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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top 10 lessons from my divorce

1.       People and places may not fit as well as they used to.  I did lose some friends.  I give them the benefit of the doubt and figure they don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything.  That is okay.  It’s sad but okay.  Sometimes I struggle to find my place, my best fit.  I look at it as an adventure most of the time.

2.       Focus on the stars, not the mud.  It is SO easy to only focus on the mud that surrounds the break up of a marriage and of a family.  There is a ton of mud.  But eventually you need to look up.  You need to see those stars twinkling, however faintly.  They get brighter.  Quit playing in the mud.

3.       The only path to healing is straight through!  Oh, how I have tried to ignore this truth.  I have tried dating, drinking, eating, cleaning, organizing….Nothing works.  The pain will still be there.  The only thing to do is resign yourself to the healing process and jump in with both feet.  Eventually the process will carry you to a better place if you stop fighting against it!

4.       Dating can be a painkiller.  When I am seeing someone, the sun shines a little brighter, the world sparkles just a bit more.  My pain is dulled and I no longer feel it.  It is wonderful!  And a total fa├žade.  The pain is still there.  That is why I’m taking the year off dating.  Just say no to drugs!

5.       Divorce will not ruin my kids.  I was so fearful for at least the first year that my kids were going to be ruined.  They are not.  They struggled, to be sure.  There were some very dark times.  But ultimately, they are God’s property and He will not allow them to be ruined.

6.       Forgiveness is a choice but also a necessity.  There is very little desire to forgive, as far as feelings go.  However, I will continue to work on forgiving simply out of obedience to the Lord.  I will probably never FEEL like doing it but that is okay and totally normal.

7.       Sometimes you just need to be alone.  When I was first divorced, I frantically tried to fill up my kid free time.  I just couldn’t stand to be alone!  However, now that I have grown and gotten comfortable in this new life, I actually look forward to my time alone!  I am too social to spend the entirety of a weekend alone but I do relish the times where I have the house to myself—especially if it is clean!  J

8.       Boundaries have saved my bacon.  If you haven’t read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, go do it now.  Seriously.  The idea of boundaries finally clicked for me last summer.  I realized that I did not feel capable or competent to run my life and it seriously undermined my confidence.  Once I realized that I could set a boundary around myself and my kids, life got much easier.  I am enjoying my independence and my confidence in my ability to run my life is growing!

9.       I fell in love with my kids.  This sounds strange, I know.  When I was married, life was tense and hard.  I was so disconnected from myself that I didn’t even know how bad things really were.  Parenting was a burden and I resented doing it alone even when I had a partner there.  I loved my kids but I didn’t love being a mom.  Not so anymore!  Once I got my boundaries figured out, I realized how much I love my kids and how thankful I am to be their mom!  They are super awesome.  They are getting a much better mom now than they had before, because now I am into parenting and I am into them.  Once I set my top 3 priorities for my family (love them, provide a safe place, encourage them to share their feelings), life got so much easier.  I could ignore all the voices and the “should’s” and just focus on what I can do best for them.

10.   I crave genuine relationships.  When I was married, I didn’t want to get too deep with people.  I knew that if I gave voice to the issues, the whole thing would fall apart.  So I kept my relationships surface deep.  Now that I am living a more real, honest life, I crave relationships that go deep.  My single parents group at Grace is full of people that I have deep relationships with.  I love spending time with them because they get me, they get where I’m at (because they are too!) and they encourage and support me when I need it.  I never would’ve met these wonderful people if I was still married and then I would be missing out on some amazing friendships.

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