Saturday, July 19, 2014

The View From Here: Seven Years Later

A few weeks ago at church we sang Shout to the Lord.  I love that song.  It always takes me back to my life almost seven years ago... in a good way.  My life was so different seven years ago than it is now. It wasn't too long after that, that I started this blog as a way to cope through the grief of separation and divorce.

In December 2007, the world as I knew it fell apart.  I had experienced pain both physically and emotionally before, but never anything like that.  I won't repeat everything from that very first post, but it was honestly the hardest thing I'd ever been through and I desperately wanted something to make the pain go away because it felt unbearable.

The outpouring of love and support I received from my friends and family at the time was tremendous and helped some to focus less on the emotional pain. People commented a lot on how "strong" I was.  I was good at acting that way.  But let me tell you the truth.  I was not strong.  I was terrified.  I felt lost.  I thought tears would surely kill me.  Although somehow my faith never waivered, I was left with a lot of questions.  Especially one in particular... 

Why?

I may never know the answer to that question this side of heaven, but I do know the answer to the most important question...

Who.

El Shaddai.  God Almighty.  Back then, I thought there must be some mistake.  I was living in a bizarre world that I was sure would eventually come to an end and things would become normal.  I was completely bewildered.  I never in a million years imagined that those divorce papers would actually show up on my doorstep.  I knew that God hated divorce so I didn't understand how He could allow this to happen.  Up until that final moment in a courtroom, I believed with every part of my being that God would step in and make it stop.  But He didn't.  I was left with a very troubling question...

What?

What do I do now?  I had to eventually pick myself up and function in everyday life.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do but I knew I had to do something.  I lived with my parents for about a year and a half and started seeing a wonderful Christian counselor every week for a while.  That was definitely a provision that God allowed to help tremendously in the healing process for me.  This was a person who wasn't involved in my day to day life.  She was able to see my situation objectively and see down to the deeper core of who I am.  It took me a while to let my guard down.  I ended up switching to a different counselor part way through when my original counselor grew ill.  I was still very guarded. But she was so gentle and patient with me and let me work through what I needed to work through without fear or feelings of condemnation.  She helped me to answer an essential question...

How?

How can I not only move on, but grow and be happy again?  I really didn't think it was possible.  I tried to picture myself years down the road, further distanced from the pain.  I would always look forward to the day when I didn't think about it for at least one day.  Would that ever happen?  I had been so consumed with my feelings of loss.  Amazingly, those feelings drove me to the Word of God.  I spent more time in my Bible during that time than I ever had before.  Sometimes it takes something big and terrible to drive us in that direction.  That was the first positive thing to come out of a terrible loss.  I also journaled a lot to help sort out my feelings.

In the summer of 2009, I started to branch out and become more independent again.  I moved out of my parents house and into a house of my own with my two boys.  I didn't have a lot at the time, but God was gracious and provided for so many needs and then some.  I started to decorate and make it home.

The boys kept me pretty busy.  In the evenings, though, I would start to feel lonely after they went to bed and it was just me in that quiet house.  As I laid alone on the big living room couch, I would remember the times when I would lay on the couch with my husband in the evenings and watch all night marathons of Alias and 24.  I missed that closeness and companionship.  I'd also had a pretty tight knit group of girlfriends from church up until then but when I started attending another church, our relationships changed some.  We were still friends, but we didn't spend as much time together as we had in the past.  I started to feel that maybe if I dated again, it would take away some of the loneliness.  I did date one man for a short time a couple of years after that, but rather than take away the loneliness, it really just distracted me.  I became consumed.  I began to think that if I got married again, I would be happy and all of this pain that I had experienced would simply go away.  It wasn't until it ended that I realized I really wasn't ready for that.  I had foolishly thought that it was earthly things that would fill the empty hole I felt inside my heart.  It was simply a bandage.  True healing only begins with Christ.

So here I am, almost seven years later.  So much has changed in my life.  The day finally came when I didn't think about it every day.  I started to become my own person.  I had been very co-dependent and extremely shy before.  I didn't think that anything I said or did was that important.  I thought that I was only worth something if I was in a relationship with someone who was worth something.  When my ex-husband and I first separated, I used to say that when everything got better and God healed our marriage that we should write a book together because he was good with words.  What had never entered my mind before was... maybe I had something important to say.  Maybe I could make a difference because God has given me unique talents and gifts.

I feel a lot more confident now than I ever was before.  It's not because of anything that I have done but because I have seen the Sovereign hand of God at work.  I have seen that not everything works out like you thought or hoped it would, but God is still in control and He has a plan for each and every life He has created.  I have also seen God's hand of provision too many times to count.  Through that, He has taught me that He is worthy to be trusted.  God always provides.  Always.  We just have to keep our eyes open to see it through the hard times.

My life feels full and complete now and I feel happy knowing that whatever happens, God will always carry me through.  His Word promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me and I have seen that first hand in my life.  Whether the next seven years are full of sunshine or rain, I feel confident in knowing that "He which hath begun a good work in [me] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  (Philippians 1:6)