As I stood looking in the mirror, I thought to myself; “Is this how you thought life would be?”

As I stood looking in the mirror, I thought to myself; “Is this how you thought life would be?”

I had just taken a bath, then said that to myself as I looked in the mirror this morning, “Is this how you thought life would be?”

All I could think before those words came out was that I never thought this would be my place in life.

“My story”, if you will.

As I looked. back on my life I remembered as a teen, roller skating to my ‘getaway spot’, and honestly I secretly wanted exactly what it offered… I wanted Hallmark.

Wait…. That needs more explanation.

I wanted flowers on my birthday – even if they weren’t my favorite ones, I wanted to be the treasured one – the one who was watched and taken care of (emotionally), I wanted the beautiful house with all of the perfect furniture, with kids who got to participate in what they wanted (without worry of cost), a bank account where I didn’t go to bed fearful that the power would stay on, and just no crazy anxiety. I wanted some bubble gum and glitter  – simply a life that didn’t have the crazy ups and downs of reality.

Truthfully… That’s what I thought MY life should be – if I was good enough. (No wonder I write so passionately about being enough.)

My life is so far from perfect it’s not surprising my site is named My Life Sparkles… That is the vision I’ve had my entire life.

So, I need to share some truth. Because, how can you follow me if I am not transparent and truthful. And in that place of exposing it allow others to feel the bravery to talk about their lives without hiding behind the wall of fear, shame, or not feeling valued.

So I will be real.

I’m a single mom of eight children. Some of my children have been angry at me. I have had a season of working over sixty – seventy – eighty hours a week trying to make ends meet. I have dealt with people who simply didn’t respect me and treated me like I was nothing. I left that environment with PTSD and moved on. But truthfully,  I’m tired. And oftentimes I want to put my head down on my table and cry.

I don’t like to talk about any of it. Or write about ANY of it.

It feels like failure and is simply embarrassment, really.

Somehow I wanted my life to be the exception, I mean why not??  I wanted to be the one who was always loved, cared for, and important. I didn’t want to feel unimportant – why would I???  Honestly – never ever did I want to go to bed every night with my head on the pillow and feel so utterly completely alone.

I know I’m not alone. I know I have my children.  I know there are those who love me and will stand with me. (Depending on the situation),  I do know that if I picked up the phone at any time someone would be right here for me. I want to know that, and honestly it’s true.  My children would.

But, in my emotional house, most of the time it is just me. It is me in the morning and at lunch and at bedtime. There is no one across the table for me to smile at when my children do something funny. There is no one to think of me on their way home and grab my favorite sourdough or frozen yogurt. There is no help with trying to work end of the month and be sure dinner gets on the table or any of that.

Please hear me – I am not complaining. This just isn’t the way I imagined my life would be.

I am telling you my reality because I know that there are some of you out there who are in the same spot. Maybe it’s not exactly the same. Perhaps you are going through extreme financial issues and you always thought you’d have enough (I’ve been there too — holy moly — is that stressful!). Maybe your child is sick, and if so I will pray for you. I will pray hard. Or perhaps you’ve also dealt with the death of a loved one. That emptiness doesn’t ever seem to get any easier for me. Or maybe you are navigating something I can’t even articulate.

Life too often doesn’t look anything like it was thought going to look like.

It’s important that I know our picture of life has been distorted.  Somehow the illusion that life can be beautiful “if it is a certain way” has been accepted and has created a place of ambiguity and purgatory of real life beauty.  There is no blank canvas here.  

It’s true.

I’ll tell you. I work harder than I ever thought one would work right now. I do it because I love my children and grandchildren and I believe in the message I have – or want to leave. I believe in finding joy even when life is the antithesis of Hallmark.

Someone needs to tell you that life is beautiful, even when it is messy.

So it will be me.  I’ll tell you.

Life is beautiful!!

My children love me even when they act like they hate me or they act like this is the worst day ever for them. They just do it and I know it. My house may not be the trendiest, most beautiful, and awesome designer place, but it is my home and I love it.  I’m getting some wrinkles and am so very, very tired, but I have a body that is still living, moving, and has the ability to give. 

It’s hard to let go of what we thought would be the ideal dream of life. I choose gratitude.  I have learned that living grateful for your today fills life with meaning that cannot always be explained.

So I choose to move forward, climb the next mountain, and to see beauty.

In my messy, very imperfect, working hard life which, honestly, is probably where most of us would really be. We just need to share. To admit the truth. To love those around us no matter where they are. To support. To care. Need to judge. And to be there for each other. To look at our friends lives who are challenging, not with pity but with admiration for their courage.

It’s not about perfection.

It’s about loving. Caring. Giving.

That’s community. Life.

And ultimately – joy.

From me, in my broken but yet beautiful life, to you.

You are worthy. Beautiful. Worth it. You contribute great value to this world.

Even if life isn’t what you thought it would be.

Carry on, please carry on and by the way – in case you missed it, you are worth it.