In Her Shoes is a series written by readers to give us a glimpse into their lives – to see what it is like to walk in their shoes. I’m honored to introduce you to my friend Erin Branscom. She is a wife, work-at-home mom, and so much more. She blogs about healthy living, organizing, and streamlining your life at ErinBrans.com . Let’s join our friend as she shares with us what it is like to walk in her shoes. ~ Love, G
Do you ever feel like you are lost in the sea of life? Not really sure how you got there? Not really happy? I felt like I was going through the motions of life for so long and it felt like I was drowning. I was done with going through the motions. My life began to not feel like it was mine anymore.
I was married at 18 to my high school boyfriend. My marriage was far from a happy one. But God had a plan. A plan to bless me with two beautiful boys. I got divorced at 22. That was the darkest of time for me. You see I found myself wearing a big letter. The single Mom letter. And I hated it. I hated the stigma. I hated the stares. I cried when I saw husband and wives together happy. I was sad for what could have been but wasn’t.
When my husband and I separated, I was 2 months pregnant with my second son. I went through my pregnancy and childbirth on my own. My Mom and sister were in the delivery room. But that wasn’t the same. Giving birth to a baby without the partner that got you there was the most disappointing time in my life. I felt so robbed and let down. I remember crying in the delivery room. Not from the pain of child birth, but the pain of being alone. The entire world could have been there. But I still felt so incredibly alone.
I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. I worked two jobs for awhile. One at a gas station and one at a nursing home. I thought I wanted to be a nurse. One night while working at the gas station a woman came in and offered me a job at a local academy for juvenile delinquents. I took it. That job changed the path of my life. I loved that job! I loved working with troubled youth. And I realized I loved helping people. I started to find my passion. I started to find myself again.
I still couldn’t keep our heads above water financially. I knew I needed to work harder for my boys. I began to take classes at the local community college and worked really hard. I worked 40+ hours a week and took a minimum of 18 semester hours of college. I finished my bachelors degree in 3 years. I graduated magna cum laude all while being a mom. Something I am so proud of! Originally I thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I loved troubled youth and studying mental health. But ultimately deep down I KNEW I couldn’t work 90 hours a week in a residency and not see those precious boys. Those boys are my LIFE.
I met my husband when I was 24. We decided to build a life together. I knew the moment I met him that he was my future husband. I knew because when he looked at my boys, he looked at them with the same love that he looked at me. He played with them, cuddled them and accepted them. That was so monumental to me, because I had thought that I would always be alone. My heart had been broke before beyond repair so I thought. I didn’t think I could ever find someone to love or love me.
I moved to Nebraska to build a life with my husband and sweet boys. I began working in law enforcement with juvenile delinquents. I realized they were my people. 🙂 I loved working with the kids. I felt like they still had a chance to turn their lives around. And I was starting to believe in second chances again…
I worked so hard to earn my college degree and that job. It seemed like I should be fullfilled. I wasn’t. I knew I had a gift for people. I knew God wanted me to work with people. Why wasn’t that enough? Why wasn’t I happy?
I worked so hard in my job and loved my family. My health began to fail. I began to have seizures and migraines. I didn’t want to work nights or 12 hour shifts anymore. I started to feel this intense pressure to be a stay at home mom. I was so confused! I felt like I had worked so hard to make a career and felt like I was where God wanted me to be. Apparently he had other plans…
I faught it at first. I told my husband I felt I needed to be a stay at home mom. He thought I was crazy. We had 39k in student loans, medical bills, and a car loan. We had bills to pay and needed my job. He and I worked so diligently to pay off that debt in 13 months. We kept working towards that dream of being a stay at home mom. We never took our eyes off that dream.
We paid off the debt but I knew I still needed something. I found Shaklee through my doctor when I was sick with my migraines and seizures. I loved the supplements. They made me feel better. Gave me my health back. I didn’t know I had found a way to help people. They just weren’t going to be juvenile delinquents. They were going to be moms. 🙂
I never thought I would be successful in direct sales. Who really is?! But my husband and I were building something beautiful. Something that helped people, changed lives and gave families more income.
Even when it seemed so crazy, we followed what God wanted and he provided more than we could have imagined.
This year God decided to use me to help start up a new local MOPS program. This could never have happened if we were still in another state and I was working.
God taught me to be happy again. No longer coast through life. And that is a special gift.
Now I get to share health with other families. I get to help mentor and coach other moms to be able to work from home. The coaching part is what I love.
I took a test recently. My spiritual gifts were leadership, discernment, and hospitality. I believe God is using those gifts and me for a purpose. And he is just getting started.
Being able to grow personally and professionally has been amazing. It has made me a better wife, and mom. My faith has been strenghtened as well. I have learned to listen…and listen closely.
To read more encouraging stories, or if you are interested in sharing your own story, please go to the In Her Shoes tab near the top of the page. I love learning about the people in this series. Connecting with others seems to make the world feel not quite as big and scary. We’re all in this together. I can’t wait to hear from you, to read your stories, and learn more of what it is like to walk in your shoes.
I wanted to bring this story out of the archives today. It has been one year since we found out...