Who Are You?
“Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” –Orison Swett Marden
Excerpt from Living Learning Loving, Chapter 2
There are times, especially during a divorce or child custody battle, when it takes a lot of courage to know who you are. A divorce or a personal crisis is complicated and many times our choices aren’t so clear. Emotions can block our ability to see reasonably. When we are able to take the emotional aspects out of the situation, we can begin to see it more clearly and act more rationally. Much easier said than done, this is true. You can practice in small ways. When larger issues come up you will be prepared.
Evaluate the pros and cons of any decision before you proceed. Gather advice from someone you trust. Pray over it. Then stand your ground and discover who you are.
During my separation and divorce proceedings, our young children went with my husband for visitation, which meant they were with “the other woman” as well. This tore me apart. He would drive her sports car to pick up the kids. She came to pick them up from daycare on Friday for their visitation time. They would unplug the phones so the children couldn’t phone me when they were with him (I learned this, years later). I knew the kids were confused.
I asked my attorney if there wasn’t something that could be done to prevent the children from having to spend their visitation in this situation. She was very hesitant to address it in court. I could tell she didn’t like the idea of asking a judge about it. She was afraid he might not like it. I remained resolute. So we decided at the time the temporary orders were established I could say something to the judge if I still wanted to.
The day came, but so did the voice inside my head, “Just who do I think I am?” I did not want to do this. I fully expected a bad reaction from my husband, knowing how he liked to be the one in control of any situation. I felt discouraged by my attorney, the courtroom, and of what might happen if I spoke my mind. I remember the day. I wore a dress my mother had made. I looked simple, thin, and frail, nothing flashy or sexy about me. The negative thoughts were powerful. Who do you think you are? Why am I the one doing this? My knees went weak. Standing before a judge can be intimidating (I was easily intimidated in those days). I had lived with a master of intimidation and I realized that it might not go in my favor.
I stood before the judge; he looked down from his elevated bench, and I asked, “Is it acceptable for my children to spend the night in the house with my husband and another woman before the divorce is final?” He said without hesitation, “No it isn’t.” Then he firmly advised my husband that the children were not to stay with a member of the opposite sex during his visitation. It was written into the temporary orders.
Just who did I think I was? I was a mother, hurting, and hoping I could make a point that marriage should mean something.
To be me
one of many voices
learning to stand tall
taking my whole space
no more no less
to be me
with other voices
– Janet Davis, My Own Worst Enemy