“God Gave Her to Me”

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This past week I went to an adorable celebration at my daughter’s school called Moms & Muffins. I don’t say this to sound like mom of the year nor to be cliche, but one on one time with my daughter is gold. My daughter and I spent four years, just her and I. And now, with our present day blended family, I share her with three other parents. Are there perks to sharing in the parenting of this beautiful little girl? Absolutely (another post I am working on)! Qualities, attributes, and love shown to her by four parents instead of two is not all bad, folks. Okay, let’s stay on topic here … I am convinced the days and nights we spent just the two of us created something real special. She was my drive to keep my shit together when I was on the verge of losing it. She was this insane beauty beaming through the ashes of my dead marriage. That bright bond we created through such darkness will always be there.

Our morning together, celebrating Mother’s Day at her school is a time I will always treasure. We ate muffins, read stories, and she showed me all of these insanely cute projects she had been making for me. When her teachers asked her why I am special, her response was: “God gave her to me” and then of course, what I was good at: “sweeping the floors” … Oh my, I freaking love her.

Her first answer really did make me want to weep on the spot. “God gave her to me” … I think as mothers we can agree that this is how we feel about our children. God gave them to us. They are our gifts. For divorced mamas especially, they are this silver lining that came from so much heartache. And here I am reading her words, God gave ME to HER. ME? Ugh. I am not sure how many of you are with me in that I feel like I fall short as a mommy more often than not. Yet through her eyes, I am this amazing gift. Humbling, no doubt.

I read this really great piece about the Good Shepherd last week and it spoke to my mama heart pretty hard:

“You know yours, and they know you. Just like the Good Shepherd, you rise every morning to lay down your life again. Even in small ways the world never sees. But the Father sees you and loves you. He knows your heart longs to be like the One who is Love.

If you listen, you will hear His voice. What you long for will lead you.

He promised you this. His promises do not fail. He is the Good Shepherd.”

What an incredible encouragement for mothers. Knowing our shortcomings, our sin, and the stuff we lay down morning after morning is made whole through His love and promises. God’s good grace fills in the gaps of our mommy fails. And our little ones? They have hearts eyes for all that makes up our beautiful mess. We are their gift and they are ours. Let us not forget this truth!

Divorce and single motherhood can really magnify the ways we think we are “failing” our littles. Promise me this, if this Mother’s Day greets you mid-divorce or as a single mama, read some advice I wrote when this too was my reality. As most of you know this will be my first Mother’s Day in four years that I do have an amazing husband to celebrate with (there’s hope!). However, I feel deeply for you ladies on the other side. Give my words a read from last year describing past Mother’s Days.

I pray that ALL the mamas out there will feel loved by their little ones, peace from our Good Shepherd and overwhelming gratitude for the many amazing ways they’re raising these incredible gifts we’ve been given. ❤

Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry

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Today is the feast day of my favorite saint, St. Padre Pio. His life magnifies the beauty that can come through suffering. I clung to his words many times when I felt that my pain was too deep to handle. I have shared my favorite quotes from this incredible man that will hopefully encourage you to find peace in the trials you face.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

“My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.”

“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”

“Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

“The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.”

“The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.”

All Your Strength

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Here’s some inspiration for your Wednesday! Even if your strength level is low this morning and you are feeling burdened, you can still put all of who you are into the tasks before you. I have been praying for all of your hearts, whether freshly broken or on their healing way. Even though my blogging has been less in these summer months, my prayers have not stopped for all of you. Keep sharing your stories with me. We are in this together, pouring whatever strength we have into the beauty of continued healing.

I Said Yes

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I was weary about sharing this exciting news with the Her Soul Repair community. I know the range of fragility that is out there and I wanted to be respectful of where you all stand. When you’re freshly separated or divorced it’s hard to even stomach the idea of marriage (at least it was for me). You launch into thinking of how this could all happen again and how much more could you possibly handle and so on and so forth. However, here I am to show you that there is hope at the end of the healing tunnel! One broken marriage does not have to equal a forever broken view of this sacred partnership. The cynicism will lessen and you will see the beauty in a forever love once again. Here I am, living proof of this.

One of my favorite bible verses and one that God repeatedly promised to me during the hardest times of my life was, Joel 2:25. Verse 25 says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—  the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]—my great army that I sent among you.” The version of the verse in New King James uses the word, restore in place of repay. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” I believed God when He told me this, but my belief had a skeptic undertone. There were years of the locusts eating up every part of my life. And there God was acknowledging that He had plans for restoring these very years.

Fast forward to my recent engagement and here I am sitting back, watching God’s promises revealed. And not only revealed, but better than anything I could have ever imagined. When you can see God’s hand in a promise that was at one point just a nice idea, it’s unbelievably humbling. The whispered promises I heard are now being shouted from the rooftops. I am overwhelmed by how much He protected me from what the locusts had destroyed. Patience is rough when the locusts are destroying every facet of your life, but God’s promises are always true. My prayer is that if you’re waiting for God to repay you for those years that were destroyed by infidelity and divorce, you’ll find hope in my story. The years may feel long now, but God’s plan for your happily ever after is worth the wait.

Tick Tock

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What you do with your time during the days of a divorce makes or breaks your overall well-being. Here I share some helpful time management tips on how to make the best of those sometimes long and sad days.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” -Anne Dillard

  A life well lived does not just happen. It takes time, intention, discipline, and commitment. How we invest our time defines much of our lives. Thinking about the very idea of time sometimes has my head spinning. Every facet of it. How it can go by both ridiculously fast and painfully slow.  The art of managing it well. How easily it can be wasted. How immeasurable its value is. The directions in which it can pull us. How important it is to balance. And how so many outlets rob us of it altogether. Lately, my world has been taken over by all things time.

Summer typically does this to me. The six weeks off of work (teacher perk) and the long days of sunshine have my mind wandering to all of the ways I could spend this time. I welcomed summer with the start of a new writing course (nerd alert). In one of the very first lectures, the professor simply said, make every word count. Now, more often than not, I have moments where simplicity blows me away and I am left like a deer in the headlights. This was one of those experiences. A simple message took me from making every word of my writing count to making every (fill in the blank) of my life count. Every relationship, conversation, text message, gift, prayer, trip to the grocery store … you name it. The habits we develop to make our time count are life-giving. In pondering what routines result in fruitful time management, I give you my favorite four.

But First, the Soul. Rise and shine and tend to your soul. I need Jesus the very second I open my eyes to start a new day. From the tone I have with my daughter, to the judgemental thought about the person next to me, to what feels like an endless amount of scenarios my sinful nature can get me into, I need Jesus. And I desire to give Him my first. If you think of the time in your day divvied up by minutes, let your first minutes reflect that your priorities are in line. God first. Everything else next. Spend time preparing your soul for what the Lord has for you in the day to come.

“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” Psalm 5:3

“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” Psalm 59:16

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

Prioritize Your Purpose. Go through a mental breakdown of what the day holds. Prioritize what will move you closer to sanctification. And this doesn’t mean spending the entire day at church or in silent prayer. I mean, if your life allows that time, great! However, holiness needs to come in the day-to-day. If you know that you’ll be interacting with a co-worker you clash with, pray for that extra dose of patience and decide early on to put on a big smile. Allow the spirit to work in your best laid plans. Where we can try our darndest to plan out how we would react and respond in the moments that make up our day, sometimes God has other plans. There’s purpose in everything. Yield to Him. Prioritize what God has given you in the order of His glory.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Invest in People. I am embarrassed to admit how often I spend time with people, but am not fully present. It’s quite disappointing. Our society has created this culture where we must be available to anyone and everyone at all times, including the times we are physically spending time with other people. The phone-checking pressure is real. It seems silly, but I have made a point not to look at my cell phone when I am spending time with friends.  As I work toward investing more genuinely in others, this small practice has been helpful. I yearn for my life to be full of conversations that emulate devotion and wisdom, not the status update of someone I went to college with. The time we spend with others builds community, nurtures innate parts of who we are, and is God’s design for us here on earth. Our investment in others reflects the most authentic type of love.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:1-2

The White Space. White space is defined as life’s breathing room. I find that the more time I give myself to stop and take a breath, the more focused and clear I am with the tasks at hand. Depending on your personality, it can be very difficult not to over-commit yourself. Learning to carve out white space, is a very beneficial practice. It may feel selfish at first, but it helps ensure that you are not simply going through life’s motions. On the flip side, be intentional with the idle time. Using it to fixate on the sorrow of our lives or the world around us, defeats the point. White space is meant to free you up, not bring you down. Use this time to reflect, regroup, and make sure you are where you should be, closely in line with God’s will.

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31

My prayer is that these practical tips will direct your time toward holiness and help guard the moments of your days.

“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.” ― C.S. Lewis

Image by Kayla Ewell

Watch by Larsson & Jennings

 

Annul What?

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Annulment. A foreign and often misunderstood word to most of the non-Catholic friends out there. Actually, I think it’s safe to say it’s even misunderstood by some of the Catholic community as well. I am going to share my take on the process and what I learned from my experience. If this topic interests you or you are thinking of starting the process, I would encourage you to read this article. It does a real good job of explaining all that the process entails in layman’s terms.

When my divorce was looking more and more final, I thought to myself, what more can I possibly handle? I knew because I was married in the Catholic church I also needed an annulment and I selfishly thought that it was asking a lot of me. Divorce and annulment? I was not on board. Initially, my reaction to all things annulment was a very emotional one. If I was the victim, why did I have to go through this long-winded process to erase my marriage from the Church. It wasn’t my fault my marriage ended. Shouldn’t I get to skip ahead to the auto annul stamp? And how will my baby feel when she finds out that the church erased the very union that brought her into this world. At one point I remember thinking, I won’t do that to her, I’d rather not get married in the church to prove my point. Crazed thoughts all over the place.

When the emotions were somewhat removed and I was able to wrap my mind around this idea, I met with many priests, nuns, and strong Catholic influences. I would be visiting a parish or at a retreat or at confession and I would just ask and ask. I wanted to hear different perspectives from different circles. I wanted to talk with and find out everything there was to know about why this was necessary. I also wanted to talk with children whose parents had gone through a divorce and annulment. I wanted to hear their take on it and how it made them feel. Turns out the folks I spoke with all said that an annulment is a second chance at the way God intended my marriage to be. It’s the church’s blessing on your future, especially if that includes remarrying in the church. It’s declaring that, sadly, one party in the marriage did not enter their life-long vows with permanence in mind. I understand how heartbreaking this is, but in reality, there is a level of truth. Did your spouse say their vows in hopes of the marriage falling apart? Probably not. But in my case, my ex did feel that he had the freedom to be unfaithful only three years into our marriage. That doesn’t exactly scream permanence. And from a child’s perspective? Not one of the adult children I spoke with had any ill feelings about the fact that their parents had an annulment.

If you are Catholic and are debating this process, do your research! As I said, I read A LOT, listened to many respected people, and prayed for an open heart. Don’t rush this process. It took me a good year before I saw the beauty that this process had to offer. Please contact ME too. I would be happy to walk you through any misconceptions or details you’d like to know about.

Once the emotional exhaustion lessened and I understood the goodness this could bring, I decided to embark on my petition for the annulment. As I was starting the extensive packet of questions and recaps, I couldn’t help but respect how the church views marriage. These questions were thorough to say the very least. There was a set of questions for myself, my ex (who chose not to participate), our family members, our friends, and the deacon who married us. The questions explored many elements of the marriage and at all different points of the relationship. They asked questions of people who knew us before we met, while were dating, while engaged, in our marriage, and in our separation. The feel I got was that they weren’t just handing out annulments like candy. There needed to be REAL reasons for the marriage ending in order for the annulment to be granted. I liked this. After all the questionnaires were submitted by myself, friends, and family members, we waited. The case was reviewed by the diocesan tribunal ( a group of respected priests and deacons in the church).

Right around a year later, the annulment was granted (just last week. yay!). This was an exciting time as it meant, if it’s God’s will, I was now able to remarry in the church. It felt as if the scarlet letter I had been holding on to had been removed. It also felt like one more final nail in the coffin. Those moments of further finality help in the healing of your heart. A process that once brought me emotions of annoyance suddenly brought me peace and assurance. A sacred blessing over moving forward with what the future holds.

Image by The Hipster Housewife

 

Daisy Love

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Scenes of disease and loss have always existed, but it’s not until recently that I feel myself on heightened alert to them. In the past few years, I’ve known people my age with families and babies get diagnosed with cancer and deteriorating diseases. I have seen widows and widowers left alone their sweet little ones. Then in a different hand, I have seen young healthy parents watch their babies, sick with those same conditions. It all breaks my heart and brings me to a fearful halt.

In 2007, I spent a sun-kissed summer in Santa Barbara living with one of my friends just for the heck of it. I was in that window between college life and semi-grown up life. This summer was memorable for many reasons. One being, the church community I was a part of. Reality Carp is a non-denominational church led by an incredibly passionate and knowledgeable man, Britt Merrick. This community was the real deal. Actually, it was in this group of people that I found the name I wanted for my (at the time) future daughter. Anywho, I was immediately drawn to this church. I learned a lot that summer about family dynamics and marriage, actually. Even though it was far from my radar at the time. The Merrick family had a real strong indirect influence on my current beliefs about marriage and family.

Fast forward to leaving Santa Barbara and continuing on with “real life.” I still kept in some distant touch and tabs on the Merrick fam. In 2013 their 8-year-old daughter, Daisy Love lost her battle with cancer. Their journey was one lined with strong hope, faith, and prayers. There were high peaks and deep lows. In hindsight, their story reminds me of the in-between time when I was fighting for my marriage. I was surrounded by a community of faith-based people praying their hearts out for one answer and we all got another. Much like the Merrick family. Kate Merrick, Daisy’s mom, wrote her way through this journey on their blog and posted for the first time in three years yesterday. What I read moved me. I think as we experience grief in one form or another, it’s important to be real with the ways we process it. Read here what Kate had to say: 

“Hello, friends.  It’s been awhile, no?  I feel like I am slowly waking up, slowly gaining strength and coming out of a cocoon of sorts.  I wanted to share with you a few things, reconnect and catch up on the past three years.

Since Daisy left us, I’ve chosen to stay silent, to process privately.  Thinking, writing, praying, all the things I had shared so openly before, I’ve kept sacred for three years.  This time of silence has been right for me while the waves of grief beg to be experienced fully, demanding all my attention.  The suffering that blows in after the loss of my Daisy is so very different from the suffering we all felt during her years of sickness.  Nonetheless, I have felt your prayers, in fact, I consider myself blessed to have had the support you all gave.  The kindness you have shown my family is beyond.  You have been the hands and feet of Jesus, you have lived a life of faith and love.  I hope I can be as kind as you one day.  

Needless to say, this has been a radical time.  For many of us.  Last you heard from me, I was anticipating the goodness to come, soaking in the reminders that bring life and light.  That still hasn’t changed.  Those little things—Daisy’s artwork, her notes, her tiny clothes—have brought me joy, have reminded me of truth.  And during the darkest days of my life they served as a tangible reminder of her presence, and of her absence.  She is both.  I continue to focus on the little familiar surprises, and have chosen joy.  Though a significant piece of me is gone, I choose not to dishonor the fullness of the life God has given me.  It’s an exercise in faith that brings great spiritual reward.  It gives breath to tired lungs.

It’s strange to be on the other side of a prayer to which the answer was no.  Perhaps I’ll share a bit on that in the coming weeks, as well as thoughts on suffering from a different point of view, but for now, I can say with all honesty, I am well.  It is well with my soul.  The scars remain, but the bigger picture is so grand that I am able to keep moving forward, fixing my eyes on the One who is unseen.  Daisy is a gift to us, one we were blessed to enjoy for 8 incredible years.  And so I have been pressing into the deeper things in life, the enduring things.  I have been finding reasons to laugh without fear of the future.  I look forward to sharing that with you.

On a fun note, just when I was deep in the heaviest of the sadness, God saw fit to fill my empty arms.  He gave me a baby girl we call Pheodora Sunshine.  Her name is Greek and means ‘supreme gift.’  She reminds us all the time of her big sister—she shares Daisy’s adventuresome spirit and spritely personality.  She’s a gift to the whole family, both of blood and spirit.  It’s a strange thing, simultaneously grieving one daughter and feeling the freedom to love another.  God has taught me so much…

Bye for now, and please do me a favor—kiss and hug each member of your family, take a deep breath of ocean, mountain, or prairie air, and enjoy life in Jesus’ name.

Love,

Kate”

I hope this spoke to you as it did to me. Experience your grief in whatever capacity you need to. Whatever the answer, whatever the circumstances, take a deep breath and enjoy life in Jesus’ name, ❤

Thirty One

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It blows my mind that I am turning 31 this month. My twenties were filled to the brim and my thirtieth year has been nothing but wonderful new beginnings. I wrote the article below this time last year. I still resonate with a lot of these thoughts and feel there’s value for all of you who are in a season of waiting.

Twenty Nothings

I often daydream of simpler times. Times when children could walk to a neighbor’s house without a second thought and then walk home for dinner as the street lights turned on. Times when men worked to provide for their family, regardless of how they felt. Times where a woman’s main task was to raise her children well and create a peaceful home. My sweet Italian grandparents and the home my father grew up in was the epitome of what I described above. Perhaps, I see this era more glorified because I did not live in it. I am sure there were burdens they experienced amidst the simplicity I envy. However, I can’t help but wonder what my grandparents would have thought about the phrase I overheard in a recent conversation.  

30 is the new 20! My internal eye roll launched into full effect. Days later I couldn’t really shake the moment. Why is everyone trivializing such a defining decade? My generation is mocked with terms, like “twixters” or “kidults.” Videos such as this one, Millennials in the Workplace,  surface about our work ethic.  Where you can find humor in the stereotypes, the truth of the matter is some people fit them to a T and others tremble at their thought.

There’s no denying that the life pressures of your twenties can be intense. And the questions can be overwhelming. Will you graduate college in 4 years? Will you go to grad school? Where in Europe have you backpacked? Why aren’t you dating anyone?  Where are you interning? Do you think you’ll marry your boyfriend of one month? Then, say you get married (hopefully not after only one month), where’s the wedding? And the honeymoon? Are you trying for kids? Saving for a house? And after you have that first baby, when’s the next one on the way? Did you get that promotion? Are you interviewing for a higher paying job? Woah. Then there are times of  mundane waiting in your twenties, where you would just die to have an answer to any of those questions.

My twenties were unique. In my early twenties, I had my dream life. By my mid-twenties, I had brought a child into the world, which was incredible. And in my late twenties, all of it turned out way different than I had planned. The decade was filled with the greatest joys of my life, as well as the most excruciating pains. God refined me in my twenties. He brought me new levels of wisdom. He taught me the straight-up, real power of prayer. And most of all, the invigorating beauty of patience.

As I was preparing to write this article, patience started showing up everywhere. In every meditation, in every podcast, in every homily. It’s always reassuring when the Lord confirms one facet of the story you’re trying to write. What do your twenties have to do with patience? Everything. Maybe your twenties haven’t gone as planned. Join the club and ditch the pity party. Put your confidence in God, not a life plan that someone else outlined for this age group. If you’re feeling that you’ve lived in the twenty-something stereotype for too long and you’re ready to step up, do it! God has you. The thing about life pressures and the way things are “supposed to go” is that regardless of how the cards play, the increase of patience in the Lord’s time will always be of help.

The Greek word often used for patience in Scripture is makrothyemia, which means: longsuffering, steadfastness,  and forbearance. The word longsuffering in the New Testament is almost always an instruction given in the context of hope.

James 5:7-11 says, “7 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”

Galatians 6:9 says, “We must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”

I love the promise that we are not alone in the waiting. Better still, we do not wait without hope. We are not waiting in vain, we are waiting for our God – the God who has promised and secured our full redemption. Call me crazy, but I would much rather rest in that security than the one I thought I deserved from closing out my twenties. The unwelcome intrusions of waiting into our lives are powerful opportunities to keep our hearts renewed in God. Whether you are in your twenties and they are all you’ve hoped for and then some or you are living amongst a sea of “could have been’s,” look to the Lord for your confidence in the future. Next month I will be turning 30 and I’ll be honest, I am eager to leave my twenties in the past. I stand thankful for what the Lord has done to my soul and thankful for the trivial lessons learned along the way. 

 

Book Teaser: For the Jesus Folk

This chapter of the book is designed for those who share my same faith. I wanted to write a book that ALL victims of infidelity could relate to. I specifically chose not to publish in the “Christian self-help” genre, because I wanted my story to reach everyone, regardless of their beliefs. If you’ve followed me for awhile or know me personally, you know that my faith is a HUGE part of my life. With that, I couldn’t skip it all together in my story as it was God’s care for me that kept me afloat through all of the heartache. If this chapter doesn’t line up with your beliefs, that’s fine. The book is written so that you can skip this chapter and move on to the next, without feeling like you’re missing a chunk of the story. If you are a Jesus follower, do read on!

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9. For the Jesus Folk

“‘Let us run with patience.’ Hebrews 12:1

…I hope this chapter doesn’t get skipped all too much as it was the glue that kept me functioning during this hellish season of my life. One of the most amazing parts of this experience was the closeness I felt to God. It was incredible, something I’d never encountered in all of my years as a Christ follower. You cannot fully experience God’s peace and comfort until you’ve experienced the pits of sorrow. The reassurance I felt from God’s word provided me with all the peace I needed.

Speaking of God’s word, let’s review how God feels about the other woman and cheating husbands!

And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be trapped by her.’ Ecclesiastes 7:26

‘But the man who commits adultery is a fool, for he destroys himself.’ Proverbs 6:32

I remember feeling so empowered after reading these verses. As in, THANK YOU GOD! Yes! You know what I mean! This is as awful as it feels!

During the time BD and I were separated, I prayed my heart out. I prayed 100% for the miracle of God restoring our marriage. I prayed nonstop. I would wake up in the middle of the night and before I even realized I was awake, I was already praying for him. I prayed for conviction in his heart. I prayed that he would desire a righteous life with our little family. I prayed for his girlfriend to get fat. I had the faith that God could do anything at any time (which He still can) and that we could have this incredible testimony as a married couple. I was convinced this was going to be the outcome of our story.

I saw how real the power of prayer was. I felt as if I was in a literal battle for his soul. There is an insane spiritual realm in our world. Satan is wanting your marriage and family to fail. God loves marriage and family SO much. Of course, Satan is attacking it like a serial killer.

We had many times where I saw my prayers coming alive in BD, but the battle is real. Every step he took toward our marriage, Satan’s lies pulled him one step away from it. You may think I’m exaggerating, but there would be days where we would have really great “normal” days together as a couple, feelings were fun and there, good times were being had. As soon as those days would end, BD would go to sleep and have nightmares of the homewrecker. He said, he felt as if there was a weight on his chest and it was suffocating him as he slept. God hears our prayers and honors our obedience, but free will and sin still exist. God does not make us obey and sin is very destructive. It is full of every evil in the world and it is on a mission to destroy anything good.

In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis does a phenomenal job of describing just how intricately Satan attacks humans.

‘Whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality, our best work is done by keeping things out…’

‘Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is took weak and fuddled to shake off.’

‘It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.’

‘Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s (God’s) ground…He [God] made the pleasure: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy [God] has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He [God] has forbidden. ‘

‘We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.’

Even though my husband’s sin destroyed our marriage, God completely sustained me. He taught me that His timing is not mine. That all He really wanted was my complete trust in Him. That all I needed to do was, be still. He would fight for me! He brought me peace through so much devastation. I learned full well that regardless of what the outcome looks like, God will bring good for those who love and seek Him. He is enough and clinging to His truth will bring peace in even the most chaotic madness life brings. A deep reliance on God can heal even the most broken of hearts. I am living proof of this. The Lord refined my character like never before. THIS was worth all of the bullshit (can I use that word in the Jesus chapter?).”

Image by She Reads Truth

Pain Collectors

A dear friend of mine shared some incredible wisdom on how we handle pain. This woman has inspired me in my journey as a Christ follower, mother, and author. I challenge you to read this piece and let it inspire you to feel your pain in a new light.

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

We all have it. Sometimes it’s public. Sometimes it’s private. Some people deny it. Others shine it. One day you give. The other receive. Pain lives on the edges of our picture frames and in the crevices of our dusty bookshelves. It’s old, it’s new, it’s a moment, it’s forever.

Pain is inevitable.

It isn’t something that graciously passes some people by while eviscerating everyone else. Sure there are varying levels and varying situations, but pain is pain. No matter the trigger behind it. Let me repeat: pain is pain.  


The internet can be such a wonderful tool. It has so many useful purposes, outlets, and connections. It can bring complete strangers together and form incredible bonds of friendship based solely on the mutual love of reading. It can raise support for…

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