When Life is Not What You Expected

When I signed in for work this morning, the date caught my attention. June 13th. The day I got married 25 years ago. 


Except I’m not married anymore.

Sometimes life just doesn’t go the way we think it should.

So we adapt as best we can, sometimes with bitterness, most of the time with heartache, and find ourselves getting through each day with a noticeable limp.

Broken dreams, dashed hopes, unexpected loss, trauma, and pain tend to set our world upside down and shaken, and most of us don’t know how to get beyond mere survival.

Survival is important. 

No question.

But when does thriving come into play?

Or can it? Maybe we’re too far gone now.

Is it just a myth, this notion of a full life?

A life filled with meaning, with purpose, with happiness, love and goodness?

Yes. Call me crazy, but I believe it is possible.

A good portion of this possibility stems from the notion of hope. Yeah.


Despite all the well meaning (I assume) “friends” who made it their mission to tell me how much God hates divorce,

(of course He does. He hates anything that causes us pain, and since He knows the end from the beginning, He also knows all the pain and heartache that brought me to this point. That coat, that cloak, that tunic? It was ripped in two before I took the step to make the end of my marriage legal. You don’t need to pull Malachi out of your hat because my messy life doesn’t fit into your tidy box.)

to try to talk me into praying for my husband more fervently,

to try harder,

go to counseling,

(btw counseling has been a lifesaver for me. I cringe to think of how much longer it may have taken me to realize how horribly codependent I had become. And how horribly narcissistic and manipulative my partner truly was, – not just my dramatic female imagination. Too bad he continually declined to go with me.)

lose weight,

(insert choice expletives here)

and the myriad of other helpful suggestions lobbed my way.

Gee. Thanks.

I used to be one of the pew huggers that looked down on fractured, failing marriages.

Back before I was told that it wasn’t working and he loved someone else.

I used to cringe at the idea that someone was just “giving up on their vows”. The world sure has gone to pot.

Then I became the pariah. The one that became a notch on someone’s belt for inviting me over to lunch after church because it was the “right thing to do”.

Hope still fought to twinkle beneath all the debris.

I saw glimpses of happiness around me, and I wanted some too.

I saw glimmers of hope, and I latched on for all I was worth.

And now…

After all the years of hoping, of praying, of crying, of desperation, of struggle, of pain, of heartache, of weakness,

I gradually became stronger.

Bigger than I had originally thought.


Because. I. Chose. To. Be.

Don’t tune me out yet. 

I had to learn, just like you, that how I thought, how I process, how I imagine, and how I speak are crucial to how my life plays out each day.

No joke.

I learned that I don’t have to have a man in my life to be happy.

I really, really wanted one, and I believe that that is just how God wired me and I’m ok with that. Especially since He brought Tinman into my world, and I see what it is like to have my dreams take life.

Pretty darn cool.

The point is, that I hoped for more. I didn’t just stay in my faltering, broken survival state of being. I learned how to thrive and choose happiness even before I felt it.

I made choices to move out of my brokenness. Sought help. Acknowledged my pain, made friends with it, and stepped beyond it. I wanted to be whole.

What you hope for may be different than anyone else.

But it is still hope.

When life is not what you expected, it doesn’t have to keep you pinned and immobilized. At least, not forever.

Don’t let anyone tell you you are not worth more.

Hope is yours. Grab it.

love love



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