For several months now, I've wondered if or when I would write this post. Tonight, I finally felt the liberty.
Never could I have imagined my life...as a little girl, barefoot on the dirt road, playing with my sister.
My life has undergone many changes in the last 9 years, adding five children who wore born not of my body but in my heart. Each family addition brought challenges, but none that have exceeded the blessings. Each of my children is unique, and I have so much to learn from them.
In the past 4 years, my three adult children have gone through major life changes, leaving for college, leaving for the military, getting married, getting engaged, completing college. Life is always changing.
But, the change I least expected in my adult life happened just a couple of months ago. After being married for nearly 30 years, I am now a single mom. The story is not all mine to tell, personal details that involve too many other people, but I think today is the time for me to share part of this chapter. When I said, "I do," in 1983, I meant, "I do FOREVER." I have learned, however, that I cannot control the choices others make, and all effort on my part cannot change another's heart.
This has been a difficult chapter in my life, possibly the most difficult of all.
My faith, like yours, has been tested many times. I have walked in faith, as we waited on our adopted children. I have walked by faith, waiting on God to provide financially for adoptions and mission trips. God has proven Himself faithful. Through each of these faith journeys, I looked forward with anticipation, waiting to see what God would do. But, this test of faith has been different.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1st Peter 1:6-8)
I am certainly finding it difficult to greatly rejoice.
Being married for 29 years and 11 months, I have found it difficult envisioning the remainder of my life. I've had angry moments, bitter moments, grieving moments, even panic attacks. I've also had moments of sweet peace, knowing God was directing my path, and the peaceful moments grow longer and stronger every day.
Walking through the grief cycle, grieiving the death of MY dream, I seemed to have faltered in a period of mourning. Still mourning doesn't seem to be quite the right word. Maybe it's fear, a fear of loneliness. Or perhaps it's simply discontent.
As I search for Jesus in the midst of this manifold temptation, I am so strongly tempted to take my eyes off of Him. I know I need Him now more than ever, and I am forming new habits to keep Him foremost in my thoughts. One new habit is to spend time daily listening to a pastor of speaker. And, tonight, God used Louie Giglio to get my attention.
As I watched him, this thought grabbed my heart. There was the apostle Peter, having given up everything for Jesus for 3 years, and Jesus was dead. I pondered Peter's thoughts, how he must have wondered if he had wasted those 3 years, if he truly should have followed Jesus during that time. He didn't grasp the next chapter of the story.
That's where I've been lately, looking at the past 30 years...and wondering......
But, tonight, I was reminded that God wants me to remain in HIS story. His will for my life is not limited because of my past, my mistakes, or the failures of others.
He is writing an AWESOME story, and if I but stay close to HIM, I don't have to know what is next. I just have to trust. He is still an Ephesians 3:20 God. The next chapter of my life will be filled with more than I could ask or imagine.
So, tonight, I ask you to pray for us. Pray specifically for me to be ever prompted by the Holy Spirit to seek the face of Jesus. I invite any of you to ask me frequently, "Where were your eyes focused today?" More than just an invitation, I implore some of you faithful prayer warriors to hold me accountable to my promise to seek HIM.
And, I also invite you to take less than an hour of your time to watch this video. It will bring encouragement and hope to those who have lost it.