The other day as I walked around my neighborhood in tears, I realized that I was letting fear have its grip on me. I realized that some of you might be struggling with the same thing.
It can feel like there’s nothing harder than being a stay at home, homeschooling mom for a long term marriage and then when the marriage ends, starting over. Most likely at an advanced age when you haven’t worked outside of your home for a long time. Like a really long time.
Often that can cause us to think that maybe it’s not so bad.
Maybe things will change.
Maybe I made too much of what was happening.
Maybe it was really me.
Maybe I made it up.
I hear you. And I’m not here to convince you to stay or go.
As Cat Etherington with Naked Truth Project has said to me several times…
Staying is hard. Leaving is hard. Pick your hard.
Honestly, nothing could be truer. And it’s your decision completely. It will be hard either way.
I’m in the ‘leaving’ hard camp. I haven’t had to financially support myself since I was in my 20’s as a single mom. I wasn’t doing it that well back then and yes, it’s harder now. Honestly I could have stayed to fight for more money but I’d still be fighting. It wasn’t worth it to me. But it doesn’t mean I don’t get afraid of my financial future.
Truth be told, I don’t have a degree or a career to fall back on. I am a Betrayal Trauma Coach, a new one starting a new career. It’s hard. So in the meantime I have three other jobs to help support myself. I’m tired. I’m crabby. I’m scared. And with that, I realized that I’m most likely not alone.
So in that, what can we focus on?
What is my truth and maybe your’s too.
First, the hard truth….
I chose this hard.
I knew it would be hard.
I knew that my age could work against me.
I knew that starting over would be difficult.
I knew that relationships would be iffy if ever.
I knew that I might never be able to afford to buy a home to call my own.
I knew that I’d have to work for the rest of my life.
I knew that I’d be solely responsible for my income.
I could go on but you get the idea.
So with all the hard and difficulty and uncertainty, why did I choose THIS ‘hard’?
Because I knew that it was better than the alternative.
I’m guessing that if you also left, you knew the same.
I asked myself all of the ‘maybe’ questions above and spent hundreds on counseling to try to determine what was wrong with me…and that’s not a bad thing. But in that, I learned the truth of my situation. Though I had been guilty of typical marital issues that needed to be addressed, the killer of our marriage was there before it ever began. Betrayal. Addiction. And I missed it. I missed the signs. Because I didn’t know them. And I’m guessing you didn’t either.
The truth that you and I need to remember to focus on is that…
He never changes.
He will not betray me or lie to me or keep secrets from me.
He knew that all of this would be difficult and is with me every step of the way.
He knows what my financial future looks like.
He knows what my relational future looks like.
He knows what job is perfect for me.
He knew that I would feel what I feel and that it would be hard.
And yet, He knows the ending of my story, the one He’s giving me an opportunity to re-write. He’s giving me a do-over even if I feel like it should have been years ago. He will be consistent with His promises and provision.
So why do I worry and fear?
Because I’m human. Because I’m looking at my circumstances instead of all He has already provided right when I need it.
I’m seriously like Peter who has the faith to get out of the boat and walk towards Jesus yet begins to sink because I get caught up looking at the waves. And yet….my precious Savior who loves me completely, does not chastise or condemn. He reaches out His hand to rescue me, whatever that may look like in the moment.
And so, my sweet sister, look for your truths. If you don’t believe in this Jesus who saves, seek your truth for your situation.
Journal. It’s one of the best ways of seeing the consistent provision in your life.
You know, someone has brought groceries for you right when you need it.
You’ve gotten a break on your rent.
A job offer has come your way at just the right time. Journal it all. It will help you remember that you aren’t alone.
Self-care yourself. I know that doesn’t make sense, but you get it. It’s not about bubble baths and wine.
It’s about setting healthy boundaries so that you can stay safe.
So that you can better manage your spending.
So that you can manage your income in a creative way.
It’s about figuring out how to manage your stress in a healthy way.
For me? I’ve been taking a walk around my neighborhood to refresh and rejuvenate and remember that things can change in a moment.
Get a tribe. Oh God bless our tribe. Do we want to live with others for the rest of our lives? Or our kids? No. But I can tell you for certain that we have people around us that will not let us fall, meaning living in a tent somewhere.
Support Group. Being in a support group of others who are walking or have walked this road is so helpful in our healing process. It helps us to know that we aren't alone. And they're there to remind us, when we forget, why we left.
So what do you do with your fear of your financial future and the thought of starting over versus staying in an unhealthy situation?
It’s hard. Know that going in. It doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of fear or moments of questioning yourself. But you left for a reason. Remember that. Cling to those truths that caused you to leave versus staying. Remember your tribe. Remember that you aren’t alone.
And friend, if you’re a believer, remember Jesus who doesn’t condemn us for our fears but will reach out His hand to bring us comfort. He’s so got you. And even when it doesn’t feel like it, He will never let you go.
Ultimately I have no magic formula for your fear or mine. It’s real and palpable. I can only say to look at one day at a time or if you need to, one moment at a time.
It’s no accident as I'm sitting here listening to music as I write, that the song, “Fires” just started playing. Here’s a few of the lyrics.
I remember how You told me
That life may not be easy
And everything that I need
You've already given me
I remember how You told me
I can trust You completely
So why am I doubting
When You proved that You'd fight for me?
You've walked me through fires
Pulled me from flames
If You're in this with me
I won't be afraid
When the smoke billows higher, oh and higher
And it feels like I can barely breathe
I'll walk through these fires
'Cause You're walking with me
Friend....He's walking with you. Please remember that.
What are you most afraid of if you’ve chosen the ‘hard’ of leaving?
How have you overcome your fears about finances?