Photographer Yvette Crocker ; Flowers by Park Florists of Takoma Park, Md
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV)
I’d been in counseling almost a year as today’s counseling session started. The phone rang, and I was ready to talk. My counselor consistently started off with prayer. She prayed for our strength and that God would reveal what needed to be dealt with during the session. The beginning of today’s session was no different. She asked me softly, “So, what’s been going on with you?” Usually this portion of my counseling session was used to reflect on what I’d been working on, small accomplishments, and about my son’s well being. Today, I gave my counselor the blues like never before.
I began to tell her about my week through tears! You see, my ex-husband came to my family’s home driving a new BMW, he’d just recently gotten a new home, relocated further away from the area, and to top it off, he had a new girlfriend he’d moved in with.
I began to scream from the deepest part of my soul, “What did I do for God to forsake me? I’m going to counseling, taking care of my son, being a better mother to him, volunteering, going to church, I go to counseling, yet I’m still HERE! He gets EVERYTHING!” I stopped my rant long enough just to swallow so that I wouldn’t choke. ” He lied, he didn’t want to do the work, and yet he gets to move on. He gets everything and what do I have to show for all of this pain? NOTHING! I am stuck in my parents’ home with no idea when I’ll be able to afford to leave. He gets to move on, while I’m stuck picking up pieces and I’m in pain.”
After I released my rant from the anger I felt, the tears continued to flow. I cried because I was tired of being strong. Before my counselor could even open her mouth to respond, I interjected, “And another thing! I already know it isn’t right to envy others. I know I shouldn’t judge my accomplishments by what he has, but this is what I feel right now!”
I’m not sure if my counselor was crying with me at this point but I know she was totally caught off guard by my outburst of emotions.
When she recovered, she began to express how valid my feelings were, and how I had a right to be angry, confused, and hurt. She also explained that I had other choices. “Look up this verse as soon as you hang up today. In the mean time, I’ll explain it,” she said. She moved on to pour a lesson into me that changed my life, and I’ll try my best to teach it to you.
Imagine God serving us food on a silver platter. On the one side, there’s good food like fruit, steak, or your favorite cake. On the other side of the platter you see a rotten apple or spoiled meat. If he gave you the option to choose what you’d eat, what would you choose? Of course you’d choose to eat the thing that would satisfy you most—the good stuff.
This is exactly how life is. In Deuteronomy, God expresses how He gives us both blessings and curses for our choosing. Not only does He give us both of these things, but he also gives us the gift of choice. My counselor went on to explain that God urges us to choose blessings for ourselves. “Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live”(Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV). By the time she finished explaining, I heard the verse like this,”Paige choose life so that you and Ryan can live.”
From this place of pain, I learned that no matter how wrong it felt to watch my ex-husband move on, it was his right. What he gains in life takes nothing away from who I am. I was so broken hearted that I saw his efforts to move on as God punishing me. I didn’t believe in a God that would ever be so cold. I constantly remind myself of everything that God says about me—I am chosen, I am His child, He’ll provide for me, I am forgiven, I am blessed, I am accepted, I am loved, and I am free.
With that realization, I could choose to be a victim or a victor. I could choose to be happy or sad. It was my choice to recognize my accomplishments and blessings since my separation, or I could be distracted by how others were living.
Although I haven’t purchased a home and I haven’t found a new love, I’m ok. I’m prayerful, not anxious, not worried—just waiting. For once in my life, I’m figuring out what I want, healing from my past, learning my worth, accomplishing “I wish I hads”, and finding balance knowing that life can’t always be perfect.
Whichever decision I made—blessings or curses, it all came down to making a conscious decision. The one thing I knew for certain was that my son deserved to live. My counselor challenged me to send her a text of a picture or short message explaining the blessing that I experienced that day. The blessing didn’t have to be extravagant. The blessing just had to be recognized and acknowledged.
I’d said to my counselor, “I’m thirty four years old with nothing to show for it.” That was a lie. I had my health, my strength, my son, a family, a home that my son and I were welcome to live in, friends, sisters, brothers, parents, my job, my right mind, a car, food, clothes, my education, and talents that made me who I am. I read that verse repeatedly. I chose that day to make a conscious effort to spend the rest of my thirties running towards life, choosing to live according to what I wanted and what God needed from me.