Five minutes of writing on a word prompt give by Lisa Jo Baker over here.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Are you ready?
AFTER. . .
I normally don’t read Lisa Jo’s entry before I write my own. But today, I did. And so many things she wrote resonated with me.
Because I’m also a survivor of the after. Several of them, in fact.
It’s what comes before the after that molds us and shapes us and prepares our responses.
My dad passed away from a very rare, very fatal form of cancer in October 2005. He was 60. I was 28. We had barely six months from the day of diagnosis to the day he went Home. He had fallen away from God over the years, but in those months I saw his faith blossom in a way I hadn’t seen in the 28 previous years.
Facing cancer and knowing you aren’t going to win can do one of several things. It can make you turn away from God completely. It can make you continue on as if nothing happened. Or it can make you turn back and cling to God. My dad did the latter.
I know that he didn’t want to leave us – and honestly spent more time worrying about what my brother and I were going to do than he did about what was going on with him – but I also knew that he would be okay no matter what. He was ready to go. And knowing that he was ready made the after a little easier because there was joy in the midst of the grief.
And I survived the after because of that knowledge.
Fast forward to last April. Almost exactly a year ago. Right around April 7 – what would have been my dad’s 67th birthday. My husband of almost 16 years tells me – for the third time – that he is going to move out because he doesn’t want to be married anymore. No other reason. (Incidentally, the second time he moved out? October 2007. The two-year anniversary of my dad’s death. Yeah.)
And somehow I knew that this time the after would be different. There would be no going back. No reconciliation. No saving the marriage. He had turned away from God – and me – completely. Practically ran in the opposite direction. Broken his vows and our covenant irreparably. But I now knew who I was in Christ, and knew my worth in God’s eyes. Knew that He would never leave me or forsake me. Knew that He would always provide, always comfort, always love. Knew that this time, I needed to stand firm with God, and let my husband make his own choices and face his own consequences. Knew it was time to let go and let him have his own way.
And I survived the immediate after because of that knowledge.
Fast forward to now. A year later. In exactly six weeks from yesterday my divorce will be final. Two days before what would have been my 17th anniversary. Almost 18 years after meeting him. Two weeks after my 36th birthday. Like Lisa Jo, my life is divided into two segments of 18.
This time I don’t want to survive the after. I don’t want to just continue to live, to endure, or to exist. I don’t want to be a “survivor” of divorce.
I am ready – I’ve been ready for some time, actually – for the next segment of 18 to begin. I want to prosper. I want to be successful in my life and in my relationships. I want to grow and develop and flourish spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I’m ready for the new.
I’m ready to thrive in the after.
STOPConfession: I took longer than five minutes. But that’s ok sometimes. 🙂
Wanna play? Here’s how:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
- Five Minute Friday: AFTER Finding Joy in the Morning (writingcanvas.wordpress.com)
- Living in The After (missindeedy.com)
- 5 Minute Friday: After (jennspeacornpopnuts.com)
- Five Minute Friday: After (divineimperfections.typepad.com)