My last post was a brief review of AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything. As promised (much earlier than promised) I am about to share my heart with you in a way that I never have before. The story that I am about to share is a very ugly story with a beautiful ending (Lord willing).
Before I share the post-divorce story, I guess I should start from the beginning. My beginning began when I was 20 years old. I was newly married and had just had my first child. Having only been married less than a year I knew we were in trouble. We had found ourselves in a situation that was causing me to want to flee my marriage and take my infant with me, and out of desperation, my husband recommended that we "try" church. At this point, I was willing to try just about anything, and I had been to church a few times as a child, I believed in God and Jesus, but was clueless as to what it all meant. After visiting a few churches we had a pastor come to our home, and I asked him a question that changed everything. To protect my ex, I won't share what I asked, but I will say that his answer was all I needed to hear. He just said "The Bible says" and opened the Bible to respond to my question. I couldn't believe it! Right there in that book were the answers to all the questions I had ever had about life, the questions I had about what was right and what was wrong. It was exactly what I had been searching for.
Over the next ten years, I went through many ups and downs as does everyone, but the one thing I knew for sure was that God's word offered everything I needed to know about pursuing a life of godliness. I was however very legalistic, and I accredit this to my natural bent towards perfectionism. So while I knew many biblical truths, my heart was far from grace and mercy. After almost thirteen years together, nearly ten years of marriage, and four children later my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married. While I could say a lot about this, that isn't the point of this post. The "story" I'm sharing today what happened after he made this choice.
From the moment my husband told me he wanted a divorce until the very day I signed the divorce papers I clung desperately to God, pleading for Him to save my marriage.
BUT HE DIDN'T
The day I signed the divorce papers I went on my very first date. Enter mistake number one and the beginning of the end. What happened after this was just a downward spiral and my life and I went out of control. I took one step in the wrong direction, and there was no turning back. I started drinking (I had never been a drinker), started smoking (I hadn't smoked in thirteen years), cursing.... okay let's just stop for a moment. I am going to save us all time and just share a few verses with you to describe what happened in my life.
"The acts of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21
"and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness." Ephesians 4:19
Okay, so maybe not every sin listed was a part of my life, but you get the idea. I fell, and when I fell I fell hard.
This is where the book I just read comes in. You see the book is based on the story of the prodigal son. So what happens with the prodigal son? He takes his inheritance, leaves his father's house, falls hard, loses everything, and once he has nothing left he gets up and goes back home to his father.
When I moved here to Cary to live with my brother I had nothing left. My kids lived with their dad; I had no home, no furniture, no job, and no money, lots of debt, and no hope.
And that is when I did the only thing left to do. I "got up and went" back home to the Father.
I began to pray, to read my Bible, to call my Christian friends whom I had been avoiding for so long.
And you know what? God began to do amazing things in my life!
I have been blessed with more wisdom over the past two months than I have experienced in my entire Christian walk. I have come to understand truths about grace, mercy, and forgiveness that I never understood before. He is making Himself evident in my life again, and I can't even imagine where I would be right now had I not turned back. Although he has also made it clear that he was with me all that time, that his protective hand prevented me from ruining things even worse than they had become. He let me fall far enough, but not too far and for that I am grateful.
So where am I now? Right, where he wants me! Things haven't gotten easier (I mean in some ways they have because the self-inflicted consequences of my sinful living are less and less), but my life is much more peace-filled, much more loving, much more grace-covered, and much more God-honoring.
He has called me out of the darkness and into the light, and with that has come such freedom!
You see now I can see that I caused myself and everyone I loved so much pain and heartache because I was living for myself. I hurt my children and my family because I pulled away from the people that mattered the most and sought after temporal pleasures.
Sin is pleasant but for a moment, and eventually, it leads to death. I was dead, so dead in my sin.
"Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." James 1:15
Much like the AHA stories Kyle Idleman shares from both the prodigal son and people he has met I experienced my own, and I will use his analogy to summarize it.
A: Sudden Awakening
I fell, and I fell hard. This was when I "came to my senses". I was desperate because I didn't have much more to lose. I realized that I was on the fast track to nowhere, and I hated what my life had become.
H: Brutal Honesty
I couldn't lie to myself any longer! I couldn't blame my ex for leaving me and say it was his fault my life was a mess, and, more importantly, I could no longer blame God for not saving my marriage. I had to own up to my sin and take full responsibility for where my life was, and where it was headed.
A: Immediate Action
I had to "get up and go". I had to return to my Father and ask for forgiveness of the life I was living and make the changes necessary to restore my relationships, get myself back on track financially, and live the life he has called me to live. All of which can only be done by abiding in Him!
I'm not claiming to have arrived because we will not reach perfection until we finally make it home, but I am actively seeking to live my life according to the Scriptures. To have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23
Thankfully, I can rest knowing that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it! Philippians 1:6
This is my story... This is my song... I praise God for this story because even though the past two years have been ridiculously hard, he has never left me or forsaken me.