I love the holidays and I especially love Thanksgiving and Christmas because it’s the time of year when Family is put above all other priorities and we make it a point to remember what’s most important in our lives and how truly blessed we are. I haven’t been as excited for the holidays as I am now for so long that I actually forgot just how magical this time really is.
You see, for much of my adult life, I truly dreaded the holidays as much as I loved them because I knew it would be a fight every holiday to be able to even attempt to enjoy the day. I would wake up excited about getting to take the kids to see family only to end up in tears. I wasn’t allowed to just enjoy the day without having to fight about just being able to walk out the door. It never failed, my happiness had to turn into heartache before being allowed to leave because that was the only way that “he” was able to feel content.
I will not go into details about that time of my life though, for those who have experienced the cycle of abuse, you will understand based solely on that little piece of my past. What matters now is today and just how magical and important this Thanksgiving is to me.
Almost 3 years ago now, in February 2013, approximately a month after I was finally given the strength to leave my past behind for good, an old friend of mine reached out to me on Facebook to say hello. Looking back now, it’s so obvious that the timing of this simple hello was perfectly planned by God himself. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I knew I had made the right decision, because I did what God told me to do and I got out, but by this time my ex and his girlfriend were already living together right across the street from me and having to see them together every day as I drove to or from home was eating me alive with anger. I needed a friend and a reason to try and take my mind off of the whole situation.
Chris, my friend who reached out to me at this time to say hello, had been the best friend of the brother of one of my childhood friends. He was about 4 years older than me and I know it sounds very coincidental, but as a young girl I had always had a secret crush on him. I was shocked that he even remembered me now. I had not heard from him in over 20 years. I think the last time I had seen or talked to him was when I was about 16 years old.
Needless to say, when he asked me to go out to dinner with him, I couldn’t resist saying yes. When I saw him for the first time, of course he looked a little different, but other than a few small wrinkles and a little grey in his beard, he still looked like the old Chris. When he smiled, I felt a warmth in me that I hadn’t felt in so many years. His deep brown eyes were focused solely on me and I could tell he was nervous when he spoke.
As we were arriving at the restaurant, it started to snow. I have always loved the snow and to have it snow on our very first date, was such a magical and amazing experience. I know now that it was definitely a sign of good things to come and I will never forget that night as long as I live. It was the beginning of the rest of my life and it started with one of God’s most beautiful creations – a snowflake.
Chris and I continued to see each other and I learned that he had a terrible past as I did. We were both very broken people. I had 2 children and Chris had none. He had also never been married. I still remember thinking to myself “is this even possible? How could I meet someone who has never been married or had children at my age now?”. Chris had made the conscious decision to not marry until he knew he had found the right one and he had stuck with that decision for the past 37 years. To me, this was such an honorable thing. Not many people do this now. They just jump ship with the first person they think loves them and end up with many kids and divorce. At that moment, I realized just how strong-willed this man truly was – just one of the many qualities that I fell in love with.
Chris proposed to me in June of 2013, just a few months after we went on our first date. He first asked my children for their blessing, then my Father, and then surprised me by taking me and the kids to Charleston and proposing on the front steps of the beautiful customs building. I couldn’t believe that he would want someone as broken as me when he had spent his life waiting for the perfect woman. I didn’t consider myself to be worthy of that title in any way. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
Throughout the next year, Chris stood by my side and helped me with absolutely everything that I needed help with. He held me up through all of the horrendous and exhausting divorce proceedings and the constant harassment that I had to endure from those across the street from me. The stress I experienced through all of this was enough to rip me apart… and it did. It eventually caused me to have severe damage to my spine that had to be corrected through two surgeries, the last ending in a spinal fusion. The doctors could not explain what happened to me as there was no reasoning for it other than the results of stress. I couldn’t walk, work, or take care of my children for months. Chris stepped in and took care of all of this for me during this time. He was truly my hero and I will forever be thankful that God sent him to me when he did.
In July of 2014, my divorce finally ended and in August of 2014 Chris and I married. I decided then that there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to give this amazing man the one gift that only a wife can give to a husband, a child. He loved my children (his step-children) very much, but as a Mother, I knew there was no feeling as beautiful and amazing as the love for your own flesh and blood. I wanted him to experience this at least once in his life, so I started seeking expert advice. With my health history I had already been told it wasn’t possible, it was too dangerous; however, I wanted to hear it from the experts. I had to make sure I had been told the right thing. Over time, I learned that it was not impossible after all. I learned that it would be risky, of course, but it was not even close to impossible. I told my husband that this is what I wanted to do and we decided to give it a try. In our minds, if God wanted us to have a child together than he would give us one, if not, it just wasn’t meant to be.
In October of 2015, almost a year after we made the decision to try, I learned that I am pregnant. I can honestly say that telling my husband the news was one of the best days of my life. I have never seen a man so happy to know he is going to be a Father and he is one that TRULY deserves it! I recently learned that not only are we having a baby, we are having a boy! My husband was so overjoyed by this news that it had me in tears. I was so thankful to be able to tell him this and to be able to do this for him.
So today, on Thanksgiving of 2015, I am so very Thankful for God! He has given me everything a woman could ever dream of and my heart is so full that I don’t think it could possibly hold any more love. This man he gave to me as a husband and hero has given my life a new direction and I couldn’t be happier. I already have two of the most absolutely amazing children I could ever wish for and now I get to add another. The love that God gives us through our soul-mates and our children is what makes this life worth living and it is the absolute best gift one could ever receive. It is the purpose of Life!
I pray that all of you get to experience this abundance of Love at some point in your lives, if you haven’t already. It is all around us and God works miracles every single day!! You do not have to have children to know love. All you need is God to know love! Love one another and remember, there is always something to be thankful for!