This is the court appointed week of my kids’ vacation with my ex. And it is extremely hard for me to walk around with my heart ripped in half during this week. It always is. These times of visitation are never easy for me.
But while my heart has been ripped in two, I have been taking time to explore the hurt parts of me that are still broken, still needing attention. They don’t come around, but 2 times a year, and instead of falling into the hole of depression and brokenness like I usually do, I am determined to make this the week I choose to see things differently.
Because that’s what hurt is for. To help you grow PAST who you used to be. To learn why things still hurt, and figure out the best way to heal your heart.
It has been 8 years since I took myself and my 3 babies into the women’s shelter. Back then, I was so exhausted, wounded and defeated, the fabric of my life was like a war-torn flag flying at half mast. I had been in such a dark place all those years, and was scared of the light. I was scared to look at my life in full view. Because I knew if I saw the broken woman I was at that time, I would start to ask questions.
“Why didn’t you stop this before it got to this point?”
“You have an almost genius IQ, and yet you were stupid enough to let this happen to you?”
“What did you do to cause all of this, because he said it was your fault…”
“What is wrong with you that someone would want to hit you and threaten your life?”
Those are questions I couldn’t face at that moment, freshly tucked away in the shelter. My first order of business was nothing more than primal survival. Making sure the kids had clean diapers on and were fed. Making sure they didn’t get hurt climbing up and down chairs and steps and things. Making sure I didn’t have a nervous breakdown. MAKING SURE I KEPT BREATHING, even though I wasn’t sure I wanted too. Those were the only things that concerned me.
It wasn’t until I had mastered those skills, that I was able to face the first of those questions. I hadn’t stopped it until it got to the point of violence I had because I trusted someone more than they deserved. When you only hear comments about what a waste of space you are, day after day after year, you begin to believe it.
I then moved from Survival Mode into re-discovering what was really inside the spaces of me. What makes me the person I am? This journey has been happening for a long long time, and I hope that it never stops. When I see parts of me I never knew existed, hidden behind the nooks and crannies of my heart, it still delights me!
I had no idea how much I enjoy GIVING. Blessing others with the things I’ve got. Sharing the things that I have. There were many times others shared with me when I didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together, and I remember what a blessing it was. To have things like toilet paper. Shampoo. Diapers. Coupons and gift cards for pizza places.
(Now that I am mastering the art of couponing, my goal is to begin to donate needed items back to the women’s shelter that saved our lives. Things like shampoo. Diapers. Food. Clothing. Toys. I know not all of you readers are from the Danville area, but I highly encourage you to call your local shelter for a list of needed items and pass it around to your friends to see what you can supply. You have no idea how much this blesses others, and it will bless your heart too. I PROMISE!)
My point is this. I know lots of you out there are flying the war-torn flags of your life at half mast. There are parts of you that are tattered and torn. You can keep running that flag up the pole day after day, or you can bring it down for a week and really look at it. See where it needs repair.
This week, with the kids being gone, I have brought my flag down and am really exploring it. “This is the time in my life I felt (this) after (that) happened.” And my goal is to begin to sew up the loose ends. Patch the holes. Re-dye the fabrics that were faded by harsh conditions. And after it’s been mended, I’m gonna run that bad boy right up the flag pole again and let that sucker fly. Even though my flag will never be shiny and new again, it will be my own. No one will ever try to claim that flag for themselves again.
When was the last time you really looked at your flag? When people see the flag of your life, what do they see? Do they see a confident woman (or man) who has paid attention to the details of their life? Or are there still big gaping holes that need to be tended too?
I am reading the book “When Women Walk In Faith” by Lysa TerKeurst, and she makes a great point. “Experiencing life change is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of CHOICE…”
For me, this choice has been the one Lysa continues to describe. “…it’s a matter of CHOICE, choosing God’s ways instead of your own.” My faith has brought me through some of the darkest nights imaginable. While it is never my blog’s intent to be preachy, I encourage those of you who already have a relationship with God to really let that sit on your heart.
For those who perhaps don’t follow the same belief principles as I do, I highly encourage you to look deep inside your hearts. Begin to trust yourself. Become open to relationships with other like minded individuals that have been where you are. Look at their experiences, listen to their stories, look at the flags they fly over their lives.
Because no matter what has happened in your life- it is up to you to take care of your grand old flag.
Right now, my flag says “88 pounds down, and full of compassion.” (((GRIN)))
What about yours?