I was married shortly after becoming pregnant with my oldest child, Jordan. I thought my marriage would have lasted forever, but after almost 20 years, that marriage ended in a 20-minute court session in 2018.
My marriage was full of ups and downs, just like anyone else’s. Issues would come up and would be worked through, or so I thought. But in reality, they really weren’t being resolved, and when the truth was finally revealed, my world came crashing down. And when the final attempt at counseling didn’t work, I realized that my marriage was over.
After my initial reaction of screaming, yelling, and throwing things, I retreated into my own world. Soon I felt completely abandoned, like I was in a cave. It was hard to know what was even real anymore. Fear, distrust, and anxiety became my regular companions, but no one on the outside really knew what was going on.
My days consisted of crying, screaming, hitting myself, and hitting the walls. I sat in parks – considering running away…contemplating suicide…thinking of ways to just end the pain. Simply breathing seemed to be extremely difficult. I smiled to mask the pain.
I kept going through the motions. I never missed work, I still took care of my family while I was silently dying on the inside. I began to work up to 90 hours a week. Working so much helped me not to feel. I worked so much that I eventually drove myself sick to the point that I couldn’t work anymore. After experiencing a major health scare, which graciously God brought me through, I went back to work, but this time not as hard.
I also worked out twice a day – still finding anything I could do that would allow me not to think, not to feel, not to confront, and not to heal. I would often drive to different places, visualizing and contemplating ending my own life. But as a professional crisis counselor, I knew the tools I needed to pull myself out of those dark places where I felt alone, embarrassed, anxious, depressed, and lifeless. I just needed to use them.
I also had to support my two adult children through what they were feeling. Neither wanted to address it with me. My son didn’t want to talk to me and dealt with it on his own. My daughter was away at college, having to maintain her studies and athletic scholarship. She broke down after every basketball game. I blamed myself because I couldn’t be there for her or save her from the pain she was feeling. My kids seemed very angry, and I felt lost!
I never thought my life would be like this, and I knew I needed help. I decided to attend therapy as I noticed certain days and certain memories were exhausting and triggered symptoms of depression! I recognized that I needed help so I promised those who cared for me that I would talk to a professional. Therapy was effective and I appreciate what I learned, but eventually, I had to fire my first counselor, who proclaimed to be a Christian but did not provide the biblical counseling I needed.
After I stopped going to therapy I was fine for a while. But eventually, I felt myself growing suicidal and promised my friend that I would go back to counseling. My new counselor was great, and I really began to work through some issues. Even though I would be nervous for each session because I didn’t want to deal with all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that I knew would come in the sessions, I kept showing up, and always did my homework. And things slowly got better. But then another tragedy – that counselor passed away. And I just couldn’t bring myself to find another therapist.
As a Deacon in my church, I prayed for so many couples – marriage after marriage – while mine was crumbling. And they would come back and say how God restored their marriages. But not mine. Then others who were divorced, but then remarried quickly. I remember thinking, “God I don’t want to hear any more of these testimonies. I’ve had enough!” That was painful to experience, but through it all, I had to trust God.
I was divorced on a Tuesday in 2018. After I left the courtroom, I returned to work. Then the gym, then home to cook for me and my son. I ate alone that night, then called my daughter. Finally went to bed in preparation for work the next day. No one even knew, and life went on as if nothing changed.
One day after church while sitting in the parking lot, I asked my elder, “What do I do now?” And she replied with words that changed my life: “Find out who Mia is. Not the mother. Not the wife. Not the singer. Not the deacon. But Mia! Who is Mia? You need to go on this journey! And I promise you at the end you will land on both feet!” I really took her words to heart. As I thought more about it, I realized I was afraid of being alone. I didn’t like myself. So, I knew I had to learn who Mia was, what Mia loved, and what Mia enjoyed doing.
The day after…
I really had to think about that. I grew up in a family of abuse, so I was never secure in myself and carried it into adulthood. I don’t feel like I ever had real love, so I didn’t know how to love myself. I began to find my space. I made my world smaller. I had to protect myself from painful memories showing up on Facebook, or seeing other people post about their relationships, had to protect myself from painful triggers until I was stronger.
In place of counseling, I began to build a strong support system – at work, church, and in my personal circle, and realized I had been isolating myself. I opened up to my brother consistently. I had certain people in my life that I started going to with certain things I was struggling with. Healing began each day, moment by moment.
As I listened to my clients, I started using my own training. I also absorbed the word of God. I played music all night and podcasts throughout the day. I hung inspiring words and mantras all around my house. I installed motivating ringtones and scheduled pop-ups on my phone every couple of hours to remind me to watch my thoughts.
During that time, the Holy Spirit helped me change my thinking and I slowly began to heal. On days I didn’t feel good, I made sure I still looked good. I began journaling my mood daily and worked on self-regulation skills to manage my emotions. I learned my triggers and how to respond to them and used effective coping skills! I began positive affirmation and speaking to myself out of what the Word of God says. I meditated while working out, connected with God during my training sessions, and listened to sermons, gospel, and worship music. Car rides that used to be tormenting were now cathartic.
My entire focus was making sure my young adult children were not affected by the divorce, but I soon recognized that goal was unrealistic. We all had to go on our journey of healing. Life was a struggle, but we made it through. I always watched what I said around my kids. I never wanted to place them in the middle of anything but wanted them to know that we were all still a family. I taught them about forgiveness and pushed for restoration and reunification. I’ve worked hard to co-parent amicably, and the relationship has grown better.
I got a tattoo over my heart that says, “The Day After” in my mother’s handwriting, which reminds me that no matter what I’m going through, it won’t always last, and there is another day coming after this one.
Five years later and I’m still working through my healing process, but the difference is this time – the day after – I’m healing from a place of Victory. I am still growing, still learning, and I always want to be a help to someone else. My workouts now are hard and productive, and not used as an escape. I am a Health Coach as well as a Personal Trainer and started Body and Soul Fitness by Mia. I’m able to rest, take in the beauty of each day, and enjoy the occasional sunset. I’m engaged to a wonderful and amazing man who has taught me a lot, and we are growing together and are excited about what the future holds.
I look forward to the day after…
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MOMS:
Accept where you are right now in the present – stay out of your past to fight depression, and don’t live with anxiety, always worried about the future. Enjoy this day – this is the day the Lord has made for you!
Make your world smaller, and remove tasks, people, and anything else from your life that are not providing the help and assistance you need in your life RIGHT NOW for whatever it is you are going through. And do the work needed to grow and heal from this point forward. Surround yourself with a good support system to keep you from suffering in silence. And get moving as soon as you can!
Be responsible for your atmosphere – be aware of the mood, lighting, and sounds of your space. Heating pads and aromatherapy helped to settle me. Identify what calms you and make it a part of your daily routine. And in the difficult moments – know they won’t remain always. It’s only a moment, ride it out until the next moment. Live life moment by moment.
Pray blessings over and anoint yourself, your home, and your children. Read Psalms 23 and 91 every day – God is protecting you. He is your shepherd, and His goodness and mercy are following you. He hears every cry and collects every tear.
Finally, remember that no storm lasts forever. The rain will eventually run out and the wind will stop blowing.
PRAYER FOR MOMS:
My prayer for you is that in the name of Jesus, you will take time and learn from THIS experience! You will breathe again! You will smile again! You will dance again! You will not be alone! You will love again and receive love again! I speak to your heart and say open up to the Lord Jesus Christ! He understands your pain and where you are! Let Him in so He can restore you to greater than you ever were! I speak that this weapon was formed but what it was sent to do shall not prevail!
I speak Amos 9:13-15 over you:
YES, INDEED IT WON’T BE LONG NOW. GODS DECREE. THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN SO FAST YOUR HEAD WILL SWIM. ONE THING FAST ON THE HEEL OF THE OTHER. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO KEEP UP. EVERYTHING WILL BE HAPPENING AT ONCE AND EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK-BLESSINGS…
I WILL MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT AGAIN.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Connect with Mia:
Instagram – @annettajones53
Twitter – @AnnettaJones
Facebook – Annetta Jones or Body and Soul Fitness by Mia
Want to hear more of Mia’s story? Watch our Moms Night In Conversation here:
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