November 26th: Self-Esteem

I have often heard “fake it until you make it” and while going through my divorce I had to do just that.

My self-esteem had taken such a great hit… that at times, I had to pretend that I was much stronger than I actually was just to get through it.

It wasn’t because I was trying to “trick” people into believing that I was okay or that I wasn’t really being affected by the event, it was because if I didn’t “fake it” I was worried that I would never recover from my loss and that the pain, and the despair, would eventually overcome me.

I knew I had to be strong for my children… to maintain in my day-to-day life… and give them some sense of normalcy… as we all walked through this painful change together.

Each time I stood up and smiled and acted “as if” instead of lying down and giving up, helped me to rebuild my fragile self-esteem and remind me that there was a strength inside of me, that may have been damaged by the pain that I had suffered, but had not been broken.

Each time I stood up and smiled and acted “as if” I felt as though step, by small step, I once again could face the world.

_

“Dear God, help me to find the strength to carry on even in my darkest moments. Help me to believe in your path and use my faith to build my character and find my way.”

November 25th: Love

Sometimes it can be hard for people to say the words, “I love you.”

It often seems as if they are holding back for fear that by admitting the feeling… they will somehow be “beholden” to you…

Or… that by opening up, and sharing their truth, that it will be turned against them… or lead them towards vulnerability and maybe even heartbreak and pain.

Declaring love, out loud, can be difficult.

Especially after going through a terrible loss such as a divorce.

It took me time after the end of my marriage to be brave enough to declare my love to someone once again but…

as time moved me through the pain, and I healed from my emotional wounds, I found my voice and braved the words.

For me, saying “I love you” after my divorce, was my way of admitting that I was stronger than the pain that had thrown me into despair.

Saying, I love you, meant that I was well on my way to recovery and willing to live life once again.

-

“Dear God, help me to show my love in all of my words and deeds in my day-to-day life. Help me to give those I love what they need so that they will feel cherished always.”

November 24th: Acceptance

I have had to accept many things in my life:

The deaths of those I have loved.

My divorce.

Illnesses that were hard to overcome.

And though all of these painful moments first consumed me with despair… I learned to move forward by accepting each of them.

At first, I struggled… but as my emotions calmed…  I found acceptance through grace and joy.

I accepted the loss of my loved ones by accepting that death was a part of life.

Yes, many were taken away from me too soon but… the joy that they brought to me and many others while on this Earth was something I could not overlook… and left wonderful memories that could never be taken away.

I accepted my divorce in the same way… by focusing on the gifts of the union: my two beautiful children.

And the illnesses I had to overcome? Well, the word “overcome” says it all… I am still here today surrounded by many loving family and friends who walked with me during my painful trial.

To say things like “I wish I’d never known him… or I wish I’d never been married… or I wish I’d never suffered” is like saying… “I refuse to love, to open my heart, because then I might have to feel pain.”

Life is full of pain and suffering… acceptance is key to living… I would never give up the time I had with my loved ones to save myself the pain of their loss… I would never give up my marriage and lose the gift of my children… I would never give up my illnesses because they taught me to live in the day and to be thankful for my good health.

I accept that pain and loss may come my way… but if I walk bravely forward in acceptance and faith… I will be greeted with many more gifts when I reach the other side of my heartache.

_

“Dear God, help me to accept life on your terms. Help me to see the beauty and joy in all things.”

November 23rd: Sacrifice

There have been many times in life where I have had to make sacrifices.

In my marriage, I often sacrificed things for the greater good of our relationship.

And today, in all of my relationships, I still continue to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Often, people hear the word “sacrifice” and they see it as a negative… something they have to give up… something that they might resent doing… but that is not sacrifice.

If I choose to sacrifice something for the “greater good” it means that I value the people or the reasons that I am giving it up for… much more then the thing I want.

If moving to a new place might provide me with a fantastic job opportunity, adventure and new experiences but I must receive these gifts at the cost of leaving my home, and my family and friends, then maybe I might choose to give up that opportunity because I value more… what I already have.

If I make my decisions without fear and without regret… then I am staying true to the path that my Higher Power has chosen for me.

A sacrifice should be made with the best intentions: from a willing heart, a clear mind, and a sound spiritual foundation.

-

“Dear God, help me to be clear in my wants and needs. Help me to put longing for things aside if they are not in my best interest or in the best interest of those I love and care for.”

November 22nd: Gratitude

My husband and I separated in the summer and by fall, I believed that I would be able to handle the winter holidays with a calm heart and a bit of perspective but…

When Thanksgiving arrived, I found myself at odds. I became angry at my husband… I felt that when he left… he had robbed me and my children of all the good memories that would come when celebrating joyous holidays with those we love.

I was sad, unable to focus on the day’s events, until one of my close friends pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong.

When I told her that I felt the day had been ruined because my husband was not present she looked at me and said, “Are you saying that his presence is more important than all of us? We are the people that love you and choose to be in your life. Don’t you value our time together? Your time with your friends and family? Your children?”

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I was so busy mourning the loss of my husband I was not paying attention to all I had in the loving friends and family that surrounded me… all who were offering me support in my time of need… by spending the first holiday since my divorce with me and my children.

I was humbled by her words.

Today… I cannot spend my time mourning people who choose not to be in my day-to-day life. I must release them to God, pray for their well-being, and focus on the people who matter most to me: those who share their love with me daily and choose to be in my life and by my side.

-

“Dear God, thank you for the joy you bring me through love and friendship. Thank you for surrounding me with people who offer me kindness and support during my most painful trials.”

November 21st: Reality

This morning as I was starting my day, I began to think of many of the things I was longing for: basically… people or events I hoped would one day enter my life and bring me joy and happiness.

But then… I stopped myself.

I believe it is fine to daydream or strive towards having things that I want but… I realized that I had been thinking about “the next big thing” or “the attention of someone I longed for” too much lately and that I was not living in the reality of the moment.

The reality of today?

I have a great life with many great people in it.

I have a life full of joy and happiness.

I have a life where I am loved and where I give love.

I was missing so many great moments by looking forward to what I may have someday instead of looking at what I did have today: a good life.

I am thankful today for being reminded to focus on reality and not fantasy.

Being grateful for what I have, staying in the moment and enjoying life… with my thoughts and my feet planted firmly in the day… is where my Higher Power wants me to be.

There is nothing wrong with longing for things in my future, hoping that I will one day receive what I so badly want… but if it is all I can think about, if it takes away from my day-to-day life, then I am losing time… missing out on everything and everyone good around me… while I pin my heart to a fantasy.

-

“Dear God, thank you for filling my life with joy and happiness. Thank you for surrounding me with beloved friends and family. Help me to be present in each day… aware and thankful of your gifts.”

November 20th: Silence

I am not a quiet person and I did not grow up in a quiet family but, I still relish the time when I can find silence in the middle of noisy chaos.

Silence can calm a restless mind and silence can also open it to solutions.

When I find myself becoming overwhelmed… I take the time to find a moment of solitude:

A walk in the Nature Center by my house… on one of the quiet paths.

A silent moment in my car… parked on top of a hill… looking out over my city… or…

A short weekend trip, away from day-to-day life where I can rest peacefully by the lake and just watch quietly as nature unfolds.

These moments of silence, whether they last just a few minutes or a few days, like prayer, soothe my spirit and rejuvenate my heart.

When I find myself unable to make decisions…

When I find myself being at odds with those around me…

I must make time to step out of the frenzy of my daily world and make room for silent moments.

These moments are a gift that help me to once again find balance and God’s grace.

-
“Dear God, help me to find a moment of quiet respite when I am lost in the chaos of my world. Help me to see that I must make time to find peace… in nature and solitude.”