Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Jennifer, the Sunflower Mom! Thanks for sending this in, Jen! “Are you happy?” she asked me. A friend I hadn’t seen in a few months asked me this question early one Saturday morning over coffee. She knew …
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.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Hannah Anderson. Today Hannah is sharing her personal modesty story — and I commend her for that. Everyone has different modesty standards today; let’s face it, there’s no cut and dry rules. Hannah felt led to share and I love the lesson in her story! Thank you Hannah for being brave!]
A twenty-something Christian woman who always always held herself up to Christian standards of purity and modesty (sort of, more on that later) and wore her father’s purity ring he gave her a decade prior with pride. This woman always liked to talk about how above the world and the pleasures of the flesh she was and how sorry she was for other women who destroyed their lives by going outside God’s boundaries.
However, this woman was self-conscious. She thought herself to be homely and overweight. She noticed that no guys ever paid attention to her except to be her friend and she pretended this didn’t bother he because that is not what a Christian woman should care about. She also noticed that homely girls could get attention from guys by dressing immodestly, but she deigned not to go down that road because of her faith.
This woman met a man at work she really liked. He was an independent contractor working there temporarily. They talked all of the time on lunch break but he never pressed it further. He was about to leave and the woman was tired of being just a friend so she did something. She bought some new clothes that were still very modest but could be quickly made immodest. The lady would be dressed just as demurely and modestly as ever except when talking to the man on lunchbreak when she made sure he saw more than he could handle.
The woman rationalized this behavior by telling herself she was still “dressing modestly.”
The man saw what she was showing and lusted after her. After a week he asked the woman out. The woman was happier than ever but she felt very guilty about using immodesty so he would lust.
Well, you can probably guess the woman is me and the man is now my husband. We have talked about this and while he did lust after me that was not the reason he asked me out. He said he always liked me but was too shy to ask me out and wanted to wait until he would never have to see me again in case I said no. He said he felt just as guilty about lusting after me as I did about being immodest. I, of course apologized to him just like I did to God so many times.
We should never break God’s commandments no matter what advantages we might procure, for he is the one who knows what is best, and sometimes, God in his graciousness gives us what we want despite messing up. Finally, we need to obey the spirit of the law and not just the ‘rules’ that we can keep while violating the principles behind them.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
I grew up South of Atlanta and got a degree in philosophy from Emory University where I learned to think deep thoughts while accruing even bigger debts. I now live North of Atlanta with my husband and son.
[Guest Post by La Micia Genova: I’m thrilled for you to “meet” La Micia today because, although our stories are different, La Micia and I both dealt with depression before God gave us our knights in shining armor. I’m all about princesses and fairy tales and this …
[Guest Post by Ashleigh Slater – I always appreciate returning the favor when a fellow author lets me share about my book on her blog. This is Ashleigh’s first book entitled Team Us. I appreciate her sharing wisdom on 4 steps to practice patience with …
[Guest Post by Kathy Moore – I have been walking alongside my friend through her separation, and then divorce. It has been especially hard to watch as the gossip train has started, and doesn’t seem to stop. If you are a “Christian” who knows others who have been destroyed by gossip, please forward this to them. If you are one of them — be encouraged by my friend Kathy’s story today.]
I am divorced.
Out of obedience to the Lord, I have been silent to share my story — until now. Due to continuing gossip, I have felt the Lord’s prompting to speak truth.
Matthew 5:13-14 reminds me as a Jesus follower I am to be salt and light to the world. Salt, as we all know, flavors, and light reveals. In addition to being a flavoring, salt is a healing agent, though at first it stings like no one’s business.
And light? While we are thankful for all the wonderful gifts it brings into our lives. Sometimes, when we look straight into it — we are blinded. I realize that there is a cost in being salt and light.
I have had my own healing happen through the stinging, cleansing agents of salt. I have looked into the light and been found wanting.
I have yielded to both the stinging and the blinding, and I have come out stronger for it. I have come out a stronger follower of Jesus, a more compassionate friend, an empathetic leader, and a mom who is able to instill healthy boundaries into her children.
It was not without pain, tears or anger at God.
God has brought me full circle.
He took an anger so deep that it turned logic into chaos. He lovingly comforted me as I came to the cross, a 41 year old broken, humbled, beaten woman full of repentance and asking for forgiveness. He has restored my heart, even in my deep brokenness.
It is time to speak up and confront the abuse — spiritual and otherwise — that continues in my life and the lives of my children.
January 2011, my life unraveled.
I had known for many years that things were not right. I worked and worked to make things right. But. Nothing stuck. Healing did not occur. My husband and I had separated 3 times in 15 years together.
The final time, I sought assistance from church leaders. I realize now they were
not equipped for such a large task. I knew that my church did not support divorce, and I didn’t want one — but I knew I could not keep living in a terrible situation.
I was angry.
I was hurting.
I was out of options.
The problems had started years and years before. I never really had the guts to bring the situation into the light. My husband and I did not fight well. As a matter of fact, the fights often turned abusive. Chocking, hitting, name calling, and being thrown down occurred more than once.
I admit, sometimes I fought back. The last time we fought, my diamond left a cut above his eye. But years of verbal, physical and emotional abuse left their mark on me. All I wanted was out. And so I began swallowing over-the-counter migraine medicine. That one act created a firestorm that led to my eventual divorce. Unfortunately, the firestorm really didn’t hit the true cause of my misery — abuse. It only added to the abuse by adding a layer of spiritual abuse.
When I filed for legal separation, I lost more than a marriage, I lost a church family and the support of those I had counted on.
I was left a shadow of what I had once been.
What I have failed to mention is all the gossip that has occurred since my separation, and then divorce. Though I filed for separation, I was not the one to check the divorce box. I never wanted divorce. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was happening inside the four walls was not healthy for me or my kids and it wasn’t getting any better.
I have been called a run-away wife.
I have been told that he found better women.
I have been told I am a terrible mother.
It has been said that I’ve slept around.
And who said all these things? Christians. The very ones who turned their backs and didn’t wait around for the real story.
I am tired.
I am righteously angry.
And now, my children have gotten caught in the insipid chatter.
Ladies and gentleman, abuse is never ok. Abuse is a symptom of a much deeper issue.
I tried everything imaginable to stop the abuse. I stayed for 15 years. I loved my husband. I wanted a better future. I drove those who really loved and cared about me nuts, because I could not leave my marriage. And yet, the marriage and abuse were killing me, slowly.
It is a rare day when I don’t pray for my children’s father.
It is a rare day that goes by when I don’t grieve over my broken marriage.
It is a rare day that goes by when I am not confronted with the damage of divorce.
On the other hand, rarely am I not thankful for who I have become. I wish I had had this strength when I was married, I believe maybe there could have been a different ending.
I like who I am.
I like who God created me to be.
I like the woman who relies fully on Jesus — for everything.
God has shown up and continues to show up — financially, emotionally, and with gifts I couldn’t have asked for.
And yet, the gossip continues. People. I am divorced. I left an ugly situation hoping and praying for a different outcome, which still hasn’t come. However, God has come into my life and scooped out the anger and given me a heart of forgiveness towards my children’s dad; a forgiveness I’ve extended verbally to him.
Before the Lord, I am clean.
I have kept silent about the true nature of my marriage, because I wanted to protect not only my kids, but their dad as well.
I prayed that understanding would come. I have begged and pleaded with the Lord for someone to stand up for me — and yet here I am, with full peace knowing I must stand up now and speak truth.
Truth shines light on wrongdoings.
Truth exposes sin.
Truth is love.
Love isn’t just sappy and happy. Sometimes love hurts. But, what is the outcome? Peace. True, God-given peace. I have walked a very lonely road. Often times the road has left me in the dark, by myself for long periods of time.
I’m thankful for it.
I’m thankful that I know Jesus intimately.
I’m thankful that it’s purely Jesus, me and my kids going down this road.
I continue to pray for the kid’s dad. I pray true, salt and light repentance occurs. continue to speak truth into my kid’s lives. I continue to love them and have fun with them and all the while encourage a deeper relationship with Jesus. For those that think they are helping by speaking “truth” into my kid’s lives about me or my church or my life — stop it. If you really want to help, confront the sin that is standing right in front of you masquerading as “right” living.
For the rest of you who have so faithfully stood by my side through tears and really, really tough junk. Thank you. I pray one day I can do the same for you.
I am Kathy Moore, a daughter of Jesus and mom to three. Writing is my passion and encouraging others towards a deeper, more authentic relationship with Jesus is my goal. I’m funny, serious, a bit weird at times, but overall a fun person to hang out with. I’ve been through a lot–just like the rest of humanity and try to use my “a lot” to help others. Connect with me at delivered2thrive.com.
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[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.