Almost 8 years ago, I walked out of a very bad marriage. I took my 3 babies and left for good. When I left, I had no self esteem. I was so beaten down, even breathing was a chore. I thought I was a no talent loser who would never be successful. My dreams and hopes were dashed. I had 3 little lives depending on me to be strong. But I had no strength on my own.
In fact, I had nothing. No car, no home, very little furniture, and beds for my babies in a storage shed.
All of a sudden, the outpouring of my community began. I was able to rent a tiny house, I got a job, my friends helped provide for me, friends of friends donated dishes and end tables. I lived for 3 months sleeping on a couch in my tiny house, until the principal at my mom’s school gave me a bed.
Everything that I needed was provided. EVERY SINGLE THING. I would even get anonymous gift cards in the mail for places like walmart and Papa Johns and the gas station. They seemed to come out of thin air, exactly when they were needed most.
I didn’t have extra, but I had enough.
3 years ago, I was in a bad place for my health. I was overweight, depressed, found it hard to get out of bed in the mornings and was STILL fighting those feelings of inadequacy. No matter what I did, I never felt good enough. I had managed to find the most extraordinary man out there, who happened loved me back, and together we had raised 3 well-balanced kids (I won’t use the word normal, but MAN! They are fantastic kids!) and created a life.
But even though I believed in everyone else around me, I never believed in myself. I lacked confidence and willpower. I shuddered away from controversy and conflict, even when it would have been in my best interest to fight back. It was obvious that I could love everyone else in my life but myself.
And one day, I decided I had rolled over long enough. I decided it was time to start fighting back. It went slow and was amazingly emotional, but somehow, I found the strength to fight, and lost 70 pounds of my former self. And I'm still going.
Today, I saw a victory in my life. For the first time, I saw a change that would benefit my family for years to come. It wasn’t a huge win, but it was enough to remind me of what I am fighting for. That I’M WORTH fighting for. I had forgotten that. The woman who had given up and rolled over is gone. She’s not there anymore.
There’s a new sheriff in town. She’s a fighter. And she’s not pulling any punches.
When was the last time you really thought you could do something about your situation? Maybe you aren’t in a bad marriage, but you are struggling with another type of relationship. Maybe you are abusing your body with food. Maybe you are dealing with depression. Or maybe you have just given up hope that things will ever work in your favor.
I have spent years feeling like a loser. Feeling like no matter what I did, the truth didn’t matter. The facts didn’t add up in my favor.
But today, this loser got to be a winner. I got to experience firsthand that truth DOES matter.
Surviving is about a whole lot more than getting through something tough. Surviving is about coming out on the other side to tell your story to others. Sharing what you have learned on your journey. Helping others.
Are you a loser wondering if you'll ever win? Have you given up on yourself? Is food your companion that you need to leave?
I can’t tell you how to live your life. I can’t make you change your habits and your ways. But I will tell you that YOU ARE WORTH THE FIGHT. I know you feel like a victim of your circumstances now, but you can get through the tough times. It is only when we are completely broken and burned out that we can rise up from the ashes as a new person. Reformed, restored, renewed. TRANSFORMED.
All of those moments when we feel like an empty shell- those are the times we can fill ourselves up with anything we choose. Anger, happiness, sadness, or joy- it’s our choice. I chose joy.
I never realized what choosing joy would mean. It would be viewing the bleakest situations with a positive outlook. Even if there wasn’t one. It would mean sucking it up. Sweating it out. Waiting when no change ever seemed to come. And laughing through it all. Even when things weren’t funny.
Chosing joy meant trusting God when I couldn’t see His hand, and THANKING Him for the hard times. The fat times. The scary times. The same-situation-as-yesterday times.
My joy is overflowing today. Not because I’ve lost a certain number of pounds. Not because I’m in a healthy loving relationship. Not because my kids are great. Sure, all of those things are wonderful!
But today I am joyful because my past no longer holds me captive. I have made peace with my past. There are no more chains to the person I was. I no longer think I am worthless.
I have value.
And I will no longer carry the nametag of VICTIM.
From this point on, I am officially a SURVIVOR.
And that, my friends, is how a loser becomes a winner.