An open letter to the men we thought we knew

Aviary Photo_130894675826371795To the men we once knew,

This letter has been a long time coming.  So many times we have longed to put pen to paper, however thought better of it.

But the day has finally come.  Our hearts are no longer full of hatred and anger, but instead forgiveness and love. With that said, we begin by saying two simple words, thank you.

Never would we have ever thought a time would come when we would find it in our hearts to thank you for all the pain you caused.  Little did we believe we had the strength to trudge through the heartache of another day, however we survived and for that, we thank you.

We thank you for the extensive list of names you called us.  From racists, to unfit mamas, to lazy wives and adulterous women, a thank you must be uttered.  For every demeaning email, sent text and phone call you made to those in our life, we thank you.

For every person you had follow us, to the stalking and spying neighbors, we thank you.  For instilling fear, leaving us scared to leave our homes as we constantly peered over our shoulder, we again say thank you.

For breaking our spirits, leaving us no longer recognizable to those who truly knew and loved us, thank you. Each moment left questioning our sanity and what we knew to be true regarding ourselves, thank you.

For involving not only our friends, but family and church as you worked to alienate us, leaving us alone, abandoned and betrayed, we thank you.

For spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive attorneys instead of financially providing for the children you claimed to love and promised to provide for, we thank you.  For caring more about winning a battle than being what our children needed and for teaching the difference between true character and integrity not just to us, but to our children, we thank you.

As you surrounded yourself with those we once called friends and family, leaving us to fight alone, you left us finally understanding the true meaning of love and friendship.  You helped us to realize what shallow and toxic relationships actually looked like as we finally recognized that a handful of friends are all we truly need.

You see, for what felt like forever, our hearts burned with rage and hatred so deep that the idea of extinguishing the flames appeared near impossible. You left our world feeling dark and lonely as we withdrew deep within ourselves to the point of losing our sense of self.  Instead, we became shells of women who were left feeling we had no purpose and were beyond being loved.  Thank you for breaking us to the point that left us feeling like we were nothing.

For all these things, we thank you.  We thank you as you have helped to confirm the old cliché, because truly what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  For making those verses in Genesis and Exodus come to life for us as we trusted God to fight our battle and reveal truth, we thank you.

Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it only for good, and through me, He preserved the lives of countless people, as He is still doing today.

Genesis 50:20

 The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence.

Exodus 14:14

We have fought through a battle we were unprepared to fight, but we have come out princess warriors who are stronger than we ever thought possible.

You left us in a dark hole, frightened, cold and completely alone, longing and waiting to be rescued.  Weighed down by the heaviness of all we endured, we believed we would drown. However, someone swooped in to rescue us.  Because of Him, we experienced a love unlike any other as He picked up every broken piece you worked so meticulously to create and He not only put it all back together but turned it into an amazingly beautiful masterpiece of His love and grace.

He came in and redeemed, rescued and restored all those things within us you tore apart.  He worked within our hearts to remind us of our true identity as He whispered, with gentleness and affirmation that we belonged to Him.

Through it all, we have changed.  We are strong.  You have reawakened a passion that once burned deep within us and again, we thank you.  You brought back that nine year old little girl who once ran through the yard with her toy gun and badge, pretending to be Cagney or Lacey while fighting for truth and justice.

Everything has changed. We no longer perceive people, especially you, as “flesh to flesh and mess to mess” but instead “spirit to spirit.” We recognize that you are no different than us.  You too, just like us, flaws, sins and all, are loved by God. You too, just like us, deserve forgiveness and our prayers and so today, we let go of the hatred, not just for you but for all those who followed and supported you.  Today, we choose to love.

Unfortunately for you, we are no longer the person you tirelessly spent working to destroy, we are stronger.  We are fighters.  We are proof that God makes beauty out of ashes.

 We now love in a healthy way.  We don’t trust as we once did, but instead allow a select few within our walls.  We view the world from a totally new and different perspective, for you helped to open our eyes to true beauty, truth and loyalty and for each one of these things, we say thank you!

We truly wish the best for you and will never forget the path of discovery you led us down. For that path led us on a journey to discover who we truly are in Jesus. And for it all, we again say thank you.

With thanks, from the bottom of our hearts,

The women you thought you knew