“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” –Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden
I take a deep breath and sigh looking around my house that is packed full of boxes and the walls bare. I don’t even recognize my own life. It’s so unfamiliar. My husband isn’t around anymore…gone. I mean I know where he is, but it’s not with the kids and me. Around this time last year, just 12 months ago, we had just moved into this beautiful house. So much promise, so much to look forward to. Barely a year later, it’s all packed up again and ready to go. Life changes in mere seconds, doesn’t it. Just to add an extra layer on the crap cake that’s been made for me, it’s Thanksgiving time. There is never a good time to go through a divorce, but to actually do it during the holiday season is almost sadistic. Honestly, I hadn’t really had the time to think about it with life being a hurricane of emotions until I noticed everyone walking around with these cheesy grins on their faces. Laughing in expectation of the memories going to be made this season. Then I remembered, they were going on with their lives when it seems mine has come to a screeching halt.
Thanksgiving Day I take the kids over to my parent’s house. Everyone walks on eggshells because I seem so fragile. It’s weird going over there without my husband. I feel incomplete without him. It seems like every breath I take physically hurts. Almost like I truly have a broken heart and it’s painful to keep beating. The kids are running around. They are little thank goodness. My mom comes over, runs her hand down my back and tells me it’s going to be okay. I know she has to say that. But is it, mom? Is it really going to be okay?
As it is time to sit down and begin the Thanksgiving feast (which I really don’t even have the appetite to eat), my dad has us go around the table and say things that we are thankful for. I mentally roll my eyes. Really? You are going to make me think of something to be thankful for? Let’s see here, there seems to be so much to choose from. My husband (about to be ex-husband) totally submarined me, is now supposedly living the life that he wants free from his family. He left me and the children to fend for ourselves. I can’t afford to stay in my house and have to move out. I don’t have a job and I can’t support my kids. Wow! The gratitude is just pouring out of me(dripping with sarcasm)! I feel like saying, “Thanks for nothing!”
Eddie, my 2 year old, doesn’t talk much after his dad left; just another thing to have to deal with. But, when it was Paisley’s turn, she looked right at me, and said, “I’m so thankful for mom. She loves us. She plays and tucks us in at night.” A wave of shame swept over me. I almost couldn’t look at her. She was in the exact same spot as me, but it was her dad. Her father had left her, but she found something to be thankful for, and it was me. I was broken and messed up in all kinds of ways, but she saw something else. She saw love. This 4 year-old little girl got what it was all about. How dare I not see through her eyes; the eyes of thankfulness. How did I miss the most beautiful gifts sitting at that table? How can I be so selfish?
When it came my turn to speak, I could barely talk I was so touched with gratitude. Yes, my husband had left us, but my Jesus had not. Yes, I had to move from my home, but so thankful I had a place to go. And, yes, I didn’t have a job, but I had the opportunity to go back to school and earn a degree to get one. And, most importantly, I had the best part…the crème de la crème. I got to be momma to Paisley and Eddie. I got the honor of raising them. God saw me fit to be able to do it as a single mom. What an amazing thought. True, I had lost a lot. But, I had gained so much. Perspective is a powerful thing.
It’s so easy to let our circumstances get us down. Especially during the holidays when life may have turned out differently than we thought is should. It takes us down paths that we didn’t see coming, or paths that we wouldn’t ever choose for ourselves. When we walk new roads, we have a tendency to watch our feet to carefully judge where each step is going to be placed. Being cautious of things to trip us, or make us fall. But, when we walk with our heads down, we miss the view. We miss the beauty that is all around us. We have more than we could ever imagine, we just have to have the right eyes to see.
My mom was right. It did turn out okay. In fact, it turned out better than ok. Not overnight, but over time. It always takes time for the Lord to do His work. Often, it’s in the waiting where He meets us. He guides our steps so we can look forward and not fall. I pray this season, no matter what you may be going through, you lift your head and take notice of your personalized view. It’s amazing and it’s yours.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24