New Year, New Direction

My last blog (http://survivingdivorceafter40.blogspot.com/) was, in equal parts, about sharing things I felt were worth sharing with people and entertaining my readers. This one is going to be different. I’m not going to worry about entertaining anyone – I’m just going to write. I’m going to write about God, things He’s teaching me, family, friends (don’t worry, I’ll change names as necessary to protect folks’ privacy), stuff I’m thinking about, things I’m proud of, things I’m not so proud of, victories, failures… in other words, I’m just going to write about life.

To explain a little about why I chose the title I did for this blog, I should start by telling you that, taking a page out of a friend’s book, I started asking God a couple of years ago for a word for the year. The word is the particular theme my life will center around in the course of that year as I focus on growing spiritually. My word for 2011 was “grace,” 2012 was “hope,” and a couple of weeks ago the word God gave me for 2013 was “love.”

So my prayer for myself has become asking God to teach me, in greater depth than ever before, how to love people His way – selflessly and completely, without reservation. Jesus is my role model. Jesus loved selflessly and completely – without reservation. He held nothing back. He loved outrageously. I want to follow in His footsteps.

God has already started teaching me that one of the many ways I can love people the way Jesus did when He was here is to live a genuine, authentic life. I’m a Christian, but I don’t always have it all together; I sin and make mistakes, get sick and need surgery, struggle with negative feelings and temptations, sometimes say the wrong thing, go through trials, experience loss and grieve, use poor judgment, etc. And although Jesus didn’t sin while He was here, He was real, and he experienced the roller coaster of life with the people He loved – just like we do.

(My faith, hope, trust in, dependence on, and love for Jesus is what gives me the strength to push through to the other side of negative situations that come up in my life. He loves me (Oh how He loves me!), walks through these things right alongside me, challenges me, chastises and/or disciplines me as necessary, then He changes me. Seriously – I just keep changing – I’m not at all the same person I was two years ago. Heck, I’m not the same person I was a month ago!)

But I digress. For so long I was afraid to show the not-so-wonderful side of myself to too many people. I thought it would reflect poorly on God or something. But that’s not true. I’m human for pete’s sake – it just made me look like some kind of weirdo to try to hide my humanity – imperfections and all. In the interest of being real, when my husband of almost 18 years (whom I loved deeply) told me he wanted a divorce I wasn’t exactly Miss-Mary-Sunshine. I turned to alcohol (only a handful of times, but still…), I even contemplated suicide (although I dismissed that idea pretty quickly because I could never do that to my son). But I did spend months begging God to PLEASE give me a heart attack or something and take me Home. I actually had some pretty sharp chest pains a couple of times when I was home alone, and deliberately pushed the phone out of reach. Seriously.

I was shattered. I may be a Christian, but that has no bearing on the fact that I was truly devastated by my divorce. I didn’t just plaster a smile on my face and say, “praise the Lord and pass the potatoes!” It took me a little more than a year before I was able to see my future through hopeful eyes. God really blessed me with an abundance of grace that first year. And in the second, He filled me with hope. I’m always happy to talk more specifically about how He did these things in my life if anyone wants me to go into more detail, but the important thing to know right now is that God put me back together. I didn’t do it myself, nor did I look to another person/relationship to do it for me. GOD did it – and He can do the same for you if you’ll let Him. How He does it for you will probably be different than they way He did it for me, but that’s ok. If He wanted to work in everyone’s lives the exact same way, He wouldn’t have made us all so different.

So this new leg of my journey has me looking forward to learning more about how to live authentically and love outrageously. (Because come on, this is ME we’re talking about – I’m nothing if not outrageous!)

This should be an interesting year.