In the last 5 years I have realized how beautiful a story of life is. I have learned that there is beauty in the storms, beauty in the rainbow after the storms and beauty in the rebuilding. Each story is unique. Each journey is personal. I have learned to rise from the ashes. I have also learned to love and share my story in the hopes that I can help anyone who is going through something. There are moments in life, when you want to give up, run or just hide, but when you meet those moments and battle through them, you come out changed and pieced back together. At least I have. This is my story.
I have to start at the beginning. I was raised in a beautiful little town. It shaped my whole world, and left me slightly naive to the world around me. Selah was an idyllic town to be raised in. If I could replicate that experience and give it to my children, I would, in a heart beat. I have friends today, that have known me since I was 5 years old and we are still in contact with each other. Even if we only get to see each other every couple years because we all live in different places, the point is, we still see each other. While those who grew up in Selah, probably think this isn’t a big deal, but I can tell you, it is RARE. It is not the norm. When people hear that my best friend has been the same person since I was 15, that we walked in our graduation together, they almost fall over. This little town and the people in it, forever shaped who I am, and I am so grateful for that.
Then next part of my story, undoubtedly is the Army. Five and half years that changed everything I knew about the world, taught me compassion, pain, joy and faith. It is where I made friendships that will always remain deep in my heart because of what we went through together. The army is where I learned what it was like to be truly scared, brave and introspective. It is where many days, I lost my faith, only to find God hand it right back to me. I learned the beauty of all languages, religions and cultures, is that we truly want the same thing. To raise their families in peace and loving each other. We are truly not that different.
My marriage and divorce, are some of the highest highs and lowest lows that I ever faced in my life. Marriage is hard. People don’t tell you how hard it is to bend your will, to place someone else before yourself. To value your marriage first, above your children. They don’t teach you how to get through PTSD and the hard times that follow. My divorce most days, taught me more than my marriage. My divorce taught me to look at my faults, to fix the damage that was deep inside of me. To learn to communicate in a way that was respectful and honorable. My divorce, taught me how strong I am. It taught me not to compromise my values and to honor the other person. My divorce taught me how to respect someone who broke my heart. My divorce taught me that forgiveness is beautiful and healing. My divorce taught me that a marriage without God is a marriage that will fail. My divorce taught me to let God heal my heart, that nothing else would do that. My divorce truly taught me. As much as I miss being a family, having my kids all of the time and having a partner, I wouldn’t change my divorce. I grew because of it. Because of that healing, because I let God take the lead, I was able to with a light heart move across the country so that my children could see their dad every day. (My heart was heavy leaving my home, my family, my friends…but because I knew what God was asking me to do, I was able to go.)
The newest part of my journey is the world called Autism. This world that shook me to my core. Very few people know how two diagnoses in two months shook me to my core. I cried many nights in a row because of the unknown wonder if I was the right person to do this. How was I supposed to be a single mom to two kids who needed so much? I felt so bad for my kids, that I failed them by being divorced and that they would get the short end of the stick. That I wouldn’t be able to do everything for them. What if the world wasn’t kind to my beautiful kids. What if Kolten never spoke. What if something I did caused this. What if my deployments messed up my genes. What if they grew up to hate me because I got them diagnosed. What ifs…started to fill my head, my heart, my journey. Then my God stepped in and showed me that I wasn’t alone. That He would guide me on this journey called parenthood. He led me to a group of beautiful people who all had kids with Special Needs. Parents who got what I was feeling. Parents who didn’t judge me when I said it was just too much. God opened up the door to these friendships to heal my heart.
My story is beautiful, not because it is perfect, but because it is flawed. My story has built me, has formed me, has challenged me and has patched me back together. No matter the trials, no matter the highs, no matter the lows, my God loves me. He is the most beautiful part of my journey. My story is a testimony of God’s love and grace. Of his beautiful mercy.