I lived a seemingly normal life as a stay-at-home mother. I had been married for 6.5 years. I was happy.
I had no idea.
And although I tell myself I wish I would have had an idea of what was coming, the truth is that I don't.
Because if God had come and told me what I would go through over the next two years, I would've given up. I seriously would've thrown in the towel and said, "I can't handle those hard things. I'm already drowning from this infertility mess and trying to figure out my marriage."
I would've told Him I can't do this hard thing He knew I was going to do.
But because I didn't know, I didn't give up.
On August 24th, 2013, I woke up on a seemingly cheery Saturday and spent the morning with my children. I awaited my husband's arrival from work at lunch time. And when he didn't come home, I knew.
And there were no signs other than the Spirit telling me.
I think that's why, although I've wanted to many times over the past two years, I haven't given up on God. I can never discount His presence because He is real. I don't doubt that He is real.
I've broken down about this anniversary twice this weekend, each time with different people. My therapist would say that's a healthy thing---crying in front of people and letting my feelings out---and I think I agree with her. I feel like the vulnerability of sharing this anniversary with others is healing for me. It's not something I do because I am living in the past but because this is a part of me. It always will be. It shapes an essential part of who I am and why I treat others the way that I do.
As I was speaking with my friend, she asked me where I am in the healing process and I realized I could honestly answer that divorce does not run my life. I am healing. I fight my eating disorder. I feel empathy for myself. I feel empathy for my ex-husband.
It isn't perfection. I am not great at being an ex-wife. It's hard work, friends. It really is. But it works out each and every time.
I lost myself as I was going through divorce. I lost faith in myself, love for myself, and I was not nice to myself.
As I was gaining compassion for others, I didn't leave any for myself.
I was breathing but I wasn't living. And there are still days that I don't fully live. There are still hard days where I look at the clock and two hours has gone by and I'm on the couch eating chips and watching television.
I thought I had found my eternity but I hadn't. And although there is nothing I can do about that decision that I did not make, there are still times where it really hurts, where my healing seems back at the beginning.
But I guess the way that I can tell I am healing is that I stand up for myself more now. I fight against the lies in my own head that tell me I'm not good enough. I fight for my children and my friendships and my family. I know the kind of person I want to be and I try my damndest to be her.
And I love her. I love that little girl.
I am her.
This is hard stuff. It has been an extremely emotional weekend because I'm crazy and my mind says, "Two years ago, at this particular time, you were spending time with your husband on a Friday night." "Two years ago, tomorrow, he told you he didn't love you." "Two years ago, you had no idea what was coming and you shattered."
Two years ago, I was left to tell my children why their dad wasn't home yet---and they were angry at me. They were so angry because they didn't understand.
Two years ago, they changed. They had to grow up faster than they should have and it wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair that I had to tell them alone or that they had to split their parenting time. None of it was fair.
But it happened and I am so proud to be the mama of those strong warriors who lifted me up when my world crashed. I am so proud to have seen the ugliest times and the most beautiful times with them these past two years. They have worked hard to heal and they are amazing children.
We stick together. These kids are my buddies and they always will be. My children are the most important thing in the world to me.
Two years sounds like a long time. Sometimes it feels like it's been longer and sometimes it hits me like it was yesterday.
I am proud of where we are as a family. I am proud of who I am.
Although I still struggle and life feels so scary most of the time, I am not giving up. I am not going to let the ugliness of the past two years become me---because there has been beauty too. So. Much. Beauty. So many nights where my kids are snuggled up in my bed and I wonder how God could've given me such amazing children. So many days where my children speak with love and understanding for the heartache of their friends or family members. So many times where Andersen opens my car door or rubs my back "because that is what gentlemens do for their ladies".
They are wise beyond their years and I often stare at them and wonder how they got that way---and then I realize that I am that way.
I am compassionate and loving. I am empathetic. I would find a way to help a struggling friend on the busiest days of my life.
And it is in these times of realization that I am more fully aware of the love my God has for me because I am His daughter. I am His and He won't ever leave me.
I am lovely not because of the clothes I wear or the make up on my face but for the way that I act and the person that I am on the inside.
These aren't easy things to say. They aren't things I always believe. These are certainly things my eating disorder tells me are lies.
But they are truths.
I am worthy and good and lovely.
And on this day where I painfully remember the trauma that started two years ago, I am reminded that I am a warrior and I have done so many hard things. Among the negativity, love has still won.
Love will always win.