Today, our country reflects and morns one of the most tragic days in American history. On September 11, 2001, international terrorists hit us through the heart when they hijacked four separate airplanes and drove them into some of our nation’s most prized buildings. This tragic day in history will never be forgotten.
What I am sharing with you today is a spec in comparison to the lives lost on this day 16 years ago. Nevertheless, on September 11th, 4 years ago, I was blindsided with my own life shattering news from the person who had vowed to love me forever.
Many of you may not know that at 26 years old, I carried around that bright scarlet letter of a divorced woman. After 4 years of marriage, my husband at the time decided he no longer wanted to be married to me and didn’t love me anymore. Nothing made sense. There was no reason I was given, no warning signs…I genuinely asked what I could do to change and make him happier…but nothing. I was determined to change his mind. I bought 7 different books on saving my marriage. I begged him to try marriage counseling with me. I did my own personal counseling. I paid extra close attention to every word I spoke, action I took, and attitude I had. I offered to forgive him if he did something wrong. I grasped at every straw I could find. In the end, there was nothing I could do to change his mind. He moved out and filed for a divorce.
In that moment, I remember begging for him to change his mind. I was begging and pleading for God to change his heart. I felt like I let EVERYONE down. Most of all, I felt like I let the Lord down. My whole life I had strived to be a pure woman of the Lord. I waited until I was married to have sex. I got married before I moved in with my husband. I preached purity and to be honest, may have judged those who were divorced without having any idea the path they walked and the pain they endured (I know…it’s horrible). HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME?? I remember crying all my tears out as I listened to worship music, begging God for an answer to such a confusing time. At that time in my life I lived in Manhattan, Kansas, which is half of a country away from all of my friends and family. I had no one. It was just me, my prayers, my tears, the wind, and the damaging words that kept running through my mind from my significant other…
…I’m just not attracted to you anymore.
…I just don’t love you.
…It’s not you, it’s me.
…I don’t want anything to do with all this “God” stuff anymore.
…I’m not happy and I want a divorce.
…I know I’ll never meet anyone like you, but I just don’t want to be married.
Quitting is not in me. My entire life I have fought against the odds to prove I could overcome any adversity put in my path. So, this…accepting failure in the one area I promised to stay true and faithful to…It was incredibly humbling to have a failure in this department of my life.
The papers were filed. I moved back to be with my family to try to figure out what the heck I was going to do with my life. And I truly believe I was given a supernatural gift. I learned through prayer, meditation, devotion, and wise counsel that there was true POWER in praising the Lord through the storm. It is 100% a choice and I recognized that and I praised my heart out even through the heart crushing pain I was experiencing. I KNEW God was going to turn this devistation into something beautiful. I KNEW what the devil intended for destruction, God could use for GOOD…so, so, so much good. But, I had to own my part and trust him each and every day. More than any time in my life, THIS is where my faith grew.
After my divorce, I spent some time learning how to be independent again. I refocused on my priorities. i continued to study marriage. I was incredibly humbled and realized everyone has their story and their struggles. I’m not called to judge anyone, I’m called to LOVE everyone right where they’re at. The Lord healed my heart and made me a stronger woman than I had ever been. I knew I didn’t NEED another man in my life. I learned that in order for me to ever be in a strong, healthy, happy relationship, I would need to be independently strong and confident and so would he. If we weren’t, we would drain eachother…how many times do we see this happen in relationships around us?
When I least expected it, my true Mr. Forever came into my life. If you’ve been following our story at all, our love just oozes out of us. I know…barf, right?! Haha…But truly, I never imagined having a marriage, a family, children, and in-laws as amazing as I currently have. I am TRULY blessed. <3 What’s even more beautiful about our story is that he endured a grueling divorce a few years before mine. We both knew the pain, we reflected on the healing process, we valued the same traits in marriage, and the Lord used our stories to help each other heal. If one of us hadn’t gone through that experience, I can genuinely say we wouldn’t be married to each other right now. We both agree, we would go through the pain again if we knew it would get us to where we are now with each other.
I share this with you guys, not to brag or pretend like I have it all together. I share this with you because I know what it’s like to be in the darkest moment of your life when everything around you crumbles and you don’t even know how to breathe. Life is not always and has not always been sunshine and rainbows for me and my family. According to our culture, I should have “daddy issues” because my father was killed by a drunk driver when I was 11. I shouldn’t be walking because that same drunk driver crushed my entire left leg and left me on life support. I should have abandonment issues, commitment issues, trust issues and hate all men. I should have intense self esteem issues (not that I don’t struggle in this area from time to time) from the words my ex husband told me about not being skinny or attractive enough.
You know what though guys, what a waste of life that would be! WHY in the WORLD would I want to spend my days in that darkness believing those lies? God gave me the strength and perception to chose a different path. I realized that my story was no close to ending when I thought it was. In fact, it was the beginning of something more beautiful than I could ever imagine.
If you’re going through a hardship in your life that you didn’t see coming, if you made mistakes that lead you down a dark and lonely road, if you were crushed by those who are supposed to love you most…I PROMISE YOU, your story is not over. You have 100% control over your perception of your situation and your reaction to it. There is POWER in PRAISING the Lord through your darkness. There is POWER in being able to say, “I’ve been there, I feel you, I see your pain and I will walk with you through this”. Your life is not even close to over. You were put here for a purpose. People NEED to hear your story.
I now get to encourage many people from close friends of mine to complete strangers who are struggling in hardships. I am so thankful for the valuable lessons I’ve learned because I’m able to connect on a deeper level with every person I work with in my health & fitness coaching business. I’m able to talk about and teach on the power of mindset and perception. And every morning I get to wake up next to a man who I love more than I thought humanly possible while our second son kicks me in my belly and our firstborn snuggles in between us. This life…this BEAUTIFUL life wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t walk through my own darkest valley.