Encouragement · Healing · moment of truth monday

Moment of Truth Monday

hIt was an unexpected statement that left a lasting impression. While pushing the grocery cart and collecting all the necessities, my two young children would engage in ordinary chit-chat. They would occasionally deviate from their conversation to beg for a bag of powdered doughnuts or candy. {Bless all the people that grocery shop with littles in tow.}

On this shopping trip, the words that escaped my daughter’s mouth caught me off guard and frozen in fear. As in, I was looking around the store attempting to assess how many people heard her words. “Mom, you’ve had three husbands. Dad, other dad, and God.” While my eyes grew big, my shame grew exponentially greater. Her words were innocent. She shared them with true delight at her discovery. It was a statement of provision from her perspective.

For me, and the nagging message I was a complete failure, it felt like exposure. I glanced around the aisle looking to see if I needed to set the record straight with anyone. I had only been married twice and was ready to settle the score with anyone within earshot.

Walking through divorce, and leading my children through that terrain, was remarkably difficult. During that time, when my kids expressed deep sadness about not having a daddy at home, I would tell them that God was protecting our family. And that’s where God as my husband was born. If only the unsuspecting shoppers would have known the backstory.

While shame wanted to send me hiding, there was another part of her statement that kept me grounded. I had indeed been married twice. I’m fairly certain that no one dreams about two weddings, and I definitely didn’t want to experience the heartache that would welcome a second wedding. This was my story though. I had indeed been married twice, and thrice if we follow my daughter’s calculation and consider God as an honorary husband.

It’s necessary to own our decisions and live with the benefits and consequences of our choices. Experiencing divorce was nearly enough to kill me. There were days I wasn’t sure I would ever make it to the other side of that heartache. While there are thousands of days between the initial blow and today, aftershocks still show up without warning. That’s the side of divorce our society isn’t discussing but should.

I was not in the market to marry again. I had elected to be the best mom I could be to the two little humans that were entrusted to my care. Relationships were too risky, and my fear was incalculable. Then John. That’s where my story takes a hard-right turn. I was clutching my life and living in the depths of self-preservation when he waltzed into my life. He didn’t see the scarlet word, divorcee, written across my heart. He didn’t see me as a failure. He didn’t nurture the shame I carried around as a frenemy.

Shame imprisons, but healing requires flexibility. My plans changed as healing took root in my soul. Letting go of the self-protective plans I had clutched in my hands was no easy task. I thought I knew what was best for my life, but I was only calculating minimal risk. Getting remarried isn’t the story every divorcee will experience. That’s not my point. When wounded, self-preservation is a natural response. Grasping for control is an automatic next step, and while it may prevent the sting of hurt initially, it also carries the risk of circumventing healing.

Allowing healing inevitably means inviting flexibility into the equation. Learning to lean into the rhythm of healing means holding plans loosely. It may mean considering something you determined to avoid. Flexibility doesn’t mean stupidity, but it does mean surrendered to possibilities.

Speaking of flexibility, that seems to be the heart of our marriage. When John and I showed up to our reception, we learned that the DJ didn’t have the song for our first dance. We selected another song on the fly and moved on. Who knew this would become the hallmark of our marriage…adjusting to all manner of things on a whim.

Here’s to taking a stand against shame, learning to be flexible, and to receiving unexpected gifts in our lives. Keep your head up, your hands open, and your heart tender.

#MomentofTruthMonday #Shame #LifeLessons


P.S.-Just in case you wondered, here’s the song we wanted to use for our first dance!


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