Day 7: Where You Are in Your Life vs. Where You Thought You Would Be

Day 7Where you are in your life vs. where you thought you would be at this point.

Five years ago today, I walked away from the toxic, abusive, destructive relationship I was in and I never looked back. I didn’t have a blog, I had never sent a tweet, and I wasn’t The Single Woman. I was Mandy, the PR girl. I was on a completely different trajectory in life. I was newly single, my relationship with God, my parents, and my friends was in disarray, and I was feeling more than a little beat up by the world. I was a girl with a heart to do something, anything to “make a dent in the universe,” in the words of Steve Jobs…but I had no clue what to do or where to start.

Armed with a dream, my faith, a Vision Board, and the only New Year’s resolution I ever made and stuck to (to focus on getting back in touch with my creative side by finding an outlet to write)…I went to work.

Five years later, I’ve realized dreams that once seemed impossible. I self-published an e-book. I launched a website. I connected with 550k of the most incredible, dynamic women on the planet through Twitter. I signed a book deal. I quit my PR job to be a full-time writer. I published my first book. I met Oprah(!!!!!!) I stood with shaking knees and spoke in front of 10,000 women at the Women of Faith conference. I’ve been on national television. I’ve been blessed to connect with and in some cases, meet and get to know some of my biggest heroes. I wrote a second book, with a title that I picked out a decade ago that I knew would one day be on the cover of a book (I’ve Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has). A title I set my heart on a DECADE ago with no idea how or when I would even get to publish a book is now on the cover of a book! How amazing is that?!?

I became The Single Woman. And it’s a process that I’m still undergoing. Mandy is who I am – The Single Woman is the best, most evolved version of me – and every day, the two merge a little more. And every day, I hope I inspire you to tap into your own inner “The Single Woman” a little more. Every day, I get to wake up and speak life and hope and joy into the hearts of women across the world. What a tremendous, awesome gift and responsibility.

I say all this not to brag, or point out how great I am…but to encourage you and hopefully even inspire and motivate you a little. Five years ago today…I was a shell of a woman. I had been lied to, cheated on, pushed around, called horrible names, manipulated, and bullied for almost two years until I no longer knew who I was. But beneath all of that…the lies and the hurt and the tears and the bruises and the insecurity and the uncertainty and the fear…I had a story, and a heart to tell it. So I did. And five years later, here we are.

You might not be where you want to be today. You might be ME, five years ago. You might feel like you don’t have a prayer of becoming the person you really want to be…but that’s not true. You do have a prayer. You have a hope. You have a future. You have a story. You have a DESTINY. And it only takes one step to change every step after. It doesn’t matter what you did last year or last month or last week or five minutes ago. All that matters is what you choose to do NEXT.

Where I am vs. where I wanted to be? I never dared to dream I’d be where I am today. Most people would say “Oh, but didn’t you think you’d be married by now? Aren’t you disappointed that you’re not?” And my answer to that is: Yes. I did think I’d be married by now. But no. I’m not disappointed that I’m not. Because where I thought I would be can’t hold a candle to where I AM! Sometimes where we THINK we’re supposed to be is far lesser than where God knows we belong. He does have a plan for your life: A big, marvelous, fantastical plan. And if you’re willing to show up: broken spirit, broken dreams, broken heart and all, and hand him the pieces, he’ll turn it all into something beautiful. That’s what he specializes in. Beauty from brokenness. No one knows that better than me.

So I am thankful today that where I am isn’t where I thought I’d be. Cause it sure is where I’m MEANT to be.

Join my 30-Day Blogging Challenge at any time either by commenting below, or responding to the challenges each day on your own personal blog and sharing the link below!  All the details HERE!  Make sure to hashtag all posts on Twitter and Facebook #TheSW30.

ALSO! If you haven’t grabbed your copy of my new book The Single Woman: Life, Love, & a Dash of Sass yet – it’s all about celebrating exactly who you are in THIS moment and is the perfect companion to the Blogging Challenge! Grab your copy at any bookstore!

59 Responses to “ Day 7: Where You Are in Your Life vs. Where You Thought You Would Be ”

  1. lerato
    October 10, 2013

    i am 23years old, was in a terrible relationship for 3 years of my life… and now i have been single for a year… truth is my singleness haunts me tho because i love loving, been loved and been inlove… however I am patient and believe that God will bless me with an amazing man… I pray that he blesses all us #thesinglewomen with great husbands 🙂

  2. October 10, 2013

    Everything happens for a reason and the exact way it was always meant to happen 🙂 <3

  3. October 10, 2013

    not really sure if where I’m at its where I thought I would be. your book talks about the single woman well I’m single and have been for 18 yrs and I also have 2 grown children. yes I have put my life on hold for them and now they are both very independent and successful and starting out in their own journeys. so not a clue where I thought I would be but sure know I’m wanting something for myself and want the chance to be the ( single) single woman if that makes any since at all.

  4. Joy
    October 10, 2013

    Awesome! Dis is soul lifting. Am counting my Blessings!

  5. October 10, 2013

    Isn’t it amazing how total brokenness can bring something about so much greater than you ever imagined it could be when you thought you were whole? That kind of transformation usually has the potential to change more than just your outlook, but that of others. Though I hate that you (or anyone) have had to go through that heartbreak, I am thankful for that man who sent you into this new chapter, where you have brought so much strength to so many who are weak in their relationships with themselves. It brings to mind Isaiah 61:1-3. Beauty from ashes. We will succeed.

  6. erin
    October 10, 2013

    Wow! So much of what I needed to hear right now 🙂 Where I am now is living in alabama, working as a caregiver for the elderly and enjoying life to the fullest… where I thought I would be right now is possibly married and have already started a family, but this is where God has me at this moment and so I am going to live to glorify HIM in all that I do 🙂

  7. Koketso
    October 10, 2013

    You’re truly an inspiration, I’m still in my early twenties, never had a decent relationship, I feel left out at times, when all my college friend go see they’re partners, or when we go out and I “have to dress “hotter than everyone else inorder to attract a man. I’ve passed that stage and whenever I do go out I never even glance at any man, because I know my worth now. I’m happy I’m not stuck in something that brings out the worst in me 🙂

  8. Sarah
    October 10, 2013

    Good post. Great book. 39 years old, and this is NOT where I thought I’d be. I had my life planned out as married, 2 kids, white picket fence by age 30. I’m a little behind. 🙂 God is faithful and teaching me daily to surrender to His will. I’ve got a lot of cleanup going on at the current moment. Christ died to set us free, but I never really internally processed this. I am now and He is opening my eyes to new and exciting things everyday. I can get angry that life hasn’t turned out what I thought, but, then I’d be complaining and not enjoying the many blessings that have come my way. The biggest blessing to come my way is my beautiful daughter. Out of the ashes comes beauty. He can make ALL things new. Praise Him!!!

  9. Adrienne
    October 10, 2013

    Ohhhhh….totally NOT where I thought I’d be! But not at ALL unhappy with where I am. 🙂

  10. Carrie cannon
    October 10, 2013

    I know that I not where I want to be I’m a 31 year single mom of 3 that just got laid off from my job so it’s like I’m back to square one I always thought by now that I would have a degree great career but I haven’t reached that point yet. Even though I’m not at my highest point right now the only thing that keeps me sane is my faith in God.

  11. SingleNewsy
    October 10, 2013

    Four years ago I was with the most amazing (I thought) man, whom I would eventually marry .. And who would leave me a year after said marriage. Around the same time my mother died and i was left without the two most important (again, I thought) people in my life. It was the darkest “hour” I’ve ever faced. And yet… Something amazing happened over the last year. Me, myself, and I became the most important person in my world. Not in a narcissistic or selfish way, but in a way where I learned to live with and love ME, truly for the fist time in my 31 years. Am I disappointed, I’m not married with a baby? Yes. But I’m also very, very hopeful that now that I’m free of what didnt work, that now I’ll meet the man I’m truly meant to be with. And continue learning more about this awesome person I’ve discovered: ME.

  12. Katherine Reynoso
    October 10, 2013

    Im single ang loving it! Thank you! Soooo inspiring

  13. October 10, 2013

    It’s amazing how the themes remain so similar. We’ve all been broken down and rebuilt for bigger and better things to come.
    You’re post is inspiring ( and I love your books, they’re changing my life-quite honestly! 🙂
    Day 7…

  14. grace
    October 10, 2013

    Keep on been a blessing Mandy.God bless you for this hearttugging and uplifting story
    of your past and present.Thank you for touching lives.

  15. Rosemary
    October 10, 2013

    Everyone including me thought I would be married with kids well before 30. I am 37 sliding into 40..never married and no real long relationship to speak of.
    I am blessed with a huge loving family but still feel guilty that it isn’t enough. We are built to love and be loved, nurture and support.
    I am glad that I mentally in a better place than 10 years ago. What I didn’t accomplish or can control is my priority now. Working on finishing my 4 year degree and get back to being healthy and fit for me!
    Trying desperately every day to live my singleness and freedom and not view as lacking or missing people or love.

  16. Tanya
    October 10, 2013

    Where I am not is not where I thought I’d be today. I thought I’d be married & possibly pregnant, or just had a baby by now. Now I am living back at my parents house for the time being, after having my wedding called off 3 weeks before the wedding date by my ex-fiance.
    Although, I am not necessarily happy with where I am today. I believe everything happens for a reason, and he wasn’t meant for me. I am taking time for me!

  17. Melinda
    October 10, 2013

    I never imagined that I would still be single at 37 years old and stuck at home because of a disability. However, I have used my disability to help inspire others not to give up. I am still hoping that God has a prince charming in my further, but for now I am seeking his will and keeping my spirits up. Thanks for your daily messages your an inspiration to me.

  18. Tammy Aguilera
    October 10, 2013

    Mandy, I am so happy that you are where you are and that you have allowed God to use you the way He has to help countless women like myself. Your story is as if you are telling my story. I am not where I want to be yet, but I know I am on my way (as Joyce Meyer likes to say, “I am okay and I am on my way”). Like you I was in an abusive, destructive, and tormenting relationship, except mine lasted 10 years not 2. I know. Why the hell would I stay in that mess that long? I don’t have an exact answer for that question. I don’t know if it was out of love and hope that the man I loved would change, out of fear of the horrible threats from him that I can’t even write here, or out of fear of being along and believing the lies he told me that I was unlovable among many other things, possibly even the fear that I could not provide for my 2 kids on my own. What I do know is that I had lost myself somewhere along the way and I had not idea how to find me again. It was quite a miracle of God that I made it out alive. I had survived. Now what? Where do I begin? How do I build from here? It has taken years for me to come to the place that you describe above where I am completely happy where I am and not anxious about not being married or having a man in my life. I am focusing on building my own business, writing the first of hopefully many books, God willing. He told me 12 years ago that I would write 3 books and gave me the titles to each one. I recently asked God when I am ever going to write these books, to which He promptly replied, “I am writing them with you in your heart first.” I have my “Fibro Faith” page on Facebook which I have been posting encouraging messages, health and natural remedies info for people with Fibromyalgia. I have been battling it for most of my life, although it didn’t get real bad until about 5 years ago. Thank you so much for sharing your life and wisdom that God has anointed you to share with the world. I pray He bless you with the man of your dreams in His timing and in the meantime He is preparing you both for each other and when you meet it will be DYNAMITE! 😀

  19. October 10, 2013

    Thanks for sharing lady! I’m super grateful for where I am today too! 🙂

    My day 7 :

  20. Traycee Frey
    October 10, 2013

    I’m def. not where had dreamed as a teenage girl I would be. I remember turning 16 and planning my whole life – thinking I’d be married by 21, a couple of kids, either a preacher’s wife, or a soldiers wife, a happy dream. But then 21 came….and I was still single, in fact I hadn’t even had a date by then – I was the one all the guys said “you’re an awesome person, a great friend, but not pretty enough, or skinny enough to date”….so I trudged on, trying to fit into what society thought I should be, trying to be that pretty, skinny girl (multiple years of eating disorders & battling trying to fit into a mold) I finally had my first date at 24, and I thought for sure I’d be married by 25….but then next thing I know I hit 30, then 35, and just recently hit 40. I think 30 was by far the hardest. I remember driving from Illinois to Indiana, getting myself a hotel room & just mourning the passing of my years. I cried, oh did I cry! God & I have had a few conversations, & many tears along the way….but apparently marriage & kids weren’t in his plans for those seasons of my life. I’ve come to accept it, I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t hurt though, seeing my friends or family as they expand…..but all I can do is have faith that he has a greater plan for me. I am grateful for the experiences and the heartaches he’s kept me from though by protecting me.

    • joanne
      February 12, 2015

      I find with a lot of my disappointments when I look back the people who have caused then have accidentally done me a favour by inadvertently stopping me from having made what would have been big mistakes but it does hurt at the time though.

  21. October 10, 2013

    God really has the best plan for our life and He supports our dreams and help them achieve it that we can’t even imagine or possibly thought of how it could turn out! That’s how He loves us. Through all the mistakes, unfortunate events, failures, mishappenings, and every dark side we had – this is all to become a better version of oneself, to mold our character and instill values to us.
    To Mandy, I think God use you to speak for us “The Single Woman”, to be an inspiration and to encourage and even CHANGE people lives! That’s big responsible – not just being a writer and living your dream. You had a purpose to fulfill and I can say that you’re doing great!
    God bless! 🙂

  22. October 10, 2013

    God really has the best plan for our life and He supports our dreams and help them achieve it that we can’t even imagine or possibly thought of how it could turn out! That’s how He loves us. Through all the mistakes, unfortunate events, failures, mishappenings, and every dark side we had – this is all to become a better version of oneself, to mold our character and instill values to us.
    To Mandy, I think God use you to speak for us “The Single Woman”, to be an inspiration and to encourage and even CHANGE people lives! That’s big responsible – not just being a writer and living your dream. You had a purpose to fulfill and I can say that you’re doing great!
    God bless! 🙂

  23. Jennine
    October 10, 2013

    In 2004, I lost my two oldest boys to the (willing) custody of my mother because of my drug addiction to cocaine. 2006 was the last time I eve touched (or co mingled) around it and those who were a part of that culture. Today I have regained custody of my boys, have 5 y/o twins and am a senior set to graduate May 2014….with a 3.93 GPA. Being the recipient of 5 academic scholarships, having been an officer for two honor societies (secretary and president) being in 3 honor societies, and having a promising acceptance into the grad school program of my choice. I’ve been interviewed for a PBS documentary and also a news piece that was shown in Africa, Venezuela and China. One of my oldest boys has recently moved out, has a great paying job, enrolled in school and volunteering as well as working on a place for just him…Well needless to say, I thin I have arrived. If anyone says to you that you can’t do something, they’re wrong! I am living proof that indeed you can do anything that you put your mind to. My education and future career is solely based on me empowering others to their greatness too. 🙂

  24. Rachel B
    October 10, 2013

    I’m in a different place than I thought I’d be. Not better or worse, just different. Since I started to read your book and blogs, I’ve decided to view my singleness and lack of baggage as a positive thing.

  25. […] “Four years ago today…I was a shell of a woman. I had been lied to, cheated on, pushed aroun… —Mandy aka The Single Woman ( […]

  26. October 10, 2013

    This is not exactly the life I thought I’ll have, but dang this is way way better than my wildest imagination!

  27. October 11, 2013

    My life is nowhere near where I imagined it to be. But I keep believing that things will turn around for me and will work out in unimaginable ways. Blog post.

  28. Sheryl
    October 11, 2013

    Going to be 33 this 15th and this article is very timely at this season of my life. I’m quite ambitious and have a long list of things-to-do to be where i want to be. But I still see myself way too off my destination.

    But then again, I am happy where I am now because I already gave the wheel to God and I’m quite sure I’d still be happy 30 years from now, no matter where I end up.

  29. Kerry
    October 11, 2013

    I thought I wud be married with a child, living in a nice home!

  30. Yolanda De La Cruz
    October 11, 2013

    Where I am now in life at this very presnt moment is far beyond where I thought I’d be and darnit I’m mad … lol! but ya’ll know what I love my life, seriously I do love being single.

  31. October 11, 2013

    Beautifully Written! I’m glad you are a full-time writer, you sure are good at it! Here is my blog response.

    Sometimes Running Slow Can Save Your Life

  32. October 11, 2013

    Mandy, you have touched more life than you can imagine. I am 27 and I get lots of questions like ‘Why aren’t you married yet?’ But I reply, ‘The right guy doesn’t know what he is missing yet’. I might not be where I had hopes I would be by now but I am a work in progress and I am grateful to God for where I am now.

  33. Zoe
    October 11, 2013

    I’m not where I thought I would be… But where I am is were I’m supposed to be. His plans are not mine, I’m sure He has a bigger and better plan for my life. Jer 29 11

  34. Bee A
    October 11, 2013

    I may not be where I wanted to be at this age but I am certainly glad that I am here and now cos I wouldn’t trade the last couple of years for anything

  35. October 12, 2013

    Thank you so much for your inspiring words, Mandy! You used something horrible that happened to you and turned it into something beautiful. I follow your blog and read your tweets and you offer such bold truth for so many of us to hear. I am a single woman not where I ever thought I’d be at age 30. Your words encourage me. Thank you for what you’re doing by taking a broken time in your life to bring hope to others. It’s inspiring and I hope one day to do the same.

  36. Natasha
    October 12, 2013

    So by now I thought that i would have been a college graduate working in the Nursing field, just enjoying life, traveling, an happily inlove with my ex.. But nope I am not where i want to be at all, im just praying that i am going in the right direction. So i am not a college graduate but will be going back to school next year working on my degree in nursing.. I must admit i am traveling, i am blessed to be able to go visit other countries and get to experience a different environment an way of life.. I currently work as a retail associate but i know i have better days to come ahead an everything will work out for me.

  37. Julia
    October 12, 2013

    Hmmm…I can related to where you were 4 years ago. Its incredible how much can change by just taking one single step (or shuffle in my case). For me, it was a matter of changing my goals. Sure I wanted to be a writer, I love stories, I love reading, I love the written word, I love sheep dogs and anything I might think is cute. I have a dream I will make into a reality some day…but Ive learned to let go of the timeframe I gave myself. I’m also learning that I can watch the clouds someday without making them into anything but other days I can build a castle there 😀 hahaha Its a humbling experience. 🙂

  38. Josephine
    October 12, 2013

    4 years ago, I was filled with insecurities. I was alone and lonely. I envied my friends because they all had boyfriends. I wanted to leave home so bad because I felt like I wasn’t understood. I had a dream that I’d meet an awesome guy who would complete me n well, fill my insecurities with his love! Boy, was I wrong?
    well, I got a scholarship to go study abroad where I met a series of terrible boys until I gave up on relationships. But still hoping, someone will come save me.
    4 years down that road, I have completed my B.Sc in Civil Engineering graduating in Nov. Still single but living fabulously so, under God’s grace. I found out about the SW which has helped me alot, encouraged me n strengthened me. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents n siblings (infact I don’t wanna leave home anytime soon). Though none of the companies I applied to have gotten back to me yet, am happy because I believe this is wea God wants to be ryt now, working with / for my parents. I see it as a way of giving back. This is wea I am now, still God’s little girl, she’s in the process of becoming the woman her father intended for her to be. Praise Jesus!

  39. October 13, 2013

    I had SO MUCH fun writing this post! It’s awesome to reflect on where I thought I would go and where I am currently :o) Hope you all enjoy reading this blog entry!

  40. Dawn
    October 15, 2013

    I thought I would be married, with a family. Not that I don’t have a family. My kids and I are a pretty darn good family, but it would be nice to be a ‘complete’ family. But after 4 years of a terrible relationship with my little guys father, I know I am better off single than miserable and so are my kids. And I’ve learned to just trust God. My favorite song right now is “Even if” from Kutless. Even if I dont get what I want, God is good, He is faithful, and I trust Him.

  41. Ngoni
    October 19, 2013

    I filled out one of those high school “In 10 years, I’ll be….” Well, nothing I filled out came true. I was supposed to be a Licensed Physical Therapist. Instead, I am a Physical Therapist Assistant. I was supposed to be earthly married. That didn’t happen either. I was supposed to have earthly children. Nope, not even by a long shot. I am not complaining though because God has filled my life with goodness that I wouldn’t have experienced had I been married with children.

  42. Rebecca
    October 19, 2013

    I am definitely no where near where I though I was going to be 4 years ago. I thought I would have my masters degree, have a fiance or husband and be working on a family. I now work at a bank and for a builder on the weekends and had to move back home with my parents. I try to look at it as a opportunity to go back and start over. Go back to school and pursue my dreams. I really feel like it is easier said than done. There is a man I recently dated for a short period, but he made quite the impact and dent in my heart, It has been hard to stop thinking about him and why things went the way they did. I know God had a reason for bringing people in and out of our lives and I know that with Him is where my happiness will begin. It is really time to get back to my relationship with the one man that does matter, God.

  43. Christine D
    October 22, 2013

    I had a plan when I was younger…..graduate high school, meet the man of my dreams, graduate college, get married, but a house and start a family all by the time I reached 25 years of age. Well, it didn’t quite work that way. I graduated high school with high honors and then college with a bachelors degree in accounting. I’ve been working on my career since my last semester of college. I turned 25 and decided it was time to buy a house. I thought, why should I wait until I meet the perfect guy? Who knows when that should be? While the majority of people in their twenties focused on their social lives,I focused on my career. Sure,I dated and was in a few serious relationships, but they were never the right person for me. I settled every single time. I’m now 36 years old, own a beautiful home all on my own, am very successful in my career, have the best fur babies and am so lucky to be an Aunt. Would I want to go back and change anything? Not a chance. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

  44. November 5, 2013

    I will immediately grasp your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    • Mandy Hale
      November 7, 2013

      Yes, you can subscribe right from the home page! Look toward the bottom left corner for the “Subscribe” button! 🙂

  45. Rebekka
    January 27, 2014

    I am currently bawling my eyes out after reading this post. It is SO inspiring. I am, sadly, trying to escape a toxic relationship w a narcissistic sociopath whom I’ve been with for 5 years & have 2 beautiful little boys with. He has alienated & abused me for years, & as a result I was diagnosed w PTSD & suffer from low self esteem & debilitating anxiety. I am a stay at home mom to our sons, & really feel “trapped” with him money, no car (the one I drive is his parents… he has no license due to multiple dwi’s), & nowhere to go permanently. I want nothing more than to leave this relationship & I have been begging God daily to open a door for me…pleading, weeping, praying daily, the same words over & over again. I feel like He led me to your blog today, & this post in particular gives me hope. I still have no answers, but I have hope that God will do the “impossible” for me bc He is a God of miracles. God bless you Mandy!!!

  46. Neen
    April 21, 2014

    Talk about perfect timing for encouragement. I never read blogs and I only found this because I’m wanting to start a blog. A year ago I finally decided to leave my 4 year on and off again boyfriend, who was obviously never going to marry me. And the relationship was completely destroying who I was. I packed my things and moved with my sister, her husband, and their two children from Florida to Hawaii. No plan, not even the slightest idea what I was doing I just knew God was leading and a great adventure was waiting. After about 5 months on the island I met an amazing christian man and that reatliosnip has recently come to an abrupt, unforeseen end and I am sorting through another confusing end only to believe that maybe God has other things in store for my life. I never imagined I’d be single at 28, I also never imagined I’d be living in Hawaii. But here I am living a life I never imagined, but honestly it’s pretty amazing. I still long for a husband and a family but I know right now God is using me for other things.
    Finding this blog has reassured me that God is doing a work in my life even if I don’t understand it at the moment.
    Jesus love you!

  47. February 24, 2015

    My entry for this question.

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Something wonderful is on the horizon
Life doesn’t always look the way we want it to look. In Mandy’s upcoming book, Turn Toward the Sun: Releasing What If and Embracing What Is, you’ll find encouragement to live in the moment, sit with your experiences, and trust God with the unknown.
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Something wonderful is on the horizon
Turn Toward the Sun CoverLife doesn’t always look the way we want it to look. In Mandy’s upcoming book, Turn Toward the Sun: Releasing What If and Embracing What Is, you’ll find encouragement to live in the moment, sit with your experiences, and trust God with the unknown.
Preorder from Baker Book House for 40% off and free shipping!*
*US shipping only