Own Your Past to Open Up Your Future

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

There comes a point in our lives where we have to take control of our emotional wellness. We need to make peace with and own our past. Our past (even childhood) holds traumas that can wreak havoc on us if we do not face them. Recognizing the mistakes we've made, the failures that we have had and how to not repeat these things is key to owning our past. There comes a critical turning point in time where we have to believe in ourselves and know that we are not defined by our past and that owning it is the empowering belief that lifts us to greatness.

So let me ask you...

  • Have you ever failed? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Have you ever been doubted? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Have you ever felt insecure? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • Have you ever thought you weren’t good enough?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I feel ya. Been there. My divorce at 24 years old (with 2 very small children) had me feeling all of these things. I was consumed with fear and beyond insecure. I was letting this consume me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

It took me 12 years to own my past mistakes and forgive. A 12 year personal growth journey. Once I was able to own it and forgive, I was free.

I am going to share my personal journey on owning my past and how it has changed me as a mother, person, wife and Christian and opened up my future.

It is imperative to note I am in love with my second chance at motherhood and it took owning my past, forgiving and embracing the past to get there.

I am going to start off by telling you that if talk about God {gasp! the G word} and divorce scares or bothers or heaven forbid, offends you, don’t even bother to read on.

Don’t waste your time. Don’t put yourself into the position of getting angry and upset. I am warning you. This acknowledgment of my path in life and my love for my second chance at motherhood might not sit well with you, and that’s ok. Just don’t bother if your feathers are easily ruffled or if you have a foundation of faith that is easily disturbed.

So, let’s get on to it…

Divorce. An ugly word that no one really wants to talk about. A word that sparks deep emotional response.

Divorce. A lesson on life, love, parenting and faith.

Well, at least mine was. You see, my divorce was not by choice. It was thrust upon me like the waves crashing onto the shore. I HAD to get divorced. I was in a loveless marriage plagued with hate.

But my divorce, my divorce, was the most liberating experience and my divorce led me to the woman, the wife and the mother that I am today. Without that lesson, I doubt I would have ever entered onto the path that I found following the darkest days of my life.

God had a bigger plan for me.

God chose me to be the mother to my first two children and in order for me to get to my 3rd and 4th children, divorce was part of my journey.

My first marriage, which I will respectfully refer to as “The Lesson”, happened more out of obligation than love. You see, when 2 young (19 and 21 years old) people conceive a child, the world becomes very chaotic. The “what if’s” and “what now” mind chatter and comments from everyone in your sphere of influence run rampant.

Yes, we cared for each other. Yes, we were eventually excited.

But no, we were not prepared. No, we were not emotional ready to be parents. No, we did not know what we were doing.

We chose to get married right after our daughter was born because we thought it was the right thing to do. We thought, this is what we are supposed to do. So we did it. Nothing fancy. Just family and no clue what curveball life was going to throw our way.

Looking back on that day, I see a very young, naive, new mother trying to navigate so many emotions. A young woman with no clue what her path in life was. A hopeless romantic that truly believed that this could be it. A new mother with a new life that she felt she was solely responsible for. {Yes, I felt the responsibility of our daughter’s life was in my hands.}

A new father that was scared. A man that felt his youth being stripped away from him. A couple that was scared, clueless and in denial.

But we tried, we did the best we could, the best way we knew how, with what we had.

The Lesson lasted four short years and brought along a son with it. We were blessed with two beautiful and overall healthy children. But our entire marriage was chaos. Don’t get me wrong, there was some fun, some love and a whole lot of learning, but chaos is the best word to describe those four years.

I believe that my first marriage was to be my lesson from God on life, love, parenting and faith. Love and faith were not the foundation of this marriage. They we not the connection between the two of us. Being so young, we just did not know much about marriage, much less parenting. We were parenting with the conditioned mindsets that we were raised with. We were just going at it the only way we knew how. We loved our children immensely, we gave them experiences, we tried our best.

But you see, we did not try our best at our marriage. We did not even treat it as the priority. The children, the mortgage, food on the table- those were our priorities. And when you are young and naive, you don’t understand the bigger picture. And when the foundations of love and faith are not a part of your marriage, I hate to say it, but I am convinced that it is doomed from the start. You haven’t attained enough life experience yet to truly live a well rounded life. You are just going through the motions of survival.

No marriage can withstand that.

So The Lesson ended. With it I took on a new vision for love, a new appreciation for life, a new understanding of motherhood. But I refused to accept the lesson on forgiveness. I shut that down real quick. I refused to let my faith guide me. And I held onto that for 12 years.

During the time that I was walking through motherhood alone, there was darkness. I was angry, hurt, filled with rage and I felt so alone. I loved on my babies fiercely and showered them with affection. If there is one thing that my kids will tell you about me, it is that I love on them to the point that I annoy them! I chose to be overly lovey with them because my mother was not that way with me. I get it, she was an only military child…but I refused to be that way. And let me not gloss over the fact that I felt guilty that they had to go through this. I was overcompensating, big time. That was the only part of my conditioned mindset about parenting that was different….an abundance of affection.

I worked my a$$ off to be able to give my children the best life possible. As a single mother, I wanted them to see how it was possible to be a complete bada$$. I did just that. I had a career and was able to provide everything for them. I went on field trips, attended class parties and volunteered at school. I made sure that they never wanted for anything and that I was there for everything.

But I yelled, a lot. That was how I parented. I had big expectations when it came to school. I was hard on them. I demanded perfection.

I yelled instead of taking the opportunity to teach a lesson. Looking back, in my mind I was teaching a lesson, but now I see that I was going about it the wrong way.

I wanted them to be loving yet strong, book smart yet street smart, adventurous yet cautious.

I literally was winging it.

Their father did not support them 100% so I had no choice but to step up. He tried. He loved them. He did his best. But I was so blinded with anger and rage that I did not see that.

Holding on to that final lesson of forgiveness for so long blinded me. What it all boiled down to was that he was not stepping up the way that I wanted him to. I did not realize or accept this until recently.

I parented out of fear and desperation. Fear that I would fail them and desperation to be everything that was missing in their lives. They didn’t have 2 loving parents at home. They did not have a traditional life. This was never the plan. Never what I wanted for them.

But you see, we don’t make the plan. God does. I did not realize or accept this until recently.

I was raised Catholic and there came a point in my life that I completely abandoned my faith. I questioned everything and I wanted nothing to do with the spiritual life that I was raised with. I tested boundaries, got in trouble and did things that I should not have. I truly feel that The Lesson was a part of my path to reconnecting to my faith and accepting that God forges the way for a magnificent life, if we let him.

About four years after The Lesson ended, I was reconnected with a childhood friend’s brother. We hit it off. He was magical. So smart, articulate and successful. He was devilishly handsome with blue eyes that could pierce your soul. I was head over heels, and fast. We became inseparable. But, I was very cautious about the future of this. With The Lesson still feeling fresh and all of the anger that I was still holding on to, I was clear on my expectations.

We were older (27 and 30), established in our careers, and we both knew what we wanted out of life and our relationship. We agreed that if we were going to be together that it would be for life. {I selfishly wanted this because I never want to go through a divorce again and I never want to put my 2 older children through any additional emotional struggle like that. And God forbid we have children, I would never want to put them through that either.}

With no hesitation, he agreed. For life. We were in this for life. So, we got married.

My second marriage, which I will lovingly refer to as “The Journey”, was low key. Our wedding was just us….and the few people at the courthouse that cheered for us (that is a whole separate post!). It so depicted us. Easy. The Journey was easy…natural, full of love and laughter.

God blessed me with a second chance and I was not about to blow it.

A few years later, we were so excited to welcome our first child together. After a year of trying, our little angel was finally a reality. I was so scared because the older kids were 8 and 10 years old now. We had a huge age gap. I wondered how I could share myself with all of them. How I could meet the demands of such a diverse age group. But I had faith that I was right where I needed to be and right where I was supposed to be. I was getting a second chance at motherhood. A second chance to get it right. A second chance to be all that I was not the first go round.

As The Journey continued, The Lesson started to creep up and cause conflict and turmoil in our lives. I never accepted the lesson on forgiveness and all these years later, on The Journey, with a new child, I began to realize the power of forgiveness. But it was only because never closing that chapter was now a constant reminder and in my face on a regular basis. God works in mysterious ways and The Lesson wreaking havoc on our lives was all just a part of my journey. I did not realize or accept this until recently.

At one point, my two older children went to live with their dad. He need his time. He needed to parent them. He wanted his turn. As much as I did not want this to happen, God did. It took me four years to accept that this was a part of my journey. That there was a bigger plan for my children. They were resilient, understanding, empathetic, adaptable human beings. They experienced so much and I firmly believe that they will enter the world of adulthood more prepared than most.

Without forgiving The Lesson, that chapter in my life was still open and the healing never took place. There was a crack and God was creeping into that crack trying to help me heal and move on. Trying to help ALL of us heal and move on. It wasn’t until 12 years after The Lesson ended that I finally GOT IT. I finally accepted everything that was for face value. That this, THIS was a part of my journey.

This was my journey.

With my fourth child’s second birthday approaching, I realized that we are ALL where we are supposed to be. We ALL have learned lessons from this experience. We ALL have grown.

I was given the chance to start over.

A chance to have a relationship based on love and faith.

A chance to have more children and walk through motherhood with a partner.

A chance to be able to fall in love with motherhood.

A chance to enjoy motherhood, not just survive it.

My second chance at motherhood has been a delight. I have been able to spend so much quality time with my two younger children, while still being able to enjoy the young adults that my older children are becoming. I have a relationship with my two older children that means so much to me. They are a part of me “growing up”. They saved me. They helped me see the bigger picture of life…the meaning of my life. They were the constants in my life during my darkest hour. They were by my side as I stepped into my purpose. They are my children and my friends. I love our conversations because I learn from them. I love our arguments because I grow from them. I love their opinions and their perspectives.

My younger children have a part of me that my older children did not.

They have a more calm and compassionate mother. They have a seasoned mother with experience. They have a mother with a passion and a flare for life on a deep and intentional level. They have a mother who’s foundation of faith can not be moved.

They have a father that is there everyday. They have a father that holds them and loves on them daily. They have a father that provides. That have a father that loves their mother and their siblings unconditionally. They are also blessed to have two older siblings that love them, that take care of them, that teach them, that guide them, that encourage them, that praise them.

I am so in love with my second chance at motherhood. Even on the hard days and the sleepless nights. Even through the arguing, the spills, the broken things, the endless laundry and mountain of dishes….I am in love with my second chance at motherhood. Even on the not so bright moments in our marriage, the times that we question what the hell we are doing, the what if’s and why’s and the few times of uncertainty, I am so in love with my second chance at motherhood.

It helps that I am in love with my husband.

A man that I do not thank enough.

A man that I do not tell how much I love him enough.

A man that I respect so deeply.

A man that is second to none.

A husband that provides.

A husband that loves unconditionally.

A husband that supports my crazy ideas.

A husband that allows me to follow my passions.

A husband that is also my best friend.

I am so in love with my second chance at motherhood and it is all because of my husband and my two older children.

So for all the mommas on their second chance at motherhood, embrace it, love it and appreciate the second chance.

Owning my past has led me to the this point in my life. I had to face my past, learn from the mistakes, embrace the lesson and forgive.

If you are struggling with a divorce, just know that you are not alone. Just know that it gets better. Just know that you are not broken. You are not defined by divorce. You are worth more. And by learning and growing from the experience of divorce, by owning the mistakes that led to it and refusing to give up, you will persevere.

Your past holds lessons that will unlock your future growth if you choose to see it.

The time for you is now. Own your past and forgive because it is liberating and the only way for you to open up what your future holds for you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

If you have a similar story, I'd love to hear from you. Let's connect!

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The Gram





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