I thought I knew what loneliness was, and I avoided it at all costs. Before my husband
died, there were many times I felt lonely and ran from it. I filled my schedule with errands, my days with household chores, and it seemed to help.
My name is Tara and I’ve been saved for twenty-four years. I just got married to my best friend last year, May 2016. I grew up in Charleston, SC but am now residing in Johnson City, TN. I have two cats, a love for books, and a passion for following Jesus and writing. The past year and a half have been some of the most challenging times of my life. It began with a whirlwind romance to my now-husband, Justin. We met online at Christian Mingle. We texted for about a week and then decided to meet in person. We dated for a month and a half. During this time, I prayed ceaselessly about him.
[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Agnes Amos’ latest book, God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage, and Divorce. (I did receive a copy of this book so that I could pick out the excerpt!) Agnes contributes regularly to Devotional Diva and has become a good friend of mine, so I wrote this endorsement that appears in the book; I wanted to include it here, too:
Each of us goes through at least one of the seasons discussed in this book – singleness may be our total path, or perhaps we go through all three seasons into divorce. In today’s modern world, these seasons are indeed normal and like Agnes discusses, trials of faith. I receive emails from women all around the world in the same positions and I know these chapters of encouragement are much-needed. Singleness and divorce especially are not discussed enough in the church, which is why I think this book is so unique. The situations are not unique, but the conversation is. There has been so much shame and guilt around both singleness and divorce, but Agnes reminds us in this book that God never leaves us – not then, not ever. Singleness is not a curse. Marriage may not be perfect (I know mine is not! Marriage is work!) and divorce may be inevitable. But you are always loved, Child of God.]
God Cares for Me in Every Season
I am an avid walker—this is a hobby I inherited from my earthly father, Papa Amos.
Walking is a time when I seek God’s face for my life and for others, and it is during these times that the Holy Spirit gets my attention. So that I don’t forget what He says, I often record it on my cell phone.
For those of you who are wondering, “Does God speak to humans like us?” The answer is Yes, He does in many natural ways. Here are the most common: Impulse, Ideas, Inspirations. The Bible is filled with many examples of how God speaks to His children.
Personally, I am learning to listen when God speaks, and my life continues to be transformed by this experience.
It was during one of these experiences that the Lord laid on my heart to write this book to encourage global Christians (and non-Christians) on His never wavering care during every season of their lives, especially the seasons of singleness, marriage, and divorce. I have to admit that when the idea came, I was reluctant to respond, and asked the Lord, “Why me?” The reason for this question is because the season of marriage is one where I have failed woefully in the past.
I do not consider myself to be an expert in these three seasons—at least that is what I thought. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of a truism I have heard in church many times: “A faith that is not tested cannot be trusted,”
My friends, I have been tested, and have failed and been redeemed in each of the three seasons I share in this book—single, married, and divorced. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I am here to share with you the truth that the Lord is in every one of these seasons. I want you to know beyond a doubt that He is indeed interested in and present with you in every season of your life.
For many years, I found myself struggling in each of these seasons. I was walking through each season with one leg in the world and one leg in Christ. After years of failing to succeed in any season, I finally discovered that living God’s way in every season of life is the best decision I could ever make. I have now begun a journey into a new and fulfilling lifestyle in marriage by focusing on Christ rather than my marital situation. I praise God for the truth of His Word in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
My prayer for you as you read this book is that you will be encouraged as you discover that our God is the God of the impossible. 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.
Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP).She is the author of God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals
Dustin and Jennifer – Lovers Loving Others
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog AND video blog by Jennifer Lee (the video is also by her new fiance, Dustin). Jennifer contacted me to show me her proposal video and it was so cute, I did die a little. Dustin did a really great job! Jennifer is sharing their beautiful courtship story below!]
When January 1st came around, Dustin picked me up and we returned to the same beach location in Malibu. Dustin told me to open the note and he read from it. He shared about his desire to enter into a courtship, meaning that we would seek after the blessing of our community over our relationship. We decided to go into an extended time of prayer before I gave him my final decision.
On February 11th, 2015, I met with Dustin and told him that I was ready to commit to a relationship with him. Shortly after, we received the blessings of my parents, his parents, and our mentors. Throughout our relationship, we would return to the same spot on that Malibu beach where we would talk, worship, read the Bible, and throw prayer rocks into the ocean. When February 11th, 2017 came around, Dustin brought me to the same exact location on Malibu beach. There, he had set up a beautiful canopy. He read a note of 730 things he loved about me (one for each day we were in a relationship). After finishing this note, he then asked me to become his wife! This video captures the entire day of the proposal, including a scavenger hunt that we went on before we arrived to the beach. I am so grateful to God for bringing us together and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!
Jennifer Lee is a senior at Pepperdine University. She is studying interpersonal communication and nonprofit management. She is passionate about God, people, and relationships. She is currently working at two nonprofits – Relationship IQ and Revival LA. She also has her own YouTube channel called Lovers Loving Others. On it, she and her fiance Dustin use their relationship to love individuals all over Los Angeles.
Marriage Honesty [Editor’s Note: I had the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with Molly Reed of the husband/wife music duo Grayson|Reed. They are honest in their songs and have a strong marriage message that I love. Here is some backstory on Grayson|Reed before we dive into …
[Editor’s Note: Today I am welcoming back veteran Diva Sarah Coleman to congratulate her on the release of her new book, Together: A Journey Of Godly Marriage. Glad to have you back with this timely Thanksgiving piece, Sarah!] It is the time of year when we …
Why I Surrendered My Marriage to God
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Angela Tyler. I’m so happy Angela reached out to me to share to her story on Devotional Diva! Marriage isn’t always perfect, but God always is. Thank you for sharing with us, Angela!]
Like many other girls growing up, I often imagined what my life would be like as an adult. I pictured myself married with two children, football practices and family game night. Things were planned out, and I knew exactly the kind of husband I wanted. I was a go getter with a can do attitude about my future. I had the right stuff to make sure everything worked out accordingly. Oh, how naïve I was.
Things aren’t always going to go as you planned.
My husband and I started as very good friends when we first moved in together. We never fought and we had a lot of fun. I would often hear compliments from friends and family that he was such a nice guy, and we were great together. And I couldn’t have agreed more – I adored my husband, and I knew he adored me.
The birth of our daughter was a time of delight. Her arrival was the spark for my salvation and at that point I began to see my life in an entirely new way. We were elated as we took her home and talked about how our lives were going to be different. Respectable. Happy.
A hard lesson.
Our daughter was our salvation, and our sudden awakening that real life had begun. We were responsible for another sweet, tiny human being. And the heaviness of that awareness began to make both of us begin to self-doubt our worthiness of such a task.
We felt that she deserved the very best, and the pressure of proving that was overwhelming. Things got harder quickly as we aimed to give her a better life. The stress of that began to chip away at us, and at times we ended up bitter with each other simply because we were stressed.
I think back now, to the time when I had it all figured out as a teenager. My preconceived notions of what life should be like in the future had set me up for defeat. I wasn’t exactly where I had planned to be, I wasn’t the type of mother I thought I’d be and I definitely was not the type of wife my husband deserved.
I was trying to control every aspect of my life exactly the way I wanted it to go. I wanted my kids to behave so I wouldn’t be a yelling mom. I wanted my husband to be act a certain way so that I could act in a gracious and loving way. I wanted other things to change so I wouldn’t have to.
The moment everything changed.
The day it happened was a few months ago at church. My husband and I had just come through a pretty rotten week. Some hard things were going on and we weren’t getting along at all. I was in a pretty dark place and feeling incredibly unsatisfied with my life. Pastor offered an altar call for the surrender of a burden in your life. My heart was pulled from my seat and I walked down to the altar. I asked God to fix everything. Just take away the hurting and bitterness because I loved my husband and didn’t want our marriage to turn into something undesirable. A warm hand was laid on my shoulder and in an answer to my prayer, said these words softly in my ear: “your husband is not your enemy.”
That was the day I surrendered my marriage to God. I was not in control, he was. The relief in that moment was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My problems were not solved that day – God didn’t take away any of my husband’s “faults”, he didn’t make my kids perfect angels, and he didn’t suddenly make us debt free. He released my soul from the burden of carrying it all.
When I relinquished the responsibility of taking that responsibility all by myself I was free to place my priorities elsewhere. I became a better mother, I became more motivated to please my husband, and I began to really live my life.
Still, there are moments of discouragement. A person of faith is never exempt from suffering. But the wonderful truth is that our God is bigger than our problems. We have problems that we try to fix on our own but we don’t have the ability to do that without the help of God. He works things out for our good in his own time. And in my experience, the result is a hundred times better than I could have imagined.
Hi! My name is Angela Tyler. I’m a wife and mother of two beautiful kids. Reading scripture and other literature has been a core part of understanding the profound love of our Father, and helped me to live a happier life. My heart’s desire is to contribute to some of the amazing literature available to wives and mothers everywhere.
Angela is offering free printable prayer cards just for Devotional Diva readers (link here!)
God Is Still In The Marriage Business [editor’s note: This post was originally published on Feb 09, 2016. Due to a recent glitch, I’m just republishing it!] My husband and I decided to get married because we wanted our lives to line up within God’s order. …