Monday, December 21, 2015

Looking Back.......

Christmas is in a few day, and the new year is upon us.  And I am looking back over my year, my life. 

I can honestly say I think this is the best year I have had in ... 15, 20, ? years.  I really don't know how long it's been.  But I feel very safe in saying it's been decades.  That's not to say I haven't had good years, or bad years.  I have my fair share of both.  We all have.  But I can't remember having one this good in that long.  That's saying something.

One of my girls had it rough the past few years.  And she is finally coming into her own.  She knows who she is (more than most girls her age do), knows where she has made mistakes and has learned from them.  She has turned a corner.  She smiles, she laughs.  She is the happiest I have seen her in 2 or so years.  And when your kids are happy, you are happy.  She lights up life.  All my girls do.  I am one proud momma.

And then there is my marriage.  I have made it no secret in the past that we had our issues.  I am convinced several years ago I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis.  We lost our home, we rented a place and met some great people, and some crazy people.  I had just had my third child.  I felt lost.  My marriage was struggling.  And all I knew was I was mom.  I struggled with who was outside that title of "mom".  It's not that I wasn't happy being a mom.  I was.  But I felt a sort of loss too at the same time.  As if somewhere along the road of marriage and kids, I lost who I was.  And I didn't know who that was anymore. 

My husband understood to a point.  He allowed me to go out with some single friends of mine once every few weeks.  And I also went out with a group of moms a time or two.  It was nice to go out, and pretend to be young again. To know my kids were safe with my husband, and just .... live.  I know that sounds lame.  But that's how it felt at the time.  Like in getting married and starting our family early, I some how missed out on experiences in my younger years.  Looking back, I think I tried to make up for "lost time". 

Looking back on it, I see what a waste of time it was.  Because the truth of the matter was, all I was looking for and needed was at home.  We had our issues, but it was there if I could just look past my hurt long enough to see it.

I made some choices during that time I deeply regret.  However, I also learned a lot during that time.  My husband fought for us, during that time.  We weren't a good place, and he was giving me space.  But he also fought like hell for me.  He told me he wasn't letting me go.  He made a vow and he was going to keep it.  And that we could work through anything.  And he started trying, even though I know put off mixed signals.  One minute I loved him for loving me and fighting for us.  The next all I could focus on was our issues and my hurt.  It was a rocky time for several years for us.

But you know what?  We did it.  First he fought us.  And about the time he got fed up, I started fighting for us.  We never both fought for us at the same time.  How sad is that?  I mean we had talks through the years, tried to work things out, and always ended up back on the same merry-go-round.  It was exhausting. 

So what changed?  Why was this year so different?  Where did the merry-go-round go?  The truth is, I don't know.  I can tell you this, I was done.  I was finally done trying to fix it.  I was done with all the talks.  I was done praying for him to come around, change, see things a certain way... or however you choose to fill in that rather long blank space. I had fought for us for years.  I had prayed for years.  And I was just done.  I truly wanted change no matter what.  I wanted us to be happy again.

So I changed my prayers one night.  I started praying for God to forgive me all the hurt I caused, and for Him for me forgive myself.  I prayed that he would help my husband forgive me.  And most of all, the prayer I still say to this very day....  I prayed that He would help me be the spouse he created me to be for my husband.  There were no more prayers about changing him.  This was about me.  No matter if I thought he was to blame or not (needless to say, he most likely thought I was to blame as well.  In truth, we were both responsible for the break down in our marriage to some degree).  But it wasn't about who was to blame or who needed to change the most.  It was about our marriage and the future of our marriage.  All that mattered to me in the moment of that prayer, was that we make it.  And I would be willing to do whatever to make it happen.

I still pray that prayer.  I never told him I prayed it.  Not for months.  It wasn't until one day he told me he noticed a change in me and thanked me for all my support and understanding over the last few months I told him.  It wasn't me, it was God.  I just simply prayed that God help me be the spouse my husband needed to be and that I was created to be for him.  He was very surprised by that I admitted that.

I do believe that is what changed my marriage around and gave us such a good year.  I started listening to that still small voice when it told me to let something go, or to forgive, or to give it to Him.  I listened when it said send a encouraging email or text.  And slowly as my wonderful, patient, loving husband saw the changes in me (before I confessed my secret), he started to respond with his own changes.  Things just started clicking.

We have both grown over this last year.  We have many blessings, and we have faced quite a few obstacles.  But we did it smoother than ever.  We still have our issues from time to time.  Who doesn't?  But we work through them better.  We communicate better.

So tonight, as I look back over the years, I hate to see the pain we both felt and caused.  I hate to remember some of the choices we made.  But I am so very thankful for where we are now.  It made it all worth it.

For anyone out there going through a rough a time, don't give up.   If you are a person of faith, pray for guidance.  Believe me when I say we (hubby and I) have been through hell and back.  It is possible to come out on the other side all the better.  And believe me when I say if you feel lost in life, you aren't gonna find yourself out drinking and partying.  That is not you.  You aren't missing a thing!!  That is NOT what life is about.  When you are on your deathbed, you aren't gonna give two shits about how much you went you out, how much you partied, how much "fun" you had.  What is going to matter is the love you had and shared.  Your family.  And the memories with those who truly know you and care about you.  You will regret the hurt you caused those you love.  You will regret not forgiving more.  At least, that is the conclusion I came too.  Life is about love.  About sharing it with others, and learning to receive it.  It is in that love that you make your memories.

I thank God for my really good year.  And I pray for more ahead.