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“No tricks in the class of ’86” is what I use to say my senior year in high school.  I actually thought that was cool…uhhhh!  I guess what I was trying to say was, “we’re the real deal”.  The group of young people that was going to take the world by storm! Little did  I know then that I didn’t know my hand from my butt.  I thought I know almost all things. I did actually have a pinch of humility, but not much.

Two months after graduation, I would meet my ex as I was moving into the dorms at college.  His room was two floors beneath mine.  He offered to help me and my sister carry my huge trunk containing most of my clothes.  We didn’t start officially dating until the end of October of my first semester.

In 2013, a year before I filed for divorce, I asked God, “what in the world did I possibly have in common with my husband?  I don’t understand how I got here.”

God answered me and it was hard to hear, but I knew it was the truth.  I had to reach back and look at some painful stuff, but I know it was for my good, so that I wouldn’t carry that smelly garbage into my new life and new relationships.

It’s been 30 years since I first met my ex.  If I could reach back, here are the two words of wisdom I would say to 1986 Laura, that beautiful seventeen year old girl with such promise and talent:

  1.  Know Your Identity.  If you know who you are, you know your worth.  I had very little sense of who I was at that age.  I did know that I wanted to be a lawyer, but all of the good grades and academic achievement didn’t save me from being an angry teenager.  I was grappling with very low self-esteem from childhood sexual abuse and other things that I witnessed that were instrumental in shaping what I believed about men, relationships and marriage.  We were both very angry young people.  Wounded by the very same things in our childhood. We had so much unforgiveness in our hearts.

I didn’t recognize that was fearfully and wonderfully made.  That I was (and still am) a princess.  I didn’t set the bar nearly high enough.  I didn’t value the very core of who I was.  I gave my heart and body to someone who wasn’t worthy of it.  I settled for things early in our relationship that were so far below any thing I should have considered as acceptable because I didn’t really know who I was then and who I was meant to become.

2.  What God Says About Relationships and Marriage.  I can only think of one couple I saw from a distance that was a positive role model for a healthy marriage.  But it wasn’t enough to make the deep impression that I needed to have stamped on my heart and mind so that I wouldn’t fall into the very pit I ended up in.  If I would have understood what marriage truly was, I would have never married my ex.  I wouldn’t have settled for less than God’s best for me.  This doesn’t mean that I’m saying  or that I believe that my ex is worthless, I’m just simply saying that he was never the right person for me.

God’s Word say that His people perish for a lack of knowledge.  Up until 2 years ago, I spend my entire adult life with a person who would never love me, respect me or take care for me as a wife.  That’s a heck of a price to pay.  Even if you’re not a believer, getting a good working knowledge of what relationship experts say sustains a healthy relationship and marriage will take you miles further than you would probably get on your own.

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BUT!  There’s so much good fruit that has come from my life experience.  There’s hope!  There’s joy! There’s perseverance! Not just for myself, but for others who watched me walk through it all or have come to know me now and see that there is so much more to life than being stuck in the bitter memories of the past.

I still have profound struggles that I deal with on a daily basis.  Most of which are financial.  Some emotional.  But I hold on to the One who is the Author and Finisher of my faith and I know that I’ll face the day’s challenges with Him by my side.

I hope this encourages someone who felt like they couldn’t take another step, to pull back, take a breath and know they will make it to the other side.

Blessings!

Laura

 

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