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Heidi is contributing today about where life takes us and the trials we have as parents.  But she inspires us to not lose focus in this moving post about how life doesn’t always turn out the way we imagine!

Happily ever after sign

This Isn’t The Life I Imagined

-Heidi Murcott

Friend, let me be real here.

Sometimes, the how it was supposed to be place, is the hardest place to live.
It’s not living in the past or present; it’s living in a fog of discontent and disappointment about a future we’ve never tasted. We try our hardest, we dream our deepest, we long for beautiful circumstances and futures, and sometimes life deals curve balls we don’t see coming. Sometimes we pour out our hearts and love and time and hope, and we wake up one day to see it all poured out, with nothing in return.
We find ourselves way off course, in a place we’ve never imagined, with foreign pieces of our lives all around us. How do we look at a future we longed for and built up in our hearts and minds, and work with what we have?

 

This isn't the life I imagined divorce

This Isn’t The Life I Imagined

WHAT TO DO WHEN LIFE THROWS YOU CURVE BALLS

I’m a VA, writer, Math-tutoring mom of three awesome little people, and love finding the joy in small things in life. I love reading books on parenting & relationships, and believe life, and everything that stems from that, starts at home & in your heart.

This isn't the life I imagined scenery

This morning I woke up to a life I never dreamed of. My 12 year marriage & 20 year relationship crashed and burned recently. I’m divorced.

I’m  hundreds of miles from home and family, crying dramatically in the fish aisle because apparently I can’t decide which brand of fish is more cost-effective to buy {while really crying because this morning, in this moment, my life is completely overwhelmingly big and I want to be a child again and eat ice cream, and then nap on my mom’s couch in the sunlight where it’s safe}, while my three children sit in the trolley arguing loudly over who gets to sit where; and between taking my kids to church alone, and doing the ordinary mom-tasks alongside juggling making an income, I’m wondering how this story goes. Where my story went. Every turn, every week smacks of disappointment and uncertainty– at life, at myself, at my decisions.

This is not how it was supposed to be.

I’m gut-wrenchingly alone, wondering who flipped the switch on my life and changed the language from English to Chinese, because nothing in this present looks like I’d intended it to be. It’s a foreign picture with no subtitles.

Can you relate?

For me getting married at 21, filled with idealistic notions of life and love, seemed a great idea. And it was. And so getting  divorced at 35 came as a complete shock to the dreamy life I’d envisioned.

This. is. not. the. life. I. planned.

If we live in the regret and the disappointment, it can cover us like a fog and consume us.

And then there are moments:

Mom giving child a piggyback

Boys running in a field

You’ll see them in your life too, today, if you look past the blur of pain and insecurity and grief. Moments full of sweetness and life.

I’m seeing them in my life more and more as I look for them. Moments where my kids are playing on the beach, and they’re getting along. They’re solid, decent kids. They have manners, they are polite to strangers, and my three year old has people gushing at the bread counter over how cute he is, with his half-portuguese tan and engaging personality.

My six year old has a half-British accent {thanks to a year of cartoon-watching when she was three} and this voice that melts my heart completely while she stands in front of a crowd for her speech competition, and kills it.

My seven year old can take half of his sister’s baked goods stock at her market day at school, walk around selling to complete strangers (every.single.complete.stranger) at the market, and come back with a plate emptied of baked goods, and full of coins, and a big semi-toothless grin, in ten minutes flat. I am winning here.

Somewhere in your daily struggle to keep positive and afloat, in a life that didn’t turn out as planned, you will have your moments. Those little moments that capture your heart and give you hope and joy, and tell you you’re ok.

I am far from home. Far from family who love me, from a town I spent 30 years growing up in, in a foreign land, if you will, with all these broken random pieces of a life presenting themselves to me. They’re not what I had planned. The loneliness, regret and disappointment aren’t pieces I ever wanted or expected. I don’t know what to do with the pieces of stress and uncertainty and insecurity. But I do have the sweet, time-stopping pieces I have, and they are beautiful. And they make me realize that all it was ever about was being the best mother to my children I possibly can be. And that is enough.

There is goodness in your days if you pause to look for it.

Child holding pine cones

Girl dancing on grass

And we are not alone. In our darkest places, there is a God who loves us still. Especially in our darkest places.

The author of our lives, the one who knew all of this before we were even born, is with us all along, even when we don’t feel it or know it. He is with us at our darkest, and loves us through it all. And when we turn to Him and give Him all of our broken pieces, we have to trust that He will show us how they all fit together into this new picture that works, and that is beautiful in it’s own, new way.

What do you have today?

My story is here, with what I have, today. It’s three divine kids who I’m doing my best with, and they are surviving with me, and turning out okay {more than okay!}. It’s in the moments of teaching and loving, it’s in the identity-molding, life-giving words I speak in my home and the example I set on how to fall apart gloriously messily, while trusting in a God I believe is carrying me and hedging me in, broken pieces and all, to mold my story into something beautifully new.

Someone once told me that the greatest place I can make a difference, is in my own home. With my own kids. Back then I was dying to travel and do mission work and be a fabulous, devoted wife and live a life of significance. 15 years later I can only look back on those words with respect; there is great truth there. My role as a mom is profoundly significant as I mold and pour into my children every day, as best as I can, while picking up my pieces and figuring it all out.

Happily ever after sign

Sometimes, the biggest steps we take are just pushing through the emotions we have to work through. Pushing through the pain and brokenness and uncertainty, and making it bravely through another day. Rebuilding. Reworking. Letting go of the past and old hopes and everything they didn’t turn into. Dreaming again. Lifting our heads and hearts up and searching for new hope. Sometimes the best we can do is to get out of bed and survive. Put one foot in front of the other. Love ourselves again. Forgive ourselves. Have the courage to believe something good is going to come out of all of this, because it will. One day this crucial period will be a memory. It is hard now. Be brave. It will get easier in time, and one day it won’t be hard at all.

Is your life unfolding as you once dreamed it would?  If not, know that with all the strangely beautiful pieces you do have, you can weave something new.  With faith and hope, letting go of all the disappointments you have, take courage and work with what you have. It will all work out wonderfully, but it starts with living courageously, with open eyes and heart, moment by moment.

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Heidi is a VA, writer & Math tutor & lives in a small seaside town in South Africa. She loves reading & writing about homeschooling, relationships & parenting & is a blessed mommy to 3 awesome kids.
Her favorite posts to date are the Raising Boys series & the Raising Girls series.

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