I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this holiday season was rough.
Aside from the typical seasonal stress, this was my first holiday season dictated by a court order. The first holiday season as a divorced woman. And the first holiday season without my child.
I sat in my house alone, on Thanksgiving morning, drinking a cup coffee, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and wondered how my ex was celebrating Thanksgiving with my son. Christmas night, I stood at my son’s door staring at his empty bed and his scattered Christmas presents on the floor, hating the situation I was forced into.
While some parents may desperately want small breaks from their child, it’s an entirely different story when your choice is taken away. A cold, courtroom and an unsympathetic judge signing a piece of paper, and that’s it. You are no longer a full-time parent. Your choices are stripped, and the child you held in your womb is forced from your home.
I sat in my best friend’s house on Christmas morning and marveled on the difference a year had made. This time last year, I had a husband who I thought loved me, a happy child who lived in a stable home, and a family I cherished. In 12 short months, I went from being surrounded by my family on Christmas morning, to sitting alone with a drink in my hand, crashing my best friend’s family Christmas, because I had nowhere else to go.
And to top it all off, my ex (in his infinite wisdom) gave me a bottle of wine as a Christmas present from him and his mistress. Really, dude? I’m sure there’s some oncoming traffic you could push me into nearby, because that would probably be less painful. Idiot.
But last night, things changed.
Not only was it the start of a new year, but I realized something.
Yes, this year pretty much sucked in every possible way, but as I looked around my house, and the amazing people who came to celebrate the new year with me, I felt so incredibly blessed. And as the ball dropped in New York City, I screamed “Happy New Year!”, hugged my best friends with tears in my eyes, and decided right then, this year is going to be different.
And it’s going to be different, because of me.
Because in the end, it all depends on me and my choices. I could let 2017 destroy me. I could let the horrible events that took place this past year forever define who I am. I could take the affair, the divorce, the cancer, the shooting, the illnesses, and the deaths, and say its all too much. I could turn from God and curse his name.
Or I can THRIVE.
I can LEARN.
I can identify my weakness, call out my insecurities, and proudly proclaim, “I will not let you get the best of me anymore.”
Typically, I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly, because they’re useless. But these aren’t just resolutions. These are proclamations. It’s me yelling into the wind saying, “I’M STILL HERE” and not only did I survive this year, but I’m going to use it. I’m going to use all the pain, all the anguish, all the depression, and I’m going to get stronger. With God’s strength, guidance, and wisdom, I will continue to grow every day. I will continue to learn. And I WILL thrive. I may take a few steps back here or there, but I am determined to keep going. To keep my eyes fixed on the Lord, and the future.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 31