Over the past few years we have experienced the death of two marriages in our family. To say that our family dynamics have dramatically changed is an understatement. To see where we are today is nothing short of a miracle. Not the instantaneous kind but the kind that comes from wrestling and determinedly walking out your days with God’s gutsy braveness and strength not because you are super spiritual but because there is no other option. The odds were certainly against us. The chances of us coming through such huge changes with relationships still in tact were not at all in our favor.
To be perfectly honest, when my oldest daughter came to me and told me she was getting a divorce…I selfishly fought against it. See, I was in the midst of my own messy, crazy and hard divorce from her father. I held it together for the moment and then as soon as I could get away, I hit the carpet in disbelief. Really, Lord? Why now? This is absurd! I can’t carry her brokenness and my own at the same time let alone my other kid’s brokenness!! This was just too much….for her, for me, and for our family. “Like mother, like daughter” was not a phrase that felt good in the midst of our unwanted circumstances though it would seem fitting, Ugh! Having five children experience the terrible aftermath of the destruction of their own family unit is one thing. However, to have one of those five children also experience the same kind of loss……in the same season, was inviting chaos of the worst kind to reek havoc in the hearts and minds of ALL my children. Oh my word!! I knew I had to get a grip. As I ugly cried into the carpet that day in prayer pleading with God to intervene and wallowing in my own pity party, I was reminded that He knows all things. This was absolutely no surprise to Him. His grace would be sufficient. What seemed like such horrible timing and so messy would be worked for good no matter how things felt or looked from my limited perspective. I had no choice and I knew it. I had to embrace what I knew to be true of God and not let my emotions get the best of me. I had to be strong for all of us. I eventually stood up with a stubborn resolve but it was only a short time after that the guilt bombs and accusations attacked my mind from different directions. Subsequently, this only gave way to even more stinkin’ thinking. I went from “please, God” to “oh, no…did I cause this? Were my children reaping the consequences of my decisions? Was my own divorce giving my precious daughter permission to give up on HER marriage? After-all, God hates divorce.” Reality is, I hate divorce and yet here I was on the cusp of the “D” word being a part of my story and now doubly so for my daughter. We all know as a mom, it’s one thing for life to happen to us but when it hits our kids it’s a whole different kind of brokenness. They had already lost enough. The possibility of it being a part of my daughter’s story, too…broke me. “How dare I claim to be a christian and put my family through this. Have I opened the door of destruction for those that I hold most dear to my heart?” This thinking and more attacked every aspect of who I have ever claimed or wanted to be. I hated the helplessness I felt but I knew I had no control over outcomes. This was not something I could fix nor wish away. In the midst of this overwhelming sorrow, I repented. I begged for God’s mercy to cover and heal any brokenness in my children that I may have caused. I was so sorry for my part in all of this messiness. Then I rehearsed in my mind the road that led me to the decisions that I had made and I had a renewed resolve. Now was not the time to question what I had already previously settled in my heart and mind through much prayer and counsel. I knew what I knew. I needed to be extremely careful of whose voice I was giving power to. Did what I was hearing line up with what I knew to be true, if not…then I had to choose to let it go!! Not to say that I didn’t struggle anymore, because I did. I just did not allow those tormenting thoughts to be the boss of me……..I surrendered them to Jesus over and over again and slowly but surely they lost their power over me. Thank you, Jesus!
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. John 1:16
Now, several years later we are living out our stories redemption style. The losses we went through do not compare to the new joys we are now experiencing. What was meant to destroy us has only made us stronger and has given us a story that shouts of God’s amazing grace and faithfulness. Only my children know the depths of the chaos and craziness that we have walked through but with that they have also known and witnessed the greatness of our God as He has came to our rescue time and time again!
Just recently, as I had a few precious moments with my daughter before she said “I do”, I was given the opportunity to pray with her. As the words begin to flow, so did my tears. God so sweetly reminded me of how He had given us each other to share not only in the pain that had been a part of our stories, but also in these specific joy-filled beauty-for-ashes moments. I don’t know of any mom who would ever plan nor want to go through a divorce at the same time as her daughter BUT not every mom gets the blessing of sharing the season of being engaged and married with her own daughter either. How precious and how special. I could not see in the get go, as I poured out my heart beside my bed that day, that God would so graciously weave our stories so closely together and create a beautiful ever after from the ashes we both carried. I could not see then that God would take the ugliness of divorce and bring a strength and closeness among my children that wasn’t there before. I couldn’t see then that I would get to meet and marry a special man and have the privilege of being a bonus mom to two incredible kids and a mother-in-law to a man that would love my daughter and her siblings like no other!
Our God is truly the God of abundant mercy and grace and He is no respecter of persons. In the midst of the unwanted parts of our stories, God redeems. He covers our shame with His love and creates within our story HIS story of amazing grace. His grace is even more beautiful to me now than ever before. I have been ever so desperate for it and I have experienced the extravagance of it. His grace has anchored my messiness to His marvelous perfection and created something so beautifully new. His grace has truly been sufficient for me and my children and I can assure you that His grace is truly sufficient for you. Believe it, my friend!
I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord. Psalm 27-13-14
I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
…May grace (spiritual blessing) and peace be given you in increasing abundance [that spiritual peace to be realized in and through Christ, freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts]. 1 Peter 1:2