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Story #8 – Month of July

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

The month of July use to be one of my favorites. Officially summer viben, bbqs, pool & beach hangs, roadtrips, cool summer mornings, cool summer evenings, all the berry pickin & jam makin – summer time in full swing. July 4th is a favorite holiday of mine. I get so excited to see the sky light up, filled with lovely displays of fireworks. Seeing the excitement on everyones’ faces around me. Sparklers. One July 4th, back in Ohio at a little park, the fog was so low to the ground – filled with lightning bugs going off simultaneously as the sky above showered a display of my favorite & what I like to call it “the wheeping willow” gold, shimmery firework. 7-4-11 – 5 days before my wedding day.

In one week – the first anniversary will come & it will pass – first wedding anniversary of officially divorced. I never thought I would be standing in this position – not once. I believed in tradionally staying together until ‘death do us part’ no matter the circumstance, the hardships, the pain, the hurt. I believe in fighting for each other daily, that love conquers all. What girl doesn’t want a fairy tale ending after all? I dreamed of my wedding day & leading up to it was so exciting full of love & joy. A new journey that I felt ready to embark. Yes, I was 21, but age simply does not matter – its the individual(s). And since I’ve been divorce, all the people I’ve encountered hear my story, ask me how old I was when I got married & I tell them & their first response “Oh well you guys were so young & not ready.” Every time someone had said that to me, & I had a mason jar for each individual to toss a $1 in as they said it – I would be rich.

Matthew & I dated a year & a half, had a year long engagement – almost 3 years together before we got married. I was cautious, I was patient. But someone wasn’t being honest with me in all his entirety – & unfortunately it came about after we got married. I was tricked. I was fooled. I thought I knew him well.

7-9-11 – 6 years ago. & here I am today, not where I thought I would be. Divorced. Single. Alone. & right when I finally felt that I was in a good place mentally, emotionally – I recently learned he’s back – in Spokane. I learned he was moving back two weeks before my move. The time he learned of my move, the many times he tried “reaching out” to me, even after having to block him on social media, not giving him my new phone number, but seeing emails from him shortly after my move, inquiring for my new number so that he can “keep in touch with me sometimes.” Not responding, emails again, & my dad calls him in response. & when I f i n a l l y felt at peace of doing me, being me, processing, healing tremendously, content – he moves back 4 months early then when he originally planned. My heart sanked – an instant anxiety attack came on. Right before the first anniversary of our wedding of officially, being divorced.

When I learned he was back, memories overwhelmed me. The manipulation, emotional & mental, even physical abuse – those moments flooded my mind. I began to self-doubt myself, that I wasn’t strong enough, that I simply couldn’t face it. That I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough – remembering those lies that were constantly fed to me, embedded in my brain, my heart. My first emotion – anger. I was fuming. Furious. Why the fuck now?! Why can’t he just stay away? But instead disturb my peace, my moving on, moving forward? The first week of him being back, I nearly had a run-in with him that brought instant anxiety. Then it happened – driving right past each other, sudden eye contact. Instant anxiety. Instant emotion. Instant anger. Instant hurt.

People say “Oh it sucks when you run into your ex. You just need to get it over with.” But you know what really sucks? The idea of running into your abuser, the man who you put your trust in, your husband – who vowed to take care of you for the rest of his life, to love you unconditionally, forever – to love you just as Christ loved the church. But instead did the complete opposite – abandoned me, left me to literally fight to survive – alone – after all the emotional, mental, physical abuse. Left me to deal with all the harsh judgement, constant pressure to hurry on with my life & find someone quick because apparently my “clock is ticking,” left me to deal with stares from fellow classmates we went to college with & who knew us as one of “Moodys’ favorite couples,” left me to deal with it all – alone. I never want to run into him – I never want to see him again. & here he is – back in the same city, & we all know just how small Spokane is – real fucking small.

But I am determined to not let that overwhelm me. I am determined to keep moving forward toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future. & today was a huge step toward that. My sweet friend from college got married today, & a couple months ago she reached out & asked me if I could be her wedding photographer. With no professional experience, I decided to go for it. Nervous leading up to it, not to mention first wedding I’ve attended single,  what an incredible & rewarding experience it was. I felt renewed, refreshed, me. I had a blast capturing her sweet wedding day. It also shined hope, light – that one day, that will be me. United in front of family & friends, with my future husband who shows me his love unconditionally – about to embark on life’s journey – together.

Month of July – making new memories. Toward new beginnings; a brighter hope, a brighter future.

Healing – it’s really happening 💛

Until next time.

My sweet friend Jaimie! We went to college together at Moody Bible Institute back in 2008 & graduated together in 2012. Her sweet son Bingham 💙

The happy couple ❤️ LaRosa & Jaimie Johnson

Two families merging into O N E ❤️ simply beautiful.

Simply b e a u t i f u l ❤️

What a beautiful bride Jaimie was ❤️

Cupcake reception after the ceremony. Walking back to the chapel to retrieve my car – there were a few cupcakes left.