How my divorce was a lesson on life, love, parenting and faith

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I am going to start off by telling you that if talk about God {gasp! the G word} and divorce scares or bothers or heaven forbid, offends you, don’t even bother to read on. Don’t waste your time. Don’t put yourself into the position of getting angry and upset. I am warning you. This acknowledgment of my path in life and how my divorce led me back to God may not sit well with you, and that’s ok. Just don’t bother if your feathers are easily ruffled or if you have a foundation of faith that is easily disturbed. 

So, let’s get on to it…

Divorce.

An ugly word that no one really wants to talk about. A word that sparks deep emotional response. 

This is my story….

Divorce. A lesson on life, love, parenting and faith. 

Well, at least mine was. You see, my divorce was not by choice. It was thrust upon me like the waves crashing onto the shore. I HAD to get divorced. I was in a loveless marriage plagued with hate and resentment. 

But my divorce was the most liberating experience and my divorce led me to the woman, the wife and the mother that I am today. Without that lesson, I doubt I would have ever entered onto the path that I found following the darkest and ugliest days of my life. 

God had a bigger plan for me. God chose me to be the mother to my first two children and in order for me to get to my 3rd and 4th children, divorce was part of my journey. 

My first marriage, which I will respectfully refer to as “The Lesson”, happened more out of obligation than love. You see, when 2 young (19 and 21 years old) people conceive a child, the world becomes very chaotic. The “what if’s” and “what now” mind chatter and comments from everyone in your sphere of influence run rampant. 

Yes, we cared for each other. Yes, we were eventually excited. 

But no, we were not prepared. No, we were not emotional ready to be parents. No, we did not know what we were doing. And hell no we were not ready for marriage.

We decided to get married right after our daughter was born because we thought it was the “right thing to do”. We thought, this is what we are supposed to do. My grandmother (a devout Catholic) was NOT happy about a child out of wedlock. And not afraid to be vocal about it either. It made me feel inadequate and full of shame. So we did it. Nothing fancy. Just immediate family and no clue what curveball life was going to throw our way.

Looking back on that day, I see a very young, naive, new mother trying to navigate so many emotions. A young woman with no clue what her path in life was. A hopeless romantic that truly believed that this could be it. A new mother with a new life that she felt she was solely responsible for. {Yes, I felt the responsibility of our daughter’s life was in my hands.} A new father that was scared. A man that felt his youth being stripped away from him. A couple that was terrified, clueless and in denial.

But we tried, we did the best we could, the best way we knew how, with what we had.

The Lesson lasted four short years and also brought along a son with it. We were blessed with two beautiful and overall healthy children. But our entire marriage was chaos. Don’t get me wrong, there was some fun, some love and a whole lot of learning, but chaos is the best word to describe those tumultuous four years. 

I believe that my first marriage was to be my lesson from God on life, love, parenting and faith.

Love and faith were not the foundation of this marriage. They we not the connection between the two of us. Being so young, we just did not know much about marriage, much less parenting. We were parenting with the conditioned mindsets that we were raised with. We were just going at it the only way we knew how. We loved our children immensely, we gave them experiences, we tried our very best. 

But you see, we did not try our best at our marriage. We did not even treat it as the priority. The children, the mortgage, food on the table- those were our priorities. And when you are young and naive, you don’t understand the bigger picture. And when the foundations of love and faith are not a part of your marriage, I hate to say it, but I am convinced that it is doomed from the start. You haven’t attained enough life experience yet to truly live a well rounded life. You are just going through the motions of survival. 

No marriage can withstand that. 

So, The Lesson ended. With it I took on a new vision for love, a new appreciation for life, a new understanding of motherhood. But I refused to accept the lesson on forgiveness. I shut that down real quick. I refused to let my faith guide me. And I held onto that mindset for 12 years. I could not and would not forgive him.

During the time that I was walking through motherhood alone, there was darkness. I was angry, hurt, filled with rage and I felt so alone. I loved on my babies fiercely and showered them with affection. If there is one thing that my kids will tell you about me, it is that I love on them to the point that I annoy them! I chose to be overly lovey with them because my mother was not that way with me. I get it, she was an only, military child…but I refused to be that way. And let me not gloss over the fact that I felt guilty that they had to go through this horrific divorce. I was overcompensating, big time. That was the only part of my conditioned mindset about parenting that was different….an abundance of affection.

I worked my a$$ off to be able to give my children the best life possible. As a single mother, I wanted them to see how it was possible to be a complete bada$$. I did just that. I had an amazing career and was able to provide everything for them. I went on field trips, attended class parties and volunteered at school. I made sure that they never wanted for anything and that I was there for everything. 

But I yelled, a lot. That was how I parented. I had big expectations when it came to school. I was hard on them. I demanded perfection. 

I yelled instead of taking the opportunity to teach a lesson. Looking back, in my mind I was teaching a lesson, but now I see that I was going about it the wrong way. 

I wanted them to be loving yet strong, book smart yet street smart, adventurous yet cautious. 

I literally was winging it….like the meme- eyeliner, motherhood, everything. 

Their father did not financially support them 100% so I had no choice but to step up. He tried. He loved them. He did his best. But I was so blinded with anger and rage that I did not see that. 

Holding on to that final lesson of forgiveness for so long blinded me. What it all boiled down to was that he was not stepping up the way that I wanted him to. I did not realize or accept this until recently. 

I parented out of fear and desperation. Fear that I would fail them and desperation to be everything that was missing in their lives. They didn’t have 2 loving parents at home. They did not have a traditional life. This was never the plan. Never what I wanted for them.

But you see, we don’t make the plan. God does.

I was raised Catholic and there came a point in my life that I completely abandoned my faith. I questioned everything and I wanted nothing to do with the spiritual life that I was raised with. I tested boundaries, got in trouble and did things that I should not have.

I truly feel that The Lesson was a part of my path to reconnecting to my faith and accepting that God forges the way for a magnificent life, if we let him. 

I did not realize or accept this until recently. It took me over 12 years, a new marriage and 2 more children to finally accept my lesson and forgive my ex-husband. And letting go of that hate is liberating. 

I am free now.

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