I envisioned this very photo.
What it would be like to be handed keys to my very own apartment. What it would feel like to ultimately experience truly being on my own, something that I have never had before. See, I was 23 when I got married. I was living under my parents' roof until the day I walked down the aisle. I had opportunities for independence prior to marriage.
Allow me to offer you a little bit of my back story.
I was accepted to a performing arts college in New York City when I was 18 years old. Called, so I believed, to travel and live across the country in a city I had never seen before and try to make it on my own while pursuing my dreams of theater and music.
But, it wasn't mean to be. Ultimately, I ended up staying home.
By staying home, I became a Christian. Then, several months after that, 9/11 happened. I watched the television screens in horror, and I also saw as individuals from every background filled the churches, desperately seeking hope and assurance in the midst of tragedy. So, I fully believe God did not want me in New York, but at home. For a reason.
Then, I met my then husband. I fell in love. Said yes to forever. Together, we had two beautiful and amazing children. I was supposed to be with their father because Madi and Sean were supposed to exist. I so believed that he was the person I was meant to be with for the rest of my life. So I did everything I could in order to make our marriage as beautiful and God honoring as I possibly could. Early on I had prepared myself for the fact that it wouldn't always be picnics and sunshine, but I truly believed in love. I believed in marriage. I believed in forever after. I believed in "until death".
I still do.
However, that just didn't end up being my story. My marriage experienced an excruciatingly painful death. No one was spared. I did not want to become a single mom. I had very little income, no community with the exception of my family and a few of my closest friends who knew what was happening. The idea of starting over absolutely terrified me, and I am not one to fear change!
But, start over I did. Repair my own broken heart and nurture two small hearts. Their hearts were broken too. Work hard. Pay off debt. Fix whatever I could fix. Allow people to help me, which was extremely hard because, as those closest to me know, I don’t ask for help. I just don’t. Especially when it comes to money or if someone asks me what I need.
Imagine four year old me saying: “I do it myself!”
Fast forward to today. As I am sitting here to head to a job I really do enjoy and love, in my new home. A home I literally prayed for. I have now stepped into a new life.
A new life that equals a newfound sense of freedom. There is hope. There is going to be a lot of laughter and smiling and adventure. The kids and I? We already made friends in the community.
You want to know something else? I believe God placed us here in this complex for a reason. I have started to meet my neighbors, and hear bits of their stories. I am eager and excited to learn more about them.
This new life also means I get to truly discover what it means to be independent. I was told that I had never truly experienced being independent so how could I know what that is like. At first, I was offended, but then I recognized that what he was saying was not to be hurtful, but for me to really look at what is being presented to me currently.
Freedom and true independence. To really step into it and embrace it and fall in love with it.
Something I have not had. I thought I was an independent woman until I had to go out and apply for apartments and be told over and over again that I didn’t make enough or to have another “adult” sign a lease with me.
That’s a hard no, thank you very much.
Independence is not a bad word. It is not bad for women to be independent. It was frowned upon in my marriage. Actually, I believe it had more to do with someone else’s insecurity than it had to do with me. But, it imprisoned me anyhow.
Now, entering in to a brand new season. A brand new life. A brand new future. One where the chains are completely off. The cage is broken.
I am free.
I am ready.
Excited for the new future God has for me.