Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:18
Please take a moment to look at this marriage proposal to the tune of “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. From the first time that I watched this video, and every time there after, it has remained on replay for at least 5 or 6 cycles because I believe that the message of love and support that it conveys is simply breath taking. But in addition to the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, this video has a supplementary meaning for me. It represents something that I had longed for regarding my marriage proposal but missed in my life… What is that something you might ask? A feeling of happiness and support from some of my family and loved ones regarding my marriage decision.
Now before I begin, I’m not saying that none of my family members supported me. In fact, there were numerous family members who gave me support and encouragement both during and after my proposal. But just as there were many supportive people who made that experience a time to remember, I was met with many unsupportive family members as well. Unfortunately, at the time, the unsupportive people were the closest people to me, thereby making their lack of support more noticeable than the others. I invite you into my story…
Marriage for the most part of my life, was something that I saw as an unimportant, insignificant, waste of a lifetime decision. Most of this stemmed from the plethora of unhealthy marriages that I observed during my childhood. But as I grew older, and learned to be more conscious of the world in which I lived, I realized that many of the messages that I learned during my childhood were wrong…
As a result, I began to open up my heart and my mind to consider the complexities of marriage as well as the benefits of marriages. I realized that marriage itself wasn’t a bad idea, but rather, the people involved in the marriages, and in some cases, the life circumstances that many of us experience in our marriages which were bad. I realized that if I approached marriage with an open heart, mind, and soul, I could have a better chance of experiencing this amazing gift of marriage from God. Should my marriage go bad, as long I approached it with genuine motives, my life experiences would be pleasant. Excited, I wanted to share this new revelation with my family members.
Sadly, they weren’t having it.
You see, in addition to observing unhealthy marriages during my childhood, I was also financially disadvantaged. As such, I received financial assistance from these family members on various occasions. When I expressed my interest in marriage, not only were they critical and close minded towards my insight, but justified the right to behave the way that they did based off of the fact that they were financially supportive of me during my childhood. They furthermore proposed that marrying without their consent was synonymous with an act of ungratefulness and betrayal.
I was devastated… Here I was trying to share the most important thing in my life with them, and all they could do was bash me in return.
You would have thought that they were critical of me because my partner was abusive, because I wasn’t emotionally or psychologically mature enough to handle the challenges of marriage, or because being married would some how cause me to miss out on important life experiences. Nope… None of this was true… These family members were critical because they either witnessed, participated, or received, negative marriage experiences and allowed those to dominate their perspectives. Instead of embracing my perspective and learning from what I had to offer, they were critical and unaccepting of me and my decision.
Needless to say, I was broken hearted. Where many women look forward to the prospect of marriage, I was blessed enough to experience it, but mine was met with shame and embarrassment. I was depressed, lonely, and confused and had no idea how to get through the rejection. I was forced to choose between my family members and my marriage and that was a difficult place to be.
And then it occurred to me…
I wasn’t a bad person because I wanted to get married, the unsupportive perspective of the people against my marriage was bad because it was critical, destructive and counterproductive to my happiness and goals.
I realized that what I was experiencing is what many women across the board experience… sabotaging behavior from one woman to the next. Women who are involuntarily single, involved in unhealthy relationships, or not aware of the benefits of a healthy relationship are often critical of those in pursuit of a happy, healthy marriage, because they don’t know any better. My family members resided in each of these categories and as a result, they bestowed their ignorance on me.
So I had a choice regarding my marriage… I was going to get married because that was where I believed that God was leading me to… but the question was… How?
I could either get married and live a life of shame and frustration because of the critical perspective that my family members held for me… or I could get married, and be a supportive force for other women who are interested in healthy marriages and/or other women’s empowerment concerns…
I chose the latter, and that has made all the difference.
Today, I am a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor. My specialty includes sexual and domestic violence, but I also work with female clients who have concerns regarding body image, addictive behavior and professional/academic success. In addition, I am an author to the book entitled Sacred Journey to Ladyhood: A Woman’s Guide through Her Write of Passage. This is but a few of the ways that I have found my purpose through my most tragic circumstances. I am not saying that I am placed on this earth to mitigate every women’s empowerment issue, but I am confident that because of the chaos that I experienced regarding the women in my life, my purpose is to make the lives of other women with whom I come across that much easier. This is why I’m writing you today.
So the key to finding your purpose through tragic circumstances is to understand the purpose of tragedy. We experience tragedy for three main reasons:
- To be reminded about our need to rely on and maintain our strength in God.
- To learn how to be thankful for what we do have by experiencing gratitude.
- To use our tragedy as a teachable experience that in return improves ourselves, our environment, and the greater world at large.
Through many tears, heart aches, and pain, these messages became painstakingly clear to me through my mission. Sometimes, its not the lessons that are taught in a formal setting (ie. Classroom, church pull-pit, seminar) that inspire us to find our purpose. Rather, it’s through our most tragic circumstances that our purpose is revealed to us. Tragedy is an inevitable life circumstance. However, the way in which we respond is not. Now I ask you… How will you find your purpose through your tragic circumstances?