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My Side of the Story (Censored Edition)

In 2013, I set out on the incredibly heart wrenching journey of becoming a twenty-something divorcee and single mother. Many people in the tiny little town I call home know all the gory details about the events that lead up to my divorce, my local record for shortest divorce to date, and the incredibly painful process of coming into my own as the girl I am today. 

But for the sake of my blog and for the type of deeply personal writing that I do, I know it's only fair to give you-my readers-some background. A peek into a past that is anything, but lovely.

 If you've been reading my blog for some time, you know that I have never been one to hold back. Writing is therapy for me. And in my heart I truly believe that by exposing the monsters in my closet, I am helping women who are just like me find the hope and encouragement they need to move forward with their lives. I want to be a small, quiet voice that whispers, "Sweet sister, you are not alone", in a world that can be so very cruel. Trust me, I have felt incredibly alone on this journey at times, and so as result I share so others don't have to feel this way. 

However, I have learned through a series of trial and error, that there is an appropriate way to do this. Eventually, you get tired of pointing fingers and dragging everyone through the mud. One morning after the hurt subsides, you wake up and decide that you are done apologizing, editing, and "taking back" words that you meant, but that you probably should of never said. In our ever connected world, there is very little privacy and while I may be a self-proclaimed open book, I realize that many of people who have been affected by my side of the story are not, and I have an obligation to protect them no matter what part they may or may not have played in my saga. 

So, with that said, here's my side of the story...censored edition. 


** PLEASE NOTE:**
All names have been omitted to prevent a real life nuclear attack on my now some what quiet life. 
Sorry, local tabloid columnists, no name dropping here.

In 2007, at the age of twenty-one, I got married to the love of my life. My ex-husband and I dated four years before we got married, and we were very young and eager to start our lives together. There was a wedding, a honeymoon, and then we settled into life. Life where a couple of crazy kids pretended to be grown ups. We had no idea what we were doing, but we did it. We laughed and we fought-God, did we fight. We made memories, we had milestones, and we survived. We survived every single struggle and we opened our hearts to every possibility life threw our way. It was crazy. It was beautiful. And we loved each other-really, truly loved each other. 

Two years after we got married, our daughter, Emma Grace was born. She came long before I was ready, but to this day I wouldn't trade a single second of the last five years. She has been my lifeline through all of this, and the only thing that keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground and moving forward. She is what's left of our legacy. She is proof that despite the mess we were never a mistake, and I cling to that promise every single day.

Soon after Emma was born, life began to magnify the problems in my marriage that had been there from the beginning. Things were done, words were said, and hurt was inflicted. I can't pinpoint the exact moment when we lost our bearings, but we did, and shortly after that things began to spiral out of control.

Before I go any further, I want to say that it is no secret that even before we were married, there was abuse. This issue was magnified by the stress that came with marriage and the fact that we were new parents unable to find some common ground. Those moments are very dark times in my life and have played a huge part in why I am the woman, mother, and writer I am today, but in an effort to keep certain things in my life more private, I feel that part of my past is not something I am willing to open up about at this time.

With that said, in December of 2011, I met a man who was not my husband. We began an open friendship that quickly turned into an extramarital affair. I was hurting, alone, and in desperate need of someone to save me, and I truly thought he was going too. We both made promises we couldn't keep, and at the end of it all I was left alone, heart broken, and picking up the pieces of a very shattered life.

I was at the end of my rope.

I had been knocked off my pedestal of self-righteous perfection, and I was starring at the world from flat on back on rock bottom.

This was new to me, because at one time in my life, I was a symbol of  the "perfect" Christian life. I was raised in church, I got saved at an early age, I attended private, Christian school, I didn't have a sip of alcohol until the day I turned 21, I didn't cuss, and I most certainly didn't live with my husband before we were married. I sang specials in church and volunteered in the nursery, I can quote Scripture until I'm blue in the face and say the books of the Bible backwards. My husband and I had a pew with our name on it. I was your typical, judgmental, "follower of Christ" until my world fell apart.

Despite the pain of those early days, I realize now that God brought me to the place where I was stripped bare and forced to face a world full of people who would rather pass judgement and cast stones instead of offering love and forgiven, so that I could see how the rest of the world views Christianity.

And to be honest, that has broken my heart more than all the lies, betrayal, and hate I have been forced to endure as consequences for my actions.

God brought me here, so that I would have the unmistakable privilege of seeing the world the way He sees them: lost, broken, and in desperate need of a Savior.

Loving people...women in particular...is my calling. He has brought me through this mess, so that my life can be a message. A message of hope, of overcoming, of what it looks like to face down your demons with strength that only comes from a merciful God.

Am I perfect? No. Do I still have a long way to go? Yes.

But, if I can change at least one person's life with my story, then I'm going to keep telling it until I do.

****
This brief synopsis of my past is exactly that...my past. If you were wanting to know more...all the gory details...I'm sorry. I made a choice a few months ago to NOT live in my past anymore. This brief story is meant to only show you that if you are lost or hurting, I have been where you are. I have known inconceivable pain and felt deep loss with every single fiber of my being. I have lost sleep, I have cried enough tears to fill an ocean, and I have screamed in anguish when there were no more tears left to cry. I have made my fair share of mistakes, but I have been forgiven by grace..beautiful grace.

Trust me, I have been where you are, and if I am still clinging to His truth, His hope, and His salvation, then so can you.

So, if this is your first time visiting my blog, please feel free to stay a while. Search my archives, read my heart on paper, and know that despite how lonely you may feel, you are NOT alone.

I am also available through email to share more about my story and to help you in anyway that I can: ashleydamitz@gmail.com

Hope is a beautiful thing, and I promise it's still out there. You may just need a hand to hold until you are able to find it. 

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