On the way to school this morning the kids and I were jamming out to our local Christian radio station. The song Dear Younger Me came on and it got me to thinking about what I would say to my past self if there was a way. Would I tell myself to do things different? Would I tell myself to stay away from certain people? What would I say if given the chance? My answer surprised me.
Earlier this month my ex husband turned 40. I remember back when I was in high school and thinking 40 was sooooo old. (I turned 41 this year) Man time flies. Anyways, on that day I was standing in my kitchen making some lunch for my little ones and for some reason I walked by the calendar and it hit me. He turns 40 today. I don’t think of him often but there are a few things that always remind me of him. And if you have read my post Domestic Violence a Survivors story, My Story, you know we did not separate on good terms, but for a split second my old teenage heart sighed.
When I was thinking about what I would say to my younger self, my first thoughts were Don’t fall for him. Don’t let him hurt you. Don’t believe him when he says it will never happen again. Don’t stay it will only get worse….get out now!! Our marriage was nowhere near perfect. But if I had not fallen for him I would not have my oldest two children, my beautiful daughter or my amazing son. If I were somehow able to change the past they would not be here. And they are my world. The pain and hurt I went through was numbing and I pray nobody ever has to go through it, however because of that hurt I now know what it truly means to be loved by someone not just used by someone. God has a plan for everything and His timing is always on time. If I would have left my marriage earlier, weeks, or months, or even years earlier I would not be where I am today. Todd teases me all the time if we would have met a few years earlier I would not have liked him much and likewise I am sure he would not have given me a second mind. I am not saying God planned on me being in an abuse relationship for any amount of time, that’s not how He works. He does however take our darkest points in our lives and finds ways for His love and light to shine through. When He saw I needed someone He sent me my hero, my soulmate, my wonderful husband Todd (nine years and counting, love you sweetie)
The truth is I am who I am because of my past. My love for family comes from countless nights and weekends spent at both of my grandparents homes as a child. My joy of helping others comes from watching my mom make a difference daily as she worked in the medical field for years. My love for the Green Bay Packers comes from watching games (both the good and the bad) over the years with my dad and cheering them on regardless of the outcome. My love of food, even though I am not a good cook, comes from the many family reunions and family get togethers where love was spread one buttered roll at a time.
We all have moments were we wish we could change something we did or something we said. And even though it would be nice to erase the bad we become stronger with each storm we face and with each valley we walk through.
If I could change anything I would tell my younger self, life turns out alright. I would say spend more time listening to Papaw W. tell his fishing and hunting stories, and watch one more scary movie with Mamaw S. even though you won’t sleep for a week. I would tell me to let my brother and mamaw win one more game of Canasta against me and Papaw L because you will treasure those game stories forever. I would tell me to fall in love with my ex even though there will be hurt because two of your greatest blessings come from that love. I would tell me to follow closer to God because you can’t even imagine how He blesses and grows your family later in life. I would say you will make some amazing friendships. Embrace them while they are in their season and make memories to carry you through long after they are gone. Life happens and people drift apart. I would tell me there is so much more to you than you realize, believe in yourself, always have hope and never lose faith. Gods got this.
I doubt my ex thinks of me much this days. And I am perfectly okay with that. But I am sure I’m not the only person who hears a song or smells a certain food or even looks at what day it is and stops and reminisces of a time long ago, before life took a different direction. I have moved on and so has he. We are both remarried and as far as I know we are both happy now. In order for me to heal from the past I forgave him I long time ago. Not for him but for me. Fear and hate will consume you if you allow it. I will not live in fear and my heart has no room for hate. I love life now. I love my kids, my husband, my family and myself.
Dear younger me, you turn out pretty alright. Enjoy your life it’s an amazing ride.