Today's post is written by an outstanding woman, Melissa Taylor. Isn't she gorgeous? She is a dear friend of ours from Brooklyn and her story is so inspirational to everyone who knows her that we asked if she'd be willing to share her story of divorce & transformation here.... thank you, Melissa!
Danny and Mara are dear friends who I met while living in Brooklyn. They made such an impact on me in a critical point of my life, so I was beyond honored when they asked me to guest post.
My husband unexpectedly left me five years into our marriage. As a stay-at-home single mom at age 25 in New York City, I had a new challenge ahead of me, one that took some major stumbling and humbling to overcome. However, looking back a year and half later, it’s pretty amazing to see what’s happened as a result.
I used to live in a state of what I might call “ignorantly blissful misery.” I was content in my unhappiness. Sound crazy? And what’s worse, I THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL!! I criticized, complained, blamed, moped, victimized myself, and at least weekly would wake up with puffy eyes and pile of tear-stained tissues on my nightstand. No wonder he left me, right? :)
It was actually less about wanting to be unhappy, and more about lacking the courage and determination to make real, lasting changes. It felt so out of reach. I would see beautiful couples like Danny and Mara who seemed to have the whole world figured out, and think, “That could never be me!” Never. So why try?
But this attitude only made things worse. I recorded in my journal at the time that it felt like I was sliding on a downward spiral with my hands tied behind my back. Not surprisingly, once my husband left, I was absolutely shattered. However, at the same time, something really cool started happening. I started figuring out what really makes you happy. (And I hate to say it, but REAL happiness isn’t found in the happily-ever-after fairy tale where things happen just the way they should… something I still needed to learn.) I think trials can be like cold ice water on an oversleeping teenager. Shockingly uncomfortable, but so effective.
Mara invited me over, one divorced woman to another, and told me how it was. So sweet and yet so bold. She told me about how we can find peace through our trials, how we can be truly better for them, how when we have strength and patience and even joy in our challenges, we can feel like real women, not just girls.
Long story short, my husband came back, and then left a second time, just as unexpectedly to me as before. And again, I found Danny and Mara sitting on my living room floor with homemade Thai chicken pizza telling me that I had it in me to truly be happy and an amazing woman. They knew I would conquer this. (And the pizza was yummy, too.)
Something clicked at that point. I knew I needed to make some changes.
Here are a few ideas that have helped me as I have made changes in my life. I hope they will help you, too, in whatever changes you’re going through:
- Make the choice: The Story of the Two Wolves.
- With change, keep in mind, it sometimes gets worse before it gets better. Like road construction, it’s a hassle at first, but given time and patience, the end result is more effective travel. Or it can be like organizing your storage closet...you find yourself knee deep in knickknacks before you get all the shelves neat and orderly.
- Have a clear image in your mind and BELIEVE you can get there. Visualize yourself and your goal coming to fruition. NEVER cut yourself down. Your worst enemy is often yourself.
- Change takes time. Give yourself some credit and be patient with yourself. Say I’ll get there with time. Imagine your life in as a line graph. There are ups and downs, but when you stand back, you can see the real progress you’ve made over time.
- Never, never, never give up. –Winston Churchill. The desire alone holds more power than we realize. I love the story of The Little Engine That Could.
- We like to hold power over changes, but we can’t always. Fortunately, a difficult change can sometimes lead us to just where we ought to be. Have faith and trust. Our loving God knows all.
- Don’t run from change. Be the Buffalo.
- Document your change. I kept a journal for a couple years that consisted mostly of complaints and self-absorbed nonsense. I was going to chuck it & start fresh with a more positive record of me, but then Danny and Mara suggested I keep it to show my personal growth. It’s really a beautiful thing - to improve and become something we weren’t before and then to look back & see how far we’ve come!
But mostly, turning my life to the Lord, feeling his unwavering love for me has helped me find peace, forgiveness, and even joy through my trials.
A move across the country, a full-time job, a divorce, and a year and a half later I find myself SO happy!! Changes in circumstance, yes. But the summit of it all was a change in my attitude. I can see now how abundantly my life has been blessed! I have my adorable, adventurous little boy, my amazingly supportive family and friends, this beautiful world God created, and the chance at living a life in it to learn these things! LIFE IS SO GOOD!!!
Everyday is a new chance for changing your path & starting something new. Take a quick second to ask yourself, "What can I do to make my life better today?" And then, even better, "What can I do to improve the quality of someone else’s?" Plan it. Do it. Embrace it!!
My new “normal” life is so extraordinary! So rich and full and beautiful. I look forward with hope to a New Year, and wish you all the best with your changes in 2012. May you be very, very, very happy!
P.S. Does anyone out there want to share their story of transformation here on the blog? Please let us know. We hope this can be a place of inspiration for many. Thx! - Mara