In my 28 years of life, I’ve managed to learn some very harsh lessons. I guess I’ve always had some sort of exposure to God. My full first name is Charmaine-Grace, so I make the joke that I had no choice in following God. But…I realized I’ve always had a choice.
How do I accurately explain where I currently am in life, and what got me here? The beginning might be a good option, but I think I know where things really started to turn.
I got married when I was 22, and separated when I was 26. If I had written this about 6 months ago, I would have bashed marriage, and probably would have ridiculed anyone that was engaged or even thinking about the idea.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Seeing two people come together with God at the center of it all? It’s amazing when it works. Unfortunately, I was not a part of one of those couples. As you can imagine, the fights were constant and they got pretty nasty. I got to a point where all I was asking for was respect for my personal beliefs, and even that seemed impossible. If I’ve learned one thing about God, it’s that he has one hell of a way (no pun intended) of getting your attention when you start to fall too far.
In my case, it came in the form of a car accident that could have left me dead or paralyzed. My injuries were bad enough that I was basically bedridden for 3 months, outside of the most painful physical therapy I had ever endured. All I could really do during those 3 months was think and watch Netflix. I can remember never reading my bible or praying.
I was more pissed off than anything. Life was alright before this damn accident, and I knew things were just going to get worse once I recovered. I was right. This accident was the death of my marriage. My ex decided to live with his parents since we lost our apartment, and left my parents to be my caretakers, making a 6 hour trip every week just to get me to physical therapy. But, for reasons that I honestly still can’t give anyone, my ex and I moved back in together about 8 months after my accident. We called it our “new start.’ Things were okay. For about 4 months.
That time was a blur, I can’t even remember all the details anymore. I just know that I got tired of being married to someone who blatantly showed he did not care about my well-being. I started hanging out with different people, mainly men… in doing so, I had a string of affairs. This may sound psychotic, but it was after that point when I began to hear God again. He knew I wasn’t happy. I was in so much pain, and I was going down yet another path. This time, I was unsure if I’d return.
Even in midst of pain and searching, I knew God was there. And I figured out what He wanted me to be, and what I needed to do: I just need to love. We’re in a world where people are being slaughtered just because of who they are. There’s so much pain and bitterness, and it all seems pointless. It’s not. Choosing to love and simply respect others has opened doors that I thought would remain shut. There’s this inner peace that I didn’t know I could have.
Have I completely turned my life around? Definitely not. I’m now divorced, and I have to admit my temper is as short as it can be. I’m human. I’m going to screw up, and there’s nothing I can do to avoid it. But what I do know is God already knows that, and still loves the hot mess that I am. I have made countless mistakes during my short time here on Earth, some of which I would give anything to take back. God has seen what I’ve done, and still takes me back. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. I’m pretty sure you’re waiting for the main point, so here it is: no matter what you’ve done or how terrible you’ve been, it’s never too late to turn back. I don’t care what religion you believe in, or if you don’t believe in one at all. You can change, and it will get better.