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As we continue with our alphabet series, the letter E includes some important words that give us confidence.letter E

Experience

The experience of going through a divorce seems daunting, sad and beyond anything we ever imagined. But after the initial shock and the grieving process, we learn many things.

We begin to experience the challenging yet affirming job of being single in a “couples” world. Within that challenge – we may discover more strength within than we ever believed possible.

We experience new ways to save money, creative ways to manage the bills and the resources available in our society. Many of these resources may be a surprise to us as we never needed them before, but now – we are grateful for the various agencies that help single women.

We experience God’s care in vastly different ways than before divorce. When we had a husband in the house, we had another income to depend on. Now – we have only ourselves and the outlets God provides for us.

Before divorce, we depended on another person to show us compassion and love. After the divorce, we realize how much God really loves us and how he shows it over and over every day.

New experiences may include fighting for our rights and learning to be more assertive. Now we know how to better maintain the car, where to check for oil leaks and how to add air to the tires.

Every day might bring new experiences to work through – how to apply for half of his social security when he retires, how to mow the lawn and operate the trimmer, how to make sure the trash dumpster sits beside the curb on the appropriate day, how to file for taxes as a single person, how to look for a new place to live.

All these experiences build stamina and inner strength – often alongside the next E word.

Endurance

We may think of endurance as something athletes acquire through rigorous training. As they practice every day, as they add weights and push themselves through another lap in the pool – they build endurance.

For women Starting Over Single, we also learn endurance through the repeated disciplines of life.

It takes endurance to contact the health marketplace and figure out the best way to find insurance.

It takes endurance to insist that our children be placed in the best classes at school and with the most effective teachers.

It takes endurance to wade through mounds of paperwork as we go through the divorce.

It takes endurance to work several part-time jobs, then go home and deal with the challenges of single parenting.

It takes endurance to stand tall and walk into a church, knowing we will be sitting alone in the pew because no one knows how to deal with divorced women.

It takes endurance to keep working on our passions in the wee hours of the morning, because we have a gut feeling that someday – we will get that book published, that easel painted, that sculpture carved.

Endurance is an inner strength that says, “I WILL survive and eventually thrive, because I will never ever give up.”

Endurance is the quality we gain every time we experience a challenge and then conquer it.

Empowerment

This word has become more popular within the last few years, probably as a result of the numbers of women who focus on empowerment in their lives.

Many of us have grown up with the concept that women are less powerful than men and less worthy of leading in positions of power.

We often don’t know how powerful we can be until we move past the first stages of crisis and find out what we’re really made of.

Empowerment allows us to have options – to make the choices we want and need to make so we can live healthy and joyful lives.

Empowerment helps us move forward – no longer stuck in the backlash of betrayal and the trauma of divorce. We’re moving on and we’re moving up – no longer wallowing around in the pit of despair.

As we become empowered and experience how wonderful it feels, we may discover new leadership qualities that have been squelched. Now we can operate out of our strengths, using our talents and our giftings to be the women God created us to be.

Empowerment is a type of strength that embraces our authenticity. We’re no longer ashamed to be different from the norm or feeling “less than” because someone else tried to shame us in the past.

Those old tapes don’t matter anymore as we have learned to delete them.

The empowerment we gain also helps us influence others. Now we can encourage other women – those who are going through divorce and struggling with the first months of crisis. We know how that feels. We can share some of the tips we found useful. We can comfort them with the same truths that comforted us.

As we become more and more empowered, we also influence the next generation. We teach our children how to protect their hearts, how to set healthy boundaries and how to embrace their passions.

The circle of life continues and the ripple of the experience pool widens. We have endured one of life’s most difficult experiences, and we have conquered our fears. Now we are empowered to make a difference in someone else’s life and spread the good news.

What was the most significant lesson you learned from Starting Over Single? How do you feel empowered now to make a difference?

©2016 Starting Over Single

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