The Loves of My Life

The Loves of My Life

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How Oprah Changed Me

Now Don't laugh....the title is a bit misleading.....but not really.  Oprah made a huge impact in my life when I was young. I hate to admit it these days with people putting her on the level as a god.....but somehow, many years ago  through a little TV screen she help send me on a journey that helped me get to where I am now.

So where am I?

I am in a loving, faithful and trustful relationship with an amazing man who is so humble it continues to surprise. I am in a house. I have never lived in a house before. I have two children with a little surprise on the way who will grow up with two parents. I have wonderful family and friends.....people who love me despite all my short comings.

and I have a new with  a dad I never knew.

My parents divorced even before I was conceived. I find that fact pretty funny.....but I was. The first few years of my life were tumultuous with my dad in the picture. I'll spare you the details....but let's just say this one little girl had an enormous amount of hate in her heart. I barely knew him and barely saw him and when i was around 3 or so......he was gone. Gone to be with his other wife and children. This obviously left me with lots of feelings of abandonment, anger, pain and resentment growing up. The days of jr. high and high school were hard enough going through puberty and trying to navigate relationships let alone trying to deal with all my anger and abandonment issues.

But there I was....sitting on my couch one day watching Oprah. You remember those good ole Oprah episodes, where her hair was a poof ball and she got real emotional with her guests?.....Yep, it was one of those and I think the guest was an adult who had been abused by a parent when they were young. They were talking about how that said adult was able to move on and not hold onto her anger and bitterness. Then Oprah said the most profound thing, which was profound to me cuz I had never heard it before. I am paraphrasing here but she said something like this, "We are responsible for our own anger and bitterness". The idea being of what we do with that anger and hurt is our fault...not the person who inflicted it. That was huge for me. I didn't want to hold onto all my crap and grow into someone who was bitter and angry. I decided right then that I would work out my anger and try to learn to let it go.

and I did.

it was hard.....really, really hard.

I have to be honest and say that my faith was a huge part of that work. I don't think that without my relationship with God I would have been able to fully let it go. I read a lot of scripture that spoke to me about bitterness, anger and forgiveness and although it was Oprah who started me on that was God who always held my hand and led me through it (even deeper I know that it was really God all the time.....).

It's been a long journey.....but my dad has re-entered the picture. I have to admit and say that it's a little awkward at times....and that my motive in the beginning was  for my kids. I want to give them every possibility to know their family which is something I never had. It has been such a joy to see them get to know their grandpa and I am slowly getting to know this man who is my dad.

But the best thing is......I broke the cycle.  That latch key kid from a broken home who at one time was full of anger and hate is no longer. My kids won't have to grow up knowing what feeling abandoned is like.......they won't have the same "issues" i had growing up.  They have two parents who love each other and love them. They have a place where they feel safe...a place to wonder, grow, wrestle and laugh. I thought about these things the other night as I was brushing Riley's hair in the bathroom and her Dad walked by doing the silly dance and I smiled.

 Oprah started me on a journey that led me to a place where anger holds no one captive and love & forgiveness easily rest.


sargarepa said...

Hey Jen-

Great post. Your thoughts and your journey really resonate with me for obvious reasons. I learned some new things about your childhood that I never knew before; with God's leading, you've done an amazing job overcoming the fear, bitterness and anger from your past.

I also look at my husband, who is so involved with our girls, who loves them so much it brings him to tears, who teaches them about Jesus, who is such a fixture in their little lives, and I am amazed and humbled and thankful that God saved me from the dysfunction of my past.

Nicely said, Jen.

The Unlikely Pastor's Wife said...

me too too :-) (the look at the husband part)

Diane Davis said...

wow... great post. i didn't know all of this about you. breaking any cycle that doesn't serve us well is nothing short of a miracle. you are a miracle.

Alli said...

What an amazing testimony you have. You are an inspiration to us all! Thanks for sharing!

Lisa P said...

I love seeing any of us break an unhealthy cycle. There is such freedom in that! Congratulations, and thanks for sharing it!

Dionne Sincire said...

I didn't know that about you. Thank you for sharing your journey.

I often wonder what it would be like if my mother re-entered my life. It's one thing to let go of the anger and bitterness when she's not around, but I would imagine that it would me more difficult if she resurfaced.

You have so much strength.

Heidi said...

What a beautiful post... So real (talking about the struggles etc) but so encouraging because you talk about the fact that God got you through and you've been blessed with such a wonderful family.

I struggle with God when I'm facing difficult times. It's like I wish He'd just step in and fix it. I know He can, so why doesn't He?

Your post was a good reminder to me that He's waiting there to walk with me through the hard stuff, I just have to lean on Him and trust Him more. There's good stuff waiting on the other side of the storm.

Thanks for sharing...

Carrie said...

Beautiful! It is so sweet of you to share so vulnerably. I am sure you touched so many hearts with this post. Congrats on breaking the cycle!

Brazenlilly said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Jen. I love hearing how healing, grace, empowerment, can seem to come from the most unusual places, but God's hand is in it all. I praise Him with you for what a blessing your hubby and your family are, and the foundation you are laying in their lives! Preach it, sista!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that about you either!

You managed to perfectly capture in writing all of the wonderful things about grace.

I wish more people on this planet were able to let go of anger. Whether it's because of something Oprah said or because of Jesus, Amen!

P.S. The story about Paul while you're brushing Riley's hair made me tear up. You guys are the best!

Stephanie said...

what a beautiful post... How neat that you are reconciling with your dad after all these years. I can imagine it hasn't been easy, but what an example of love and grace you are showing your children.thanks for sharing this.