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I love finding little bits of wisdom like this and analyzing how it relates to my own life’s experiences. For me, there are a few incidents where I can see how this applies, and how healing from a situation helped me grow.

My mom’s death is probably the most uncontrollable event in my life that I had absolutely no hand in. I was upset with the man she was with for a long time because I felt he could have prevented the accident. But I realized that was something I didn’t need to carry the weight of, unfortunately, not for many years later. I felt robbed of my childhood and like I missed out on so much because I didn’t have a mom. I was always envious of other girls who had bonds with their moms and did fun things together. I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate typical things girls go through, like periods, boys, breakups, etc. I realized I was always drawn to older people, especially women, I think as a subconscious reaction to desiring that feminine leader in my life. But I didn’t fully realize that until about a year ago. I firmly believe God puts people in our path to help guide us and fill voids left by circumstances. I’m so thankful to have 2 women in my life who are strong, Godly women, who lead by example and push me to be a better person.

Another example of being grateful for a lesson learned, even though it was the really hard way, was a relationship. I fought wholeheartedly to hold onto something I thought was real. To someone I, at the time, considered my soul mate. It’s amazing how our feelings and emotions can convince us that what we want is the way it should be. Rationale, common sense, and logic get thrown out the window. I was so enthralled with what I wanted the situation to be that I didn’t realize the only person I was hurting was myself. I’ve been a people pleaser to a fault for as long as I can remember, and part of me felt I was doing the right thing and serving the other person. No matter how many times throughout the situation I found myself hurting, or hearing my best friend tell me I was only hurting myself, I couldn’t stop trying. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me, or the incessant need I have to learn things the hard way, but it wasn’t until my mind was clear that I began to see what I’d known all along. No matter how I felt, no matter how hard I held on, we didn’t belong together. That was such a hard reality to face because I’d convinced myself for so long what I was feeling was the truth. In all reality, God intervened on my behalf because He knew I didn’t have the strength on my own to remove myself from the toxic situation. And looking back, I am so grateful He did. I know I wouldn’t have become the strong person I am and realize when I’m suffering on someone else’s behalf if I hadn’t gone through that.

The last situation I’ve gone through where I can forgive, myself and the other person, was my first marriage. I truly wanted it to be my only marriage. But when you give a 17-year old the option to make a life-long decision, it likely won’t turn out the way it should. Expecting two immature and ignorant people to make a marriage work is about as successful as asking a small child what they want to name their firstborn baby. It can work, but the chances are slim for many reasons. I bear a lot of weight for the failing of that marriage, mostly because of my own unacknowledged fears and insecurities from not having my father around. I know it takes two to make it work, but neither of us really had much to work with. He wasn’t given many tools to work on a marriage with, and despite my best efforts, I had so much emotional baggage, I didn’t have much to offer either. To say it was doomed from the start is a bit sad to me, so I’ll just say circumstances didn’t really allow for a good marriage. However, I learned so much from those 11 years. I learned a lot about myself, what it takes to make a marriage work, compassion, agape love, and most importantly, what mistakes not to make in the future.

I am truly grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. It’s helped me to be a better mom, figure out what I want in life, be the kind of wife I want to be and model to my kids, and figure out my identity aside from those things. I’ve now been married for an accumulative of 16 years, which is half my life. Being a wife and mom is really all I know, but it’s not all I am. Had I not been through the tragedies in my life I wouldn’t be who I am today. Had I not made the poor choices I did, I wouldn’t have learned the invaluable lessons I learned. Enduring pain is something I’m used to, but causing it was something completely different, and not something I’m proud of. I believe we all go through things for one reason or another, and the fact that I have learned from every single thing tells me nothing was wasted.

Lastly, relationships, money, possessions and people should never control you or your decisions. Taking care of yourself first is the most important thing. It’s okay to say no when you need to, don’t ever feel guilted or pressured into anything, make the decision based on what’s best for you. Allowing something or someone to control you will never provide happiness, ever.

Realize that whatever you’re going through will produce great things if you discover the lesson in the circumstances. Learn to forgive and move on if necessary, don’t allow pain to keep you down. Recognize your worth even if no one else does! You were destined for great things!

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