I’ve been experiencing an awakening of sorts lately. Actually, awakening is the understatement of the year. Smack-me-upside-the-head epiphany? That’s more like it.
My whole blog is about confession – and being honest. Being real and being okay with it. I have to tell you, sometimes it sucks having a blog like this because, well, then I have to be honest. And believe me, I don’t always want to be.
But I’m going to, so, here goes. My name is not Sherri Bennett. My name is Sherri Stone-Bennett. Some of you who know me might be rolling your eyes at this point, And this is new, Sherri? Hang in there with me.
For those of you who don’t know me, I have been married before. He was, (is), a good man. I was a good person too; we were just too screwed-up to have a healthy marriage. I was a good, screwed-up person, not much unlike what I still am today (just hopefully a little less on the screwed-up part).
His last name was Stone so naturally, my kids last names are Stone. When I remarried, although it would have been much easier to take on my new husbands name, I decided to keep the Stone part, using the newer widely accepted hyphenation approach. I did this because I didn’t want a completely different last name from my kids; I wanted them to feel assured that I was still a part of them and they a part of me. I did it for them.
I also did it with the intention of someday ditching the Stone part after my kids had grown up. Truth? I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be cool with a hyphen. I didn’t want to announce to the world that I had been divorced. I didn’t want to deal with the really fun challenges a hyphen brings when you buy airline tickets, or register for something online, or get a new credit card.
But mostly, I didn’t want to associate with being a “Stone” anymore, as if I could erase all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.
I tried anyway.
When I got the contract for the book I was published in last year, there was a sweet little place for me to let them know how I would like my name to appear in the book. I put Sherri Bennett. They published me as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I spoke at a women’s event not long ago, I wanted to be promoted as Sherri Bennett. I was promoted as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I recently looked up sherribennett.com to change the name of my blog site, it was on sale for $1,100. Sherristonebennett.com was only $19.99. I’m starting to get a clue.
I cannot run away from my past. Nor can I forget it. That being said, I am not defined by my past. Nor will I be defined by my future – good or bad.
I’ve known this in my head. I think it’s starting to sink down into my heart a little deeper.
I am Sherri Stone-Bennett. I have been divorced. I have a history. I have been needy, selfish, unfulfilled, ignorant, and stubborn – and not just in my previous marriage.
I am also good and have some pretty great qualities. I have a future. Moreover, my future shouldn’t be divorced from my past because
if I let them, my past and future can marry and create something beautiful; full of lessons learned, insights to pass on to others, and empathy that’s only created from shared experience.
I’m good with that. No, I’m great with that! Because ultimately, that’s what life is all about: sharing our experiences with others as a way to love them. Moreover, we love God by loving others. And to fully love God and others takes vulnerability, honesty, and courage.
It also takes faith, trusting that God really does love and accept us just as we are, crappy past and all. Because if we don’t really believe this ourselves, we won’t be able to take our bad experiences and use them to love others by offering them grace when they need it. We can’t give away what we don’t own ourselves.
I hope I’m finally getting it.
So, in order to create a more all-encompassing website, the name of my blog site has changed. For those of you who receive this blog automatically by email, you will continue to do so! The site sherribennettblog.com will still be in use but will now be promoted as sherristonebennett.com. And proudly so. :)
Thanks for walking through life with me!