My Beginning …

by Michelle B. Araneta

*originally written March 8, 2011

It was an otherwise insignificant day in late 2007 that my world changed.  At the time, I wasn’t quite sure if it was for the better or for the worse, but what I was sure of, was the fact that my prayers were answered.  Looking back on that day, I can’t help but smile to myself as I remember the saying, “Be careful of what you wish for, because, you might just get it.”  Though, it is easy to say that in hindsight, it has been nothing but a hard and difficult journey to get to where I am today.  All of which has been worth it, because without it, none of what I share with you would be possible.

2007 was nothing less than life changing.  It was the year of my awakening.  The year that opened my eyes.  The year that set me free.  It all began inside of me.  Building slowly, powerfully, until the strength of my spirit and who I was began to push and fight against the walls of confinement that was built around me.  My heart was screaming the truth through all the lies I was told, and my eyes were finally seeing the light shining through the fog.  But it was the one morning in September that changed everything.  Decisions had been made and in an instant, I was forced to come face to face with everything I had learned that year and put it into action.  My way out was opened.  The prison guard had abandoned his post.  I realized in that moment, it wasn’t my husband’s decision that mattered, it was mine.  I didn’t hesitate.  I walked right through that door with the decision to never look back.

Though the initial decision was not mine to make, the ultimate one did rest in my hands.  Many of us are never prepared for that life changing decision that falls on our lap, or at times, slaps us in the face.  Yet, there is nothing else to do, but make the choice of a lifetime.  I didn’t have a map to direct me.  I didn’t know where the road through the door would lead me.  I didn’t have money for a taxi.  I didn’t have a roof to shelter me.  I had nothing, but, my courage, strength and faith to equip myself with.  Nothing gives you that more than being a parent.  This door was not just for me, but it was for two gorgeous young girls that relied on me to protect them, love them, guide them and teach them.  They were 2 and 4,  I was their mother, and here was our door to freedom … I walked in.  My prayer was answered.

Prayers are not orders, like what you might give your waiter at a restaurant.  Prayers are opportunities you ask for and they are given every single day.  It’s what you do with the opportunity you are blessed with that answers the pray.  Some times, if not most of the time, the opportunities we are given are much bigger than the opportunities we ask for and that is the case here.  Looking back at 2007, I prayed and asked for many things, some of which are still being fulfilled today.  I  had naively thought and believed them all to be connected in one small way that only had significance to my family and myself.  Today, I realize that they are connected in a much bigger and more meaningful way, more than I could have ever imagined.  My life, my struggles and my experiences have led me down a path of opportunity.  One that has the potential to help, guide, comfort, support and build a brighter future for women and children.

I knew that this journey was not going to be easy.  I knew I would have to face a harsh world that couldn’t understand.    It has been a long and difficult journey since that day.  Moving from motel to motel, house to house.  Fighting legal battle upon legal battle.  Struggling with ways to provide for my girls.  Learning how to deal and heal the wounds of a life that once was.  Finding the strength and courage to keep moving forward no matter how dark the future seemed at the time.  I have succeeded and overcome many obstacles while on this path, each one paving the way towards a future I am excited to be a part of.  Though this journey is far from over and there are so many more struggles to be faced, I am a stronger woman today.  I am more confident with what I have learned over the years of trials.  I am more aware of what I am capable of.  I am more secure in who I have become.  Most importantly, I am here knowing that I am a possibility for the seemingly impossible in the lives of others.

I was not alone in my journey, just as you are not alone in yours.  With each crossroad we face, we are presented with choices, and with each decision we make, an opportunity to learn blossoms, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.  To keep silent and leave my dirty laundry in the laundry room does nothing but empower the dirty to remain dirty.  I am here to speak up and empower the light.  Living in the fog is a temporary situation, but, the decision to make it so rests only in your hands.  Just as it did with me.  If you want that opportunity to have the door of freedom open up in your life, then read and learn from all that I am willing to share with you.  I am here to provide you with the tools I did not have when I walked into that door and first stepped foot onto that path.  Everything you might need is here on these pages.  This fight is not just about me, and my daughters, is it about you and your children.  Learn from my life and the lives of other women.  We are not alone, and together we are a force to be reckoned with.

Let today be your new beginning …

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