On FemmePowered I share my heart, experiences and from time to time sprinklings of my faith. I don’t promote religion here. I promote empowerment for women, no matter their background, religious identifier and story. At the same time, my faith and I are inseparable and is greatly reflected in this post. Also – this post is kinda long. But it’s a story I’ve wanted to share a while now. Feel free to post a comment below.
Life. A series of events and experiences that can make, break, mould and shape us. And life primarily consists of relationships. Relationships are the flavor to life. Without them, it just would not be the same. So what do you do when those relationships that mean the most to you seem to be faltering and slipping away? The relationships you feel you cannot live or do without? For years I hung on to a relationship that in reality had ran its course. For me, it was hard to accept because a) I did not think it was possible for this relationship to end and b) the fighter in me would not let it die. However, deep within, I think the default button in me had switched on and for me, the default is fight mode.
You see, all my life I have been a fighter. Things have never come easy and I’ve always had to fight to get what I had and fight even harder to keep it. Some of you may understand what that’s like. So, as second nature, when I saw the relationship slipping, I fought tooth and nail, did all that was in my power, prayed, fasted and pleaded to God to resurrect it. It was hard coming to terms with the reality that what should be a lifetime relationship was really just for a season. And for me, this was hard to grasp because I believe in commitment and keeping promises and oaths. Yes, this is my marriage I am talking about here. I figured if we were both Christians, believed in the same God, a God or resurrection, forgiveness and miracles, why could we not trust Him to fix, heal and restore?
But those were my thoughts. The reality is, although we shared the same space, he had moved on and was living his own life. We were housemates. Nothing more than that to each other. Many nights I cried myself to sleep wondering what went wrong and what could I do to fix things. I talked to God, begged Him to intervene and the wedge just kept growing. The harder I prayed the more bitter and abusive my ex became to me. It was as if my prayers angered him. Through an escalating series of events, we were brought face to face with the realization that we needed to give each other space. I was all for it, particularly when we sat, discussed and agreed the terms and decided that counseling would be sought. Somewhere between living apart he came to the conclusion that he was not ready for marriage (after all these years) and soon started up another relationship. And in a way, his admission brought me secret relief. It meant to me that I was not bad, flawed or undesirable. ‘It’s not you but me‘, he would say. It was just that he was not ready. At the same time, it did not make it easier. But sometimes, many times, letting go and facing the inevitable is the best for us. I came to the realization that if I handed the relationship over to God, I mean really handed it over to Him and not try to work my way and my agenda, then I should consider the matter to be in His capable hands and the end would be best for me.
His capable hands. Hmmm. I would be a liar to say that it was that easy. Along the way I cried and questioned Him. There are many things I didn’t understand. Like why me and why us. Why? Yet, I know my life and times are in His hands. He has not forgotten me and that while everything can be considered a variable, He is my one constant. He will never walk out on me, He will never change His mind, He will never come to the decision that He desires something or someone else more than me. And He will never abuse me. His love for me is sure. He is mature, honest, faithful and loves me – all of me. I couldn’t ask for more, really. So, I anchor myself in Him and trust Him day to day for His strength, grace, provision and infinite mercy. My hope in Him anchors my soul.
I’m glad I let go. My life has become so much better because of it. I lost myself in an unhealthy marriage. Wading my way through the maze of self-forgiveness and self-discovery has been worth it. Finding that strong, brave and confident girl again has been an amazing experience. Sometimes the things we hold on to are chains. And they keep us bound to situations, people and a future that was never part of the design for us. There’s no shame in letting go. In fact, at the stage I am in life now, where hindsight is 20/20, I tell women to run from any relationship that fails to honor them. It takes two to make a relationship work. Both people need to want it EQUALLY. You’ve prayed, you’ve tried you’ve put it in God’s hands. You gave it your all. There’s no shame in that. Now prepare yourself for something bigger, better and so much more deserving of you. I’m not gonna sit here and make you feel it’s easy. But trust me when I say, what lays ahead is so much better than what you’re letting go. Give yourself the permission to believe that.
Before I go, I leave you with this extract of a sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes. If you ever find yourself holding on to people that you should be letting go of his words may bring a sense of understanding to you. I know they’ve helped me.
When people can walk away from you, let them walk. Because our destiny is not tied to the person who left. The Bible said that they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19] People leave you because they are not joined to you and if they are not joined to you, you can get super-glue, you cannot make them stay. T.D.Jakes
*** Note: It was not easy for me to open up and share this private experience but if it helps and empowers someone or bring a sense of clarity, then to it’s worth it. At the same time, I do not advocate the breaking up of families. I fought a single fight to save my marriage. And then I realized it was not what God wanted for me. I let it go. It was hard but it has been worth it in the end. I filed for divorced after more than a year of separation and felt no shame about it. I harbor no resentment and my personal practice has been to forgive and trust God to do His thing. I am not telling anyone to walk away from their marriage. That is something between you, your partner and God. I’m just sharing my experience and saying that at times, the writing is on the wall and you don’t need to be tied to anyone who does not want to stay, particularly when they would have violated the vows and sanctity of the relationship. Sometimes, you have to know when their part in the story ends and accept it, no matter how hard or heartbreaking it is.
Update* – found this great video of Brene Brown talking about forgiveness. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Brené Brown on empathy, compassion and boundaries…
Posted by The Work of the People on Saturday, March 5, 2016
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.