To some people success is measured by education, money, or physique, but to others it’s measured by grace, love and faith. Success is subjective, normal is subjective, and even a villain at some point thinks that they are a hero.
I try to live my life based on how I want to be treated. I believe in justice, I believe in equality and I believe in right and wrong. I believe that you are an example of your own decisions and your own humility; It’s just a matter of having the courage to face your humility that defines you. I grew up in church, so I believe that I was blessed with God’s conviction and that I have inherited God’s wisdom. Every day I am faced with what will inhibit my morals. Morals really get in the way when you bear your own cross, and I don’t think I would have it any other way.
2015 has held the biggest heartache, not only for me, but for my family and my friends too. Our world’s turned upside down overnight it seemed. Our friend, their brother and my husband was gone. We spent eight years building a foundation of loyalty, laughter and trust. It was as if a tornado had rolled in on our hearts, our minds, our souls and we were now subjected to no other choice than the ghost of his memory.
In terms of perspective, I will never encounter the same heartache again; he was the one I chose to devote my love and my soul to and he chose to opt out. I believe that there is wisdom and strength in overcoming this sort of obstacle. I’ve been single for seven months and the divorce is final, August 25th, 2015. We were married eight short months and together for eight years, and soon I can officially claim my namesake again, my maiden name, Cook.
I remember eating my first meal in weeks and the joy that overcame my body was surreal, while my mind was fighting ferociously to understand the concept of nutrition again. I had lost 30lbs in a matter of weeks, it was hard to look at my reflection without an outbreak of tears and frustration. I was anointing the doors, his pillow, his steering wheel, his door handle, anything that he might touch, just so that I could pray over him with hope that he might love me again, like Leah, in Genesis 29.
I was fragile. I would fall to my knees in the shower and scream at God! I would shout, “It’s in your word that you hate divorce! Why would you let this happen to me? Don’t you see my heart? Can’t you see my love for him?”
One night, when we still lived together, we discussed our relationship ending. At that nostalgic moment, I said a prayer to myself with tear-filled eyes and then told him my prayer. I told him, “I know that you are going to leave me, and I prayed that if you hurt me, I would already forgive you.” No words were said after this and we slept throughout the night.
I sought council from the pastor that married us, this was probably the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I was convicted when he asked, “Can you give him to God?” I told him yes, but this was my toughest battle. I went to church the Sunday after I started living alone, with my mom and my niece. I felt like an outsider, I felt like I didn’t belong with people, like I wasn’t worthy of their presence. I felt like a failure. I didn’t make it into one verse of worship before I ran to the edge of the steps in front of the worship team and hit my knees. I shouted again in front of the entire church, “You hate divorce! How could you allow this to happen?” I cried outwardly! I didn’t care about humility and I had no pride, it had been stripped of me. I was raw and angry and sad – I was consumed by a whirl wheel of emotion and I was not stable.
There is no denying the love that I had for this man. I began to convince my mind that I was in love with a memory. The memories I have are beautiful, the memories I have are irreplaceable and the best part is, is that the memories I have are real, and that they were never a dream.
“If I would’ve known how this would end, If I would’ve read the last page first, If I would’ve known how this would hurt, I’d do it all the same, not a second I would change, not a touch that I would trade. Had I known my heart would break, I would’ve loved you anyway.” – Trisha Yearwood
I will forever be in debt to Corning, my family, my closest friends and my distant friends for the support I received throughout this duration of heartache. I recall a conversation I had with an employee from Les Schwab. I asked him to check my breaks because I thought they were squeaking and I told him, “I don’t know how much it will cost and I don’t have an account.” He said “It’s all alright, we’ll put it on your husband’s account.” I said “No, that’s not an option anymore, we’re no longer together.” As he was checking everything out, he says, “I suppose you don’t believe in getting married young?” I told him, “That’s not true at all, it was still the happiest day of my life.” He said, “I just got married a few months ago.” I told him, “Congratulations! May I offer you some advice?” He said, “Of course!” I said, “I’m not sure if you believe in God, but if you do, be sure to walk a straight line and keep your heart in Him.” He said his wife was a missionary and that she brought him to God. I walked away feeling uplifted and encouraged. I don’t know if this gentleman knew about the gift of hope that he gave me that day.
The idea of being alone began to get easier and easier. Of course my effort was not alone, I leaned hard on my friends, my family, and my coworkers, I sought hope in the bible and in God. I learned that emotions are choices, and it’s up to you to choose whether to be sad, mad or happy. At this moment in my life, my thoughts changed, my perspective changed and my life changed. I learned that I no longer need him to be “Kristin.” My laughter returned and I began to carry charisma again.
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 66:9
My biggest fear was that all of my plans were with him, and that I did not know what my plans would become. I started thinking about myself and my future. I started to find myself. After feeling captivated by the closest form of depression that I’ve ever been associated with in my life, I began to see the light.
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
I was worth more than the cards that I had been dealt. While I refuse to doubt the love I held for him. I realize now that I was not living for myself and my full potential. I applied myself at work, I applied myself to my future. “I” was the end result in each equation. “I” matter! This realization was revolutionary to my soul, my being and my integrity. I didn’t think of myself as any less or any more than the person next to me. I smiled more, I laughed more, I embraced each moment for myself and what it had to offer. This was liberating for me. I felt grounded.
I’m not usually one to talk about grief, anxiety or depression. I’m the one who speaks of the glass half full and all of the blessings life has to offer, but I found ME again. I say this wholeheartedly because it’s true. I watched my friends become engaged, married, pregnant or living life as new parents now and my heart is overjoyed with happiness for them.
Everyone handles heartache differently, but I truly believe that God puts the hardest struggles on his toughest warriors. This has NOT been an easy road, but it has been worth it. I feel closer to God and more in tune with what I seek of this life. It’s all in God’s hands and my faith is in him. My only request is that I can be a testimony to other women or men who have traveled in my shoes; And that I can be a role model to those I pray never have to endure the heartache that I have endured.
This is raw, please be hesitant to judge, and hesitant to feel pity because I want you to know that if you are reading this, that I am strong enough physically, mentally and spiritually and that I can overcome whatever life throws at me.
Through this journey, I am strong.