By “Colleen Carmichael,” See the Triumph Guest Blogger
In the months and years following my divorce I have often said: “If I could have a do-over I never would have married him!” or “If I could do it over again our marriage would have been saved! We would have walked the road of healing and forgiveness together and still be married!”
Oh, how I longed for a do-over; a second chance to get it right. I wanted to do anything to avoid the pain that his affairs, violence and ultimately the divorce caused. How I wished so many times none of it had ever happened.
As I have grown in strength and learning new skills in my recovery, I am beginning to take on a different view.
I look around at the life I live now; a life I love and am so thankful for, one that is filled with peace and I realize a startling truth…everything I have in my life now is because of the pain I went through. The self-confidence, the ability to say ‘no’ and recognize the signs of co-dependency are all due to my work in counseling and sticking with my recovery. The confidence, joy and peace in my life come from not giving up, learning what sets my soul on fire and being comfortable in my own skin…abilities, failures and all. The friends, church and community in which I live are all due to having to leave my previous home, church and community. Each of these things are a direct result of learning perseverance, building strength and clinging to hope that is found in my faith; all of which I learned by going through the pain of abuse, affairs and divorce.
For the first time in many years, I am happy to be who I am and living in the moment. I’m stronger than I ever imagined and yet have retained my kindness towards others. I own my first home and have paid off my car. My life is simple, sweet and meaningful and I am strong, brave and capable.
I am who I am today because of the things I wished I could do over. I no longer dream of a second chance, but am grateful for the person those trials have molded me into. Instead of praying for things to be different; I am now thankful for the gifts those experiences have brought me.
I believe that this can be true for each survivor as they grow in strength and clarity. Never give up on your dreams for they are within your reach!
“Colleen Carmichael” (a pseudonym) is a domestic violence survivor who desires to use the skills she has learned to help others. Colleen is a teacher and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education degree. Currently, Colleen helps to lead a local Divorce Care group, which she participated in for a couple of years. Colleen uses her passion of writing to express herself and the lessons she is learning. In her spare time, Colleen loves to spend time with her family – the human and four legged ones - as well as traveling, writing, and playing the guitar.
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