Do you know what it feels like to regret something with every fiber of your being, but still be incredibly grateful for the lessons you learned from that shameful experience?
My heart silently aches while it pours out happiness like sunshine.
My stomach churns with equal parts sorrow and joy.
My mind struggles to forget what happened but delights in the place I am today.
I can’t believe that I’m here today. This life that I have now is beyond my wildest dreams. On the outside, there’s nothing extraordinary about it. I’m a stay-at-home mom who takes care of a busy toddler and keeps house for a loving husband. It’s a life that many women live every day.
What’s extraordinary is that it so easily could be different.
I made serious mistakes. The kind of mistakes that change your life. When it came time for the consequences, I had choices. The first choice I considered was ending my life. I thought I couldn’t live with myself, knowing the pain I’d caused my loved ones. A selfish desire to see my son grow up saved me from those thoughts when I was at my lowest.
Once I decided I was going to live, I had another choice. I had to choose how I was going to live that life. Would I continue to live as I had been, ruled by addiction and compulsive behavior? Or would I choose the path of healing? Staying the same would be easier, but I would lose my family. Choosing to heal would involve a lot of pain and no guarantee that I would keep my family.
I chose the path of pain and possibility.
A year later, there is still some painful healing to do, but I’ve come a long, long way and changed drastically as a person. I’ve become someone I can live with, someone I can love and respect. I take responsibility for my actions and I find it easier to choose the next right thing.
And the possibility? It became a reality. My family is intact and healthy. Every night, I get to kiss my boy good night and cuddle him to sleep. I marvel at how easily I could have lost that. Every morning, I get to hug my husband and ask him how he slept. That, too, could have been lost.
My actions almost ended life as I know it, but choosing to turn away from the person I used to be brought me rewards beyond my wildest dreams. I’m not really a Christian, but this Bible passage resonates with my journey:
Ephesians 4:22-24 (New International Version)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
With time, the happiness will overpower the ache; the joy will defeat the sorrow. My mind won’t struggle to forget because forgiveness will have vanquished the shame.
But for today, I will simply enjoy this beautiful gift of an ordinary life.