Thursday, June 24, 2010

How did I get here...

The journey to single motherhood didn’t begin the day I was divorced. It didn’t begin the day I was married or the day I had my first child. Without question, the journey of my life was executed long before my existence. And your journey, undeniably, began there as well. God tells us “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). This, my friend, is concrete evidence that the journey of our lives began generations before us. If you are a single parent contemplating how you got to this place and how to prevent your own children from enduring the same fate, then it is necessary to go back as far as you can remember and acknowledge the facts, embrace the truth of your reality, and transform the erroneous beliefs about yourself and others that you have acquired over time.
I am certain that there is a collection of history that has contributed to my journey that I will never be privy to. There are circumstances that have impacted my family that will never become even a fraction of my memory because they escaped to the grave with those who partook in them. However, I can wander back to the segments that I do recall; what I can remember and what God has revealed. Wander back to the fragmented pieces of my past that became important for me to acknowledge and embrace so that I could move forward and hopefully break the cycle of divorce for my own children. What I do know about the generations before me is inadequate to say the least. I wonder what more there is to discover. I guess it doesn’t matter really. If God needs to use it for my benefit or His, I trust that He will dredge it up. This is what I am confident of however; my family of origin is reasonably delightful and more typically disturbing, but they are just that; my family! They have all influenced, in some fashion, every member and have contributed to the shaping of our future. So now it is my turn. To take my story and use it how God wills, in the shaping of my little ones and the future that lies ahead for them. Wide open and waiting for their arrival.
So here it goes. The beginning of my story, or the middle I guess I should say. By the time I came along, it was already unfolding… My mom’s parents were divorced, as were my dad’s. Consequently, this adventure didn’t start well for any of us. I will deprive you of the countless details and expect that you will be grateful for it later (you have to trust me on this one). However, as I am certain you have already concluded, my parents likewise ended their marriage in divorce. Both my mom and my dad did the absolute best possible job that a parent could do. They simply had little to work with given the circumstances that had surrounded them and how their respective journeys began. My mom, subsequent to the divorce from my father, remarried a man who became abusive sexually. I am confident if she knew, she wouldn’t have chosen him. My dad, not knowing where my siblings and I were for an extended period of time, filled the empty space within him through drugs, alcohol and women. We saw him in the summer while school was out, but typically he devoted his time to a boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean transporting a shipment of drugs to the desired location. Yes my father was a smuggler. By the time I was in middle school my father began a prison sentence that would last until I graduated high school. I spent each Sunday afternoon of my adolescence visiting him, not knowing at the time how much I really longed for him. Yet he was right there in front of me. Unable to be a father. Unable to love his daughter the way she is supposed to be loved by a father. All other days I endured life at home, but not without a great deal of anxiety and fear. The walls to my heart were closing in and I was powerless to do anything about it. I wasn’t even aware that it was happening until much later when the walls became so impenetrable that I was dying inside.
I only tell you this, so that you know where I have come from. Not for you to merely hear my story or follow my journey, but hopefully and prayerfully for you to relate to some of the trials that were set before me. To give you hope for a triumph over your own past and to move forward into a victorious life for you and for your children. I tell you because they are the facts that became important for me to acknowledge. The truth of my reality that I had to face and decide if I was going to let it define me as it had done for so many years. It is what led to my mistaken beliefs that compelled me to make less than perfect decisions that got me to where I am today; a single parent, trying to raise three boys completely alone. But the absolute truth is that I stand here today hopeful about the future that awaits my children; certain that God can do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine because He already has. I will confess that I am not perfect. Shocking, I know. But if I were, I would be sitting with Jesus instead of sitting here writing my story. I still struggle with what Joyce Meyer would call stinkin thinkin (erroneous beliefs for you literary types). And yes, it is still related to my past garbage. And yes, it still leads me to make decisions that I am sorry for later. However, that sort of thinking has drastically diminished over time and the decisions made from false beliefs aren’t of the life altering magnitude that they once were. I have found that the more I learn to retreat to the God who supports and sustains me, the less likely I am to shape the future for my children in a manner that impedes the opportunities that await them. So that’s what I do. I face my past, do the hard work in the present, and hope for the future.
Until next time….

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So it's time to open my life...

I love to write but have never shared any of it publicly. I am not very eloquent with words, but I do have a story. A wild and crazy story. I have journals in every room of my home comprised of everything from prayers to letters to a day in my crazy life, but mostly just random thoughts and lessons learned along the way.
I have been sensing God leading me to share my story. I am not sure why or how, but thought this was a good start in my obedience to Him. My prayer is that it would be to use the story of my life (past, present and future) to help other moms realize that it doesn't take super woman to be a successful single parent. It doesn't take perfection. It doesn't take a whole lot of wisdom. It doesn't take material things or happy children. What it does take is a little bit of patience and a whole lot of God! The wisdom, happiness and contentment will follow. Perfection...well once you get that, I'm certain you'll be in Heaven and none of it will matter.
So, this is me, opening my life to you, in hopes that it will encourage you, strengthen you and bring you hope, knowing that if I can do it, anyone can do it. Being a single parent, brought on by divorce, was not God's plan for me and was not His plan for you either. But I do know this: That He can use your life and the life of your children for His purposes and He can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
I can't wait to begin sharing my story with you! Allowing God to be glorified through my life, as imprudent and thoughtless as I have been at times, is my utmost desire. Some of it will be funny, some of it painful, some foolish and some wise, but it will all be honest, straight forward and straight from the genuine reflections of my life. Until tomorrow...

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