Once upon a time…
There was a little girl who dreamed of being married and raising beautiful little children who would love the Lord and each other. There wasn’t a white picket fence, but there was a big oak tree with a tire swing, a creek with tadpoles, a kitchen counter with a fresh loaf of homemade bread, and a mommy and daddy who loved each other with abandon.
Not surprisingly, that little girl was me.
It seemed for a very long time that things were headed that way…I’d jumped into the chariot, married Prince Charming, and started making beautiful babies. The house was full – joyfully chaotic and plentiful in love.
But underneath the calm beauty of a life built together, there were secrets and hurtful things. Sin was stealing in to destroy and devastate.
After almost 18 years of family building, it became a marriage collapse.
It was easy to assume that this marriage collapse would spell the end of this precious family.
But because God can always make beauty from ashes, we would survive…me and my little band of beauties.
We wobbled, we swayed, but we didn’t fall. In fact, in many ways we became stronger – closer and more determined to thrive, not just survive.
Picking up the pieces after divorce is no easy task. In fact, it’s exhausting, but the pieces, with God’s help, do fit back together. The picture isn’t the same, but it can still be beautiful. It can still be joyful.
My picture hasn’t fallen back into place easily. It’s taking time. It’s taking a bunch of perseverance and patience…things I often don’t feel I have near enough of.
There are days I still mourn my “once upon a time no more”. There are days I still feel a deep pain in my chest when I ponder what I’ve lost.
But maybe the key is not to focus on what I’ve lost, but to realize what I have gained…been blessed with…have.
And again God brings me back to Whose I am…who I am.
It’s so easy to forget in the busyness of the day…I just feel so much without thinking.
I feel so overwhelmed. I feel so impatient. I feel so much pressure. I feel such failure. I feel such hopelessness at times.
What. In. The. World????
How did I get here?
I honestly don’t know…one small step after another I guess.
One step toward thinking I can handle it all.
One step away from the strength of the Lord and into the illusion of my own strength.
One step away from moments of peace and rest and into the hurried and overwhelmed moments of a day without boundaries.
One step away from prayer and into thinking I should be able to do this.
One step away from the Word and into my own wisdom, my own knowledge, my own perspective.
Taking those steps over and over again…those have gotten me here.
To this place of stress and anxious thoughts and overwhelming emotions.
How do I get back to the start…to the better place?
One step at a time…
Step one…on my knees. Prayer is my lifeline.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knowns what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28
Step two…dive into the Word. Knowing Him through His word gives me such abiding hope, often a new perspective, and the wisdom I need so desperately to lead my little band.
Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 50:6
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is the truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16
Step three… sit down!! Chill…relax…rest. Rest in the knowledge that I am His daughter. Rest in the knowledge that He has my life in the palm of His hand. Rest in the knowledge that He will take care of me and my children. Rest in the knowledge that He loves me.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4
Step four…gratitude. I cannot have a good attitude without gratitude. If I would but take a moment and think about the good things…the precious people and massive number of blessings God has lavished on me…I’d see that it is quite easy to count my blessings. But even if God had not graciously blessed me with people and things and opportunities and provision, He has blessed me with Christ…with grace and mercy, with the joy of the Lord, with salvation, with life, with hope, with peace, with eternity. How can my lips not praise and thank Him!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 118:1
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderous works to the children of man! Psalm 107:8
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
I know there are more steps to take…but that will get me started moving forward with grace and peace.
Lord, thank you so much that you love me regardless of my attitude or actions. Lord, thank you that I know that you will take care of me and my children. Forgive me for so often trying to take control of my life. Forgive me for not resting in the knowledge that I can trust you. Thank you Father that you are faithful and kind even in the face of my unfaithfulness. I am in awe of you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.