Not so very long ago, in a land not so very far away, lived a sad girl who was with the wrong guy. Everyone knew it. People whispered about it behind her back. Family members called meetings and even staged mini interventions to warn her. Within the first few weeks of dating, she was crying over things he said to her yet she stayed. Within the first few months, she ended up with a baby in her belly and heavy sadness in her heart. Friends told her that she should leave and raise the baby alone. Sadly though, being pregnant and having low self esteem as well as a strict Catholic upbringing (Catholic guilt, anyone?) pretty much left her no choice but to marry him.
Once she was married, her family was bound and determined that this marriage would last. Divorce was not an option in their world. Throughout the years, she tried to make the best of it. He would tell her she was fat (even using the cruel nickname of "Bigs McLarge Huge") so she would try to work out. Instead of being supportive, he would make fun of her as she tried to run or lift weights. Every time she would try to leave, her family would rally around, saying that she wasn't a good Catholic if she couldn't make this work. And the crazy thing about that was that he didn't believe in God and continually made fun of her for doing so.
By about the 3 year mark, she was finally broken. She started to believe every negative word that was said about her. And instead of trying to change her situation, she settled into an unhealthy lifestyle of fast food, lethargy, and fighting. She turned to food to heal the brokenness inside of her. The more she ate, the better she felt and sadly, the larger she got. It was a terrible cycle and it needed to end.
And it did. Finally. Sparing you of a lot of long drawn out details, she eventually started working at a job when she was in a power position. This, along with a Bible study she joined, were just the right combination to empower her to do something about her situation. She started believing in herself and knew what she had to do. She asked him to leave and never even considered that they would reconcile. She made her family upset with her decision. She made her son upset with her decision. She rocked everyone's world with her choice. But, it was her life and she needed to live in a world where she wasn't afraid of the next time he would get angry...a world where she didn't have to hear every terrible thing about her repeated in arguments...a world where she was surrounded by people who treated her the way she deserved to be treated.
Hit fast forward and you'll find that our sad girl is no longer sad. She is a happy, healthy Mom of three wonderful kids, has an amazing husband, loves her family, her friends, her faith and is currently writing a blog about exercise and motivation. Who would have thunk it, right?
I have friends who are caught in many forms of unhealthy cycles, and I truly wish that they would find a way to believe in themselves. Situations are not going to get better by sitting around waiting for them to do so. And sometimes, drastic action is necessary to make change.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.