Having the Courage/Opportunity to Forgive

I have been a journey of self discovery! I know, I know, if you’re anything like me you give people the side eye if you hear these words “I’m going to find myself”

Hmmm…come to think about it, I’ve never actually heard anyone say that other than the movies, but that is what I imagine I would look like if I heard someone say that LOL. But seriously when people are going through major transitions in life that is what I think of, because we constantly changing, we are not who we were at 16 or at 21 or at 25 or even at 30 and I am sure I will not be the same person that I am when I turn 35. Not only in the world, but your day to day, that is a huge part of human nature, and I truly believe (not only because I am a believer in Christ and it says it in HIS word, but I am a Human Development Major, and that is what I studied while I was in college), but we are naturally meant to want to have the desire to grow and change, and if you do not have that desire then something may be genetically off (don’t quote me on this, it’s just from my knowledge and experience and OPINION). Let me give you a few examples: When a baby is born they are totally dependent on the mother and father, but as they start to get older they are constantly being checked on how they are developing, they are expected to learn how to crawl, walk, say words, now sentences, learn to use the potty (they are going to the doctor every month to see how they are developing and growing); another example; when you start school you start with kindergarten (elementary) school, then middle school, then high school, then college, you are expected to learn certain material while you are in each level, and are tested on what you know so that you are able to move on to the next level; another example; when you start a job, you more than likely start in an entry level position, this is until you learn new aspects that go with the job, and are given responsibility in order to grow into your position or grow to be in a higher level position (if you are in the same place and you do not have the opportunity to grow, then that is probably not the job for you) just a piece of advise (that was free) LOL.  Anyway as you can see we are expected to grow in this life that we have been given, it is just natural. Why am I talking about this you ask?

Well as I have mentioned before I am going through a divorce. I was not sure if I wanted to share any of this information because I don’t want to be one of those women who are constantly talking about their exes or talking about the past. While that is not in my nature to act like that , I don’t want to get caught up in gossiping about the past. I would just like to be able to move on gracefully, but as we all know life is unpredictable. I feel like GOD is guiding me to share my story, and when I ask HIM “why”, I honestly believe that it will help someone, and if it helps ATLEAST ONE person to have the courage to stand up for what they believe in, and to take a cold hard look at themselves to realize that life is not supposed to be lived in mediocracy, then my purpose would have been served! If you are reading this and you know someone that may be going through a rough time, please share this post with them.

Ok, so I filed for divorce in May of this year (2015), and since I have filed it has been a rollercoaster of emotions (ranging from relief, to guilt, to fear, to confusion), it was not a decision that I made overnight, and it has been one of the toughest decision that I have had to make during my adult life.

First let me give you a little background of me and my ex-husband. I met him when I was 19 yrs old, and I remember how physically attracted I was to him, and when he asked me for my number I was so excited that obviously he was attracted to me also. I was going to college and he was a thug (don’t ask me why I was into a thug, but I just was ok, don’t judge me)LOL…no seriously, I was always attracted to the bad boy, and I think it was because I was such a goody goody, I was always the friend that didn’t want to do anything that would get us in too much trouble because I thought about the consequences of everything and would take the fun out of it (I am still kinda like that to this day) and I think about the worst possible scenario, and it would freak me out, so I was and is still not too much of a risk taker. Anyway so I think that is why I was attracted to bad boys aka thugs. I felt like they were brave, they were adventurous (it sounds really goofy now, but this is what I actually thought). So when I met my husband, he fell in that description, and at first I honestly was not looking for a long term relationship, (I was only 19 for goodness sake, and I don’t think he was looking for that either), but I got pregnant and that changed the course of life!

With the event of this news happening, it obviously changed to course of both of our lives. When you bring someone into this world it becomes all about that child. You start to view the world in a different way because you are going to be responsible for the well being of someone else, you start to think about all of the things that your parents have taught you, and try to either pass those things along or not pass it along. Your start to realize how tough the world is and want your little one to not have to go through the heartaches of what the world has to offer, in other words you grow up really quick (or supposed to anyway).

Ok, so now we went from having fun, to having RESPONSIBILITY! Of course my mom was not happy because I was too young, and was going to college, and his parents were not happy because he surely wasn’t ready, and his lifestyle did not call to take care of a child. So that is when I first shift in our lives happened. When I found out I was about to have a baby everything in my world changed, I wanted to work harder to make sure that my kid wanted for nothing, and to prove to my family that I could do it. So inevitably we split up, we had the on again off again relationship from the time my son was born until he was about 4 yrs old. That is when I felt like I seen a change in him, and I was ready to try to work it out. I’ve always been independent so I had my own place, my own car, I was working 2 jobs and going to school (really hustling for my goals for my son and myself),  had a couple of relationships that did not work out, so I thought that it was fate that brought us back together. We got back together and after 1 yr of  being together, we decided to get married, (the church was holding a commitment ceremony, to encourage couples that were staying together to get married, or if you were already married and wanted to renew your vows then they would pay for it all you had to do was sign up and show up) so I seen this as an opportunity for us to do things “the right way”. So we went for it!

My mother-in-law was Christian and I had a friend at work who had been inviting me to church during my whole pregnancy.  I believe this is the catalyst that planted the seed to me becoming a believer in Christ. So I had been exposed to the word, my mother-in-law would encourage me to read the bible, and ask any questions that I may have pertaining to the word. And a little after my son was born that is when I became knowledgeable in the surface understanding of the Lord. Meaning I read a few of the books (the popular ones (Genesis, Matthew), and understood what sinning was, and was convicted many times with things that I would do, or say, but I did not take the time to live out GOD’S plan for my life. So I knew of GOD and knew that HE loved me, and died on the cross for my sins, but I didn’t take it beyond that, I didn’t really take the time to get to KNOW HIS WORD and get to KNOW HIM and HIS EXPECTATIONS OF ME.  Ok so we got married and had 2 more kids (2 girls), and although our life was not ideal, I thought that we were doing our best, and we will be  blessed later with the life that we were working towards. When we first got married like I said I had my own apartment (on Sec 8 aka government assistance), I was working 2 jobs and trying to finish school to get my Bachelors Degree. While I was out there doing these things he turned into a stay at home dad (I honestly think this was a big part of the problem). But things were getting accomplished, I graduated, we got an opportunity to move out of an apartment into a house in another city, I added up the income I was making from both of my jobs and sought out a job that would pay the same amount of both of the jobs together, and I successfully found one! Life was looking good!

While these were great milestones in our lives, the day to day was EXTREMELY HARD. He was a stay at home dad, while I was the breadwinner, we were both on our own mission I believe. So the kids are growing up, and I am growing in my field, I decided to buy a house ( mind you we lived an hour away from where I work, but it was well worth it for me). So we were blessed with the opportunity to get out of Sec 8 and become homeowners. Our relationship was declining, and 1 year into moving into the house, I noticed that he was acting different. He was staying up all hours of the night, he was disappearing randomly, he was having questionable friends visit the house. (Now remember he was watching the kids while I was at work), so I got to the point that I could not trust him so I had to pay my sister to watch the kids while I was working, because I didn’t know what was going on. At first I thought that he was cheating, but one day while he was gone, I made it my business to look through his things, and I found paraphernalia. I was shocked and confused. But it all made sense!! I got in touch with his family and staged an intervention, we gave him the ultimatum of getting clean or he will lose his family (thankfully he decided to go and get clean). I thought that was the end of that, he would get clean and we would be able to restore our marriage. He did get clean, we decided to move to closer to where I was working, and to give him a fresh start after completing his program.

When we moved I had a friend who let us stay at her home that was being unoccupied for really low rent, I encouraged my mom to move into our house (that is the only person I trust with the house), not even a month of moving, he got a job! The kids were all settled and able to get into the school that we wanted and we were able to start saving up for a place of our own in the time span that we had set out for ourselves (we wanted to be out of the house in 6 months), and we actually did it in 3 months with both of us working! It was heaven!! We were finally BOTH working, kids were in school, had our own place that BOTH of us were contributing to, it was so smooth, I finally got to breath a little.

But after 1 year of him working I started to notice some of the tendencies that he was displaying before, (like he would get off at 2:30, and was usually home by 3:15 but he was starting to randomly come home at later times, it would start with 5:00 or even 8:00p.m, and when I would ask him, he would say he was hanging out with his friends). Like I said this was not happening all the time but it happened enough! The last and final straw was when he left for work on a Friday and did not come home until Monday morning!! Yes I said Monday morning, he came home took a shower got dressed and went to work). Crazy huh??

I remember thinking “I am not going through this again”. I called my sister-in-law and she told me to talk to him, and let him know my boundaries (and she is someone that has been through something like this so I value her opinion).  So I tried to talk to him, I actually pleaded with him to stop whatever he was doing and we would forget about this little phase he was going through. He didn’t want anything to do with it, he actually told me “ok”, while he was getting ready to go out). I was FED UP! But I still couldn’t “give up”. One day I finally decided to read my bible (now I have read stories from the bible before, and have been intrigued with some of the stories), but this time I was READING IT TO GET ANSWERS! I wanted to hear from GOD, I NEEDED TO HEAR FROM GOD. I had no one else to turn to, so I remember asking GOD to direct me, I wanted to open up the bible and have instant answers, but it didn’t work out that way. (Well I didn’t get answers instantly, but HE did show me some revelation through HIS word, and I did not understand it to it’s fullest extent then, but it changed my life (literally), GOD took me to Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus”, this verse stood out for me, and I remember reading it to his mom when I told her what was going on, and I remember reading it to him. And even then I didn’t know to the full extent of what GOD was revealing to me at the time, now I clearly see what HE was telling me in this scripture. GOD was letting me know that HE has so much in store for me and my life, and in order for me to life the prosperous life that HE has planned for me I need to get rid of what is hindering me or what may be causing me to not live up to my potential. You see I am a natural go-getter, a overachiever, I have a natural desire to work hard for what I want in life.

And I have come to realize that GOD has put desires into my heart and if I seek HIM and put HIM first, then I am allowing HIM to work in my life, and bless me in ways that I can only dream of, (but I have to PUT HIM FIRST, SO HE can guide me to what HE is calling me to do). GOD was reminding me that HE loves me, and HE wants me to continue to fight the good fight and to not give up on HIS promises HE has for me. But in order to do that I have to let go of people/relationships/things, that are not apart of that plan. (Yes I got all of that from that verse).

When I am looking back at everything it seems like a few days, but all of this happened in a matter of months. (Actually years if you really think about it), but I also had to ask myself “is this how I want to live for the rest of my life? Always worrying about what this person was up to? If he’s going to make the right decision to come home? Is he going to continue to pick this lifestyle over his family?” There was a million questions going through my head, and all I kept thinking was “this cannot be it! It has to be more to life (marriage) than this”. So when I told him what GOD had told me, he didn’t believe it, and thought that I was crazy. I was very calm (this was unusual because usually I would be yelling at him angrily and making threats of leaving), but I was totally calm, it was frightening. But I was at peace with my decision, and told him that I believe that our marriage has run it’s course. That I believe that we have accomplished some things in our marriage (our 3 beautiful kids), but we bring our the worst in each other, that I honestly believe that we were put in each others lives in order to prepare for what GOD has in store for us, and that our relationship maybe a preparation for our future relationships (not with each other). Sad to hear and speak to someone about, but I truly believe this.

So I officially filed in May (did the paperwork by myself), and was supposed to be officially divorced on November 24th I believe it was (I mentioned in a one of my very firsts posts), but the paperwork has been rejected 3 times (which every time I receive the paperwork in the mail I would get extremely upset)

But this last time that it came back it didn’t get the best of me, ( I was talking to a friend about this and how it made me feel when I get the paperwork back, and she had one question for me, “have you forgiven yourself?”) That question had me stop and think for a moment, and ponder on what GOD is trying to show me through this situation. Things are not always revealed to us instantly, but if we pay attention we can definitely be guided. So I got the paperwork back in the mail, and have to go take the class that will help me fill out the paperwork correctly so that my divorce can be finalized, but something happened today that have made me realize why it has not been finalized yet.

So I haven’t spoken to my ex in awhile and have not allowed him to talk to the kids because I am not going to have my kids exposed to that kind of lifestyle, so until he gets himself together, or atleast take the steps necessary to get help, then we can make some arrangements. Anyway so it has been a good month since I have heard anything from him, but we went to go visit family for the holidays, and just as we were getting ready to leave, guess who shows up?

My first reaction was anger (I was upset with the fact that he was just popping up, if you know me, you know that I hate surprises). But I had my son with me and he was excited to see his dad, and to see my son happy to see him, made me put my guard down a little, I let the girls come out the house and see their dad, and their excitement was priceless. It was really emotional actually! I honestly didn’t expect to feel emotional, but it was sad to see him looking the way he did. If you don’t know him, you wouldn’t see anything wrong with the way he looked, but to me I could totally tell he was not healthy. After they hung out for a few, I asked him if I could speak with him privately. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to say, but I did know that GOD was giving me this opportunity to release some emotional baggage, and even though I have forgiven my ex ( I will write about what that relationship taught me in a future post), I had not totally forgiven myself, and this was the day to do it! When we spoke, it was not me speaking, it was GOD speaking through me, and how I know is because it was all words of encouragement. I don’t hate my ex, I was extremely disappointed with his actions. I was disappointed with me also, being a woman that did not love herself enough to put up with the things that I was putting up with from him, to not value myself enough to have standards and settle for the first man that shows interest. I told him to have the strength and the COURAGE TO GIVE IT TO GOD! To make the first step needed so that he can be the man that GOD has called him to be, to STOP letting the demons win! That he is a conqueror (it says it in the bible that we are more than conquerors: Romans 8:31). That he has succeeded before, and maybe the purpose of that was for GOD to give him a glimpse of the greatness he has planned for him. I was able to pray with and for him (we had never done this in our marriage). After I was done speaking with him, it was then that I realized why the divorce had not went through yet, I still had work to do regarding this situation, and until I was TOTALLY FREE from the burdens that came along with it, the door could not be closed so that the new door HE has for me could be fully opened.

I pray for my ex everyday, I pray for my kids, I pray for my past, present, and my future, I pray that I am being an example to my family, and that I am being led BY GOD in my journey. He has put so much on my heart, and has been revealing to me little by little what HE has in store for me.

I LOVE to read and write it is my creative outlet. Although I have been able to share my story the best way  I know how, I  would not have had the courage to write about this a few months ago, (I would be lying if I said I still didn’t get a little emotional), but in Philippians 1:20 it says “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage, so that now as always Christ will be exhaulted in my body”. I believe that GOD is telling me not to be ashamed of my story that this is my testimony, and if it helps atleast ONE person then I have made progress.

As I expressed earlier in this post I hope and pray that someone (if it’s just one person) is blessed my story. I want you to know that GOD is with you, when you’re feeling confused, or alone HE IS THERE. Give yourself a chance at life, it says in his word “he have come to give us life and to give it more abundantly”, it is not of GOD if you are not living your life to the fullest.

I hope that you have been blessed by this post and always remember “Never get too comfortable always put GOD first”

 

Sincerely,

Keisha

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Keisha

One mom's journey on how to keep GOD first, be the best mom HE has called me to be, while juggling work, finances, and life!!

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