The past five years have been a whirlwind of disappointment, sadness, and hurt with bits of joy sprinkled in. Enduring rounds of infertility that left me broken, adoptions that didn’t go through, my husband and I were blessed with spontaneous conception of our insanely beautiful twin girls. When you fast-forward a year and a half, 2015 ends with the two of us splitting and finalizing our divorce soon after.

Brokenness. Devastation. Hurt. Humiliation. Sadness. Disappointment. Defeat.

I spent most of 2015 alone with my girls and working as if everything was fine. Dealing with a lot that few outside of our families knew about. It was a very difficult and hard; I was emotionally worn down but working hard to try to keep things together and create a space where my marriage could work. There were many days and nights filled with angry texts, hurtful words spoken, yelling, deafening silence, quiet tears, and hopelessness.

Life as single mother is hard and I was honestly ashamed to go in public without my wedding bands. I was ashamed to be by myself at church and to need and want my mate there but always being alone. The shame of the stereotypes and statistics made it difficult for me to walk with my head high.

first things first

But, you’d never know that. My social media pages are filled with beautiful pictures of a smiling mama with her girls, inspiration, and strength.  So many times I’m asked how I was able to be so strong and how I mommy twins on my own, how I didn’t lose my mind. And, all I can say is that it was all Jesus and that those girls truly kept a genuine smile on my face when there were tears in my eyes. They kept me going.

Over the past two years, God has been preparing me for this valley experience. He has strengthened me, given me hope, a perspective, peace, joy. I am resilient (to the Lord’s credit, not mine) and I have an insane ability to get past things rather quickly, so I didn’t make time to truly process what I was experiencing – especially because I had two babies to take care of. I lived on autopilot for a while and did what needed to be done. Thankfully with counseling, time, and grace my heart is healing and I’m rooting my self worth and value in the Lord. The work required to train my mind to see that the Lord is good to me in spite of how hard the past years have been and my heart to trust the Lord’s love for me is taking time. But, y’all, it’s so good.  My perfectionist, structured, and high standard (read limited) mindset is being torn a part by the truth of the Lord. The truth is I don’t have to work, to meet some standard, to check boxes on a list in order for the Lord to love or bless me. The freedom that is found in the Lord’s grace, the rest found under his wings, the acceptance at the foot of the cross, the unending and all enduring love I don’t deserve draw me close and cause of my heart to overflow. Underserving of his favor, forgiveness, and redemption completely wipe me out.

What I wanted from my ex-husband was the same thing the Lord wants from me… daily commitment, to be chosen before all others, time, and my heart. In that way, I am no better than my ex-husband and he isn’t worse than me. By the grace of God, bitterness and anger don’t dwell in my heart. I sometimes still hurt by his choices, that he didn’t chose his family, but I am thankful that I no longer tie my worth to his choices. I am thankful that the Lord is teaching me how valuable I am to him and how deeply he cares for me.

Being a single parent and co-parenting isn’t always easy. I don’t always let the past stay in the past. and I can still allow disappointment to creep into my heart and drudge up old desires and hurt. I still have to apologize for how uncontrolled hurt spills out of me or when a response is reminiscent of the past and triggers a negative reaction. However, I’m thankful that the majority of our interactions are pleasant.

Despite the past, there are so many more things to be thankful for than to be angry about. So much to look forward to with joy than back on with contempt. Forgiveness has truly allowed my heart to heal which allows me to fully embrace a brighter, healthier future. The Lord’s grace has carried  me through and has redeemed our relationship in a beautiful way.

lola

Alaina is the mama to 18 month old twin girls who shares on her blog UnashamedGrowth, writes for ThriveMoms blog, and is an elementary school teacher! I am loving mothering my babes with my whole heart, reading, sharing health and wellness with Plexus, and connecting in community!

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