Updated: Nov 13, 2018
On a dreary November morning twenty-five years ago, my world imploded. It was the beginning of the end of my marriage. My husband, who ten years earlier had promised to love me until death, reneged on his commitment. A few harshly spoken words radically changed the trajectory of my life. And I am so very, very grateful.
Grateful for divorce? Let me explain. First, I must clarify that I did not want a divorce nor do I advocate divorce. Divorce is ugly and there is nothing good about it. It breaks your heart, topples your world, steals your identity, security and dreams. It screams you are not good enough, because if you were, your spouse would not have chosen to leave. My gratefulness is because of what the Lord has done with my mess.
My mess began long before I got married. I became a Christian at a young age, but insecurities quickly hindered my spiritual growth. Since I only attended Sunday school, I received very little Bible-instruction. When I read and tried to understand the Bible on my own, I concluded I wasn’t smart enough to understand it; intimidated, I eventually stopped trying to understand it. By the time I became a teenager, my fears and insecurities dominated every area of my life. I was terrified of being alone and desperately desired to feel loved. My consuming fear and desire led me, as a young adult, to make poor choices in relationships. I dated, then married, a man whom did not share my faith. And because of that, I strayed from my faith; I was an unintentional prodigal child.
When I fell on my knees that dismal November morning in 1993, the Lord met me in my brokenness and desperation. I recommitted my life to the Lord and said “I do” to His will, His plans and His ways.
While I honestly didn’t think I would survive the mess I had gotten myself into, I am writing this blog to testify that the Lord does indeed cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
On this silver anniversary of my renewed walk with the Lord, my heart is tender and reflective. I am overwhelmed by God’s abundant favor and grace. As I look back, I want to share some of the amazing things the Lord has done in - and for - me.
1. The Lord allowed me to find Him. When I sought Him, He was there! Actually, He had been there all along, just waiting for me to seek Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
2. The Lord forgave me for my wanderings and rejoiced as His prodigal child (me!) came home.
Luke 15:32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice for this brother (sister) was dead and has begun to live and was lost and has been found.
3. The Lord opened my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my mind to comprehend His words and teachings.
Matthew 11:16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears because they hear.
Psalms 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
4. The Lord gave me hope that, even though my life was a mess and not going according to my plan, He had an even better plan for my future. I just needed to have a surrendered and willing heart.
Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.
5. The Lord made a way for me. I didn’t have a clue how to move forward in the valley of unwanted singleness, but the Lord cleared the path for me to walk with Him. His Presence and His Word were nourishment for my parched soul.
Isaiah 43:10b I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
6. The Lord quieted my fears, taught me to focus on Him, and gave me His supernatural strength.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you. Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
7. The Lord accomplished all that concerned me and fulfilled His purpose for me. The Lord didn’t give up on me. He patiently dealt with my fears, doubts, and insecurities.
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands.
8. The Lord established the work of my hands. He gave me clear direction on how to clarify my calling, and how to use my talents, gifts and skills to accomplish His purpose.
Psalm 90:17. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.
9. The Lord established my footsteps. He directed me in the way I should go, one step at a time.
Psalm 119:133 Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
10. The Lord girded me with strength and made my feet stand firm. He was my firm foundation, the Rock on which I chose to stand, when everything around me seemed to be sinking in the sand.
Psalm 18:31-33. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and sets me upon high places.
11. The Lord enlarged my tent and expanded my borders. The Lord moved me out of my comfort zone, out of my mundane routine to His amazing adventure!
1 Chronicles 4:10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.
12. The Lord shined His face upon me and showed me unmerited favor, undeserved grace and abundant mercy.
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.
13. The Lord calmed my storms and led me to safe harbor. I weathered some pretty intense storms, both emotional and physical, and the Lord brought me safely through the storm every single time.
Psalm 107:28:30 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the seawere hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
14. The Lord walked with me through the deep waters and fire. In every situation, when I felt I was drowning in despair or was scorched by the heat of an unbearably difficult situation, the Lord sustained me and encouraged me to persist!
Psalm 107:29-30 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
15. The Lord gave me sweet slumber, even in the storms. When I was in junior high school, the city I lived in was devastated during a severe tornado outbreak. While our home was spared, the experience traumatized me to the point where I had an irrational fear of thunderstorms. A distant rumble would wake me up and paralyze me with fear. But then one night, I slept through a severe storm…my fear was literally gone overnight!
Proverbs 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
16. The Lord gave me unshakeable peace and unspeakable joy.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
John 15:10-11 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
17. The Lord delighted me with His creation, the beautiful work of His hands. Nature is indeed the art of God!
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
18. The Lord chose me and loved with me an everlasting love.
John 15:16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
19. The Lord was continually present, exulting over me, loving me and rejoicing over me…a truth that was almost too wonderful for me to comprehend!
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
20. The Lord provided for me. In the financially lean years, on paper, there was always more money going out than coming in. God stretched my little into enough and I was able to keep my home. Then unexpected job opportunities and promotions came my way and – only by God’s favor and provision – I paid off my house and I am debt free!
Isaiah 41:20 That they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21. The Lord satisfied my heart. I am abundantly blessed and my cup runneth over!
Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
22. The Lord led me to a place of emotional and spiritual rest and renewed my weary soul.
Psalm 23: He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
23. The Lord made all things new. I am amazed at the changes He has made in me. Old things have been made new!
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
24. The Lord healed my broken heart and put a new song in my mouth.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.
25. The Lord made beauty from ashes. My life was an ash-heap…messy, useless and without purpose. Yet the Lord took that mess and made my life beautiful and purposeful, in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
Isaiah 61:3 To provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him.
This list is written in the past tense to reflect what the Lord has done since that November day. Thankfully, He continues to do a good work in me - and will continue to do so for the rest of my days!
So, my journey over the past two and a half decades has been one of tremendous spiritual and personal growth. I’ve had lessons to learn, valleys to trudge through, strongholds to face, giants to slay, mountains to climb, and countless victories to celebrate. The Lord has given me new dreams, passions to pursue, and a heart to encourage.
If you are going through a storm or trudging through a valley, I encourage you to seek the Lord with all your heart. He will reveal Himself to you, just as He did for me, and give you clear direction.
If you don’t know Him, please contact me; I would love to introduce you to my Jesus!
Saying “I do” to the One True God is the best decision you will ever make.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the churchand in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)