You know what’s scary?
It’s scary as hell.
After spending the last 11 years of my life in unhealthy, co-dependent, destructive relationships, the thought of getting back out there is slightly terrifying. Enough to make a lot of people say,
“That’s it. Never again. I’m done.”
I thought about that route for a while; and I think many people think I should choose that route. They may be right. It’s safer to be sure.
After all these years and all this time, especially after the demise of my second marriage which left me much more wrecked than anything I’ve ever experienced, I thought for sure I’d come out of it different. That I’d close that chapter and start a whole new book as a completely different type of character.
To some extent, I have and I am. But not in the ways I thought.
This divorce has taught me more about myself than I ever could’ve learned any other way. I can honestly say that I am grateful for everything that’s happened; because without it all, I may never have made it to this point.
I may have never learned my worth. I may have always settled for less than I deserve. I may have always given my heart to the wrong things and the wrong people. I may have never discovered how to be a truly strong woman, standing on my own feet rather than unknowingly expecting someone else to carry me.
So I’m grateful.
My marriage broke my heart, but the divorce healed it.
I stand here today changed. Strong. Valuable. Courageous.
But I do not stand here with some of the other labels I expected to carry.
I’m not broken. I’m not jaded. I’m not damaged. I’m not untrusting. I’m not hardened.
In fact, those parts of me that were there before, the parts that lead to some of my pain, are still very much there. I am still 100% me.
Even after all the damage and pain and trauma I’ve experienced, my heart is still the same one God placed in my chest when he formed me in my mother’s womb.
I still trust people easily. I still believe the best of everyone. You’re still innocent until proven guilty in my eyes. I still want to find love again. I still believe it exists. And I’m still willing to try.
Now don’t get me wrong. Things are different about how I will go about it this time around and I finally believe the strength of my head and my heart match. But I refuse to allow the damage of my past to dictate my future.
I refuse to hole myself up and shy away from the world because I’m afraid it will hurt me again. I refuse to allow those old decisions to cloud my future. I refuse to change the core of who I am.
I can’t. I’ve tried.
I can’t change my heart. It’s soft.
I can’t change my soul. It’s hopeful.
And I want to keep it that way. I’m proud of the fact that after two failed marriages and some absolutely heartbreaking experiences, I’m still me.
For the first time in my life, I really like me.
I finally feel like I am who I’m supposed to be. God has carried me through each and every bad decision I’ve ever made. He’s been there to hold me when no one else could. He’s loved me when I was unlovable. He’s scooped me up off the cold hard floor of my own poor choices and he’s redeemed them all.
He’s healed my bruised heart and somehow kept His hands over it in order to keep it from changing.
The parts of me that were both damaged and damaging are being sloughed off and I am learning how to stand strong in my own skin. I’m learning to be me.
My divorce didn’t jade me. It opened my eyes. It saved me. It allowed me to live, fully me.
So that’s what I plan to do.
I’m going to dive back into life; not impulsively and stupidly, but wisely and with my perspectacles firmly planted on my hopeful face.
I’ll probably make some mistakes along the way, but those don’t scare me.
Life is here to be lived. God has given me a second (or a millionth) chance. He’s got me. And He’s got you.
I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with me or my heart. God made me the way he made me for a very specific reason. Sure, it’s gotten me hurt; and it may get me hurt again. But I’m willing to take that risk because this time around, I’m doing it with all the pieces.
I’m not searching for someone else to be my missing piece. I’m not broken looking for someone else to heal me. And I’m not on the hunt for someone else that’s broken and in need of my saving.
Love is scary. Life is scary. But if we never take risks, we may never get any rewards.
So if you’ve been through the hard things, and we all have, don’t stop being you because of them. Learn the lessons. Make the changes. Keep your eyes open and do guard your heart. But don’t close it off or shut it down just because you gave it to the wrong people in the past.
Give it to God first and then trust that He will help guide you to the right places.
There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with you. We’ve made mistakes, as all people do, and we will likely make more. Hopefully we will never make the same mistakes again; but I know for sure that for me, the biggest mistake of all would be trying to harden my heart and be someone I’m not just because I’ve been hurt in the past. I won’t break my heart.