Strahlen is not the name I was born with. I use the pseudonym Strahlen Smith on Single Mom Smiling to maintain a degree of anonymity.
I didn’t want my ex-husband to find out about Single Mom Smiling.
In truth, I didn’t want ANYONE to know about it!
We live in a small town and my husband’s leaving felt like the gossip of they year. It seemed we could not go anywhere without people whispering behind our backs. Most of the words were whispers of pity or sympathy or encouragement, but they were whispers nonetheless, and my boys and I SO wanted to get away from that!
And yet, I felt compelled to get our story out.
So many suffer in silence:
I cannot tell you how many secrets I now know, how many women have knocked on my door out of the blue, even complete strangers, to share their heartbreak with me, how many others have grabbed my arm at church to pour their souls out, how many smile for the crowds while their hearts are breaking inside, how many others still hurt from wrongs done to them decades ago.
How many feel so completely and utterly alone, fear and pain and shame keeping us from speaking out, keeping us buried in shadows?
Let me promise you, I know how you feel, but…
You are not alone.
And so, I wanted to build a site sharing all of our story, in many ways a collective story – a story of childhood abuse, teen/young adult trauma, a crisis pregnancy, sudden abandonment, and divorce.
Such pain even to write those words.
But it can also be a story of success and strength building, a discovery of independence and a new found understanding of what it means to be powerful. Such a different ending is possible for our stories, the stories we wouldn’t have written had we authored our lives from the start.
Such joy and power the holy Spirit gives us to get through to the next page.
But, even with that strength, I still did not have the strength to tell people about my writing.
Over the years, a few women typed the right words in the search engines and found my site. I was content to hope I was providing them with support, but still God was calling for more.
And still I denied the call and hid in the shadows.
But God continued to gently strengthen and encourage me – until I could no longer keep things in the dark and began telling people about my site – about three weeks ago.
Since then God has increased visitors to Single Mom Smiling and shown me ways to market my site that I never would have thought possible (I’d appreciate your help by having you share posts that hit home to you).
It’s amazing what tools He gives us when we actually do what He asks of us.
And I no longer fear my ex finding out about the site.
I definitely am not looking forward to it, but I now know I can take whatever comes my way. I am no longer the weak, frightened little girl I once was, and
God and I will always know the truth, and
I also know bad things always pass.
And there are some things I will need to account for. I am far from perfect and will need to attest to my pain and my sins even when they are hard to speak about, but I only need to attest to them to God.
He is the only one who really matters and because of Him, I am more than anyone with harmful intent can try to make me to be.
And that is why I have “gone public” with my blog.
While I am no longer afraid of my husband using the site against me, I will continue to use the name Strahlen, at least for now, because of my children. As a single mom putting life online, I want to make sure my children are as protected as possible.
Although I know nothing is foolproof, using a pseudonym is a simple, easy way for me to maintain some degree of anonymity from the eyes of strangers. Using the pseudonym allows me to provide a small layer of protection for my boys. Using a pseudonym here allows me to separate from the identity I received when I took my husband’s name. It allows me to change my name after my divorce, but “in real life” I am able to keep the name that ties me to my children.
And now you know why I chose to use a pseudonym. Come back to learn how I chose Strahlen Smith and how the boys chose their names.
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