Recently, I have felt compelled to share parts of my story. I have learned so much over the past few years that can be relevant to so many other situations. My faith has been tested and it really has been the driving force behind my healing. God has provided so much for me during and after the divorce. He has put me in a position at work that I never thought I would be in and around the best group of co-workers and the best boss I’ve ever had.
I remember the first time I drove a 4-wheeler. My cousin was so impressed with how I rode. He called me “fearless.” I told him that divorce will do that to you! When you get married it is two deaths and one resurrection. Two people become one being. When you divorce, you are splitting one into two. It’s quite painful.
My plan was to move back home with my family. I had no savings. My husband and I had been living paycheck to paycheck as it was. I was the breadwinner for three years and we often talked about how excited we were about the next season of life. We were going to finally get some relief. Whether he made it to the NFL or we finally settled down somewhere and both had jobs…the tension of adulthood was going to ease up a bit. I remember my husband left on a Thursday and that day I went home to be with my family. I was back to work by Monday because someone had to pay the bills. Relief didn’t come to one of us…at least not right away.
Healing was never a static process for me…it was dynamic. I didn’t have much time to sit and dwell. Even the day of my divorce…I had to get right back to work as soon as possible. It was like hey I got divorced this morning…no big deal… A lot of times I think this was best for me though. It is easy to sit in your funk and remain where you are. It is easy to dwell and think of all you’ve been wronged and begin to water the bitter seed that grows into a monster that turns you jaded and unable to forgive. I’m thankful for everyone that pushed me to be better…to move forward even if it was baby steps.
Why did I stay here? That is a wonderful question! I didn’t like this place from the day I moved here. There’s not much here other than college kids. There’s basically two cities here and a whole lot of land. Coming from the metroplex…this place was not appealing at all. Besides I had graduated from college years before I moved here and I was ready to get on with life. When my husband left, I immediately began to try to find someone to sublease my apartment. I was hellbent on leaving. I no longer had a purpose in a place I never wanted to reside.
On Valentine’s Day my friend took me to a potter. I loved her shop. Everything about it. I walked in and immediately felt peace. I could tell right away that the potter was a remarkable woman. That day changed everything. I decided if I could be mentored by her then I would stay. I was so drawn to her and to this new art. The stars aligned and I was allowed to leave work early two days a week and I was also able to go to the shop on Saturdays. I loved learning this art. It was new and it seemed as if the possibilities were endless. I felt I could do this one day. I could own a shop and create, teach and help people heal. My pottery lesson each week was my escape. I could breathe.
Not too long after I began the mentorship I found out one of my co-workers was quitting. Shortly after that my supervisor came into my office and shut the door. I had told her that she had to tell me if she was going to jump ship because I had no intentions on hanging around if she was to leave too. She told me that she was going to be quitting her job soon. I began to cry. I thought, “You’re leaving me too?” I usually don’t jive all that well with change and I especially did not do well with it during the divorce. My whole world was changing and anything additional was just over the top.
My supervisor’s job opened up and I was moved into the position kinda in an interim role. It was a trial run to see if I could step up to the plate. I was no longer able to do my pottery mentorship as this new role was a lot more demanding. Within 4-5 months I was given the position and my salary nearly doubled! I was actually able to leap over one title because of all the years of experience I had serving in different capacities at the church along with all my job experience.
By the end of the year I was living in a new apartment and had leased a new car. One of the most liberating moments was when I got my new car. My Dad was asking me what I wanted in a car as we were at the Subaru lot. He started rattling off heated seats, sunroof, bluetooth radio, etc. and I told him I had no idea. I had a basic Chevy Aveo with crank windows, manual door locks and a manual transmission. I wasn’t thinking about all the bells and whistles! I was so blown away when I was able to get my new car. But it wasn’t all because it was this really nice car…I discovered I could get it on my OWN. I didn’t need my ex-husband! I didn’t even need a cosigner! Still to this day, I will get in my car and start driving it and think to myself, “I love this car.” Not sure if it is the symbolism but it hasn’t wore off.
God works in amazing ways. I was ready to leave this place that seemingly took my life. It killed my marriage and left fragments of memories everywhere. I was ready to leave all the memories. God had different plans. He had me stay here in this place that tore me down so that He could rebuild me to be even stronger than before. He had me stay here and take back places that were filled with memories. Every football game I went to…all the memories in the stadium…how could I possibly take that back? Well they knocked down the side that I sat at for all three years and rebuilt it while I was going through the divorce. It opened again after my divorce was final. I was placed on the committee that planned the reopening. I, this nobody, was in a room with legends planning the celebration weekend. I also got to go on site a few times while they were still constructing to plan media press conferences and to also take pictures of a tour. And if that wasn’t enough…I was invited to take photos in a suite during the football games and also got to spend some time on the sidelines at the games. I ended up knowing my way around stadium’s back hallways and multiple levels because I spent so much time there in different capacities. When I look at the stadium now, I really don’t even think about the football team. I have so many great memories from the amazing opportunities that were given to me.
During the divorce, I would go on campus walks. I would go and just walk around, listen to music and think about things. Sometimes memories would invade my thoughts and I would begin to cry. The more and more walks I took the less and less the memories would come to mind. Now when I go to campus I am overwhelmed with all the memories I have created over the past two years. From the Celebration Committee meetings, to the campus walks, to my running loop around campus, to my very first half marathon race that took place all over campus and finished IN the stadium, to the media press conferences I helped to plan, and I could go on and on; this place no longer lingers of my marriage. Whenever I look around I see my accomplishments and all that this new life has given me. Although I wanted to move back home to be with my family, God provided me a family here. I have met some of the greatest people. I have some of the best relationships I could ever have imagined. People took me in and loved on me so deeply as I went through the most challenging time of my life. They were patient with me and believed in me.
It takes a “fearless” spirit to stay in a place you don’t want to be that is a constant reminder of the deepest pain you have ever felt. It takes a “fearless” spirit to chose to believe the best even when the worst has been displayed. To have nothing and believe all will be provided. When you are in the destruction derby called “life” and cars begin to come at you from all directions at the same time and you come out with just a few bumps and bruises…you are a changed person. An experience like that reminds you who is in control. I believe, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) My story is a testimony to this.
My Dad is one of the healthiest people I know. When he got sick and almost died I realized that life is fragile. It is fragile for the one who lives carefully and for the one that takes risks. When it is your time it is your time. Realizing this has made me even more “fearless.” I want to live not just the length of life but the width too. Fear will hold you back from some of the most life changing, awesome experiences. I say forget the toe in the water and go for the cannonball!