Are preparing you for what you messed up the first time or maybe even the second time. Each stage is preparing you for your do over! This all hit me while I’m on a cruise spending much needed time away with my husband. The husband I prayed for and asked God for. We all look at experiences we’ve had or choices we’ve made and say “Going through that helped build me into the person I am today.” I’m sure our experiences and choices added to who we are but God is why I am who I am today. God builds character. He allows us the free will to make those good choices (like marrying my fine, amazing husband) or the bad choices (like accruing debt from being greedy or being insanely irresponsible while going through a divorce). Then He uses those choices and like a house is built with bricks, He builds us.
I’m going to share with you my stages and then the lessons tied to them so you can see what I mean and maybe, just maybe by the end of this post you’ll have figured out your stages and what they’re leading you to. How is God giving you your redo?
In stage one-that’s the divorce stage. I made some awful, inexcusable down right stupid decisions. Many people have said going through a divorce is like death. It’s like the literal death of a loved one. The pain feels unbearable. So to numb this pain I did things that I normally wouldn’t do. Going out to the club, drinking, inappropriate relationships. I became a lot less focused on the details of the things that used to be super important to me. I was going to church but I wasn’t actually applying what was being preached to my life. I was just going through the motions. I wanted to be better but didn’t want to do the work to be better. I was having too much fun! Anyone ever notice that when you’re having fun doing things you shouldn’t be doing that this stage doesn’t seem to last that long? 🙋🏾♀️-I noticed. But those deep lesson stages last forever!
In stage two- this is where I started to regroup and refocus. I stopped doing the things I was doing in stage one and actually started applying God’s word to my life. I fully threw myself into church and being a single parent. Which was hard. But I was really blessed to be surrounded by people who helped me, poured into me and cared for my kids. People who prayed for me to find love.
I’ve always been great at money management but in this stage I became more aware of the importance of budgeting and setting money aside. Being a good steward is important 😉. I worked but every year I put my income taxes in my savings account. I used those funds to pay my mortgage, buy kids school clothes, car repairs, house needs etc. My incomes taxes carried me to Christmas where I got a Christmas bonus from work. I used that money to buy Christmas and to pay my mortgage until I filed taxes in February. I was very focused and strategic in this time period of my life. I wasn’t having as much “fun” in this stage. I didn’t really go anywhere or have the freedom I thought I had in stage one, but I was happier. You’d think choosing to cut out the “fun” I’d be a little less happy. But who says that always doing what we want or what we think is the cool thing to do brings happiness? We make choices that we think will bring us happiness because we compare our lives to the things we see other people doing and associate that with what we think is happiness. Especially with social media. Look at stage one……notice I didn’t mention happiness or freedom.
Stage three-this is my love stage. Every aspect of my life had kind of fallen into place and in walks my husband. It’s like all those romantic movies when the woman’s just living her life hoping to find love and then enters a handsome man to sweep her off her feet. Yep that was me. We didn’t tell a lot of people when we first started dating. Just a few select people knew. We did this because we wanted to have the chance to get to know each other without people chiming in. We also wanted to determine and set boundaries for our relationship so that when people did finally know that we were dating we knew how to respond or handle the questions we’d get.
And now I’m in stage four. Married, a baby, survived a 9 month deployment and on a cruise. But stage 4…..this is what I was working towards in my first marriage. This is my redo. All of those stages taught me the things I needed to fix within myself so that I could get to my redo. In stage one I learned how not to focus on the details of things so much. Remember how in my last post I mentioned being a control freak? Well stage one broke that. I mean hello I was going through a divorce-control is right out the window at this point. But it prepared me for stage 4. So now when my husband puts the pans in the wrong space. I don’t care like I used to. I just appreciate that he put them away. Now I’m a bit more patient and I don’t feel the need to argue or nit pick at everything. I’ve learned to bite my tongue and pick my battles, which creates peace in our relationship.
Stage two taught me that even though I was a good steward in my previous marriage, I could have been a better one. When grocery shopping I didn’t look at prices of pretty much anything. I didn’t compare prices or look for sales. Because we had the money I just bought what I wanted. Even when things were tight. I also maintained full control over the funds. What went where, what got paid when and how much got paid. What the budget was. What we could spend on what. But now in this marriage, because of stage two, I’m more price conscious because one, I had to be as a single mom and two, I learned to manage my finances with God as my partner so when he brought me my husband we are now able to manage finances as partners. (God’s leading us in this area!!).
And stage three taught me how to protect my marriage, which I didn’t do a great job of the first time around. I shared way too much personal information which took away my husbands trust. (Side bar, ladies don’t do this! Protect your husbands/significant others heart and vulnerability. It’s not easy for them to show their weaknesses but it’s important that they’re able to do so with you). I shared a lot of our personal struggles with one too many people and this only made our struggles worse! Ladies we can blow things out of proportion and we want validation that what we are upset about is right. But if you’re not connected with people who are mature enough to tell you you’re wrong (in love) or to encourage you or people who don’t know God and will give you godly advice you end up doing more damage to your relationship.
So now in stage four I’m getting my do over. I’m getting to do better the thing I messed up or took for granted the first time around-marriage. And I’m sure in this stage there’s something for me to learn and take with me to the next stage. But I want to encourage you to look back over the things that you’ve gone through and connect that to what you’ve asked God for.
Connect it to what you’re continuously praying for and you’ll see how you’re getting that second or third or fourth chance to get to the one thing you desire most but maybe messed up when you had it the first time. Your thing may be finances, or a home you lost, a career or small business that you made some poor decisions in and now you’re being presented with the opportunity to redo it and excel. Whatever it is count yourself blessed to be able to be better than you were before!