Life Dreamed versus Life Received

August 6, 2020

I didn’t plan for the life that found me. I envisioned something completely different. Something safe and normal. Nothing fancy, just a life that is long enough to enjoy it, fun enough to keep me entertained, and full of all the things I was taught to appreciate and admire. 

Family. Children. Faith. Love. The things that make up a life. 

I never dreamed or imagined a life reflective of the one that found me. I didn’t plan to marry a man who was overwhelmed with hidden addictions. I didn’t plan divorce, or entering a single-parent lifestyle complicated with stress and struggle. I didn’t plan or envision losing my mother before she had grey hair or a senior citizen discount. I didn’t plan for the destruction, hardships, and heartbreak. 

I planned and dreamed of a life much different than the one I received. There have been times where this life has been so overwhelming and consuming I’ve disliked it. There have been times I’ve asked why. Times I’ve shut down, closed off, and blocked myself in. There have been times that I’ve resented the path and the outcomes. 

But how can you hate and resent a life that eventually led to beauty and blessings? How can you dislike a painful path, if it led to redemption and joy? What I dreamed versus what I received are completely different, but they are also purposeful, meaningful, and powerful in their own way. The harsh realities that broke me down and shattered my soul, were also the harsh realities that taught me to live better, live braver, and live more intentionally. In the midst of my darkest days and darkest moments, when I could barely carry myself through daily routines, I didn’t know the preparation and offerings that would come from these unwanted and devastating moments. I’m not grateful for the heartbreak, grief, or loss. I’m grateful for the lessons and growth that came from them. 

I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without all the intricate elements, both the good and the bad, that paved the path I’ve been walking. I’m different, completely different. I’m transformed and reshaped by the destruction and hardship. It wasn’t immediate, it took a very long time for me to shift my thinking and outlook. First came the bitterness, the anger, the pity, and the loneliness. Then, came the appreciation, understanding, grit, and perseverance. With time and transformation, I was able to create meaning and valuable lessons from each aspect of my life and journey. 

There are lessons in the decomposition of your life and heart. There is beauty in the life you’ve been given versus the life you dreamed and envisioned. There is purpose in the pain and there is hope through the heartbreak. Time doesn’t heal every wound. Time doesn’t repair every piece of our brokenness. Time doesn’t fix every hardship or circumstance. Time simply changes our perspective. Allowing us more hope than despair, more appreciation than regret, more love than loss, and the purposeful rebuilding of our most raw and vulnerable selves. 

I’d love to change pieces of my past. I’d love to erase the heartbreak and especially the loss. I’d love to erase death and disease and destruction, but I can’t. I don’t have that power or influence. Since I can’t change, erase, or eradicate the things that have knocked me down, debilitated and lost, I will use them to rise and to walk into my future more knowledgeable. Walking into my future wearing armor created by loss and hardship. Armor that will show the world I’ve been broken, hurt, and destroyed, yet I’m standing again, brave and appreciative. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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