A True Lifestyle Soulution-A Restoration Story
Being married for 11 years, divorced for 5 and remarried for 14 years is just the beginning of our story. A story that is full of lessons learned on trust, forgiveness, true love and a willingness to change. If you knew us before, you would know that this is a huge transition from our first marriage - a marriage filled with years of drug abuse, deceit, unfaithfulness and always wondering, ‘Will this cycle ever end?’
We are Thomas and Carolyn Little and this is our story of Restoration; because we believed that anything is possible.
Carolyn: One day, I said ‘Enough is enough.’ It seemed like this was the perfect cue for the weight to be lifted off my shoulders. Instead, Thomas left the home while I was struck with the reality of raising four of our children as a single parent. Simply praying to maintain a stable and healthy environment for them was a challenge to say the least. It didn’t help when our children ran home to tell me that their teachers and friends informed them our family was ‘dysfunctional’ because both parents weren’t living in the home.
I quickly provided constant reminders to each of them that they were loved and supported. All while ensuring I was not taking my hurt and anger out on them. Any single parent knows building a strong foundation while going through “the first”-birthdays, band and choir concerts, school dances, holidays, etc., alone can be emotional for both you and the children. It’s an amazing time to find out just how strong you are. And boy did I learn quickly.
Within the first four years, I was able to purchase a home, put in a three-bedroom addition, obtain a great job, travel and even get to know myself much better. I decided to take that time to take care of myself and enjoy my new life. As time went on, the desire to marry came once again along with the convenient opportunities to date successful doctors and lawyers. But for some reason, they just could not peak my interest.
Thomas and I had kept in touch because of the children, but after the fourth year, there was something different in his voice and conversation. He sounded more confident in himself. He began to dream again about his future, knowing that that there was a purpose for him. Not just for his family but for himself.
Thomas: I wanted to live and not die. In the past, it was always about what others thought; my wanting to stop the drug abuse was just for the kids, which did not work. But this time it was for me. I began to realize that with or without my family, I still had a future. I was loved by others and more importantly, I learned how to love and respect myself, which meant no longer causing harm to my body.
We know it is safe to say this is when restoration had officially begun. We began to go through the process of healing and forgiveness. It was definitely a challenge to go from loving one minute and allowing the memories of past hurt to creep in the next.
Then one day, Carolyn decided that to move forward with Thomas or anyone else, she had to forgive “for real.” But to forgive what was done and just lay aside the deep and indescribable hurt and emotions was much too big a job to do alone. Carolyn continues to say, “I owe it all to God and the supporters I had in my life."
Carolyn: The more we communicated; I saw that this was the man that I wanted to marry...again. A strong confident leader. A man after God’s own heart. Someone who loved me and my children and was a hard worker. I began to see those qualities in Thomas.
Still, trust had to be rebuilt. I had to believe that when Thomas said he was going to do something, it was really going to get done and that when he said he was going to get a loaf of bread that he would be back within an hour and not within three days. Trusting that this was what our children wanted, their response was, “we want to make sure that no one got hurt again and that we would not end up in another divorce."
It was so much fun to have the opportunity to learn each other again. Before getting remarried we made sure to uphold the standards that we instilled in our children: no sex before marriage, being able to bring something to the table, not expecting someone to take care of you, as well as being leaders and followers.
Thomas: After 11 months of dating we decided to get remarried on my birthday, which was and continues to be a special gift to me. At least 200 of our friends and family members who continuously supported us came to celebrate with us at our ceremony.
Fast forward fourteen years, we have commemorated high school and college graduations, watched our youngest son achieve his dream to play college basketball, giving away one of our daughter's in marriage, successful children with stable homes and six beautiful grandsons (and grandchild on the way). We have taken the opportunity to tell our story and help others in similar situations.
We are now empty nesters starting another love cycle and have learned to live without children in the home. What a change!