The Unworthy Discovery
We had been there for at least four hours, with one or two recesses. I was feeling quite good about how things were going, I had been articulate, provided adequate documentation, and proved the plaintiff's deceit. It was a long day in court not to mention the sleepless nights before rehearsing in my mind how to present the case to win custody of my children. I was representing myself in court against (according to the judge) one of Las Vegas' finest family court lawyers.
I had no choice (later I would dispel this, there is always a choice) and no money to afford a lawyer. And yet there I was sweating in my cheap polyester suit, awaiting the verdict. Whether or not I would gain custody of my three children.
As I sat there during the last recess before the judge would make a decision, the lawyer representing my ex husband approached me.
“Mrs. Estus, regardless of today's outcome, I just want you to know, you are one of the toughest defendant's I have ever come across,” he said. “If you haven't already, you should consider law school.”
Hmmmm..law school…well that felt good. Maybe, he’s right, he believed I had done that well. I do have a chance at winning today, of course I do. I am their mother. I'm a good mom. I don’t do drugs, not an alcoholic, no history of wrong doings with the law...I even had a good standing reputation in our community - as a nonprofit fundraiser. The corners of my mouth began to turn up and I was beginning to exhale the day.
After a brief recess, the bailiff called us back in to hear the outcome of the judges decision. This was it, maybe I wouldn’t get everything I asked for, but at least I would get joint custody of my children.
Walking back into the courtroom, my shoulders were a little higher, my breath a little longer and my step a little bouncier, it wasn’t so bad. I could honestly say I did my best to represent myself and my case to continue to mother my children. We settled quickly into our appropriate sides of the court to hear the verdict. I did my best to keep from smiling or show any emotion out of respect for the judge, it was difficult based on how I was feeling, things were beginning look up and hopefully this would all be over soon. We could put it behind us and move on.
How wrong I was . . . This was the moment I entered one of the most traumatic moments of my life.
In an unsympathetic monotone voice the judge said:
“And sole physical custody goes to the father with weekend visitation for the mother, both will have joint legal custody.”
Wait did I hear that right? My heart sank to my stomach, the breath left from my body. All I could hear were muffled voices in the background, I lost custody of my children, I lost them, the one job I was uniquely suited for had been taken from me.
Losing them was all I could comprehend in the moment. It crushed me. A whimper escaped my lips, and no longer could I hold in the pain. My gut wrenching cry filled the court room, I bellowed out loud as if I were the only one in the room. The bailiff tossed a box of tissue at me.
The rest was a blur....I felt utterly and completely worthless.
This was one of those come to Jesus moments, where nothing else mattered to me, not even my own life. The only value I thought I had left in the world, was being their mother, and now that was gone too. I was no longer worthy of being their mom.
Next the negative self-talk kicked in.
What else was I unworthy of? Obviously healthy relationships. And geez, if I had just managed my money right I wouldn't be in this position, I too would have had a kick ass lawyer. Another unworthy checkmark in the area of financial stability. And for God sakes if maybe I was a little thinner, prettier, more attractive, I could get a decent guy and who knows what else, because we all know good looking people have it all.
Now let’s stop right there.
This is when I realized there was a familiar theme showing up. All stemming from a subconscious limiting belief. I was unworthy.
Unworthy of a beautiful body,
Unworthy of financial freedom,
Unworthy of a healthy body, and now
Unworthy of being a mom.
There were definite patterns of self sabotage in every single area.
OK, awareness was the first step. I started to dig deeper into this whole worthiness dilemma - should I say disease - how was I going to find a cure?
It was at the core of everything I did. After talking to others and doing some research this was something millions of people struggled with, in fact I couldn't find one person who didn't struggle with their own self-worth at some point in their lives or were still suffering like me.
I was not going to give up on my children or myself. Regardless of the motive, my mamma bear claws came out. How could I get back to feeling worthy in all these areas of my life?
The ingredients for a recipe of innate worthiness included hours of sobbing therapy, repentance, forgiveness, vulnerability, and gratefulness. Believe me when I say, its all still cooking on a steady boil, but I can tell you this - there have been numerous signs I am on the right path to finding the way back to innate worthiness.
The last four years, I have applied a simple (not easy formula) which is working for me and the results are miraculous.
Some of my successes since implementing this formula into my life include:
I no longer live paycheck to paycheck, I have more than enough money to pay my bills and my income is increasing regularly.
I went from moving every year to living full time a block from the beach, providing the lifestyle I only dreamed of for my children.
The healthiest relationships in my life are the ones with my God, myself, and my children. I love them all deeply. And as far as it relates to the custody of my children, three of my children currently live with me full time.
The Worthiness Formula challenges the very beliefs we've grown to love and find comfort in. The reward is discovering the truth about who we really are and what our value is in the world: igniting our sense of purpose.
Stay tuned to discover the three simple ingredients of The Worthiness Formula, I promise you will laugh a little, maybe cry a little, and with a little SOUL WORK, you WILL discover your own innate worth.
"You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” Brene Brown
Let’s start walking inside together . . .