I really don’t mean to keep wading around in the suffering talk, but I’m walking in it, and it’s all around me. My brain is still wrapping itself around the fact that I’ve finally entered the phase of life where people from my own circle – my personal, intimate friends – are grown up enough to be facing and having to personally deal with big-time stuff. Not that younger people don’t, but when we were younger we had the buffer of our parents, protecting us from certain information, handling details and logistics and relationships, and taking the ultimate responsibility for collecting information and deciding what to do.
My sweet, sweet friend recently went through a painful separation and divorce and now finds herself the single mother of three young boys. She has been such an encouragement and inspiration to me – not just because she has remained standing in the face of some difficult trials, but because she has done so with authenticity, bravery, and grace. She recently shared her testimony of what God has been doing in the past few years and ended with this list of truths that she’s gripped tightly in her fist. As I walk through my own trials and pains, I find this exercise of identifying what I know – truths I can hold onto – to be extremely helpful to survival. It’s helped Kathy. It’s helping my friend Heather. Maybe soon I’ll be able to share mine. I’d love to hear yours.
Here’s my friend Heather. I hope you are as encouraged by her today as I am.
Six things this I know for sure:
1. I couldn’t change my husband. All I could do was work on my heart and become the daughter that our Father has always wanted me to be. My husband wasn’t ready to change. What I have to do is pray for him on a daily basis. I have to pray that he will an outstanding father to our three boys.
2. I know that I am His daughter. I belong to Him.
Isaiah 43:1-3 says:
But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
When you pass through the water, 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,
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, you Savior.
3. I know the He is holding me in His hand every minute of every day.
Psalm 91: 11-12 says:
For He will give His angels charge concerning you.
To guard you in all your ways,
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
4. While this has been a truly humbling experience, I know that I am not to be ashamed.
Psalm 25: 1-3
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
. . . Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed.
5. I know that God wanted to get my attention, and He did it in a dramatic way.
This is a quote from a book I love, When God Interrupts (M. Craig Barnes):
“It can be pretty dramatic when God comes looking for us. We tend to think of grace as the concession of a polite God who says, “Well, that’s all right, Sweetheart; please try not to do that again.” Grace is whatever it takes for God to come and get us. It can be confrontational, frightening, disruptive and demanding, but in the end it saves our life. Sometimes God has to come and get us when we are giding in our grief, nurturing a broken heart. He gently whispers, “You are not alone. I love you.” Sometimes He finds us lost in sin and whispers, “I forgive you and restore you.” Sometimes He has to chase us down as we are heading the wrong way. That is usually when things get dramatic. It’s as if God then says, “You need a Savior. Let me demonstrate that to you.”
I’m not saying what happened to my marriage is all my fault and it’s certainly not what God wants for my family. But He did allow this to happen for whatever reason. He has my attention, and I know that I need a Savior.
6. The final thing I know for sure is that I struggle with Acceptance. Accepting that this is what my life has become: a single mom of three boys, life style changes, going back to school at my age, and being alone. As I was reading through some of my old journals preparing for today I came across this quote from Charles Swindoll that I’ll end with:
“Acceptance is taking from God’s hand absolutely anything He gives, looking into His face in trust and Thanksgiving, knowing that the confinement of the hedge we’re in is good and for His Glory.”