I have been on a journey my entire life, but I don’t think I fully realized it until about 10 years ago. When I was young, I was in such a hurry to grow up that I didn’t enjoy the moments as a child with no real responsibilities. I married young and those responsibilities hit me very quickly and right between the eyes. My husband and I had our first child before our 1st anniversary and medical issues for that child started before her 1st birthday. Our 2nd child developed even worse medical issues by the time he was 6 months old. Our life became so filled with hospitalizations, in-home therapies, medical scares, dispensing medications and then 2 more children came along. My “journey” didn’t look anything like what I imagined as a young teenager! It looked so little like what I imagined that once again, I forgot to enjoy the moments and instead was simply surviving and letting that journey have a mind of it’s own.

I completely lost sight of the possibility of any of my dreams ever coming true. I loved singing when I was growing up and even traveled with a singing group in college. However, with all the painful things happening in life, I somehow lost my voice and joy in singing. I also enjoyed writing, but instead of journaling all the hurt and pain, I simply put my pen down and said nothing. Because I lost sight of myself, I lost sight of loving those around me in the way they needed to be loved. And thus ensued challenges in my marriage. Talk about compounding the problem and the journey taking a sharp left! Now instead of having my husband beside me during life’s difficulties, I was pushing him away.

Thankfully, we are both completely committed to making our marriage work and realize that the real joys in marriage come once you learn to work through the difficulties. Seriously, anyone can stay together in the midst of sunshine and roses! We chose to weather the storm and look for the rainbow.

I think my intentional journey started about 10 years ago, but it didn’t kick into high gear until about 4 years ago. My husband was imprisoned (I won’t go into details in this blog, but maybe you’ll get bits and pieces as I continue my writing journey) and we had to make a certified effort to make sure our marriage survived. Statistics show that the rate of divorce increases by 32% for each year a person is incarcerated and my husband was going to be spending 3 1/2 years in prison. Yep, try that statistic on for size! (that was 112% likelihood we would divorce if you didn’t do the math)

I was put into a situation in which I needed to find my strength to hold our marriage together and our family together. In the past, I would have thought I had to do it on my own and would have tried, but there was no way that was going to work this time. I had to dig deep and begin to work on my relationships. That brings me back to where my journey had started 10 years ago, but I hadn’t realized it. My husband had encouraged me to study how Jesus interacted and related to people through the book of Matthew. I now pulled that study out and really began to pour my heart into studying relationships even more. I began to work on my relationship with our children (who were absolutely amazing at helping during this time), I got to know my sisters-in-law by doing online Bible studies together, rekindled old friendships and most importantly began to really tackle some of the challenges in my marriage.

Until now, I never would have allowed myself to be this vulnerable in opening up my life for scrutiny. But, I have learned that until I welcome people into my world, I will never know the true joy of the journey!

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