There were times in my life when I used the phrase, ‘only by God’s Grace’ did I survive something. It is so true in so many different ways that I knew it would be one of the topics I would share my feelings on.
Years ago I went through a divorce that strangely shattered me at the same time liberated me. (Huh, that new to me. I have never thought my divorce to be liberating until this very moment as I am writing this, I’ll have to think about that later.) Divorce is rarely a good thing, no one wins and all parties involved are hurt, obviously in different ways.
I was completely surprised by the news I received, not because I didn’t think it wouldn’t happen to me, but because never in my wildest dreams did I think the person I trusted most in the world would do what he did. As we would learn of couples we knew splitting up because of infidelity, he would comment that an affair is something he would never do, in fact, he spoke so strongly against it, that I would joke with my friends that if either of us were to have an affair, it would be me because he hated the idea of it so much.
(Fidelity- faithfulness to a person, cause or belief,
demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support)
I know as I write this many of you have been in that exact place. I pray at this moment that you are healed by leaning on our faithful God. As I look back, I know the only reason I handled the entire situation as I did was that God walked with me, many days walking for me.
Let me share a little bit of my story with you. When I finally learned what was happening, (yes, I was that wife, the one that was the last to know) I knew I didn’t want my marriage to end, unfortunately though, for all the wrong reasons. First, there was no way I wanted to be another American statistic or have my children ( 5 and 2 and a 1/2 at the time) be a product of divorce. Secondly, over the course of those 5 years of being a stay-at-home wife and mom (which I LOVED), I lost my identity as the person I used to be.
No longer was I that fiercely independent woman that never asked if I should do something but how or when I would do it! You see, I had no college degree or career to fall back on, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to support myself or my kids. I was terrified to say the very least. Another one of those wrong reasons to save my marriage was remembering things that were said to me that encouraged the ugly feelings of inadequacy, feeling like I never quite measured up to some invisible line.
I remembered the tears I would try to hide as I realized my marriage was over, knowing I would never have left it because my family was worth it. But alas, he didn’t share those sentiments, you see, in his eyes, he wasn’t leaving his family, he was just leaving his wife. Some of the emotions I went through; like shock, humiliation, hopelessness, despair, fear and eventually, anger was like a roller coaster ride that had no end.
Never in my life had I prayed so hard to understand this new world of mine. I would pray to God to show me how to handle this ‘new normal’ I had to live. How was I going to be the role model for my kids, I begged God to show me how. I was determined to protect my kids from the shock of having their lives changed forever.
It took a while but once I had time to catch my breath, honesty came knocking. I could look and see the times when the shell that was my marriage was a place I was stuck in and couldn’t escape. More and more it was a place I felt less like a wife and more like a bother. I realized there was no respect in that relationship and often to keep the peace would not speak up to defend me.
I know this is one way I started to lose my identity and by the time I was on my own, I was a mere skeleton of who I used to be. Of course, I knew that girl was long gone; when I was her, I wasn’t a wife, or a mom and sadly, not a Christian. I wanted to find a ‘me’ that I would love, one where my children could see how leaning on my God (leaning so hard at times I know if He would have moved too fast I would have toppled over) was how I wanted to live my life and how He became my strength.
This is where liberation came in. As much pain and shock as I was in, the one thing I clung to was Jesus and my desperate need that He shows me I could rely on his promises. That He was there and I could lean on Him, He would not leave me during this nightmare, that He would be faithful to me as He promises in His Word.
Hebrews 13:5c- “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
I spoke to Him all the time, determined to stay focused on Him and how He wanted me to walk with Him as I grew into my new family; Him, me, and my kids. During this growth, I had to acknowledge some hard truth, the end of my marriage wasn’t all one-sided; my feelings had also changed, there was no love, barely any like, and certainly no respect. That was hard to swallow as I would never have left that marriage, I didn’t believe in it, I was just resigned to it. I gave my absolute trust to Jesus and with time, and lots of studies knew my trust was well placed and well protected.
Our God works in ways our little human minds just aren’t equipped to work, I mean if it did, wouldn’t that mean we were kind of on His level?? Which we all know we are NOT, Praise God! I knew the Holy Spirit was in me because I had a driving need to live in a way that would show my children that God was in control of my life and that He alone would guide me through this trail. I was desperate to show them that walking with Jesus would ultimately set me free. His Grace was an example of how I chose to live.
1 Peter 4:10- As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
So over the years I found myself saying ‘with God’s Grace” many times, until one day the question, What is God’s grace, popped into my head, so I did a little digging.
Christianity.com defines grace as:
an adjective that can be used to describe an attribute of God. Gracious, the Hebrew word channun, in its verb form, means to be considerate, to show favor. That God is gracious would mean that he is favorably inclined toward us. That he wants to show favor to us. To do what is best for us.
On the other hand Wikipedia defines grace in christianity as:
the free and unmerited favor of God manifested in the salvation of sinners
and the bestowing of blessings.
I have found God’s grace can mean different things at different times in our lives. When I think back to when I was broken and in need of His strength it’s 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 I turned to.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I’m well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
As I have grown in Jesus His grace has also evolved in me, I often use it as a source of comfort.
Hebrews 4:12- Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I also rely on it as I move on into a new arena of ministry, something so exciting it’s terrifying, that’s right, this blog. I have always loved to write and I am praying this blog will help you, encourage you and yes, hopefully along the way make you laugh a little. I have come to a point where I feel God is telling me that I am worthy, that I do have value and I have something to say. I want to actively participate in God’s mission He designed just for me.
I want to share Him and how He was there when my life was tipped upside down. How overtime He took me apart, and slowly (sometimes very painfully) put me back together, piece by piece. How I am now stronger and happier than I have ever been. I know it’s all because what started with a little bit of grace has erupted into a world of blessings. I can’t wait to share more with you.