I started this post intending to write about personal updates and recounting a fun summer but somehow I ended up writing about the past. This month’s sermon series has been speaking to me so perhaps this post is necessary and will be a comfort to you.
Summers always seem to be times of isolation for me which serve as an inward time to assess life without outside influences. This summer was no different and as it comes to a close, I have a clear headed feeling of peace. This summer feels as if everything has come full circle.
Just the other day I posted a picture on Instagram of the girls on their first day of school. I couldn’t help but acknowledge how far things have come since their dad left 4 years ago and it’s prompted me to dig into the good that came from a very uncertain time. If you’re a new reader, you can read about that HERE, HERE and HERE.
During that time I was filled with fear and anxiety. I wasn’t afraid of being alone or being without him, I was afraid for my girls. I was nervous about a custody battle and was uncertain whether I could keep them with me full time or if he would fight for more.
I did not have a great marriage-I definitely knew this but I’m a peace maker and so is he so we lived a peaceful life. There was an negative under current that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but we didn’t see eye to eye about being transparent and honest so I focused on the blog and the girls and surrendered the marriage to God. I was powerless.
A month after my X left, my father, who I am very close to, had a massive stroke. It was so serious that once the stroke hit-the dad I knew wasn’t there. He lost the use of his right side among other daily functions and suffered what I would call a severe depression. My dad is the type of dad that doesn’t verbally or physically show his love. His love comes through by acts of service and financial securities. When my X left, my dad came over just about every day fixing things around the house. I knew it was his way of comforting me. The day before the stroke he was replacing my thermostat and had forgotten to vacuum the dust from the floor. Sadly, that dust stayed there for a week because I couldn’t bring myself to clean it. It symbolized the safety and security I felt with him and I was fearful that would never return.
The summer of 2015 was a dark one. There was so much uncertainty, fear and anger. However, never in my years have I experienced the love my Heavenly Father has for me in such a tangible way. He was so close through that entire summer-whispering peace when peace seemed impossible. He knocked down walls and removed the girls and I from a 9 year marriage that was doomed from the start.
I look back on that summer with warmth. Warmth because I know God used that time to reveal who He is to me. He brought beauty from ashes as He so often does when there’s tragedy and because of this dark time, I understand life, love and peace in a much deeper way.
I also feel warmth because I know that He used my story to advance His gospel. To share my story publicly was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I know my story gave many readers hope and peace amidst their own heartache.
Pain and struggles are never for nothing. God uses them to sculpt us as well as to touch others.
I don’t mean to keep bringing up my past lately but God has prompted me to share how my dark season served a purpose beyond helping me learn survival skills. He so often uses our pain to not only strengthen us but to heal others.
Someone needs to hear this. Someone one needs to know that their pain is not for nothing.
As my dad always says-time is a great equalizer. My X and I are on peaceful terms and I feel nothing but kind thoughts for him. My dad, while he did not gain the use of his right side, has continued his roll as handyman, financial advisor and #1 grandpa. I did indeed get full custody and while the girls see their dad often, their life is with me. Plus, despite me swearing I would never marry again-I did and this time I think I got it right.
As for summer, it was fast and furious. The girls had lots of activities with grandparents and their dad. We squeezed in a trip to the beach which was magical. We have a stray outdoor cat that has adopted us-looks like we have 5 cats! We swam, went to the movies, I contributed a few fun posts to Stealing Pretty, I perfected the art of making grain free pizza, did lots of yard work-you get the idea… To tell you the truth, the summer flew by and while I tried to savor every moment, it’s gone again and I’m here trying to adjust to the girls being back at school all day and growing up entirely too fast.
Sometimes I look at other bloggers that keep their personal life out of their blog and I get a twinge of guilt that I share what I do but then I remember why I started this blog. I started this blog as a creative outlet with the hopes of connecting on a real level. In order to do that, I need to get personal. Don’t worry though-I’ll be balancing this post with a few new DIYs as well as health posts very soon!!
As usual-thank you so much for reading!! It means so much to me.
P.S. Those are not Heidi’s teeth in the picture of the 4 of us-lol! I got a new app that actually gives people a smile when they’re not and sometimes Heidi forgets you’re supposed to smile when a camera is around. I had to come clean-my girl Heidi has some janky teeth right now but I couldn’t resist posting my edited pic-lol!
That you found beauty in tragedy can only be due to the grace of God. His faithfulness is on display in your life, and you’re right to give Him the glory. Thank you for your courage in sharing of your life that is beauty-full.
Antonio-Thank you! I have learned that it is through tragedy that God reveals who He really is. Thank you for reading!!
Jenni, Personally, I appreciate your posts on your life experiences, as it is, I think, one of the things that gives your blog dimensionality (I think that’s a word!) 🙂 You are a very transparent person, and your kindness, sensitivity and passion for what you do come out in your posts. Those characteristics as they come across, are truly an asset, IMHO, to the overall theme or message of your blog. And I love your recipes anyways! I also went through a dark period about two years ago, related to my marriage, we are divorced now; the issues were subtle, and we are friends, but I also had to find God in it all, and He was, still is, faithful to love and care for me. I am so glad you could see God, and his loving care for you in all you went through. I am still processing what happened to me, felt guilty trying to tell friends about it, but read alot about my situation, felt God Himself led me to that, as it helped me to decipher some of what was going on. May the love of God continue to keep you and your dear family in every way!
Elizabeth-Divorce is a LONG process to heal from. I look back and marvel at how long I was truly in that tunnel. I’m so sorry for you divorce and totally understand the disillusionment. It’s so good that you’ve been able to remain friends. Truly forgiving and being able to be on good terms has healed me greatly. Best of luck to you on your journey. I hope you too can look back and know that that was the season that God become real. Thank you for following and your kind words!