And by she, I don’t just mean me… Of course, that’s me in the picture. But I’m asking who are you?
I guess it was somewhere around 2009, I looked up and didn’t even recognize myself. And I don’t mean physically – I was actually in the best shape I had probably ever been in and my inner thighs weren’t touching for the first time in my life! But I truly stared myself down in the mirror in my bathroom one day. I just kept thinking – Who am I? I’m not who I always thought I would grow up and become and I’m not who I used to be. I couldn’t tell you my favorite restaurant, the last book I had read, my favorite store, the last time I had worked on my hobbies or the last time I had stepped in a salon. I hadn’t really found my niche – I had been divorced for several years, lost touch with most of my married friends but I had a six-year-old so I didn’t exactly fit in with the single and mingle crowd either. I was literally floating through life. Part of that, I believe, was God calling me to Him- I always considered myself a christian but had never really come into relationship with Christ until 2010. But I believe the other part of not knowing who I was, at that time – was just the role that society creates for Mom’s/Wives – I had been taking care of everyone but ME.
Where is that girl you used to be? Somewhere in the midst of stress, marriage, children, finances, and divorce… we lose our luster. We are women, we are serving by nature. The typical Mom/Wife serves so well that she often overlooks her own needs.
Our wants, needs, and sometimes our dreams are set on the back burner. We notice it. We crave and sometimes beg for time and attention and even material items for ourselves. But there is such a stigma of guilt around doing or buying for ourselves that over time, WE CHOOSE not to do for ourselves. We decide that the price we pay through guilt is more costly to our emotions than the neglect of doing without.
Christ didn’t call us to give up every last piece of ourselves for our spouses or our children. He only called us to give up ourselves to HIM.
Okay, before we get too far into this, I have to remind you of something. Whatever you gave up in your marriage is not your spouses fault. This post is not a poor, pitiful – victim post. I’m not writing for a feminist movement or to say “we shouldn’t be treated this way”. I’m writing to say WE SHOULDN’T TREAT OURSELVES THIS WAY. I understand that some of us may have been taken advantage of or even abused. But you do not have to continue to be a victim of your past or your circumstances. This post is actually about taking ownership of our responsibility in taking care of ourselves and changing our perspectives so we can let go of our bitterness, failures, and rejection. So just as a reminder I’ll drop this little quote here…
If I still have you, then that means the last paragraph and quote didn’t make you click the “X” in the top right corner… we are off to a good start here!
I want YOU to know who YOU are. The first step is healing our hearts but we can’t heal wounds that we don’t accept and we can’t correct mistakes that we don’t take responsibility for. I’m not saying your marriage was a mistake. In fact, my true belief is that God can RESTORE any marriage where either spouse has not remarried. I pray for restoration for each of you. But while you are walking on this road of divorce that looks so dark and dreary – I want to help you see the light. I want you to see the UNCONDITIONAL love of Christ. I want you to find purpose and understand yourself the way God sees and created you!
While my ministry is not about RESTORATION it’s not because I don’t believe in it. Its because I believe I’m called to help you walk the path you are on… If you are interested in restoration, please email me – I have lots of resources and ministries I can refer you to ♥
Before we dig into ourselves, I want to go ahead and call out some unrealistic expectations society has placed on Moms and Wives. I think being transparent with ourselves and others is easier when we realize that no one could possibly fill all of these roles. Again – social media comes into play here, and it has really stepped up the feeling of failure for lots of Momma’s and Wives out there. But we are experiencing feelings of rejection and failure based off of expectations that aren’t even achievable, much less biblical or necessary to fulfill our purpose in Christ. What makes it so hard to let go of these expectations is that its not an ex or a friend or a sister that holds us to them, IT’S OURSELVES! We have this idea of who we want people to “think” we are and usually consist of conquering all of our weaknesses.
1 – We should all be a size 2 and look like the Vicki C’s centerfold… you know who Vicki C is, I shop there too! We are much more critical of our bodies than anyone around us. I can stand in the mirror and count each little dimple of cellulite, but the lady behind me in the Wal-Mart line probably won’t notice them and if she does, she only see’s one or two… haha! Seriously – we should all take care of our physical health and try to be fit enough that we can enjoy life – THIGH GAPS ARE NOT REQUIRED. And should your marriage become restored or you get remarried – I promise, the six-pack abs are not what he is most interested in… sorry, I have to be real here! Y’all know how we can get all caught up in what “he” thinks is SEXY – if you are in a marital relationship – ASK HIM! Otherwise, you are running a goose chase after something he doesn’t even notice and its not what he loves about you anyway – this paragraph could go on for miles but I’ll stop here. If you need extra reassurance or resources to help in this area, please reach out via email or comment on the thread!
2- Our homes should be spotless… Do you live in your home? It’s not gonna be spotless. I would never do another thing in my life, until my teenager and toddler twins are grown and my hubby goes to see Jesus, if I had to keep my house spotless. Most items are in the room they belong in, notice – I said MOST. From where I am sitting to type, I can see a hairbrush on a table and four Minnie-mouse slippers in the middle of the kitchen floor. The toys are all in there basket because the twins are napping, but in an hour or so, the basket with the broken handle and crayon stained liner will be empty and the toys will be from one end of the living room to the other. We have all hardwoods and tile, we try not to wear shoes in the house the help preserve the mopping I try to get done once a week or so… usually more like every two weeks, sometimes it doesn’t happen and that’s just that. But for some reason, when it comes to the way a home is kept the judgement lies solely on the wife/mom. No one ever walks in a messy house and says “this guy isn’t a good housekeeper”. BUT THAT IS WRONG. Unless you live alone – get everyone involved! Set those cute kiddo’s up for success with good habits, they aren’t slaves but you can’t take responsibility for EVERYTHING. You only have two hands and two feet and there will never be more than 24 hours in a day.
3 – Your decor should look like it’s straight out of Chip and Jo’s Magnolia Farm and you should continuously update it to keep up with the lady down the street…. A new front door hanger for every season, every year. NO, JUST NO! Jo is super kind-hearted and didn’t start her shop for you to keep up – its her passion. I’m not decor savvy – I’m artsy and nerdy, I can paint, sew, read and refinish with the best of ’em but can’t decorate a room to save my life. Its not my gift – but why on earth do we feel like we have failed when we don’t go out and spend money we don’t have on stuff we probably don’t even need? Even if I bought the stuff, I still wouldn’t be able to put it all together the way Jo does. And if you’re like me, you aren’t home long enough to entertain anyway. Don’t get me wrong. We have nice stuff but we’ve lived here since 2011 and I still haven’t hung curtains in the living room – we have blinds and its just not my priority. Yes, I have had two people in those seven years mention something about needing drapery around that huge window in my living room – still not done – and they haven’t been invited back, haha – not really but I certainly would’ve liked to have said “sure, go buy some and hang them as a special gift for me”…
4- You should have it all together, everything and everyone should be organized in some fancy schmancy personalized planner you ordered online… I have that planner!! I love it – it is so stinking cute and it looks great sitting on my desk. BUT I haven’t written in it since August – the same month I bought it. I use my google calendar, its easier. And even with that, sometimes we just barely skim by and get everything done and get everyone where they are supposed to be. Last week, on Thursday night, I realized I had forgotten to cover Friday morning with a baby-sitter. I had a special function for the College through our Church. My original sitter had canceled earlier in the week with the flu, but I was driving when she text me so I never followed back up and got another sitter. I was scrambling last minute – but you know what? It all got taken care of the same. I would say I’m not a super-duper-over-the-top organizer. It’s not my gift – but I pretty well stay on top of things. There are most likely some old fries under the carseats in my car, and my half drank coffee from yesterday is still in the cup-holder. My teenager’s ball bag is in the third row seats, which means there is probably half of a ball field of dirt back there too! I’ll go through the car wash today (I just got monthly unlimited membership to goo-goo wash and I’m pumped) and then vaccuum it, but it will all happen again next week – and that’s okay… IT’S REALITY! My hair may or may not get washed before I go lead a small group tonight. I might dress cute with heels and a stylish scarf or I might not have the energy for all that and pull out a trusty warm pull-over and beanie. THAT IS JUST LIFE.
I know these are only four of the thousands of expectations we feel, but I wanted to unravel several of them so you would know that it is absolutely unrealistic to do it all. Social Media often portrays that most people have it all together but we know that is a lie. We are each gifted in different areas, we all have our own weaknesses too! Embrace your gifts and be aware of the areas you struggle – ask for help! Find someone who is strong where you are weak and seek advice or tips for getting better in that area. Don’t hold yourself to expectations that are far beyond necessary.
Who are YOU?
We touched earlier on taking responsibility for taking care of ourselves. I just want to point out more time, whatever you have missed out in your past isn’t someone else’s fault. Most of the time, we ourselves are to blame for overlooking ourselves or not standing up or speaking out for things. I know some folks won’t agree but we can’t blame everything we missed on our ex. So the first thing I want you to do is list 5 things you didn’t do or feel like you’ve missed on (either in your marriage or even now in your divorced life/single mom life). It doesn’t matter how vain or silly they seem. Here’s mine from 2009:
-Not taking time to read and learn new stuff (told y’all I’m a nerd)
-Went four years without getting my hair or nails done in a salon (while I still only go twice a year to get my hair done, its just refreshing to be pampered)
-Didn’t spend time doing any of my hobbies (I’m artsy/crafty and love to put my creativity to work – its my number one outlet for frustration or anxiety and when I here from God the most)
-Didn’t take time to rest and reset (just relaxing with a cup of coffee on the porch once in a while or taking a nap)
-Never wore or even bought make-up or accessories for myself (except for the trusty ole neon green and pink tube of maybelline mascara)
Now here is the reality. I NEVER MENTIONED TO ANYONE AROUND ME THAT I WAS BOTHERED BY ANY OF IT. At this point, I was a single mom and had been for some time. But I still should have set some boundaries for myself. Even more so at this time, than ever before. There was no one pouring into me emotionally but me. There was no one covering my back except for me. So I thought anyway. Luckily, Jesus was lining up a more than perfect walk for me and I had no idea. But in the meantime, I knew I had to find the me that I had lost in my marriage and my divorce. The happy, confident, trusting, and hopeful person that I remembered.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see first? Do you see who you are or who you think you should be? The beauty that exist or the things you wish you could change? After divorce, we are so broken. We see so many things we gave up or we wish we had. But it is more important now, than ever before, to learn to pour into yourself.
If God called you on the phone and said, “Hey, it’s God… I have a daughter who ran out of gas, would you mind filling up her tank for me?” What would you say? I’ll bet my right foot that you would drop everything and go fill up at that tank. You are His daughter – don’t run out of gas. You can’t get anywhere on an empty tank in your car and you can’t get anywhere in life if you’re empty either… make sense??? You would go fill up someone else’s tank in a heartbeat – why not fill your own?
I’m not saying going buy a G – Class Mercedes because that’s what you want. I’m saying set boundaries for yourself so that you don’t run out of gas and find yourself stranded in an emotional rut where you feel as worthless as your car when its tank is empty. If you enjoy taking a walk or reading a book, do so. Set time, even if it’s only ten minutes a week, to pour into you. You will be a better employee, a better friend, a better mother, and a better daughter when you do so. If new shoes is what your thing is, set aside a few dollars each month so you can go pick a pair on a rainy day – if you prepare by setting aside money, you won’t feel guilty after the purchase. God wants to use us for His purpose. He needs our spirits to be full and overflowing so we can pour into those around us. If we let ourselves go and continuously feel neglected, then WE aren’t able to answer the call when God needs us.