* Updated for accuracy.
Since I filed for divorce in September of 2017, there has been a series of negotiations between my estranged spouse and myself. We have divided debts and assets. We determined custody and visitation schedules. We argued about what would be acceptable financial support. We argued about him getting a real job. Finally the court set a hearing date for us to finalize our divorce.
After a meeting with my attorney a few days before the hearing, I felt confident that my children would be provided for and that I would be compensated for some of the financial burden that I had carried on my own for the last half of 2017. I thought he would finally have to do what was right. But I had been misinformed.
There would be no financial compensation for my expenses. There wouldn't even be any retroactive child support because a temporary support order was never filed. When I arrived at court that morning, my estranged spouse and his attorney decided to agree to our final proposal. Changes were made and typed up by the paralegal.
We went before the magistrate and the agreement was read on the record. We both stated that we had willingly come to the agreement and believed that there was no chance of reconciliation of our marriage. All that was required was our signatures on the documents so they could be filed with the court.
However, that did not happen. My attorney had agreed to allow my estranged spouse to take a copy of the agreements home to read before he signed the final copy. When I asked my attorney about the filing of the child support order, he told me that it wouldn't be filed until the agreements were signed.
I left court that day so disappointed in what had transpired. My estranged spouse was getting to walk away from ALL but 12% of the financial responsibility for the care of his children from May to December of 2017. And now there would be no child support for January and probably February as well. Because after court I learned that he could take up to 20 days to read the documents before he signed them. And the child support order would not even go into effect until the final divorce decree was signed by the judge. And that could be 2 weeks or more after the documents were filed. The couple that have been providing financial and emotional support to my estranged spouse were at the hearing. Upon seeing them there my attorney informed me that they were clients of his.
It has now been 8 days since we appeared in court and I am still waiting on the documents to be signed. I feel that my attorney failed me and when I confronted him about that he stated that he would be withdrawing as my counsel. Today I received notification from the court that if the documents are not filed within the 20 days then the motion for divorce will be dismissed without further notice.
I have dealt with a lot of emotions over the past week. I have screamed and yelled and cried a lot. I have tried to write this blog several times and just couldn't find the words to explain it clearly. I have felt the sting of betrayal all over again. I have felt hopeless and overwhelmed. But God has been so faithful to show me that he's got me and my kids right in the palm of His hands.
On my way to work at 4:30 this morning, I felt His presence and a peace came over me as He reminded me that He had provided so many blessings in the month of December and January. It may not be right that my estranged spouse gets to neglect his responsibility but you cannot legislate the human heart. Only Jesus can change that and cause someone to do what is right by his children. No court ruling can rebuild what has been broken. No judge can repair the trust in a family. No amount of money can make up for choosing someone else and their children over your own.
There are limits to what a broken legal system can fix. I have come to accept that. Life is not always fair but God is always in control. There is nothing that can stop His plan for my life. I have to be willing to trust Him to deal with the difficult people in my life. I can't expect a secular court system to deal with spiritual issues of the heart.
I will continue to fight for what is best for my kids by standing up for what is right and by kneeling down to give Him what I can't control.
Memories flood my mind today and out of nowhere tears begin to fall. When I think about what could have been it reopens old wounds. When I think about him doing life with her, I get a little jealous. And then I hate myself for caring for someone who chose to walk away without a second thought.
What is going on in my heart and mind today? I have made some great progress in healing my broken heart but all of a sudden I want to know why he didn't fight for me. How was it so easy for him to just move on with someone else? Why am I torturing myself with these questions? I know it must have something to do with our upcoming court hearing.
Tomorrow I will stand before a judge to officially end my marriage.... the clock will stop at 22 years. Twenty two years filled with so much life together......at times it's been messy and chaotic, sometimes beautiful, and other times broken. But now it's ending.
The events of the past year have made it necessary to end the partnership as husband and wife. My head knows that but sometimes my heart tries to ignore the truth. My heart just wants to remember the good times, the loving times, the beautiful times.
But my mind can see the cracks. It remembers the broken promises and hears the hateful words. My mind reminds my heart that he didn't persevere when I needed him. He didn't fight for me above anything else. He didn't uphold his vow to me or to God. He didn't know how to love like Christ. Sometimes he said just the right words but there was no follow thru.
There is no need to try to figure out the why. It just makes me crazy. I must keep moving forward. I must embrace the emotions as they come. Feel them fully then give them to God and ask for His comfort, peace and understanding. I can't get stuck in the "I wish's" or "What if's". This is not a Hallmark movie. This is real life and it's messy and it's complicated. The healing process takes time. And if done correctly then I will learn from what I've been through and become stronger because of it. If I try to move through it too quickly I will just repeat the pain and brokenness with someone else.
Today I will feel deeply and fully all of the emotions from all of the memories from the past 22 years. As I continue on this journey of healing, I will embrace it all....the good, the bad and the heartbreaking. I will continue to embrace it as long as it takes to heal it. I will acknowledge the past's influence on shaping me into the woman that I am. I will also remind myself that my value and worth are found in Christ and not the acceptance or rejection of anyone else.
The words echo over and over in my head, "You helped this situation by being the victim, you are good at that rather than take responsibility. You never appreciated what I did. It was never enough for you....never." I know that they are lies but yet they play on repeat in my head.
I begin to doubt the truth....the real truth of what I know. I must fight the lies with the facts. Denying the truth does not change the facts. Just because someone says something doesn't make it true. It could be their perception or their opinion. That does not make it my truth. I don't have to accept it.
When I weigh the facts, I erase the doubt and silence the lies. I take away their power over me. When I win the internal battle then I have peace and joy. I gain strength and courage to stand up and fight.
I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
I am not a victim. I am a warrior.
I will stand with confidence on the truth. I will not let the lies steal my peace and joy. I will not let the attacks weaken me. I will continue to be strong for those who depend on me.
God is my defender. He will fight for me against my enemies to give me victory. He will go before me and make a way. He is my strength and makes me brave. He walks me through places of trouble and suffering.
There is nothing that anyone can say to me or about me that invalidates who I am and what I am becoming. You can criticize me, attack me, curse me, withhold things from me, speak badly of me, bring false accusations against me or try to shame me to try to defeat me. But I will not be defeated because I am a warrior.
I wasn't born a warrior. My pain shaped me into a warrior.
I became a warrior when I chose to get back up after I was knocked down.
I became a warrior when I refused to back down and stood up for my dignity and my self worth.
I became a warrior when I refused to be a silent victim hiding in the shadows.
I became a warrior when I fought in spite of the fear.
I became a warrior when I refused to allow the pain and struggle to make me a victim.
I became a warrior when I shared my story and refused to be ashamed of it.
I became a warrior when I wiped the tears away and refused to be a slave to bad news.
A warrior is that woman who gets up despite others trying to destroy her. She declares victory even when she can't see past the battle in front of her. She knows God is by her side and that he will work miracles on her behalf.
I am that woman.