Until a little over two years ago, I had lived a relatively sheltered, happy life - nothing much out of the ordinary, and only the expected difficulties to live through. I had been married almost 25 years to my highschool sweetheart, had seven children, three of whom were married, and four grandchildren. I had experienced the loss of all four of my grandparents, but not until they had lived long and fruitful lives. My parents and siblings, and my husband's parents and siblings, were all still living. We had had some difficulties with our marriage, and with the children, but that wasn't unexpected, and God had faithfully seen us through each of these trials. But in the bounty He had blessed me with, I became complacent. Life was pretty easy. I lost sight of my constant need for a Saviour. It was time for a wake-up call.
That wake-up call came in September of 2007, when my husband informed me that he wanted a divorce. Suddenly I was wide-awake, and I was forced to remember where my strength lay - not in my marriage, not in my family, not in myself, but in Christ. I began reading His Word again (I had let personal devotions fall by the wayside). I began praying again (I had neglected this privilege and responsibility). I wrote down special passages that meant a great deal to me during this time - the darkest time of my life. And He saw me through the difficult months of heartbreak and uncertainty.
The uncertainty came to an end in December, ten days before Christmas, when my husband chose the other woman.
In looking back at that first Christmas, that first New Year, that first spring, when new life was abounding, oddly enough, those were some of the sweetest months of my life. They were difficult - emotionally, financially, and in every conceivable way - but God's providence was so evident, and His presence so necessary and so precious, that I consider those first months some of the most fruitful of my life. My absent husband did give us some money, but not nearly enough to pay all the bills and buy groceries. In God's providence, I learned how to be a good steward. I learned to be frugal, and I learned to be grateful for simple things like food to put on the table. He provided in the most marvelous ways!!! Just when I had spent my last pennies (and I do mean literally, pennies!), and I was wondering where our next meal would come from, someone would show up at the door with a box of groceries. Friends and family - Godly saints, brothers and sisters in Christ - did so much to help us. God has so richly blessed me with parents and siblings (mine and my ex-husband's), and with church family, and precious friends from CFAF. God used these precious people to minister to us. Twice, someone in our church (who remains anonymous) sent gift cards - on one occasion, totaling more than $1300! But the most amazing blessing has been my children. They have been a constant source of support and love. They put aside their own grief to minister to me in mine. They never let me feel alone. Thank you, Father, for the precious children You have given me. Please bless them richly, as they have been a rich blessing to me!
Monday, December 28, 2009
It is almost the end of the year, and as the new year approaches, I am resolved to begin in earnest to LIVE - not just exist day to day for the sake of my children and grandchildren; not simply mark days off my calendar as I get through them; not try to make it from one emotional high to the next without dying in between - but LIVE, doing what God created me to do. In an effort to determine what it is that He created me to do, and to encourage my efforts in that direction, I am going to begin journaling my daily thoughts, prayers, challenges, successes, and failures. I know from personal experience that I will need frequent and poignant reminders to keep me on track. In the Old Testament, God instructs His people to recall the mighty things He has done for them, in order to encourage them to persevere in the faith. "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons." Deuteronomy 4:9. We need to remember - remember the great things God has done for His people down through the ages, and recount the ways He has faithfully provided for us in our own lives. I will therefore spend the last few days of this old year recalling His mercies toward me throughout my life...