But... sometimes you don't get exactly what you've had your heart set on, especially if your plans involve others, because the "other" could decide his plans don't include you.
On Sept. 9, 2006, my husband relocated me and our 5-year-old son from Chicago to Las Vegas due to a pending job transfer. A month later, he flew in to Vegas only to tell me he wanted a divorce; walking out on me, our son, and our 15 years together the day after he flew in. I was left with his parting words: "You don't have it in you to be a good wife, a good mom... or good anything. I hated you even before I met you and you make me want to kill myself." I believed those words with every ounce of my being... after all, if the person who was supposed to love you the most felt this way, it must be true, right?
I was a different person back then... painfully insecure and afraid of being noticed, but wanted so much to be loved and accepted. My life purpose was to simply make my husband and son happy. Then all of a sudden, the only world I knew was shattered within hours and I was forced to rewrite my life without the hero in my story.
To add to the damage, I discovered he'd been having an affair with a married woman in his company for at least six months... but announced to everyone back home that it was I who walked out and demanded a divorce because I was having an affair with a man in Vegas. Most of the people I loved and trusted blindly took his side and turned their backs on me like it was a race. I was abandoned and alone. I didn't know how I was supposed to keep living.
My ex was right, I was worthless. But it was then, when I felt completely beaten down, that I had to believe God loves me just as much as He adores the happiest, most admired and successful people... I had to believe He wouldn't have gifted me this incredible little boy if He didn't trust my strength, capacity to love and ability to make wise choices. I had to forgive everyone who hurt me because I needed to escape that hell and I had to accept love, value and trust... in myself.
But... what would have happened if he fought for us? Isn't that what marriage is about? To go through the good and bad together... then get stronger and celebrate our wins together? What if he stayed?
Then it hit me... the "what ifs" have no place in my life now. Traumatic events suck rocks, but you fight through them. Plans change, but there's always a different path. People will hate all over you, but you learn to fly above it. You'll try your best, make mistakes, then screw up even more, while others seem to live life so effortlessly, but it's not the end until you stop trying. You will survive and your win is guaranteed, but only if you follow through no matter what.
Now that I look back, everything that's happened in my life has been a blessing. It certainly felt like excruciating torture at the moment, but now that I've broken through, I'm grateful for the cards I've been dealt and all the special blessings hidden within them.
Eight years later, I'm the proud mom of the kindest, goofiest and most respectful, academically gifted 13-year-old boy who still thinks his mom is kinda cool. I may have only one child, but I have a dozen sweet religious education students to whom I teach love, kindness and self respect every year... and because Joshua is my class aide, he's the great role model I've always believed he could be. I am a Life Strategist specializing in stress management and burnout prevention, as well as coaching men and women who are desperately trying to survive what I was thrown into eight years ago, and I maintain inner peace by trusting God and the universe to always take care of me and my son. I journal my single mommy adventures on my Ninja Mom Diaries blog, decided that taking food pictures wasn't enough so created a food blog at Girl Plus Food and I am a featured contributor for SheKnows, Lifehack, Learnist and Ricky Martin's Piccolo Universe.
I don't know what that man was talking about years ago. I can be pretty good at anything I put my heart and mind into because there's so much I want to share with and contribute to this world.
My life is spilling over with more love, happiness and great accomplishments than I could have ever imagined. And it was because I realized the only option I had was to look forward and grab the opportunity to rebuild everything from the ground up... and this time, I did it all my way.
And guess what? It doesn't matter what someone (or everyone) says or thinks about you. It's not fact unless you make it so. I'm discovering that I'm a great mommy, a fun and effective teacher, a successful business owner and who knows, maybe someday I'll make someone the luckiest husband in the world.
I may not have control over everything that happens, but I've learned to practice my freedom to choose my attitude and response to anything that happens. I'll never know what could have been, but I'm so grateful and happy for what is.
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