I wanted to dig a little deeper today and share some pretty personal struggles that my little family and I have been going through for the last two years.
This September, my husband and I will celebrate two years of marriage, and three and a half years of being in a relationship altogether. We're still madly in love and choosing love everyday, but it has been far from easy in our two short years of marriage.
I'll give you a brief little backstory. We both lived in Dallas before we got married, then about two months before our wedding, my husband moved to OKC for a job. After that, we got married in September of 2015, and I joined him in OKC. About three weeks after that, we found out that we were, very unexpectedly, pregnant.
Now, I am not someone who likes a lot of life change, and especially not in large doses. I absolutely adore my son, but finding out that I was pregnant with him was absolutely terrifying. I like to plan things, plan my life, and when things happen that I don't plan for, I meltdown for a little bit. My son was unplanned for, and I didn't know how to cope with it at first.
But that's not this story. This story is about how to deal when you live your life between a rock and a hard place.
Living in Oklahoma was incredibly difficult for us. You wouldn't think so, but there is a big difference in culture between Oklahoma and Dallas. Yes, I know I'm comparing an entire state to just one Texas city, but take any major city in Texas and the comparison will still apply.
We had culture shock. We were in a new place, with no family or friends in the state. My husband was at a new job, and I couldn't find a job. We were newly married and newly moved and, come to find out, newly pregnant. It was all so much... NEW. It was terrifying and the most stressful thing that I've ever been through, and unless you've been in similar circumstances, you can't really relate. Believe me, I've had people try, and they just don't get the magnitude of the situation.
Well, fast-forward to a year after living there. Our son had been born, which was wonderful, but we still had no friends and no family in the area. Then my husband's job turned sour. He had someone close to him, betray him at work, and that devastated us both because we considered this person a friend.
That then made our last few months in Oklahoma even more stressful and incredibly difficult. We felt even more isolated and alone than when we first moved there. It was almost more than we could bare, and considering all that we've dealt with, I'm surprised (and grateful) that we haven't had more problems in our marriage.
I, by nature, am an incredibly protective person, and that is an understatement. If someone comes after my friends or family, my first instinct is to attack, to protect and defend. I can be ruthless, in a take-no-prisoners kind of way. I can be vicious and unforgiving, and the honest truth is that it doesn't bother me.
Except...it does. I am a Christian, and I believe that, because God has forgiven me, I should forgive others. I believe that, or at least, I know it intellectually. But it's so difficult for me to put it into practice. When I feel like someone has committed a terrible act against me (or anyone else), and there is no (earthly) justice, I find myself unwilling to forgive. I feel like, if I give that up, if I "let it go," then that person has won and it won't matter that they hurt me or someone else.
I know it's not right, but it's how I feel sometimes. I have been hurt by so many people, and it's by people who should 1) know better and 2) keep doing it. So why should I forgive them?
Well, the forgiveness isn't for them, it's for me.
With forgiveness comes freedom. You free up space in your mind and your heart for something infinitely better to come along and occupy it. And you free yourself from the responsibility of having to hold everyone accountable for the terrible things they've done.
I just can't be the judge, jury and executioner (so to speak) for everyone that commits a sin against me. I can't, and I don't want to.
This person that betrayed my husband...
I was so mad at them for what feels like a long time. I'm still angry with them. But the truth is, I've never wanted to forgive someone so much in my entire life. I just don't have the time or energy anymore for all that anger and resentment.
It takes its toll. Plus, I'm still working on forgiving people I've been mad at for way longer than I've even known this person, so even more reason to just let them go with God and forgive them.
I'm ready to move on with my life. We have physically moved away from that conflict. We are back in Dallas and close to family again, and we are on our way to building healthy, life-giving relationships.
That truly is one of the best ways to get rid of the pain: replace it with love. Love casts out all fear. Love protects. Love heals. Love wins. Every time. We can't always see it immediately, but I really believe that love will always win. And you can always find people who will love you. You can always find a tribe.
So I'm ready to leave what's heavy behind and start fresh. I'm ready to heal, grow, and help others. I have so much love to give, not just to my family and friends, but to people I haven't met yet, and maybe one day, I'll get to help someone through the most difficult time in their life. Maybe I'll be a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold, and a voice to say "You will make it through this, and you'll come out on the other side stronger than you were before."
I truly believe that.
If you're reading this, thanks for letting me share today. And if you, too, are going through a difficult time, just know that it will get better.