as time to enjoy my new baby I had prayed my whole life for, I finally felt ready to date. I also put God in charge of that. I prayed over every conversation, every date, every decision to make sure I wasn’t leading my life into another heartache. I knew the difference I needed was God. I needed him more than in my life, but in relationships too. God led my to my husband now. God led him to me too. It was incredible. But my heartache didn’t end with meeting my Mr Wonderful. We found out we were pregnant, then found out they were twins (yay!), but then found out one had birth defects. After 11.5 wonderful months of beautiful life, we lost him.
I thank God for all the heartache I have lived before this point. Though I could have made my life a whole lot easier by seeking God’s will from the beginning, he used what was meant to hurt me, to help me. Maybe that’s what people see as strength. I don’t often feel strong but I feel prepared to let God lead me through this healing. I thank God for the time I did have with my son. And I thank God for my God-focused marriage that can withstand the worst. I more than anything, thank him for giving me what I have yearned for my whole life, a family.
If I can lead one person to God and spare them unnecessary anguish, my heartaches were worth it.