When I imagined what my adult life might be like, I never imagined I’d be where I am today! I preface my story by saying to you (and declaring to myself), “I am an overcomer, a survivor, a lover and a fighter.” Like each of you, there are many chapters in my story that have affected and impacted my day-to-day life. One of the chapters in my life that had, and continues to have, a mind-altering and life-changing affect on me happened in 2010.
In 2009, one of my dearest friendships ended. I was madly in love with a man who had become my best friend. He and I shared many moments of laughter and sheer, unabashed honesty with one another. I was the girl that chased him and found myself convincing him that I was worthy of his love and affection. When we parted ways, by a choice that wasn’t my own, I felt like the walking dead. I felt as if a piece of my soul had been taken from me. Who was I going to confide in? Who was going to hold me tightly in their arms and give me butterflies every time he walked into a room? So much had been taken from me already. I was only 23, yet I had been married, divorced, molested, raped, abused and broken in what felt like a cycle that felt eerily normal to me. After my friend closed his door of access to me, one of my friends suggested I try internet dating. And, so I did. I created a profile and within a day I received a message from a man who thought I was pretty and wanted to talk. We talked for about a week and he asked if I would go to dinner with him after New Year’s Day 2010. I obliged as it felt like it was just the reality I needed to face. My past would never be my future, so it was time to forge a new path. We had dinner at my local favorite place at the time and he asked if I wanted to go watch movies at his hotel. I said yes, and said “I will not be having sex with you. As long as that’s understood, we are good.” We arrived at his hotel, walked through the door and put a Martin Lawrence comedy on. Less than 5 minutes later, my “date” had violently jumped on me and violated my soul. I was in a state of shock and felt as if my vocal chords were cut. I stumbled out of the hotel as he was in the bathroom,
covered with shame and inability to look at anyone in the eye. The following month, I discovered I was pregnant.
My daughter is now 4 years old. She is the most precious, smart, loving and validating beauty in my world. During the first two years of her life, I was numb. I suppressed. I laughed to keep from crying. I felt very little. In the past 2 years, life has been tough. Emotions that I’ve never addressed, negative self-talk that I couldn’t fathom, and low lows that I hid from those who truly love me have erupted within. For one of those years, I woke up daily crying and anxious about my reality. Although I still have tough days, and maybe even weeks, I am comforted and encouraged by the truth that God saved me from the vicious cycle I was in through my precious daughter.
No matter how slowly I may get up some days, I wake up with a sense of responsibility to raise this beautiful girl to love the Lord, love herself and know her value and to know how passionately I love her. I have the charge of telling other women that they too can rise above all the mud in life’s seasons and that they are loved and beautiful. I am not the girl with the scarlet letter of disqualification. I am the woman who stares self-doubt, adversity, struggle, heartbreak, pain, isolation and abandonment in the face and says, “I will not succumb to you today.” My prayer for each of you who graciously reads this is that you too will silence the negative chatter that often comes with life experiences which we wouldn’t have imagined, and know that you are a hand-picked, highly valued, loved and beautiful creation that contributes to this world being complete.
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