“‘Amadi, you are going to be a single parent of 2 girls!!’ ‘WHAT, who said that? – You had better kick rocks because you must be telling a make-believe story… This simply cannot be happening, at least not to me!’ These were just a snippet of the thoughts which flooded my mind as I thought about my impending divorce. Who on earth would choose to be a single parent of 2 small children after being with the one you gave your all to for 14 years? The truth is, sometimes we all must make very hard decisions in life which will affect our loved ones.
5 years ago I was in the midst of a crumbling marriage to an unfaithful spouse, a stressful job and had just been recently diagnosed with having high blood pressure despite being an avid runner and fitness enthusiast. It felt like my world – the way I had envisioned it at least – was indeed crumbling, and crumbling very fast! I remember all too well the day I decided to proceed with filing for divorce – I was at work in the midst of a major deadline, when I started having severe chest pains. I called my doctor’s office and explained my symptoms and the nurse instructed me to leave the office and head to the emergency room if the pain did not subside. After hanging up with the nurse, I paused for about 15 minutes, took some deep, deep breaths and prayed to God to please relieve the pain from my chest. Sometime later, I called a good friend Melba to let her know and she promised to meet me if I decided to go to the hospital. On my silent drive home, I recall the Lord speaking to me almost audibly asking, ‘If you were to die today – what would happen to your girls? Who would care for them in your absence?’ At that moment, I had absolute clarity, fully aware I needed to be whole mentally, emotionally and physically to take care of the precious lives I had been entrusted with. OMG, this was not going to be easy but I had confidence God would be there to guide me every step of the way.
The girls were ages 6 and 3 at the time of our divorce. I recall thinking about our future together and what our new normal life would feel like as a family. Well, I did not have much time to ponder over those images because it seemed that my soon to be ex-husband was determined to make my life a living nightmare on earth as soon as he was served with divorce papers. He had almost immediately stopped getting the girls from school and had already been coming and going from the house at all hours of the night. He treated our home much like a roadside motel where he would come to shower, get dressed and leave for his daily activities. The only difference was that I was totally responsible for all the household expenses. I knew I had to remain positive for the sake of the girls, no matter how difficult things were getting in terms of our communicating.
Honestly, I had hoped we could somehow get through our divorce proceedings amicably, but that was until my darling husband filed a false report with the Department of Family and Children Services against me. OMG!! It is one thing to deal with the blow of a devastating divorce, but now there was an open investigation into the care of the girls. I was speechless when I received an urgent phone call from a caseworker requesting an emergency in-home visit! Nevertheless, the caseworker conducted a thorough investigation which included spending time with the girls, our nanny at the time, and interviewing me personally. Since no abuse was discovered and the related claims were found to be false, the case was ultimately closed.
I was always so determined to keep a positive atmosphere around the girls at all costs. After all, children do not ask to be brought into the world, they are precious gifts from God. With the impending divorce proceedings underway and my adjustment to the demands of single parenting, nothing except my faith in God could have prepared me for the sad news I would receive from my mother. I remember the phone call so vividly. My sweet mother’s weak voice calling to inform me of my younger brother’s untimely death. I prayed and asked God for strength and overwhelming peace to be able to support my mother while handling the funeral arrangements. Wow, here I was going through the trials of double tragedy – a devastating divorce while simultaneously dealing with the death of my beloved brother. At the time, it felt like I had been dealt such a gut-wrenching blow to my heart, but I can tell you these trials have made me a much stronger and courageous woman who is fiercely determined to encourage others who are going through similar valleys of life.
Following my divorce, I intentionally sought healing for my daughters by getting them Christian counseling which made a significant impact in their healing journey. I also personally attended counseling for 6 months to ensure my emotional and mental healing progress was on track. Fast forward a few years later, I now assist others as a DivorceCare Facilitator, Empowerment Coach, and through Grief support. I have since authored a book titled, ‘Love, Marriage, and Divorce – Then Death Came Knocking,’ to offer encouragement to others through my story. Remember even when you are dealt some really bitter tasting lemons along this journey called life, you too can end up with some sweet tasting lemonade through hard work and seeking intentional healing.
Today the girls are now ages 11 and 8 – super smart, loving, and fun to be around and are just as passionate about seeking out children whose parents have been through divorce and or experienced grief to offer support and encouragement to them. While my journey has not been easy and I have shed many tears of hurt, pain, and joy – I would not change a single thing circumstance for every test has led to my beautiful testimony.
In closing, I would love to encourage you that overcomers are often discovered in those real deep trenches, muddy waters, along stony roads, amongst thorn bushes, low valleys and quite possible the Amazon forests of life!! Your testimony is absolutely connected to your trials. Never ever give up! We are standing with you cheering you forward because someone needs to hear your story for encouragement!”
This story was written by Amadi Leaks of Atlanta, GA. You can follow her on Instagram here. You can also visit her website here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our free newsletter for our best stories.
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