It happened several years ago, one August morning. In some ways it seems like forever ago. Yet, I still remember it so vividly. I was awakened from a deep sleep with the following scripture on my heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:3-5
I would love to sound all spiritual and say this was a normal occurrence in my life. However, being awakened with a Word from God just pouring into my spirit wasn’t something that I was used to. It is for that very reason that I knew this was special and I needed to pay attention. Of course, I didn’t understand it then but it was soon to be my life-line for the most difficult season I had ever encountered.
You see, a few years before that memorable August morning, something had gone way south in my marriage. It had happened many times before but this time was different. I knew it. Sure, our marriage had been extremely difficult over the years and there was much brokenness and betrayal throughout but I believed that we had finally progressed beyond all of that. I so longed for the testimony that we had previously shared with our church family, to continue to be the testimony of our tomorrows. I knew God was able! Even though my gut persistently screamed at me and I saw the red flags waving, I didn’t want to give significance to any of it. I wanted to believe that I was just being paranoid and overly sensitive. But deep in my core, I knew.
My consistent and gut wrenching prayers became more desperate as time went on. I asked God to bring light to the darkness, for Him to reveal what I felt like I already knew. I begged Him and pleaded with him time and time again. Consequently, there was no big reveal, no explanation, no tangible evidence, nothing! However, God was not totally silent. Thankfully, He gave me an anchor to hold onto. The word “faithful” was graciously dropped in my spirit. What did that mean? I knew. God was calling me to be faithful in the midst of the not knowing, the brokenness and the pain. He was asking me to simply trust Him and wait. I had to be faithful…as a wife, as a mom, as a daughter of God and in God’s timing, He would bring truth to light and reveal His wisdom. I could not let my feelings dictate my actions. I could not run, I could not give up. I had to continue right where I was, doing what I knew to do in that season of waiting. It was a daily battle. I prayed and surrendered my concerns, fears, frustrations, anger and pain to Jesus as I had so many times before. However, things seemed to only get worse. I cried and grieved a lot during that time and to say a lot is not an exaggeration. I think I knew in my heart what was coming and it broke me. I had dear friends who tried to intervene but, unfortunately, their kind efforts were unfruitful.
Looking back, I am beyond grateful that I was given the gift of divine space to begin the grieving process while still within the boundaries of marriage. I think I can compare it to a loved one being taken care of by Hospice at the end of this life. You know the end is coming and God, in His amazing love and grace, begins to prepare your heart to let go. I have no words to describe the difficulty of that season. It truly was like a slow death.
In the short years that followed, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I was his care-giver. He lived in my home before he entered his heavenly home. I will not go into the added chaos and brokenness this brought into my life but it was very much a distraction from the sinking feeling that my world was about to be forever changed in more ways than I could comprehend. Looking back now, the Lord was so very gracious. He cares so very much about our burdens and brokenness. He knew this broken girl could only handle one huge life changing thing at a time. It was not until about seven months after my dad had passed away that some truths were finally revealed. Subsequently, a month or two after I had awakened with the scripture I mentioned earlier. God’s timing is always perfect! His ways are so much higher than our own! Though my heart was broken in more pieces than I could count, I praised my God! I distinctly remember falling to me knees at that precise moment…it was bittersweet. I thanked Him for finally bringing to light what I needed to know, even though it hurt so deeply. It was then that I knew it was time. When you know, you just know. I was rescued. I was released.
I used to always wonder how couples who had been married for 30 years could end up getting a divorce. It seemed totally crazy to me. After-all, if you made it that far, you should be able to ride it out for the long haul, right? Well, now I get it. There comes a time when you finally say, enough is enough. I can’t do this any longer. I need peace. I need to take the short years I have left and live them to the fullest even if it means living them alone. It is not the life we would have chosen but that is how things sometimes turn out this side of heaven.
It has been nearly three years since I made that decision, I dealt with two deaths in a short amount of time, the death of my father and the death of my marriage. The death of my father was so very hard..but the death of my marriage and the challenges that have followed have proven to be the most challenging and painful season I have EVER walked through. Even though the struggles were overwhelming at times, I know my God rescued me. Yes, God ordained marriage, Yes, God hates divorce! However, I know He loves His daughters MORE than He hates divorce. I do not for one second condone divorce. It is ugly. It is hurtful. It is devastating. It affects SO many people. It is not how it was supposed to be. I would NOT encourage any sister of mine to walk this path without first seeking wise Godly counsel and WAITING for God to reveal His guidance. Waiting is a key factor. You cannot make this decision based on your hurt and brokenness. Emotional decisions are not wise. You have to give yourself time to work through some of your brokenness before making such a life-altering decision…this applies to every area of our life!
I am 100% FOR marriage! I am 100% for commitment and staying for the duration. I am also 100% convinced that when you have done all you can do… the braver, more courageous choice is to let go and let God lead you out. After 30 years, it was scary, it was stepping out of the boat of “I can’t do this” and taking hold of Jesus, trusting Him to keep me and my children from sinking. It was like having a somewhat twisted, toxic and unhealthy security being pulled out from under us.
So why am I writing all this? Because somebody needs to hear it. I used to think that going through a divorce was the worst thing that could ever happen, so I adamantly avoided it at all costs. Friend, I can confidently say with humble thankfulness, that what seems like the worst thing that could ever happen is NOT the worst thing because we serve a faithful God! He walks with us through the yuck and the messy and helps us to be braver and more courageous than we ever thought we could.
The morning when I woke up with Proverbs 3:3-5 on my heart was a divine father-daughter moment in which I will never forget. Of course I did not understand the significance of it then but now, wow!! He wanted me to know that I could trust Him through the unwanted, challenging and downright messy season I was about to enter into. He was going to be with me… leading, guiding, protecting, and upholding me and my children and though I would not understand it all, I could still trust Him. He would make me brave. He would give me courage to face what was coming.
Throughout this journey, I was reminded of that scripture time and time again. I prayed it, repeated it, cried through it and stubbornly held onto it when my feelings told me otherwise and my God never failed me.
AND so it it with you, dear sister! Our God can be trusted! I have heard it said, “You don’t really know what trust is until you have to trust!” That is so true! I can tell you, at your point of desperation, God is there. He is with you. He is writing your story and His grace and mercy are weaved all through it bringing beauty from what may have appeared to be something that you could not fathom having to endure.
Sweet sister. NO matter what your scary thing is, God is bigger! Though you may experience pain like you never have before, you will also experience God’s amazing grace like never before. He is such a loving Father. So what is it? What scary thing is the enemy using to torment you with by whispering “you can’t do it, you can’t make it, you’re not good enough, God can’t use you, you’re too messed up, you are not smart enough”, etc? Stop listening to THAT voice and take hold of what God says! Your problems are no match for God’s promises! Be brave and take hold of HIS grace and step onto the waters of obedience and mercy and see what He will do!
Is it a time of waiting and preparation or is it a time of action and application?
Whatever season you are in, God’s grace is precise and sufficient for YOU! Trust HIM with ALL of your heart. God’s plan is so much bigger than what you can think or imagine. Seek that father-daughter relationship with Him and as you do, you can be CONFIDENT that He will hold you, comfort you, lead you, protect you, provide for you, empower you, bless you, and work ALL things together for your good and for HIS glory! THAT, my friend is WHO HE IS! Believe it!
Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. Psalm 27:14