By Katie Amanek: 3908354646_fa233524bd_o[1]Nine months ago, I woke up alone, with a realization striking me across the face like the slap of a hand: my marriage had ended.  I was 27, my identity rooted in being a wife for the past six years. All of it unraveled in what seemed like an instant, and new thoughts stabbed at the pit of my stomach: the fear of my debt, the fear of losing my home, the fear of being alone.

My husband was leaving me for another woman, and I was completely lost. I felt like I had failed in the biggest task of my life: my marriage.  As a result of threats from my husband, I began to believe the falsehoods he repeated about my life: I wasn't good enough, the divorce was my fault, and as a Christian woman, I had failed.

He asserted that in order to end the marriage peacefully, I would need to keep quiet. So, I did.  And in my silence, others were led to believe his falsehoods too.

After three months of silence, and believing the lies I had been told, I knew that I had to make a choice: would I continue to give in to fear, judgment, and the pain of being deserted?  Or would I choose to believe that God was bigger than my divorce?

Even though the stigma of divorce had scared me away from attending church, I went back anyway.  The fear of rejection weighed heavily, but what I found was hugs from friends I had not seen in months, words of support, and love – just for being present. No one pushed to find out what happened with my marriage, and no one needed to place any blame.

I had taken what felt like a scary risk, allowing myself to face possible rejection and further hurt by venturing out into the world as a newly single woman. Instead, a new strength emerged by sharing the hurt I had been through. Being able to speak candidly provided a new freedom: my joy was no longer dependent on anyone else's acceptance. My voice was back.

We are all able to find second chances; it is our choice whether we take advantage of them. As I found strength, I realized the choice to reclaim my life was mine alone. Surrounded by friends to support me and faith to sustain me, I was no longer afraid of how my ex would react in response to defying his command to be silent.

Rather than finding an end upon the loss of my marriage, I found the start of a second chance – a second chance at happiness, at a future, and as the woman I was created to be. My past no longer defined me. I found my second chance in my darkest of places.

A second chance can happen anywhere.

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