My pain has given me courage to speak.

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It has been one year today, since I heard the loud, booming voice of God. I stood at the ocean, with my son. My heart breaking, mind lost, so frustrated in my marriage that I literally threw my hands up to the sky and said “Tell me what you want me to do! What am I supposed to do??”

“I HAVE TOLD YOU.”

He had. I had asked for a different answer countless times. God had told me, and shown me, that my marriage was ending. Still, I clung so hard to hope and kept trying everything I could to make it work. You have to, right? Serious talks, time without the kids, marriage counseling, prayer, church, meditation, self-medicating, working harder, therapy… I deeply wanted to believe that we would be the ones to make it through, together.

Things reached a boiling point when we were on a trip to California, taking our boys to the beach and Disneyland. We knew things were rough. They had been rough for a long time. We went through so much change, and so much LIFE in our seven years together. But for our young children’s sake, I told him that day, “Just two more years.”

In that moment, we knew we couldn’t do it. We knew our marriage wouldn’t make it two more years, and neither of us wanted to drag our children through anymore pain. Little did I know, that trip was just the beginning of the hardest season of all our our lives.

On that beach day a year ago, I cried. I cried HARD. Not for the first time by any means, but it was my first true acceptance that my life was going in a direction I did NOT want, and I would have to go through with it anyway. I was terrified, and continued to cry like that every single day until February.

I pushed through, attempted to hide my pain until I could process, but I had to pull back and reserve my limited emotional bandwidth for the well-being of myself and my boys. So if I haven’t responded to your messages, or I flaked out on a commitment, or seemed unavailable or uninterested this past year, I am sorry. It had nothing to do with you at all, I just wasn’t up to it. If I haven’t filled you in on where I’m at or what’s going on, don’t feel left out. The key players and I are trying to keep up with it all ourselves..

I’ve been relatively quiet and private about what has happened this past year. It took everything I had to stay, to work on being ok for my children, and follow in faith where I’ve been led and who I am becoming now. I have no intention of airing our dirty laundry online, or spewing out private details, but I know in full confidence that my pain and journey were not solely for my own growth. While my exact experience is unique to me, I know I am not alone in the pain of depression, anxiety, addiction, divorce and personal growth. What my children have gone through, what I’ve experienced, the sacrifices we made, all have to be for the greater good. The ever-present faith I’ve felt, that everything will work out for the best, and this will strengthen me to serve more people, goes into action today. I’m in a stronger place now to tell my story, and I pray what I share along the way gives strength to someone who needs it now.

Jen

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