Yesterday, exactly one week after our wedding, I was approached by a friend of my parents who was telling me that her daughter has also had a rough past couple of years and even though she is now having mostly good days, she is still in the trenches. This post is dedicated to her.
Any of you who have read my very first blog post know that I have gone through some major trials, including a divorce after 16 years of marriage, going through a very serious surgery that resulted in a near-death experience, being sexually assaulted, getting involved in a very toxic and emotionally/mentally abusive relationship and finally hitting rock bottom after getting a DWI because my way of coping was to drink away the anxiety that I was left with.
I want you to know that yes, those experiences were excruciatingly painful...and even some of my own choosing. I would never choose to go through any of them ever again but I cannot honestly say that I am not thankful for where they led me. God never wastes our pain. I want to share with you just a few of the many blessings I have received from our Father that I never would have known had it not been for those trials. His grace is all we need and His power works best in our weakest times (2 Corinthians 12:9).
You know I love bullet points. So, I want to list out some specific blessings that have been a direct result of his grace and mercy in my life from the past few years:
- My DWI - I have no doubt that I would still be self-medicating with alcohol had I not gone through this long and exhausting legal process. Spending a night in jail and ALL of the battles that go along with something like this really make you re-evaluate how you are coping with things. This forced me to take a step back and finally admit that I was not dealing with my stress and anxiety in a healthy way. I learned to accept the help I truly needed.
- My divorce was difficult and also came as a huge surprise to many friends and family. While I will not go into the events that led up to our divorce, I will say that God taught us both a lot about ourselves and showed us the true meaning of forgiveness. We forgave each other for the mistakes we made with one another and I can truly say that we have a friendship that no one will ever fully comprehend.
- One of the many stipulations of my DWI arrest was to attend counseling. I have learned a lot about myself through this and have also gained a wonderful mentor who saw past my mistakes and helped me find a passion and a calling. I have been invited to come back as a counselor and teacher through that very same program once I come to the end of my probation.
- I also don't believe that I would have met my sweet husband had I not walked down the broken path that I had taken. He came into my life at exactly the right time. He was there just as I hit rock bottom and has never left my side. He knows the scars I have from the abuse I endured and I am convinced that God hand-picked him to be the one to protect me from ever having to endure that again. He has helped me to find ME again and I truly have joy and peace again.
- I have also gained a step-daughter who is a true joy to be around and the relationship that she and Bella have formed is one that only God could have orchestrated.
- Bella has seen and experienced so much more than any child should have to over the past few years. I have put her through a lot...and this has produced a lot of guilt in my heart. But, God has not only protected our relationship, He has also made it abundantly deeper. I have made no secrets about my weaknesses with her and I have used what I have gone through to teach her just how hard life can be...but that there is always strength to be found that you never knew you had and that YOU have the choice to take hold of it instead of folding under the weight of your adversities.
I know I am leaving so many things out that just aren't coming to mind right now but that is because my cup is truly overflowing with blessing, grace, and mercy. Whatever you are going through, my friend, know that my heart and my prayers are right there with you in the trenches. God WILL provide just what you need and you will be able to look back and see what a beautiful tapestry He has created out of your broken pieces.
This is a small glimpse into my life now but it is SUCH a great example of the blissful serendipity that God's joy has brought into my life...