The emotions that are evoked as I look at this picture are a plethora of feelings from anger, sadness, disappointment, but most of all hope.
I know....how can I see hope in something that once was and no longer is? Because the hand that's holding the picture screams hope and love and belief that marriage and love still exists. In spite of knowing that unbelievable relationships end in divorce, my daughters still have faith in commitment and marriage. I still do too.
I carry the pain and scars of knowing that their lives were changed as a result of my life being changed. I still bear the anger (and I always will) of knowing that his cheating was the greatest blow to what once was a happy family.
I have to admit that in my pain, I questioned God. I asked, "Why????" I waited and waited for the answer to come and one day, it did in a simple, yet tangible way.
As I sat down with my daughters and a pastor who counseled us, he explained to them, "God gives each of us grace to handle things in our lives. Some people, God gives an extra measure. Your mom is one of them that God has given an extra measure of grace."
At first, my reaction was to tell God, "Can you please take back that extra measure because, personally, I'm angry and hurting and I don't want to feel any kind of grace." Yet, as time went on, I embraced the ease that it took to walk away from the house that I watched our kids grow up in. I embraced the strength it took to hear his voice and not crumble at the sound. I embraced the courage I had in confronting him and his mistress now wife. I embraced the freedom of being my own person and exploring who I am and who I want to be. I captured the memories that mattered the most to me and stored them away, only to be grasped whenever I need them. I no longer wonder about the what ifs but anticipate the present and where my life is now.
The nights that I cried in my pillow are now a distant, way distant memory. I'm thankful that I never acted out of the anger I felt. I probably would be sitting in a prison cell. I'm thankful that my daughters and I have the kind of relationship that transcends the hurt of the divorce and brings healing and laughter to our lives instead.
I am a survivor and hope that in many ways, I can help others who have gone through or going through difficult moments in their relationships. Hold those memories close to your heart and in return, they will be just as precious to you as gold.