We all have our stories. We all have a past. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t and suffered through things we wish we never had to. I am no different. I am no more special than you are. But I hope when you read this, you’ll see that there is hope despite our poor choices and circumstances. There is always something to be grateful for and someone who loves us.
My story starts with a wonderful family and a soul so willing to please others that I stopped being my dorky, flirty, self in order to satisfy my kindergarten teacher when she said, “Sit still and be quiet!”. Forcing myself to hide who I really was caused me to have severe social anxiety and depression. After awhile I forgot I was only quiet and still to please the teacher. I started to believe it was my true nature. I forgot who I really was.
I remember one night in sixth grade I slammed my bedroom door and slide my tired body down the backside, landing in a fetal position, whispering in plead to my Father in Heaven, “Please let me come back home.” I was bullied and taken advantage of. I was miserable and I thought I deserved it all so I put my head down and simply let it happen. My parents took me to church but I was always the odd one in my class and I felt judged. Every whisper and withering look was surly about me. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to feel the spirit or to learn what was being taught.
Then I went to Girl’s Camp. A week long activity with all the teenage girls in our town. We gathered on logs around a roaring fire and bore testimony of our beliefs. For the first time in my life I felt the holy spirit. In that moment I KNEW that God loved me. I knew He loved all of us. It changed my life. My anxieties didn’t disapear but I knew I was a daughter of God and that made all the difference. I made friends and I enjoyed being alive.
At age 20, I dropped out of college and moved across the country, away from my family and everyone I knew, to get married to a man who wasn’t active in church. That first year was a hell I would never wish on anyone but we figured it out and over time he too found God and we started to thrive! We were the definition of #couplegoals and even though we were suffering through infertility we fell more and more in love with each passing day.
After seven years of doctors with ‘unexplained’ diagnoses, we finally found the right one and at age 29 I gave birth to our first child. A perfect little girl whom my husband adored and spoiled to no end. That girl became his world and I couldn’t have asked for more. But more came, another child, a son, 18 months later.
Then nine days after that MY WORLD STOOD STILL.
My beloved husband, the father of my children, had a heart attack and passed away.
Suddenly I was back in sixth grade, against the door, pleading to die. My heart and soul were completely shattered. But with the help of God, and the amazing people He put in my path, I decided to breathe. I kept going. I kept trying. I left my heart open to feel the love that was all around me and I lived. I found a new guy and miraculously fell in love all over again. Together we have a connection that is stronger than anything I know of and five crazy kids that keep us on our toes. I’m broken and jaded. I’m overly stressed and fast to feel overwhelmed but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
Lovely, life is hard. It’s dark and beautiful and unexpected. But no matter what your current circumstances are, you are loved. I feel it so strongly it’s almost tangible and if I do nothing else in this world I want to tell you that. You were made to have joy and you are loved. Of that I am certain.