Nothing that happens in your life is impossible for Him to handle (Luke 1: 37). He will do the impossible for you in each of these seasons. He is the God that can convert your pain to gain and cause all things to work together for your good (Romans 8: 28). I had to learn that lesson, and you may need to learn it too. Perhaps, you will discover—like I did—the God who waits to help you in your seasons of singleness, marriage, or divorce.
[Guest Post by Rochelle Frazier – I met her through the Top 10 Blogs for Christian Women post I compiled. She was nominated for the list, and when I looked at her blog–I knew I had to have her share! For anyone who has seen their picture perfect like come crashing down, this is for you today. Be encouraged! You are not alone.]
Is it possible to arrive at the place where you stop asking, “Is there more? Should I be more?”
Is it possible that your restless heart could actually find rest right where you are?
I dare to say “Yes!”
I don’t have the story of overcoming an addiction or a broken, battered, and abused childhood. I not only grew up in church, but you could find me there whenever the doors were open. My story was more on the line of the over-achieving, people-pleasing perfectionist. Everything in order and perfectly decorated, even my children.
From the outside, it appeared I had it all. And according to the “American Gospel,” I had every reason to believe that I did. You know the gospel that teaches us to be all that we can be, to own, possess, and claim what is ours, to climb a ladder that is placed on the wrong mountain and burst through the ceiling that has no eternal significance. And do it our way! This same spirit even carried into the way I served the church.
So when my perfectly orchestrated life left me empty searching for something more, I had no idea it was Him that I was missing.
I had it all together, right? Believing I was spiritually full, I offered my little teacup to the world asking… will you fill me?
But it didn’t come as I expected being a wife or a mother.
Nor through my perfectly decorated home waiting on Southern Living to arrive.
Nor from improving my figure or my social agenda.
Nor from becoming the top of my industry.
And then when my perfect little world came crashing down in 2006, broken and believing irredeemable, I turned to the very things I had avoided in my pursuit of perfection to see if they would fill me. But nothing satisfied the deep longing of my soul.
And then I finally came to the end of me, and because I needed God so desperately I would finally fill the calling of Jeremiah 29–not the one that I had worn on t-shirts and pasted on journals claiming that He has plans for me, but the rest of the verse that says,
“When you seek with your whole heart, I will be found. And bring you back from captivity.”
I was praying for captives. Quick to point out the captives. I had even prayed for God to open a door so that I might visit the captives in Africa. And then reality hit that I was a captive. My heart would become restless trying free other captives who, like me, bought into the wrong gospel.
So how did I come to this place?
There was a year that changed my life. Our community was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a few months later I would be diagnosed with congestive heart failure delivering twins, and while seeking to beat all odds against me, I would become a single mom. I was told I may never work again, and with my three precious angels and a healing heart, I offered up a prayer,
“Would you give me an idea that would change my life?”
And He did. I began writing what is now the children’s series, Sweeteas, and these precious little characters would absolutely change my life. However, what truly changed me was that He answered that prayer.
A collision with the fully present God who I had enthroned in eternity wrecked my life. I was never to be the same. He became a reality and my life had to adjust to the true Gospel. The Gospel that says,
“You will find your life when you lose it” (Matthew 10:39).
And I did!
Sweet friends, when your world comes crashing down your heart has tasted eternity (Ecc 3:11). It will be restless until you return to His love. But when you do, you will find that the longing of your weary soul is satisfied!
Rochelle is a storyteller by nature infused with undeniable markings of a true Southern girl: charming accent, gracious hospitality, and her passionate and infectious faith. She is the author of the children’s series Sweeteas and He Gave Me Pearls and journeys with women daily through her blog “Living with Divine Purpose.” Her story is one of inspiration birthed at a time of desperation, and gives hope to women that He still brings beauty from ashes. She is the mother to a beautifully blended family of seven including her husband Todd, and children Joy, Jadyn, Holland, Houston & Jackson. She is currently finishing her newest book, Something More: Daring to Live on Purpose. Connect with Rochelle at http://www.rochellefrazier.com.
[Guest Post by Beth Berry – I am overjoyed to introduce my second mother-daughter blog duo on devotionaldiva.com. Rachel Berry, Beth’s daughter and I previously met at the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild. She shared her blog here about losing the Miss Oregon crown. Now, I bring you her mom. Please welcome Beth with open arms.]
I left my office at 10:00 p.m. one cool September night, looking forward to crawling into my warm bed and snuggling up next to my husband of twenty four years.
Like every evening, I looked forward to sharing my day with him and hearing about his.
But that night was different than any other–instead of business meeting recaps or an update on one of our kids’ sports games, the words he spoke were piercing. He coldly pushed my embrace away as he spoke in a stern whisper that he loved me, but wasn’t in love with me. He wanted a divorce.
I resisted his words by initiating a hug, and cried aloud.
No. Please, no.
We have worked so hard to get where we are. We have an incredible family. And above all, I’m in love with you.
What I didn’t realize was that I could not change my husband’s mind, actions, or his ability to love me.
I knew my husband had been unhappy with his life for several years, but I didn’t think he would get to a point where he felt divorce was the solution to his discontentment.
I was angry, and became resentful. I tried in my own power and flesh to make my husband fall back in love with me. I had a successful business and worked another part time job thinking that the more money I made, the more he would love me. As a competitive runner, I thought if I ran faster, won more road races, and completed more marathons, he would love me more.
Those were all empty lies from the enemy.
The voice that didn’t lie was God–which urged me to let go and hand the situation over to Him, where it belonged.
God reminded me that only He can transform a heart. I needed to release my marriage into God’s hands completely.
Because I knew God’s word says he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), I figured that God wouldn’t allow a divorce to occur between my husband and me. I was wrong. I questioned and doubted God when the divorce became final months later, disregarding what I knew to be true–that His ways and thoughts are higher than mine, even if I don’t understand.
During the years since my divorce, God has shown me that He alone is my provider, my healer, my rock, and my best friend. He revealed to me that my husband had been my idol.
I did everything to please and fear my husband first, and God second–instead of putting God first family second.
God has called me to stand in the gap and pray for my husband’s salvation and the restoration of our marriage. I have joy and peace knowing that I am not in charge of rekindling love into my husband’s heart. I know that God is the almighty restorer and healer.
If you are gazing down the dim road of marital dysfunction, divorce, or are divorced, I challenge you to pursue forgiveness for your spouse and surrender the hurt they have caused to the Lord. He alone has the power to heal and restore your heart, your spouse, and your relationship.
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:6, NKJV).
Beth’s world was shaken when her husband of 24 years unexpectedly filed for divorce at the same time her older sister died suddenly of cancer. After seeking God’s promises through this stormy season, she has a heart for preserving marriage as God intends and standing against the enemy’s plots of family destruction. Beth is the mother of 3 grown children and lives in Southern California where she enjoys long distance running, road cycling, serving in her church. You can find her at http://www.foreverfaithfulfamilies.com/ and on Twitter.
[Guest Post by Jeanne Cesena. I’ve known Jeanne now for many years through our mentor Pam Farrel. She and her husband have an incredible ministry to step/blended families. If you are the person who thought you’d always marry a pastor–you have to read her article!]
In a Step Family, there is at least one spouse that has gone through a divorce.
It’s like throwing everyone in a microwave and turning it on high.
Divorce was a very hard season in my life. My ex husband and I were on staff at a church as worship leaders and youth pastors. My ex began to do drugs and sleep with women. Pastors told me stay with him, pray for him and he will change. We did not know that the Senior Pastor was also committing adultery with the secretary. The senior pastor ended up leaving his wife and five kids.
I stayed with my ex for five years and had two beautiful children.
I left the church after my ex was fired for drinking and drugs.
At the new church I started attending, a policeman heard my story and said if he went into my house and found cocaine I would lose my children. I told my husband that I was going to leave. He hit me and said he would kill me and take my children if I left.
I ended up in a battered women’s home.
My parents wired me money to move back home. I took what I could in trash bags for me and the children and quickly flew home to start my life over again. Through this entire time God was with me. He gave me Palms 91 to comfort me and protect me.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress my God in whom I trust (Palms 91:1-2).
I met my future husband at a business meeting.
I had been single for ten years and had gone through much healing from much pain. When my future husband came into my life, I did not think he was right for me.
I thought I would marry another pastor, after all that is all I knew.
God started to work in my heart to show me what His love was all about. I would see my future husband be kind and compassionate to others. He had healthy relationships. Because of all the abuse in my life I was uncomfortable at first. After one of our many dates and getting to know one another, he dropped me off, reached over and kissed me.
At that moment, I decided to stay. Our relationship became strong. After about a year of loving God and each other we got engaged and married within two years. We made a commitment to God and each other to not have sex until our wedding night. It was a wonderful thing to see my life becoming Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good.”
After our honeymoon we came home so much in love and ready to start our new lives together.
My husband was suddenly a new dad of a ten year old boy. They had many challenges but my husband was able to win our sons heart over in time. Our daughter was not as comfortable with the whole Dad situation. We went through many years of pain as our marriage progressed.
Living as a step family can be a hard situation.
There are so many dynamics that take place. Currently Jeanne and her husband help lead the Step Family Ministry, an Outreach Ministry at the Rock Church in San Diego, California. We meet with Step Family couples individually, in groups and we work with different churches. If you are interested in knowing more please visit Step Up 4 God.
[Photo: KREYC, Creative Commons]