I guess I’ve been hiding so I won’t get hurt again. After I got married, I also hid for a while so that I could heal from the pain I’d carried around with me for the previous 27 years. And for a while, I was “okay”. Not really, but better than I’d been when everything was getting broken. Later, those partially healed wounds would serve to trip me up and I would end up divorced and once again, feeling broken.
It took several years of being on my own to start feeling “okay” again. This time, the healing was a bit more pronounced and I started to feel stronger. By my standards, stronger meant that I could get through a day without crying or feeling like I was nothing. I had struggled with developing an identity that didn’t chaff and just as I had gotten used to being somebody’s wife, it had become clear to me that being that person’s wife didn’t fit with my idea of being in a happy marriage. Because I’d been damaged, I had always told myself that he was doing me a favor by overlooking all of my very obvious flaws and still wanting to marry me. But the truth is, he wasn’t. And his behavior toward me during the years that followed our divorce only solidified that realization.
As a divorced woman, I began to develop another identity. This one didn’t fit so well either. She wasn’t really trusting, and she still didn’t know how to be happy. Her attempts at new relationships failed and after a time she began to think that it just wasn’t worth the effort to even try. The one person who had captured her heart had done so years before she’d ever been married, but he had his own issues and wasn’t any more equipped to love her than she was to love him. And so, she set aside the idea of trying once again for the happy marriage and decided instead to be happy alone.
Years later, I looked around and found that I hadn’t really developed another identity to match this newly found independence and self-reliance. I’d always been able to support myself financially, but emotionally I had never had what I needed. I had never been able to find what was missing and it seemed stupid to keep looking when I had so much other work to do. I became married to my job and to the task of raising my daughter. I focused only on what it took to keep those two things going and set my quest for happiness and healing aside. There was enough brokenness between what my daughter was going through and what my job was putting me through to last a lifetime. And I was healed…or so I thought.
And then, yet another challenge presented itself. I lost my job. Of everything that kept me from finishing up the task of truly healing, this was the final brick in the proverbial wall. God has a way of removing the things which keep us from focusing on the tasks He has assigned to us. Raising my daughter was part of my healing. So, that was and has always been the thing that keeps me going. And though she is getting older, I find that as she approaches the age where my brokenness was at its peak, I have begun to understand so many things so much more clearly. But the job, that I had convinced myself that I needed to survive, had been killing me just as surely as all of the toxic relationships that I had refused to let go of.
When I look in the mirror today, the woman I see is still not quite who she thought she could be. But she’s getting closer. And with every piece that He puts back together, she’s looking more familiar. I hadn’t even realized that I was still in so much pain until I really started to look at her again. And now, I can see some of the things that I had for so long refused to let myself see. The things I held onto weren’t necessarily things I didn’t want to lose. They were just helping me to feel less empty until I was ready to pick up the right things. The right things aren’t heavy at all. In fact, they feel just fine and they look a whole lot like me.
#2020Vision #identity #learningwhoIam #lettherebehealing #feedyoursoulfriday #beyondmeasure
Rebecca Benston is an author and publisher who lives in Springfield, Ohio. She is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media. This post is part of a series called 2020 Vision and will be one of many shared over the next year. Be sure to check out Benston’s books, The Rona Shively Stories mystery series, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), Wise Up to Rise Up, Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and more. These can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or on the Higher Ground Shop page.