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   I  remember during one of the darkest times in my life when I was faced with disillusionment, hurt, fear and confusion in my second marriage, I found more strength in the end than I ever thought possible.  My world had come crashing down around me and the love and trust  that I had thought I had found had disappeared into the night as magically as if they were cards played in a magicians hand. The loving husband had turned out to be a big time drug dealer and had been arrested and sent to jail.   I felt lost and alone, afraid of my own shadow in that great big house with just me and my teenaged daughter to care for.  Yet because of her I had to show strength…’fake it till you make it’.  Rather than focus on what I had lost, I began to realize that the obstacles that lay before me were sent to make me stronger and I refused to allow myself to be defeated.  Although I felt as if I really wanted to just lay down and die from the pain in my heart, I had a bigger reason to keep on going…to keep on fighting my way back to myself…and that was my daughter.  I had to pick up the shattered pieces of my heart, my dreams of a happy family, and my life, and think about what to do next. I prayed.

The events that followed were as a game of dominoes as they fell into place for us so much better than I could ever have planned for myself. I remember telling myself, “I can’t wait until next year.”  I felt that if I could just see next year I knew I would have survived that dark time.  As Louisa May Alcott said, ” I am not afraid of the storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”  The situation that I found myself in could have left me as devastated as I was feeling a great part of the time that I muddled through that period.  However, deep in my heart I knew that in life if we become devastated by our circumstances, we become prisoners to those circumstances; but if we learn from them they would make us wiser in the end.  In that dark time of my life, yes, I was afraid, but I remembered the passage from my Bible that said, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil.”  I kept repeating that passage.  The other was, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all.”  Those passages, and the love and support of my family got me through those dark days and on to my new start. I eventually wrote a book, Broken Promises that actually was better than therapy.

Looking back on those dark, fearful days, let me share with you what I have learned:

1. I don’t allow my problems to lead me, I take lead of my problems.  I look at them as an opportunity to see what my capabilities are and I have found that I am a phenomenal woman!

2.  My attitude has a great deal to do with how I handle my problems.  I can handle them with fear because I think I have to handle them alone, or I can face them with boldness because I know I am not alone… God has my back.  There is a song by Jackie Velasquez that I love, When I’m on my Knees that says…

“There are days when I feel
The best of me is ready to begin.
Then there’re days when I feel
I’m letting go and soaring on the wind.
Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain
How to survive.

I get on my knees, I get on my knees;
There I am before the love that changes me.
See I don’t know how, but there’s power
When I’m on my knees.”

3.  I have learned to never say that ‘life is hard.’  When you think about  the alternative, I prefer to face life head on because I can never run fast enough or far enough to get away from the problems that may come.  I know that I am a champion. The breakfast of champions is strengthened by obstacles, not  a cereal. Champions are not afraid of the dark.