|The Allred Family - April 2018|
I am a mom, a grandma, a musician, and a teacher. I consider myself a woman of deep and abiding faith. I have four beautiful children whom I love dearly. They are everything to me. My oldest son married the love of his life almost three years ago. It was a time of happiness and rejoicing. It was also the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Then my second son married the love of his life less than a year later. So that chapter continued. It has caused me to reflect on my time as a mother. I have many regrets and would change so many things if I could go back and live “my life” over again. Of course, I cannot do that. Though I do look back often and think “what if” or “if only,” I am learning to look at the future with great hope for what still can be. I feel blessed to have endless possibilities of learning, growing, and understanding.
Twenty years ago, my life took a turn for which I was not prepared. I became a single mother almost overnight, completely responsible for the health and well-being of my children. At that time, my three children were very young: my oldest son was almost six years, my second son was four years, and my little daughter was twenty-two months old. I was also four months pregnant. That is another story!
Though I was painfully aware that our family had some major struggles, I truly believed at that time that we would survive it all, and somehow, we would figure it out. After all, we were a family that prayed together. Shouldn’t we stay together? Wasn’t that the promise? We also played together. We read together. We went to church together. And yet, one day, I found myself staring at my life ahead as a single mother. I was numb and in disbelief. During those first weeks, I cried with my children every night as we held onto each other and questioned how we were going to survive.
My purpose in writing about my journey is NOT to speak negatively of the circumstances leading up to my divorce. Many of the personal details from that time will remain in a safe place in my heart. Instead, I choose to write about what I have experienced in my journey since life changed so dramatically. I choose to write about understanding, perspective, and healing.
This journey has been extremely difficult in many ways. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I look around me and know that most people have trials that they face every day. I too have challenges and I have learned that these challenges are my own. And while my entire life has been a journey toward understanding, faith, and healing, I also know that the past twenty years have been especially tender as I have faced my future alone. As a single mother, I have been completely responsible for my four children, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This has been a daunting task, one for which I have never felt equal.
A few years ago, a good friend suggested to me that I write a book, an autobiography if you will, detailing the course of my life and its difficulties. I was intrigued with the idea, but my teaching schedule prevented me from doing anything other than entertaining the thought. Many impressions have been at the back of my mind for the past several years, and these impressions have been coming to the forefront. I had a creative spurt with my writing and thoughts about two years ago, where I created a blog, "My Journey of Hope." However, after a few short months, my health issues rose to the forefront, and family issues took over once again, and I had to stop posting. I am finally processing my thoughts and emotions again, and I'm excited to continue this journey.
I will be transferring some of those older posts from my previous blog to this new blog. I believe I am ready to continue my journey of understanding, faith, and healing.