2 Week Notice

One of the hardest concepts for me as a spouse and parent is fighting the temptations of this world to do life (marriage and parenting) the world’s way. I struggle to embrace truth at times because the world is often offended by God’s design and the people pleaser in me wants to make those around me happy. Sadly, I oftentimes do go the way of pleasing others at the expense of being obedient to what I know Truth to be.

Between movies, tv programs and books, the world spends countless amounts of time attempting to paint a picture for us as to what marriage, parenting and family should look like. A portrait that most of the time is far from the way in which God designed any of it to be. The Bible paints a much different picture than the world and throughout my 27 years of married life and 24 years of parenting, I have learned that following God’s design instead of my own or the world’s leads to blessings and joy that this world has yet to offer me.

A few years ago, I listened to a sermon titled Time’s Up (The Summit Church, JD Greear, 11/10/19). I decided I needed the reminder and listened to it again. As the sermon began, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but it hit the nail on the head for me and where God is trying to take me as a spouse and parent.

I have spent years praying and asking God to reveal Himself to my children the way in which He has revealed Himself to me throughout the years. I want them to know Him the way I do. To experience the joy of walking in His way and living life by His design instead of what the world would offer. To live the “best life”, a life experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God and not the life (plan) I want or think they should live. God has purposely designed each of them for a part of His story and I desperately want them to know the joy that comes from walking with Him.

As we listened to the sermon yesterday the pastor talked about a conversation that took place between himself and his mom when he decided to have a conversation with her about what God was doing in his life when he was in college. It was a conversation he was nervous to have because he was afraid she would be disappointed in him.

He began by saying, “Mom, I know this is probably really disappointing. I know you must have had this vision of me living close, making a comfortable living, and raising your grandkids in a place where you could see them every day. But I feel like God wants me to go live overseas where people don’t know about Jesus.”

And here was his mom’s response, “J.D., your father and I have been praying for God’s will for you your whole life. And if this is how God wants to use your life, we won’t stand in your way. There’s nothing that would make us prouder than knowing you gave your life back to God for his service. We’ll have all eternity to enjoy the blessings of our family,” she said. “So, if we miss out on some of them down here, that’s ok. We’ll have all eternity for that. We’ve only got a few years to ensure that people’s sons and daughters around the world have a chance to be included in our family.”

Only one life to live… That’s the legacy JD Greear was given by his parents. And he said it was greater than anything else they could have given to him. THAT is the legacy that I want to give to my children! That is who I want to be for them. I want them to know that the eternal destination of those around them are far more important than anything else. That following Jesus and sharing Him with the world is by far, more significant than a full table on Thanksgiving.

JD Greear followed up his story with this: “So, one simple question for you: What legacy are you leaving? What kingdom are you leveraging your resources for?” He said, “You see, there is one thing we CAN’T do there (eternity in heaven) that we can do here: tell people about Jesus.”

That is the message I want my children and the children I love as my own to hear. That is my heart for them. I LOVE being a wife. I LOVE being a mom. But both for me are completely worthless if both of these titles are all about me and my happiness. I want to leave this earth knowing that my husband and children know/knew that following Jesus and leading others to follow Him were the MOST important things.

As JD Greear said in his message, we have all been given a two weeks notice. The death rate is 100%. We never know when our last day will be so we must live as if that day is today.

Our notice has been given. What are we going to do with it? “In that last day, when Jesus returns, the ONLY thing that will matter is whether we were a faithful steward and used our resources for His purpose.”


A New Identity, A Pair of Broken Wings and One Great Hope

ghwI accept that many will never understand the pain others suffer. I accept that unless some things happen to you personally, it’s hard to acknowledge the hurt it causes to others. Sometimes we need to take a step back, stop debating and realize that people are hurting. Suffering. They need to be rescued. They need to know that someone cares and loves them. They need their broken wings healed. They need HOPE. Will you visit Give Her Wings and offer someone hope?


Seven years ago, writing became a big part of my life.  I did not know the purpose or reason at the time but God did.  He was aware of my impending storm and prepared me for the road ahead.  

If you have never dealt with divorce, it is hard to understand the emotions involved and even harder to relate.  There is so much pain from feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, feelings of betrayal, fear and hurt that never seem to end.  For me, except for my parents and siblings as well a dear friend who lived two minutes from my home, I was alone. My church, my closest friends and my extended family abandoned me.  At a time when love and support were needed, I found none. It was not only lonely but scary.
After the trials and storms, He has given me a place and a purpose to be for others what I did not have. By sharing His love, His grace and His hope, I can help women who are not just suffering from the loss of their marriage but struggling to find their “new” identity.
Throughout the last few years I have encountered many women whose experiences were much like mine.  Recognizing their pain and being aware of how much it happens, leaves me with a great desire to offer encouragement to those hurting.  I want them to know they are not alone and they have a great HOPE.
Several months ago, I commented on a Facebook post of a friend. That same day I received a friend request from someone I did not know who had also left a comment.  Because we had several mutual friends I accepted and God began a work. Little did I know the way He was working, orchestrating a new journey for me.

As I visited the profile of my new friend, I discovered that my beautiful new friend Megan and her husband are part of an incredible ministry, Give Her Wings.   While reading about this ministry, their mission and purpose left me overcome with gratitude. The mission:  Helping to give specific mothers who have left abusive situations a chance to get on their feet…to breathe…to heal their broken wings and fly free again.   Being one who understands and is passionate to serve those women who are left to start over, I wanted to help.  I wanted to do what they were doing but I was only one person. I didn’t even know how to start such an undertaking.

Time passed but the feelings grew stronger. It took time for me to recognize the nudging of the Holy Spirit to contact Megan.  I didn’t know what to say but began by sharing my story and the desire to be a part of this amazing work God was doing through them. Much to my surprise my message was met with such encouragement.  God opened doors and made it clear that this ministry, Give Her Wings, was where He wanted me.

Less than a month ago I received a special gift in the mail that touched my heart. Megan has written an amazing book also titled Give Her Wings.  This incredible book brought so much healing as the words spoke such truth and love as well as encouragement. It was filled with clarity, compassion and hope and helped to free me from the struggle of guilt I often experience. It is a great resource filled with practical advice for mamas searching for answers in what can be such a dark journey while giving excellent and much-needed advice and wisdom to those walking alongside those dealing with abuse. It is a much needed resource for an area that is greatly lacking in many churches and one every pastor should read. To learn more about her book or to pick up a copy for yourself, click here.

So if you have made it this far into this post I have something for you to consider.  Right now as you are reading, someone’s name has probably come to mind. Someone in your life is dealing with a struggling marriage or with abuse.  With that said, I would like to ask something of you because there is something you can do.

First, you can pray. Whoever God has placed on your heart, say a prayer. You don’t need details because God knows. Realizing the struggle is more than enough.  It simply takes a minute to pray. Mamas and their babies (even the husbands) who are dealing with this battle need to be covered in prayer. These families need to be loved on and shown that they are not alone.  And we can intercede on their behalf by lifting them up in prayer.

My second request is for you to visit the website Give Her Wings. The purpose of Give Her Wings is to raise gifts and money for mothers who have left abusive situations. Oftentimes, when a woman leaves an abusive marriage, she narrowly escapes with little more than her children and the clothes on her back. Give Her Wings desires to do all they can to help specific mothers who are living in very poor conditions presently.  Once there you can read more about the ministry as well blog posts and updates on mamas who have been helped. There is also a place to donate and support the ministry as well as nominate a mama you may know who needs help.

There is so much hurting in our world.  So many people left without hope. People need to be reminded of our mighty God who loves and longs to walk alongside them through the darkest storms in life.  To know that we, the Church, are here to love and walk with them. We need to be the light. We need to be on mission.  We are called to care for those around us who are hurting and in need.

Help me take the first step in making a difference. Visit GiveHerWings.com and see what part you can play in the lives of those who need our help to heal their broken wings and fly free again.  Thank you in advance for your help as we make a difference in a world that often can be dark.

Can I go anywhere apart from you Spirit?

Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

If I go up into Heaven, You are there.

If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.

If I ride on the wings of morning,

if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,

Even then You will be there to guide me;

Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.

Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,

the light around me will soon be turned night,”

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.

For You the night is just as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

Psalm 139:7-12

The Enemy’s Playground: Social Media, Theology and Mindless People

battlefieldYesterday I shut down my Facebook.  It’s only temporary but a break is needed!

For weeks I watched as Christians attacked Christians as well as past Christians who no longer claim Jesus attacked those who still follow Him. Total chaos. Totally frustrating. Completely ridiculous.

The problem of the day: social media is becoming the Devil’s playground. Don’t get me wrong, social media is great when used responsibly.  I am the aunt of two nieces and a nephew I never get to see except through Facebook and Instagram.  If it were not for social media I wouldn’t recognize them. But for now, I won’t be seeing them on Facebook.  I need a break from the ridiculousness of people and the craziness of Christians.  (I can say that because I am one.)

Here’s the thing.  This started with people attacking “the church.”  A blame game of sorts began as “the church” became the source of our world problems.  For the division being caused among people groups to the personal hurt people experienced by other people. The church appeared to be the cause of it all. It spiraled out of control. The blame being placed on the wrong source. For the record, “the church” is not causing the problems. Problems are caused by people. Dirty, scarred, wounded, and sinful people who have long forgotten that theology and opinions on scripture are not what “saves” us.

So after the blame game came the name calling. Christians calling other Christians heretics and false teachers because of differences of opinions.  It did not seem to matter both people believed Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins. Instead the importance fell on a disagreement in which one interprets the scripture.  I’m baffled.  How does this happen?  The enemy at work and causing division. Oh how we’ve become his pawns.

We have disregarded the truth that the sparkling white garment of righteousness we wear was not one we bought or created by the theology we believe. Instead the precious blood of Jesus, the One who gave up His life for those He loved, purchased the garment we wear.  He alone lavishes us with grace and forgives. Sadly the work on the cross may have been overlooked by many who claim to follow Jesus.  I digress.

Through out the events of the last few weeks, it turns out people “know” the mind of God.  They know His thoughts and plans.  Somehow they’ve seen time from beginning to end and know the hearts of others. How does this happen? How does someone reach the place of believing they cannot only see into the heart and mind of someone else but perceive the mind of God as well?  The reasoning is beyond me. My understanding: only God is omnipotent and omniscient.

What makes this entire situation worse?  The world is watching.  Those without Jesus scrutinize the battles among believers taking place on Facebook or any other form of social media.  WHAT the heck people?  How mindless can we be?  What part of our arguing with one another leads anyone to Jesus?  Do you understand our personal theology is not what changes hearts?  Our words do NOT create the change.  Jesus changes hearts.  When did we become so arrogant to assume that something we speak at someone is what changes their life?  It is NOT anything we do. We may plant the seed but the powerful work of the Holy Spirit brings the change. People we have to get it together!

When asked, Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-39)  Let’s give those two things a try.  Maybe if we tried loving instead of condemning all those we disagree with,  more people would want to hear about the Jesus we claim to follow.  We might even begin to see change.  How about it Jesus followers?  Up for the challenge?  Stop fighting one another and let’s start loving like Jesus commanded!


Originally posted on  All things New



Grace Deficiency: Pointed fingers, upturned noses and a great big lack of grace

usSo imagine being told someone has no desire to meet your spouse.  Because of preconceived notions and judgments they have formulated in their own mind. The person who has most demonstrated God’s love to you, they do not want to meet. The dilemma I face brings much heartache.  But God is turning my dilemma into a great lesson.

I learned a lot about people over the course of a messy divorce.   I learned even more about the unending love and amazing grace God has for His children. For those who stand in judgment of others and refuse to accept them leads me to believe a grace deficiency exists.

I have come to realize when you struggle with sin, there will be those who stand casting stones.  They point their fingers and make their judgements neglecting to notice the plank in their own eye. The large plank leaves very little room for God to move.

So imagine standing in a room full of people.  You are  alone and weighed down by the struggles and sin that consume you.  As you look around the room, you try to make sense of a life gone wrong.  All around you are those who turn up their noses, pointing fingers while making assumptions of every wrong decision you have made. The loneliness consumes you.  Suddenly you look up and see a familiar face standing next to you.  You are flooded with confusion. Why?  Because it is Jesus and He is standing beside you.  You don’t understand.  You see, the room is full of people who have lived such good lives.  They do all the right things.  They say the right things. Their lives are full of good works. But Jesus is standing with you?  As if He hears the thoughts playing through your head, He speaks.


“Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.”

Then He adds,

“Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices.  For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”


Matthew 9:12-13


Tears stream down your face. There it is.  In a nutshell.  He is standing with you because you get it.  You know you are a sinner and you know you need His grace.


Sometimes those living a “blameless” life find it hard to understand how “others” can be used by God.  But the verse above makes it clear to me.  Jesus takes our greatest failures, our deepest regrets, our biggest heartaches and uses them to do amazing things.  When we seek His forgiveness in true repentance, He restores us.  Not only does He restore, He makes us shine brighter than we ever did before.  Why?  Because we get it.  We recognize that we are frail, weak and sinful. We know we can not live this life on our own.   Once held in bondage by rules and regulations, we missed walking with Him in an intimate way.  However we now understand what it means to fall flat on our face.  To feel the love of the Creator of the Universe as He picks us up and says, “My child I love you.”  The many times we have gotten it wrong and experienced His grace makes it impossible for us to turn our noses down at another.  Instead we see a world full of people just like us.  People who are hurting and broken, longing to be rescued.


Oh the longing to be rescued.  But that is exactly what He does.  He rescues.  He pulls us out of the miry clay and begins to mold and fashion us into something beautiful.  But we are not just beautiful.  The incredible thing is we are usable too.  Because we have been beaten and bruised by the ugliness of the world, we’re easier to shape into His likeness. We are easier to mold because we yearn to be like Him. We want to be transformed.   We long to share Him and everything He has done and given to us.  We can’t get enough.  We look at the world and see what He sees:  The hurt, the lonely, the struggling, the abandoned, the beaten, the betrayed, the orphaned, and our hearts overflow with love for them.  We see the world with His eyes.  Our hearts flow with compassion, mercy and grace for those who need hope, who need Him just like we did. And so, He uses us.   Because of His grace we are used to bring His Father glory and show His Father’s love to those who need rescuing.


As Christians, none of this is new information. Throughout scripture we find Jesus with the sinners.  With the sinners, the downtrodden and the lost.  He was with the ones who needed love and rescuing but most of all, needed Him. He avoided the ones who “followed” the rules. They had no place for Him in their lives because they did not get it.


The mission of Jesus: To rescue the wounded and broken and love the one’s cast aside by the world. That should be our mission too.  Not to turn up our noses at those who stumble and fall but instead to offer them the grace, mercy and love that Jesus offered to us.  Why? Because He offered it to us first.

eHarmony, soul mates and fairy tale endings: Does true love exist?

Aviary Photo_130529366665843201You have captured my heart,

my treasure, my bride.

You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes,

   with a single jewel of your necklace.

Your love delights me,

   my treasure, my bride.

Your love is better than wine,

   your perfume more fragrant than spices.

Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride.

Song of Solomon 4:9-11


I suppose I’ve never mentioned the fact that one of those dating sites “matched up” my husband and me.  A little back story.  I have known my husband for over twelve years.  In a previous life, our families were friends and they moved away.  Life happened, circumstances changed and we crossed paths once again.  In our former lives our commonalities were few except for our faith.  We spent more time arguing theology than we did having pleasant conversations.  Let’s just say that when he moved away, I didn’t cry.  Sorry if that sounds harsh.  We were different people back then.  Through a mess of circumstances we were reunited. We both had become very different people. He became a good friend to me during a dark time in my life.  One day he moved away again. (At my request.)  Having been through a terrible divorce, romantic relationships and men did not rank high on my list.  And so he honored my wishes and left.


With that said, I had a meddling teenager who sensed his mom needed to date.  Unbeknownst to me, he put together a profile on eHarmony for his dear old mom and set it loose.  UGH.  When the email came through I laughed with feelings full of fear. His thoughtfulness left me unsettled.   The day I logged into my profile I decided to give it a go and properly fill out the required information.  I answered the questions and hit submit.  In the beginning it was fun to see who I was compatible with and whether I agreed.  But knowing I was not into the dating scene I knew I needed not to waste anyone’s time. I did however mention to my now husband that he should sign up and answer the questions to see his matches.  Just for kicks.  So he did.  And guess what?  A match.  Not only did it match us up but it listed him as a “perfect match.” Total compatibility. Oh the irony.  Years earlier I didn’t have much in common with him and now, my perfect match?  Who would have thought?!  Could it be “true love?

People will argue against the true love, soul mate, fairy tale love kind of thing.  I know because I often made the argument.  I don’t claim to be an expert on love in any way whatsoever. I am however someone who has found the legalism within my “religion” to be full of frustrating untruths that affected my life in many negative ways.  As someone whose first marriage failed after fourteen years, I set out to find the truth about where it all went wrong.  With great hope that someday my children will not fall into the trap of legalism and settle for anything less than God’s absolute best, here are my thoughts.



Over the years, books and articles written by Christian writers debunking the myth of true love fell into my lap.  I read many and began to believe the words.  I found myself settled in a place without any expectation of love or honor.  I began to accept the writings on love as truth.   To me, they became frustrating lies.  Untruths leaving me empty and cold.  Becoming more cynical, I grew to accept that I did not deserve love without condition.  I did not deserve to be honored.  I did not deserve to be desired by someone. Feeling as if I did not matter I began to doubt God’s love.



Before I go any further, let me begin by saying I do not believe in the soulmate theory found in movies. The one defined as one perfect person in the universe for each person.  As beautiful as it plays out in movies, love is more complicated. However I do feel there are people out there who, pardon my phrase, “complete us.”   Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines soul mate as a close friend who completely understands you, a person who is specifically suited to another in temperament and a person who strongly resembles another in attitude or beliefs.  That definition has changed the perception I have of a soul mate.  Partly because I found a soul mate in my husband but I also have found a soul mate in my closest girl friend.  Both people ‘resemble me in attitude and belief” and are “close friends who completely understand me” making the idea of a soul mate very real to me.


My husband is my soul mate.  He is so much my other half that oftentimes I do not know how I survived the first thirty-six years of my life without him. I say that in jest but truly, walking through life with him makes everyday so much better and easier.  Because of him, to me, “true love” exists.  Now the existence of true love did not begin with my husband but instead because I found security and fulfillment  in my relationship with Christ.  Once I allowed Him, Jesus, the room to fill me up and take His rightful place in my life, my heart changed.  My heart was made ready to love the way in which God designed it to be loved and to love.  On December 1, 2012, I married my soul mate.  I married my “close friend who completely understands” me.


Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4



With that said, our marriage is not perfect.  Love is not perfect.  Love is work.  Daily work. (As seen in the above passage.) Love is a choice we make to live out each day. The love we share is not butterflies and roses.  We can argue with the best of them. We would not be human nor be experiencing real life if we did not disagree every once in a while.  Disagreements balance us out.  They keep us in check because it is those moments I realize what I have with him.  In the middle of an argument, I see or hear the hurt, and I want nothing more than to grab hold of him and not let go.  In those moments I see the man I absolutely adore and no longer care if I am right or wrong.   I know it sounds crazy but those moments come because of  his selfless love for me. He loves me like he is called to love me.  He loves me as Christ loves the church.  A selfless form of love. Outside of his relationship with Christ, there is nothing else he puts before me.  I am his priority in everything. My husband’s love for me  is perfect. However it is because of his love for the Lord that he loves me in this way.  His love for me is an overflow of his relationship with Christ.  For the first time in my life, because of my husband, I get a taste of how my Father in Heaven not only sees me but loves me too.  It is amazing.  It is a gift.  It is a blessing.  It is the truest form of romance.


Every day we work to make our marriage the absolute best it can be and sometimes we get it wrong.  Some days are harder than others but those hard days do not ever negate him as my “one true love.”  But there is another part of our equation, the most important part which is God.  He sits at the center of our relationship and our home.  He is the driving force behind all we do and the reason we love as we do. I believe that without His perfect love, true love does not exist.  He alone makes us complete and solely satisfies the need within us. It is because of God’s sovereignty, His plan, He gives us someone to walk life with and to love. When we make the choice to trust Him completely, He perfectly picks our “other half.”  He knows where we lack.  He knows the person that will be our compliment.  We just have to trust Him.    


There are a lot of cynical people out there with a legalistic view of marriage who will try to argue against true love and to those I say, I’m sorry.  I used to be one.   I too did not get it or have it the first time. I get told a lot now a days the marriage I have is rare.  I learned a hard lesson the first time around.  I know the difference between walking in my owns ways and walking in obedience.  I know the meaning of selfless love and self-serving love. I now know what it looks like to wait on God’s very best.  I would not have believed this kind of love, this type of marriage existed had God not been so loving and full of grace that He allowed me to find it this time around.  For me it has become living proof that when we walk in obedience with God, He truly blesses our lives.  It is fascinating to discover that God’s truth is real.  When things are lined up the way in which God has arranged them to be, everything falls into place.


So to my five precious babies, for those questioning love, or those patiently waiting for the “right one” my words are simple.  Be patient.  Don’t settle. Wait on God’s perfect one.  It is real and if you trust God with your heart and allow Him to lead, He will give you that someone to walk with you.  It won’t be all butterflies and roses because that is not real life. Love is work.  But you will discover that through the darkest of days, there is no one you would rather have beside you than the person God chose for you.


Originally published on All Things New.



Fight, fear and faith: The journey to find true faith.

mustardMy story, taking days to tell,  includes a horrific divorce, being cast aside and rejected by a church and an excruciating custody battle.  The journey I walked sent me on a discovery leading me to dig deep into my faith.  It was a roller coaster of events in which Jesus got a hold of me and changed me from the inside out. He took a broken hearted, faith doubting girl and totally transformed her.  I have become desperate for Him and it has changed my world and who I am in every way.

The part of my story I would like to share started back in 2008 when I prayed a prayer that led me on a journey I was unprepared for. It began when I was reading the story of Abraham and Isaac.  I was overwhelmed by the enormous faith of Abraham when asked by God to sacrifice his only son.  I remember that morning very clearly.  I wanted to trust God for all things.  I wanted to know Him the way in which Abraham knew Him.  I yearned for that kind of faith.  In fact, this was the prayer in my journal that day,

“Father, help me to relinquish the hold I have over my own life, the lives of my children and the things that I do. Let me not doubt when you speak or move in my life.  Make me Your servant, righteous and faithful, ready to say “Here I am” when You call.”

Never would I have imagined the course my life would take over the next four years. In 2009, the battle began.  The nastiness of divorce entered my life, but that situation alone was only the beginning. Divorce is nasty and ugly, but not as ugly as the custody battle that ensued. It was a battle full of fear and devastation. But God had a purpose and a plan for it all and because I trusted His word completely I was able to tread water without drowning.

In January of 2011, my pastor preached a sermon that changed the course of the path I was traveling. In his sermon, he used the verse “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”  (Romans 12:17) My heart was heavy.  As I sat listening, God was tugging and asking me to trust Him.  After several years of lawyers and multiple court appearances, I knew it had to end and I had to walk away.  God was leading me to depend solely on Him and nothing else.   As I read and reread Romans 12:17 I could not ignore the words, “do not repay evil for evil” but even more so the words that followed; “Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”  There is NOTHING honorable in the throes of a custody battle.  Nothing.  It is one parent doing everything in their power to destroy the other parent.  No attorney if doing their job correctly can help you win without you doing something that is not honorable.  I could not escape that truth.  I had prayed a prayer in 2008 for a faith like Abraham and God was now asking me to trust Him completely to fight on my behalf.  This was a scary step to take and those around me did not understand my choice but I knew God was a big God. I knew He loved me.  I knew that He not only cared about me, but even more so for my innocent children.  I knew I had to trust Him.

I was scared.  I was so very afraid.  These were my children.  There was no one standing by me with the ability to communicate physically or verbally with another attorney.  The opposing side had no concern for the well-being of my children.  For this attorney it was the sheer thrill of victory.  The day we entered the courtroom was terrifying.  I walked in with only my mom and a young girl who had spent years babysitting my children.   It was the three of us against at least a dozen people.  As I walked in and sat down at the table a Bible sat before me.   I opened the Bible to Exodus and found chapter 14 verse 14. “The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”  I claimed it.  It was mine.  I just needed to be still.  For the next few hours I sat and listened as each person placed their hand upon the Bible swearing to tell the truth but chose to lie.  I remember thinking this is not honorable.  I will not repay evil for evil.  God will handle it.  Those are two days of my life I will never forget.  They were scary, but at the same time, I felt the presence of God in such a way that to this day, I shake in awe of His incredible faithfulness.  I never felt alone.  It was as if He was sitting next to me throughout the entire process.  I left not thinking I had won the battle but instead knowing I had glorified my God and He was pleased.

The next month my world was shattered. On October 31, 2011, I received the document that stated that my children were no longer mine.  In a matter of seconds, the time it took to open a document, my world ended.   I remember the phone calls with my mom and now husband as they both sat in disbelief at what was happening.  It did not make sense. None of it made sense. That same evening I also remember the different people God placed in my path and around me to love and minister to both my children and me.  He continually made Himself known.  He was there.  He was in control.

So remember the prayer I prayed in 2008?  Surprisingly enough, it was the furthest thing from my mind.  I was not thinking in that direction.  Instead, I was on my tiptoes searching for any sight of God I could find.  Then the moment came.  I received a phone call in which I was told a family member had stated that “she had to have done something wrong in order for a judge to take away her children” and it began. The crushing wave of hurt and rejection was the motivation I needed in that moment.  I no longer had to stand on my tiptoes looking for God because He walked into the room and revealed Himself in the most majestic way.  Suddenly my prayer from 2008 resurfaced .  I had asked for this moment.  I had prayed for this moment.  I wanted the faith of Abraham and God was going to answer my prayer.  One of the hardest things a mother can endure is being separated from her children and that is what had to happen.  I came to realize throughout the course of my divorce and custody battle I had trusted God for many things.  I had relied on Him and listened to Him but still held back a piece of myself.  Part of my heart was His but the rest belonged to my children.  The fear of losing my children kept Christ from sitting completely on the throne of my life.  My children had become my idol.  Much like Isaac had become for Abraham when God asked Him to sacrifice his only son.  God was in control.  He knew my prayer and He knew my heart.  God knew what I needed.  I needed Him.  I was desperate for Him.  I had been holding back, but the time had come to turn it all over.  He had to take my children. Peace came to rest in my heart.

In 2012, things in my life began to take a turn. On a Sunday in January, I felt God clearly calling me to become part of a church plant. There was a moment of hesitation and doubt, but I knew I had to follow.  A couple weeks later, God placed an incredible young couple in my life who were also part of this church plant.  The husband was a young attorney who had just passed the bar and after sharing some of my story he took on my case pro-bono.  This was the second time God sent someone to be a physical reminder that He was there and fighting for me.  Now I am sure you are wondering why the attorney now?  This situation was different.  This attorney followed Jesus.  He sought direction through prayer from a God who controls all things.  For him, it was not about winning.  We were fighting for the safety and welfare of my children.  This attorney became my “guardian” and my brother.  His purpose was to deflect the evil that came my way, to pray with me and to help strengthen me in weak moments with the truth of God’s word.

Throughout our times in court, my case was never heard.  It was continued repeatedly as behind the scenes, God worked out the details.  As He continued to shape my character, heal my heart and grow my faith I became stronger.  Wonderful things started happening in my life.  In August of 2012, my now husband proposed to me on the beach in South Carolina.  It was magical! The tide began shifting.  Less than four months later, we were married in the sweetest of ceremonies.  On that same day, as we celebrated our marriage with family, I learned that I would be an aunt for the first time.  By Christmas, I was greeted with the exciting news that I would be an Aunt of twins.  But the greatest of all events occurred less than two months later, when my children were back home…for good.

You see sometimes in the darkness of our storm we cannot see God or feel His presence. His plan is unclear.  We doubt and worry with fear forgetting He has everything under control.  His plan is perfect.  I never thought the pain would end.   But it did.  God allowed the wounds that cut so deep into my heart to break me into a million pieces.  His purpose;  for me to become so desperate for Him that He alone could make me whole and heal my every hurt. And He did.  He took all the broken pieces and turned them into an amazing tapestry of His love and grace.   It is amazing. But not only did He heal me, He restored to me not just the things that had been taken through the pain but He gave me back even more.  More love, more grace, more knowledge and understanding of who He is, a longing to be more like Him and a desire to share more of Him with others.

I now have a life I would have never dreamed possible.  It is not perfect, but it is a life full of blessings.  My life is full.  It only took thirty-eight years and a lot of heartache, but God has now given me more than I could have ever asked.  I am a living example that no matter how many wrong turns your life may take, there is a “happy ending.”  All you have to do is choose to surrender your broken pieces, your life, to the only One who can turn it into a beautiful masterpiece of His amazing grace for His glory!



Christian and Divorced

Article first published as Christian and Divorced on Blogcritics.

Those who live a life of religion never know true life in Christ.  The only way to experience the abundant life is living a life that reflects Christ by staying out of God’s way, allowing Him to work while loving those who need His love.

Who would have ever thought that after twenty years together, my marriage would unravel into a huge mess?

So many still trying to figure out just what happened and how it all fell apart.  I cannot blame them.  I even look at the picture and wonder how it became so distorted.  I do not even recognize the couple in the pictures anymore.  I am not even sure I know where they have gone.

Many have wondered and questioned how someone who claims to follow Christ could allow her marriage to end.  So much can happen between two people over twenty years.  I am here to say that unless you have walked in another’s shoes or lived behind their closed doors, it is impossible to understand why things happen the way in which they do.  I can however say that it is in fact possible to love God with the entirety of my heart and allow my marriage to end.

For me, I chose to keep my secrets in regards to my marriage close to my heart.  Some were for selfish reasons and others to protect my husband.  There were few friends that I shared my struggles but even then, they never were aware of all the details.  That has now changed.  I found this quote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her lifeThe world would split open. – Muriel Rukeyser and it has opened my eyes. I realized that my life is not my own.  My story is not mine to keep a secret.  As a child of God, my story is part of His story and it is meant to be shared.  It has become time for me to peel away the layers.

I have spent much time reading Oswald Chambers.  One point he made was that our lives are not private.  When we follow Christ, our lives become a display of His work that is meant to be shared so others may see. As horrible as my experiences have been, I am now even more certain that I am to share my journey and how I survived with the help of Christ and Christ alone.

I am not the first Christian woman to experience divorce and sadly, I will not be the last.  I know that there are many who would love to know how a woman who claims to follow Christ could speak of divorce in the same sentence.  I hope to explain.

There are questions that deserve answers but cannot all be answered.  I can however share with you my story.  Keep in mind though that this is my story and I can only share with you the events that I have experienced and all I have learned through my experience. I can share how God has moved in my life but I am not here to say that my journey is God’s truth for every situation.  Each struggle and situation is unique to the person.  It is up to each person to discover God’s plan for them through prayer and study of His word.  I am only here to offer hope by allowing you to see a part of my story.

Now I mentioned in the beginning that my husband and I had been together for twenty years.  We met when I was a teenager.  We attended the same church and both followed Christ.  I was fifteen and he was nineteen when we met.  Our relationship was rocky.  It was filled with much insecurity on both parts and many breakups.  I had more than my share of friends sharing their fears that we should not be together.  I did not listen.  I felt I knew better.

At twenty, I loved my husband.  Unfortunately, love was not the reason that I married him.  I did not recognize then what I know now.  My insecurities led me to believe that if I did not marry the man in front of me there would never be another.  I longed for nothing more that to be a wife and someday a mother.  I truly believed that no one else would ever love me and as I stood before the mirror in my wedding gown, I told myself it was not too late.  I could still walk away but on Dec 9, 1995, I made my way down the aisle on my daddy’s arm.  I stood before my family, friends, and God promising to stay with this man forever.  No matter what happened.

Our marriage started okay.  We were happy and I felt secure.  I began feeling hopeful that everything would be fine but it did not take long before everything began to change.  I cannot pinpoint the precise moment that something actually happened but suddenly I began to feel extremely insecure. We would argue and I would cry myself to sleep.  I would wake up the next morning feeling overwhelmed and trapped. I am not sharing any of this to gain the sympathy of the reader.  I only share as to allow you into my story and to understand the pain in which I was feeling. Because I grew up in church, divorce was not an option for me.  It is not that I would not have chosen it but instead it was simply not an option because of my beliefs.  This left me with only one other option.  Death.  I prayed daily for it to come.

About four years after we were married we moved out of state.  For the first time we were alone.  Away from our family, our friends and our church which left us alone to discover life together.  I truly believed this move would be the magic moment that would change everything.  It was a new start for us.  We could start fresh.  Just the two of our two little boys and us.  I had hope for my marriage.

It was not long before we joined a church and became involved in the activities offered.  I began meeting with an older woman in my church.  We studied God’s word and spent time in prayer together.  I shared some of my concerns and struggles in regards to my marriage.  I really believed that she could help me and was an answer to prayer.  Through no fault of her own, she did not know how to help me and simply gave me a list of things to do.  I was told to pray and submit.  Pray some more and serve.  Keep my mouth closed and pray.  I always left feeling as if I was not trying hard enough and that I needed just to keep rolling with the punches.  I figured I deserved what I was dealing with at home and so I decided to grin and bear it.

Time passed and three more children entered into the picture.  By this time, I had spent eight years being part of my church worship team, been through numerous bible studies and hosted several small groups in our home.  All the while, our marriage was slowly deteriorating. My husband struggled with lying as well as an addiction.  It weighed heavy on our marriage.  There was no trust. Each day that passed, I died a little more.

As I would begin my days in God’s word, I would questions whether or not this is truly, what God had in mind for marriage.  I just could not believe that this is what He wanted for my life.  I began writing and immersed myself in the study of God’s word.  For quite some time those moments with God was what sustained me.  I was able to keep my head above water.  I continued to serve and make the best of a miserable situation.  I felt the part of the hypocrite but I carried on and tried following the advice to pray and submit. My life appeared full and happy.  Those around me never knew the pain I was dealing with inside.  I felt desperate and alone. I felt the prayers being prayed were not being heard.

Add to all the struggles of the marriage the faith that made me feel trapped as well.  Growing up Baptist there were only two acceptable reasons for divorce, adultery and abandonment.  My circumstances did not match either of these and so I knew I had to suck it up and ride it out. I was determined that I would make the best of my situation and do what I had to in order to survive the next sixty years with this man. I filled my time with serving in my church, writing and taking care of five children.  My life was busy and I often times did not have time to sit and ponder the difficulties I was facing.

As the ten-year mark approached, I began reading more books.  There were books on marriage, books on prayer, and books on how to be godlier.  I decided that if I prayed more, served more and had sex more that things would get better.  I really thought that if I did those things, that maybe I would be the wife he wanted and needed. Each day I tried and each day I found myself dying just a little bit more.

I poured myself in to caring for my children and activities at church.  I continued to have people into our home for bible study. I was determined to stay busy and not focus on the negative. People believed my life was full and that I was content.  I had everyone fooled except for myself.  I was desperately lonely and so incredibly sad.  No matter how busy I stayed, nothing helped.

One day it happened.  The light in my head went off.  I realized this situation was not right. This is not the life God intended for me.  We are not to be slaves but instead find freedom in Christ.  I felt no sort of freedom.  I was trapped. I did not know what steps to take next.  I had talked and talked to him until I just did not know what else to say.  I did not know what else to do and so it was time to separate. I thought that time apart would give us both room to draw closer to God.

Instead, we went to our church pastor for counseling.  Again, I was told to submit, pray and stay.  At first, I took this advice thinking, this is my pastor, a godly man, surely he knows what he is talking about and so I tried.  For four months, we “tried” only to find that more distance between us was created and my health began to decline.

In the Christian world, there are only two acceptable reasons for divorce: adultery and abandonment. My situation did not fit into either of these categories.  I was stuck.

Then one day, as we sat in church, my husband looked at me and said, “You need to leave”.  I looked at him in dismay.  This is the same man only weeks before who sat before our pastor and talked about him love for our family and me.  Stating he would do whatever he had to in order to save his marriage.  I did not understand.  From there he added that if I did not, he would make sure I never had our kids.  That he would take the children from me and that no judge would ever give them to me as I could not afford to care for them. At this time, I did not realize the depth of my despair.  I did not realize the depth of my depression.  I did not know all the affects of all that had taken place were doing to me.  I felt out of control and at the end of my rope.  This was the end of the road for me.  I wanted away from this man. We agreed to separate.

At this point, you have to wonder why I would choose to have stayed so long.  I asked myself the same question many times.  The first answer is my wonderful five children.  The thoughts of their lives being torn between two homes, was excruciating for me.  I also knew my husband enough to know that he would not allow any of it to happen amicably.  I had to protect them and I thought I was.  The second reason was God.  I had faith that God could restore anything.  I believed that things would get better if I just trusted Him enough and prayed more.  I also did not want to be in sin.  After all, I had been taught, I just knew that God would desert me if I did not stay. I knew that I would never live in His blessing again.

Now throughout the course of my journey, I have learned many things.  One of those things which is we were not created to be happy.  We were created to be holy.  I believe that wholeheartedly.  Was I happy in my marriage?  NO.  Did I feel that I deserved to be? NO.  Thus why I stayed so long. Then God got my attention and I thought through that happiness/holiness thing again.  God wants me to be holy.  I am to live a life that honors and glorifies Him.  Was that what my life looked like now?

Events transpired.  Many that changed the course of how this story could have ended but we will come back to that later.   In the fall of 2009, I visited a Christian counselor.  My conversation with this counselor changed my world. I was introduced to the Power and Control Wheel and finally understood that for years I had been controlled by emotional abuse.  After spending months thinking I was crazy and being condemned by my church and even some family for separating, this counselor told me I had done the best thing for both my children and myself. I felt hope.

Now if I have led you to believe that the brokenness that my husband and I endured was one hundred percent his fault, I apologize.  I married too young and had no business getting married when I did.  I hurt him as well.  I was not as supportive as I should have been.  I criticized and cried more than I encouraged.  Our broken marriage became broken because we both were broken.