When I stopped writing regularly on this blog, of course I missed it. The post I sat down to write a year ago this week was a hard one to write. After the roller coaster my life had been on, I didn't know what kind of reaction I would get. Of course everyone surprised me, as usual....I have to say that I have been incredibly blessed by the majority of people that read what I write...they have always been wonderful, and I should have known you would continue to be wonderful! I was rereading the comments from that post this week and I was overwhelmed all over again by how everyone was just so genuinely happy for us even though we were embarking on a relatively unusual journey. Still, stepping back seemed best, so that we could focus on living our story instead of telling it.
And here we are, a year later. I didn't speak much about our reconciliation back then, because I was in the midst of it. I didn't want anyone to think I was giving advice or that I knew what I was doing, because we were both just figuring it out as we went along. While John and I never ever questioned our choice to reconcile, it's still been challenging at times! I think it was harder for John in the beginning, when his guilt was weighing him down the most. For me, the hardest part was realizing that I still had forgiving to do even when I thought I had done it, and that I have plenty of my own security and self-esteem issues that have come about due to our divorce that I still struggle with. But thanks to all the things we have learned about each other and about how to handle these challenges without letting them affect us as a couple and a family.
I can tell you now, over a year after our reconciliation, that our marriage is better and stronger than it ever was before. Sometimes it amazes me that it can be like this after everything we have been through, especially since, to be honest, it was never like this before our divorce. We loved each other, we loved our family, but we did not know how to be married, and that combined with all the stress we were under otherwise, our marriage was not anything to model. Now, we're older and definitely wiser, and it shows in every aspect of our marriage.
I used to think that it would be a relief to live somewhere where no one knew our story...where I wasn't that single mom people felt sorry for or where everyone didn't know that John and I were remarrying each other...we had some interesting conversations for sure when we went to get our marriage license or signed up wedding vendors...turns out that when you have the same last name, people tend to think you're related, which is always a little awkward.
But now we've moved a couple of hours away so that Seth can go to a school designed especially for children who are deaf but use spoken language, and no one knows us here. I go to MOPS, we found a new church, we have been here more than three months, and as far as anyone knows, we're just a typical family with five children. I thought it would be a relief, but in all honesty, I hate that our story is a secret because our story has turned into something that I am proud of!
Our life isn't easy. It never will be, honestly. We continue to be put in situations that stretch our faith and our tenacity. John currently commutes nearly two hours to work so that Seth can go to his new school. It's hard on him. Seth has to commute, himself, logging long days at school and on the bus home. I miss them both like crazy. In many ways, I'm still the sole caregiver most days, and it's hard! It's hard on me and it's hard on John because of how much he wants to be here. I'm still in school, which sometimes feels like it will never end!
But no matter how hard life can be, it's even more blessed. John has a great job where he is respected and liked, and in this economy, that's something that many people don't have. Yes, I'm on my own with the kids a lot, but having John's emotional support makes a bigger difference than you'd probably realize. I never feel alone. Seth is gone all day now, but in just two weeks at his new school, he has made truly incredibly progress. As a parent, you fight for what your child needs without thinking about how it will affect you. When I realized Seth would see his teacher more waking hours of the day than he would see me, I was really sad. So seeing such immediate progress for him was exactly what I needed to know that the sacrifices we are making so that he can go to this school are completely worth it. Our kids are getting older, and I am amazed every day at just how secure they are considering how crazy their lives have been for the past few years. I love the way that God has protected their hearts and allowed them to accept every new change with grace and, most of all, adjust to being a complete family again so well.
This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for. My life is crazy, and beautiful, and blessed, and we're still choosing joy. One of the things that I am most thankful for is that I have been able to form so many relationships through this blog. I can't tell you how many emails I have received from women who are hurting, or families who are struggling through a stillbirth or dealing with the shock of a diagnosis of hearing loss. It is truly my privilege to be able to come alongside these families in a small way. There is nothing like that moment when all the hope drains out of you in the midst of a tragedy. I can't guarantee an outcome...I don't know what will happen. But I do know, without a doubt, that great good can come from great sorrow, and I have been blessed enough to see it happen over and over in my life.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that you all have something wonderful to be thankful for this year.
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