“I took away her dreams,” my husband told the judge. His words stung. My dreams of bearing children, finishing my college degree, and pursuing my goal of becoming a writer seemed impossible. At thirty, I had hit rock bottom and had to start over in a dead-end job I hated. Tears welled up as I wept bitterly.
Thirty-three years later, I thank God he did not save my marriage. As an abuse survivor, I learned to be kind to myself. Prayer and reading God’s Word helped me to heal. I discovered freedom through travel. I found new ways to earn my college degree and studied internationally. I eventually earned my Master of Arts in Creative Writing.
I learned to keep a short memory. I overcame bitterness by developing a positive attitude. I discovered beauty because I chose to look for it. I learned to love better and adopted two beautiful little girls from Nepal and Vietnam. I homeschooled them and learned patience. I chose to forgive. I was most surprised to learn that locusts can only eat so much. Then they die.
With the wind at my back and the sand underneath my feet, I no longer lament the years the locusts stole from me. They aren’t worth remembering. Only my footprints remain for others to follow.
Instead, I’m thankful. Nothing is ever wasted, especially suffering. By taking that first step towards renewal, we can share our victories despite our pain. Others will be encouraged when they see our footprints and know they aren’t alone.