It’s funny how sometimes it takes something quite ordinary to make you stop and contemplate the things around you. Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks ago for my American friends and I have to say, reading all their posts on both Twitter and Facebook about what they were Thankful for got me thinking….
I haven’t posted for quite a while as there has been so much going on for not only me but the people around me too. Having a child free weekend this weekend I was determined to put my thoughts down but as I sat last night to write, nothing came. There were so many things and so much emotion surrounding the last month, both good and bad I actually had no idea what I wanted to say. So instead I give myself the space and just relaxed. I know many of you reading won’t really get the sense of peace I felt when in that moment I just kinda figure God would point me in the right direction, that actually I didn’t need to worry about what I was gonna write because in the end if this blog is what I am meant to be writing I knew He would provide me with the words to say (or at least the confidence in the topic).
This is exactly what happened as I stood in church this morning.
I ALWAYS find the weekends hard when I haven’t got the children. The house is too quiet, the floor stays tidy (because if I pick things up they stay picked up) and I find it’s time for me and my thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I have learnt to really value the time without the children and if I’m honest the time away from them makes me a better mother. The temptation though is to fill the time. To see loads of people and rush about doing all the jobs that are easier when I’m on my own but I have learnt I need time to stop and just be me. To discover what being ‘me’ looks like now after so long of being a wife and a mother and feeling like ‘me’ doesn’t matter. But there is always a children shaped hole in the house….
As I sat in church this morning I was reminded of the quote I read on Facebook this morning. Anyone who knows me well will know I love social media and the way in which it allows me to connect with my friends throughout the world. Although I know over Christmas it will drive my mother mad, I wouldn’t be without it. Anyway, the quote Mercy Ministries put on their Facebook page this morning got me thinking. It said “A negative mind will NEVER give you a positive life”. It really made me think about how I view my life and what a challenge it is to try and see the good in situations even when it feels like there can’t possibly be anything positive. If you had asked me 18 months ago, even a year ago if there was anything positive about my marriage ending I would have probably burst into tears and told you how nothing positive could ever come out of such a horrible experience, but now, I have to say with complete honesty, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. In a perfect world every marriage would work out and all problems would get talked about and people would be honest with each other but in my case I’m not sure R really knows how to be honest and open and even how to put other people before himself and his job. Looking back I can see that the children and I were never high on his list of priorities and as sad as it is, our house is happier, more relaxed and a nicer place to be because he is no longer part of it.
There are times, obviously, when I feel really down and honestly being a single parent is one of the loneliest things in the world but Gods challenge to me this morning was to look at the positives, even in the dark moments and with a thankful heart embrace the changes to my life. Once I started thinking about it I found the main difference to be that my house has become one with an open door. R didn’t really like people as he finds friendships very hard and because of the postnatal depression I had become quite closed off. Our house wasn’t welcoming. It was somewhere we lived and spent time but as much as I wanted an open door policy it just wasn’t the case. As I get stronger and happier in my own skin and really begin to love the life I’m creating, so I have found that my door has become more open. I read somewhere that an open heart and an open door brings people to share joy and that is exactly what I find happening. Friends are knocking on the door and just popping in for a cuppa, my Skype rings with friends from all over the world who just fancy a natter (usually while I’m cleaning the kitchen), Facebook sends a message alert, my email chimes and my twitter pings with messages from people I care about, even though we may not know each other very well (yet).
For a long time after R left, all I wanted to do was run away. To leave the city where we lived as a family and run back to the town where I grew up and the town in which my family still live. I needed that love and that support. I did run…. Most weekends for a long time, but I am so unbelievably thankful that I didn’t make the running a permanent thing. I’m thankful for the people who challenged my thoughts and asked if I was moving for the right reasons and for God and His strength in which I have grown into the person I am today. My journey through the last few years has felt much like the Footprints poem (if you don’t know it, it’s worth reading) and there have been times where I have felt, and still do feel, completely alone and completely isolated but there have been other times when I have known without a shadow of a doubt that God was walking beside me and beside my children.
Through the last few years I have begun to find the person who was trapped inside. I am so unbelievably thankful to all the people who have aided me on my journey and continue to do so on a daily basis. Some who have been there from the beginning and some who have crossed my path during the walk. My family (who are my constants and something I am thankful for daily, even if I forget to tell them) and my friends. Old and new friends and those near and far, God has bought us together for a reason and I am thankful for you all.