Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Story Does Not Define Me

At some point, you get tired.  Fed up.  Weary. Just over it.  Ok, well, maybe it is just me. But, honestly?  That is where I am.  In the last several weeks, I have found myself so incredibly sentimental.  Looking back, wondering what I could do differently.  Several relationships I could've held onto for just a little while longer.  For some reason, I keep thinking back to where I was four and five years ago.  Comparing years four and five to two and three.  And then looking at last year and then, today.  Who I was then, who I am now.  And it truly amazes me.  God is just good, guys.  Seriously good. 

And yet, some days, I sit back and feel so incredibly defeated.  Here I am, so incredibly close to 30 it makes me wanna throw up.  Not exactly what I expected 30 to look like.  Makes me want to cry, honestly.  Divorced.  Mom of three.  Barely a college graduate, still not able to own my own house.  Not married.  Not even dating.  Part of me knows that is all okay, part of the plan.  I sit back and remind myself again and again, none of those things really tells you who I am.  All it does is tell you what I have done and accomplished, or what I've not accomplished.   Maybe it is the emotional mood I am in, but days like today, I feel like what defines me is my single status.  Not that I withstood pure hell for almost a decade.  Praying for God to fix my incredibly difficult marriage, only then praying for him to fix it in a way that didn't break up a family.  I can tell you God gave me a way out, but that he didn't give me a map, an estimated time of arrival, or even an itinerary.  He also didn't do it the way I thought he would.  His ways aren't always like our ways. 

As I was recounting highlight moments tonight, I am in complete awe.  I lived in terror for an incredibly long time.  Never knowing what I would go home to, or even if I would wake up the next morning.  But you know, something that none of that can express is how deeply my hope is for my future.  That the hope that lies within is far greater than my fear of history repeating itself.  That I am willing to overlook the wrongs done so that I can see a story that redeems marriage in my heart and mind.  I can also tell you that my room is a mess.  Like, I have had three loads of laundry waiting to be folded for what may or may not be the third week in a row.  While that makes me feel pretty crappy and not very good at the whole mom job, I will still tell you I am a (pretty stinking kick-butt awesome) single mom to three little girls, who all belly laughed today, ate three full meals each, and had clean, unwrinkled clothes to wear to school today.  That laughter keeps me going when I just want to run away.  What that doesn't tell you is that I am a multi-tasking, money managing, overwhelmed, praying for strength 99% of the time, mom who is almost at the end of her rope.  I can tell you I am a college graduate.  What that doesn't tell you is the times I wanted to quit outnumbered the steps I took across that stage as I accepted my diploma by at least 5 times.  I can tell you I am a Christian who believes God's promises to her remain true.  What that doesn't tell you is that every morning I pray to God that he gives me the hope I need to keep believing, because this might be the last morning I can keep believing in something I can't see.  That there are so many millions of times I screw this walk with him up and question the promises and peace he gives me daily.  You know, those moments something tells you to make an extra sandwich and then see that poor guy standing in his spot on the corner of the intersection literally begging for food.  I miss His voice completely.  Those moments I gain strength from an incredible portion of scripture, only to turn around and not believe when He says good is coming from this.  I will rise from these ashes into beauty.  That every single day I have to pray that this incredible word He has given us isn't lying when it says His grace is sufficient and made perfect in my weaknesses.  Because looking at the chaos that I feel my life is, I need some serious grace.  Wonder if I am putting all of my trust into something that will never happen.  The laughs, the crazy looks, the mumbles.  Those that you just know think you will die alone, an old maid.  Surrounded my fourteen cats.  You know, that horrid voice that says "You sure that was God?  Not just you wanting it to be God?" 

So, why is it that we allow a chapter or two in our story to get the better of us?  I just don't get it.  I allow who I was, the decisions I made, that one (ok, well, who is keeping count?) time I lost it at Target and snapped at my child, or the fact that I ate altogether too much today to determine how I feel about who I am tomorrow.  The number on the scale.  The pants that don't zip.  That lady who can't stand me at work.  The child angry that I didn't wash the right pair of pants.  The parent who is disgruntled because their child didn't get the helper job he wanted.  It doesn't matter how many times I read Lamentations 3:22-23, " The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."  I go to bed thinking God is going to be angry or disappointed in me because of the way I acted at Wal-Mart, or at the ball park, or on the way to school, or because I got tired and frustrated, or because I didn't meet my expectations of what I was supposed to do.  I forget about the glorious beauty in the sunrise.  The unending mercy and grace He longs to pour over us.  I forget He doesn't want my perfect house.  He doesn't want my perfect kids.  He doesn't want my perfect run.  Or those perfect pants to zip.  This is the thing.  We can have the perfect marriage, 2 children, a perfectly behaved dog, and two goldfish and still not realize who you are. 

Do we not think that the God who created us doesn't know what our story is, how it will end?  A few years back, I will never forget the gentle words He spoke to me, reminding me He created me the way I am because He had already written the ending.  As I sit here completely wide awake at well past when I want to be asleep, I try and figure out all of the answers to the things bringing chaos to my world, forgetting all that stuff raging around my head will not determine who I am, how my heavenly Father views me, or even what my tomorrow will hold. 

We forget He created our whole lives before a single day had passed.  These days we are walking out may not seem like the happily ever after we imagined, but they are the story He created us to walk through.  Something that gives me great hope is the fact that He created me knowing the things I would need to make it through His plans for me.  He didn't create me to long for a Godly, secure marriage to be left alone and divorced my whole life.  He created my desires to line up with the plans He already has worked for me.  Not really sure that any of this is making sense.  Guess that's what I get for being up when I should be trying to sleep.  I might be a single parent today.  But that doesn't get to be who I am forever.

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