A past. We all have one. And unless you lead a very public life, most of your poor decisions and mistakes are quietly stowed away in the back of your mind…or better yet, have been forgotten altogether. On a daily basis, I can say that is quite true for me.
I have always been a rule follower and growing up, I never, ever wanted to disappoint anyone; my parents, teachers or friends. My teenage years were pretty boring according to some standards of “teen behavior” and I was always striving to set the best example I could. Fast forward 20 years and I am now a very happily married mother of two, still yearning to make others proud of me and hoping to never, ever disappoint anyone. I don’t really talk about the 5 years after college very much anymore, and for good reason, I don’t need to. I have moved on and I am in a wonderful place. In fact, many times I don’t even remember that I was married before I met my husband, until I do.
My husband and I were sitting on the couch recently and some statistic came up about divorce on TV. Not even thinking that I am in that category as having been through one, I casually just brushed it off. And then he said something that made me stop in my tracks. “You know, someday you will have to tell our children that you were married before me.” Holy moly. My heart sank.
The truth is, I have never thought about it. I have dealt with my insecurities and disappointment regarding that time in my life and I have moved on. But my husband is right, one day (a long time from now) I will have to share that with them. I will have to admit all over again that I failed at something that was very important to me. I didn’t take marriage lightly then, and I absolutely don’t now.
My fear is that they will be disappointed and crushed; and that they will see me differently…almost tarnished. My hope is that they can learn from my experiences and that I can share with them all that I learned from that season in my life which made me a much better wife to their father and mother to them. I will also tell them that if I had never married my first husband, I would never have lived in Orlando. I would have never started teaching. I would have never met my co-worker/friend who introduced me to my husband. We would have never gotten married and I would have never been their mom. Sometimes things happen for a reason. I know in my heart that they are that reason.
Mistakes happen, but sometimes they aren’t mistakes. Many times they are only chapters in the story of our lives.
Stand strong mamas. We all have things we aren’t proud of, but be proud anyway. Share your stories, admit your faults and smile at your successes. Your scars have made you the courageous person you are today.