Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In a Manner Worthy of the Gospel of Christ

Today I am reminded of a very special girl in whom I have the utmost respect.  Her story is not mine to tell but I will say that she has shown the kind of courage that most of us can only image.  This post is inspired by her strength and her commitment to trust in the Lord no matter what challenge may come.

It is no secret that I have made a lot of mistakes on my journey.  I made some very big mistakes and ultimately ended up divorced.  I haven't always been proud of the way I conducted myself but I will say that I can hold my head up high today because of my actions this past year.  When JG left I faced a lot of tough decisions.  Should I grant him the divorce?  How can I continue to trust in God when he is allowing this to happen to me?  How should I treat JG, his family and friends?  What do I need to do to make things right between us?  How can I live with myself once this is all over?

If you have read my blog before you know that I took a particularly long time to grant the divorce.  You also know that I fought the divorce despite even my own parents telling me to sign the papers.  I knew I had to live with my decision about my marriage for the rest of my life.  I knew that I had to make a decision based off of me and not what anyone else thought.  Yes, I do think at the time it caused some unnecessary pain in prolonging the inevitable.  No, I do not regret that.  I stood up for what I truly believe down to my very core.  I believe that marriage is set apart by God in such a sacred way that it should never be broken.  I feel that Christians give up much too easily on marriage.  Divorce should never be an option in a Christian marriage.  As Christians we should live our lives differently....even when we make mistakes.  We are a body of Christ that should be able to come clean to the Lord and each other.  We can own our sins and still show our love of Christ through the way we handle our mistakes. As Christians it is so important that we be able to stand together and share together even when mistakes are made. That is exactly what the very special girl I mentioned earlier has done.  And that is what I hope I have somehow been able to show through the way I handled my divorce.

Since JG left I have started seeking the Lord harder than I can ever remember.  I live every day with the intention of furthering His Kingdom.  While I am a sinner and I committed huge grievances against my ex-husband, I have found a way to look at my self in the mirror and be proud.  I found that through Christ.  When I see my ex-inlaws I can look them in the eye because I know I have conducted myself in a way that is honorable.  When I think of my ex-husband I feel compassion because of the strength I find in the Lord.  If nothing else comes from my story, I hope that someone else will see the strength the Lord has given me and be able to conduct themselves in "a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."*  That strength is what my very special friend has inspired me to strive for everyday.  No matter what your story or what your past what really matters is who you are and what you do with your story.

*"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Day That Changed My Life

365 days ago my life changed forever.  My path took a turn I never saw coming.  It was the worst day of my life. Yet somehow all these days later, I am grateful for the sharp turn in my path.

I came home on Sunday, October 21, 2012 from a weekend with my two best friends in Birmingham.  When I got home my husband wasn't home.  It was around lunch so I thought he had gone to get something to eat.  A quick call got his voicemail and a text got no reply.  That is when I noticed our laptop was gone.  So was the computer bag.  And so was his suitcase.

Now, we had more than our fair share of difficulties in our marriage of barely a year but never had either of packed up and with not so much as a word or indication of leaving.  We had not even seen each other in 3 days.  How could something go wrong when we weren't even together?

I called my mother and calmly told her I thought John George had left.  I remember her asking why and me explaining about the missing items.  That is when she interrupted me saying that his mother was beeping in on her phone.  We ended our call and I very nervously waited to hear why my mother in law was calling my mother.  My mom called back soon and said that JG's mother was calling to pass along the message that he had left me and could my mother pass the message to me.  Yes, seriously!  That is a true story.  That is just how it happened. 

I don't really remember much about the rest of the day.  My parents who thankfully live only 20 minutes away immediately headed to my house. I remember crying.  I remember finally getting JG on the phone later that night.  I was sitting in my beautiful walk in close that the two of us had so lovingly planned and constructed.  I was crying and confused.  I don't really remember the conversation but I do know he said he just needed time to decide if he wanted a divorce or not.  I never knew that day where he was or who he was with but I did know he was gone.

My life changed forever that day.  The perfect life I had dreamed of for so long was gone.  It was taken from me.  I didn't get a choice.  It's all still so confusing to me.  How can I today be so grateful for a life that came as a result of a divorce?  I am not grateful for my divorce yet I am so grateful to not be bound to that man and that life for the rest of my days. 

Two remarkable things happened today that reminded me of God's presence. The first a text from a loving friend. The second being an unpaid bill at the dentist. 

I woke up to an encouraging message from a sweet friend that I haven't seen in quite a while.  She told me she was praying for me today.  At the time I did not realize that today was exactly a year since JG left.  I just thought it was another day.  Which honestly it is.  Later on in the day I did the math on the calendar and was struck by how important it was to have someone praying for me today.  How awesome is God?

I also went in today to have a cavity filled. I was informed that I had an outstanding bill from 2012.  A bill that JG had told me he paid last fall.  Come to find out he only paid the portion of the bill that was for his dental services.  At first I started to tear up.  How can he still be such a jerk "from beyond the grave" of our marriage?  Its like my married last name that seems like it will never fully go away.  And then as I'm texting my mother about the bill, a really calm feeling came over me.  I realized that I am free from the man who treated me like I wasn't even human.  I'm glad it wasn't my choice.  I would have held on forever to my marriage.  I truly believed and still do believe that God can do anything, including save my former marriage.  Now do I think He will save my marriage? No. Do I want Him to save my marriage? This I feel bad for saying but the answer is no. Stranger things have happened though so I'm just going to keep living each day as it comes with my eyes on My Lord and Savior.

So today I am grateful for the worst day of my life.  It had to happen to get me to the person I am today.  I was dropped flat on my face and my world turned upside down but through it all God has been faithful. He has never left me even in my darkest moments.  Thank you, Lord and Father, for your many many blessings.