divorcehope

My divorce story…picking up the pieces, making sense of the mess, single parenting, and other encouragement along the way!

RESCUED July 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — justmejesusandsippycups @ 2:52 pm

It’s time to REJOICE!

 

No matter what we have been through or what we are facing, we can literally stir up within ourselves joy and passion and the hope for the future!  Why?  Because the Creator of the Universe, the God who formed our very being and knit us together in our mother’s womb loves each one of us intimately, personally, and more than we will EVER be able to comprehend.  And He wants to take control and make our lives EPIC if we will let Him.

 

You will find as my story continues to unfold here that I have been forgiven for so much that I want to take a moment today to just SHOUT my PRAISE and THANKS to God for WHO HE IS and for ALL He has brought me through!!!! 

 

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I have literally walked through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have survived a deadly storm.  I have been in a deep, dark pit with the devil, covered by darkness, depression, slime, hopelessness, and in bondage to sin and its devastating effects.

 

I will continue to lay out the details of my story as the Lord leads me, but the short version is that after years of an emotionally abusive and neglectful marriage to someone who had been habitually unfaithful, I literally lost all hope.  I forgot WHO my God is and what He is capable of, and when the enemy of my soul came to steal, kill and destroy my life, I took the bait.

 

The devil knows what he’s doing….he knows our weaknesses.  The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, watchful (vigilant, cautious at all times, on your guard, alert, self-controlled) because your adversary (your enemy), the devil, roams around like a roaring lion (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”

 

We don’t need to be fearful, but we do need to be aware and alert.  As a born again Christian, God gives us everything we need to be protected from the plots, schemes, and attacks of the enemy.  The Bible tells us exactly what we need to do to live an abundant life and how to walk in FREEDOM, FAITH, JOY, and PEACE, as well as what NOT to do!!

 

However, we are not promised that life will be easy.  In fact, it’s not always easy…some days and seasons are wonderful and some days, situations, and circumstances life throws at us are just plain HARD and PAINFUL.  With our limited perspectives, we rarely understand the hard times.   We are frail human beings that live in a fallen world surrounded by the effects of sin; and we have flesh and emotions that war to be in charge.

 

And so….as sin goes, the enemy found me in a weak and vulnerable place and came after my life.  He tempted me with temporary relief from the pain and hopelessness in my marriage.  He staged the perfect storm and dangled in front of me the very things that had always been the deepest desires of my heart (Godly marriage, family, ministry in partnership with my spouse, and simply the need to be loved and accepted).  It was all pseudo of course, but in my desperate and vulnerable state, I fell for it.  He also used and took advantage of a man who had been an influential leader in my life and in the lives of many others, someone I trusted, admired and respected, someone I happened to be working for at the time.  This man obviously had broken places in his heart as well that he had not surrendered to the Lord…..he knew my vulnerabilities, pursued me, and in time we ended up having an adulterous affair.

 

As if that’s not destructive enough, I became pregnant.

 

Like I said before, I will continue to unfold the details as the Lord guides me, but for now, I’ll say that the fall-out was two families completely devastated by the effects of sin and a community of Believers shaken with grief.

 

Was it worth it?  Absolutely not.  I’ve struggled through almost two years of counseling now trying to make sense of what happened, and HOW.  In the moment, I literally felt powerless, completely consumed and unable to resist and overcome the temptation.  Yet I know I had a choice to walk away and I made the choice to stay in it.  I chose selfishness…I chose sin, I chose to believe the lies of the enemy…and now that I’m living the consequences, I can assure you it is never worth it.

 

Despite it all, I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness that God is a God of forgiveness and redemption.  I do not understand HOW, but I KNOW that no matter what the situation, if you truly repent and turn to Him, He CAN and DOES work ALL THINGS together for GOOD for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.  I am literally LIVING PROOF that no situation is too big or impossible for Him.

 

I’ve also struggled and felt condemned by the fact that not only is this now my story, but part of my story is that I fell even AS a CHRISTIAN.  I feel like we hear so many amazing testimonies about the terrible things people get involved in before becoming a Christian, and then they meet Jesus and everything changes.  I LOVE hearing and seeing those stories, but that’s not mine…

 

I knew Jesus… and I still fell.  I let the challenges of life overwhelm me, I forgot that I was dearly loved by a Heavenly Father who had my life in His hands, and I took my eyes off of Jesus.  We know from the story of Peter walking on the water in the midst of the storm in Matthew 14:22-34 that when he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.  I began to look around at the storms around me and they surely got the best of me.

 

But it’s time for the good news!!! 🙂  The Gospel is STILL ALIVE and TRUE, even for me, and I’ve had the privilege of accepting and embracing it all over again.  I am a sinner who is desperate for a Savior.  Jesus died so my sins could be forgiven and so that all of my brokenness could be healed and restored in Him.

 

Psalm 40:2 says “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand (the Amplified version says “He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.”)  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.”

 

I pray with all my heart and all my being that God is glorified through my life from this point forward.  He has truly pulled me out of a deep dark pit, saved my life, and is in the process of redeeming everything the enemy meant for harm.  He has truly put a new song in my mouth, and I want nothing but my life to bring Him glory.  I pray that my testimony will cause many to see and fear the Lord, believe His Word, and put their trust in Him because He is WORTHY of all of our trust.

 

I literally wept when I read the following passage of Scripture….this is how much He loves us and how passionately He pursues us.  I have carried such shame for my sin, but look what He has done for me and for you:

 

Luke 15:1-7 –

 

“Now the tax collectors and [especially wicked] sinners were all coming near to Jesus to listen to Him.  And the Pharisees and the scribes kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, This man accepts and receives and welcomes [preeminently wicked] sinners and eats with them.

So He told them this parable:

What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?

And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost.

Thus, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.”

 

He is so crazy amazingly good and worthy of everything I have and everything I am!!!!  I used to be a bit of a religions person myself, but now I am one who has been forgiven MUCH and wants others to know HIM and the depths and riches of His love for us!

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Ships in the Night July 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — justmejesusandsippycups @ 2:09 pm

ships

 

Picking up where I left off in my previous post – A Rough Start…The Early Years. Upon graduation from college, with a little graduation money to our names, we moved to Nashville to begin our “adult” lives together. With the help of our new friends, we found a place to live and began our job searches.

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, he was pursuing healthcare administration and had our friend as a resource. So, he began the interviewing and networking process. However, with no previous job experience and a basic college degree, it proved a little harder than we thought to get a foot in the door.

 

With a dream from childhood in my heart to work for a ministry, I began the process of finding out about the parachurch ministries in Nashville and putting my resume out there. However, we only knew a few people in town and the process took a bit longer than we had anticipated. With graduation money running out, the need to find jobs quickly grew! My search widened and eventually, I accepted a job as a staff accountant.

 

Finally, unable to break into the healthcare field, he took a sales job for a large Fortune 50 company. So much to say about these days looking back….hindsight is always so much more clear. We were undoubtedly unequally yoked, and he had no desire to be the spiritual leader of our family. At this point, there were even questions about whether or not he was going to be a leader at all since I had supported us through college and had been the first one to settle into a job after college.

 

I have really been dreading writing out this part of the story….those were such dark days for me…..feeling alone and disconnected, but I did my best to remain hopeful, prayerful, and faithful to God. There is so much I could say about how he continued to form female friendships and flirtatious relationships apart from me. He really lived a dual life – a semi-married life and a single life. He never fully gave himself to the marriage or to me…or to God.

 

Being new to town, we visited a few different churches, and had narrowed it down to two.  When we first got to Nashville, we had also connected with a young couple (a few years older than us) through the people I had worked with in college, and they attended the church I was drawn to. They seemed to really love the Lord, were in leadership at this church, and were in Christian music. Knowing my husband was not in a good place spiritually, and since he was unwilling to have a discussion about the topic and come to a mutual agreement, I decided to attend the church I was leaning toward and hoped he would join me. A decision had to be made, and he was unwilling to make it. I’m not for sure what would have happened had I not taken a stand, but I can guess that we might have gone occasionally to the other church and not really belonged or been a part of anything…..which I could not live with.

 

This became a huge area of contention. He did not like the church we were at, and I could not believe my worst nightmare of being in a marriage where we were not on the same page was becoming a reality. I had such a need for connection on all levels, especially spiritually, and we were nowhere near the same planet, not to mention the same page.

 

To make matters worse, the company he was working at was filled with young single professionals. He quickly got sucked in and started feeling left out that many of his coworkers would “go out” on the weekends. Being new to Music City, there was so much to explore and experience. Plus, he was working long hours trying to make his commission and work his way up. So….I would come home after work, make dinner, and wait…and sometimes he wouldn’t get home until 8:30 or 9pm.

 

Eventually, I started going to the gym right after work to kill time and get my workout in…and so I wasn’t going home and sitting by myself. If I knew he was going to be working late, it wouldn’t be a problem…I could make plans, but he would never let me know for sure, which was very frustrating.

 

Slowly, the months turned into years and we grew continued to grow apart.

 

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He started accepting invitations to “go out with the guys” once every couple of weeks. At first, I enjoyed having a quiet evening at home or out with friends. But gradually, he went out more and more until it was several nights each week. He would say he was just going to have a drink with a friend…or just to a concert, but I never really knew where he was, who he was with, or when he would be home. In fact, when he went out, he usually didn’t get home until 2-3 am and had almost always had too much to drink when he did roll in.

 

You can imagine the frustration and despair I felt just wanting my husband home with me. I rarely slept when he was out. And the next day, he would always act like things were normal and nothing was wrong. He brushed off my attempts to talk about our relationship or admit that there were any issues and refused counseling.

 

And so, I got more involved at church, work, and the gym. By this point, the Lord had opened a door for me to work in a ministry. I had my dream job and loved being in ministry, but it made the disconnects in our marriage even more painful. We were truly living separate lives, headed in opposite directions. I prayed for him and our marriage regularly. I tried to be a loving wife, but I was becoming a doormat. The frustration and desperation grew. As we got more involved in a small group at our church, I slowly began to open up about our situation and seek some support.

 

Things continued to escalate to the point that I began finding flirtatious texts and emails on a regular basis with various women. He would get texts all hours of the night from girls asking him where he was, and so on. There are so many details I could share from these months, but I will leave it by saying his focus was partying, drinking, and girls. Things were out of control. Life was unpredictable. Often, we would just be hanging out in the evening, and all of a sudden, he would go get in the shower and begin getting ready to “go out” with little explanation. I would literally stand by and watch my husband walk out the door night after night. And often, he would leave his wedding ring behind.

 

Finally about five years into the marriage, I had enough. The pain of things staying the same had finally outgrown the pain and fear of change. I was terrified of losing him and losing my marriage…I was living my greatest fears in life….being in an unequally yoked and unfaithful relationship. But I was finally ready to do what I needed to do to force change. He needed a wake-up call to understand that I was finally serious about change. Up to this point, I had been all talk and no action hoping to get his attention. I was so sad that he couldn’t hear me…that he wouldn’t listen…and that he couldn’t see how much I was hurting. All I wanted was him to be committed to our marriage and willing to work on it. I wasn’t asking for much. But still, he refused.

 

And so…..with the support of my parents, our small group leaders at church, and just a few other key mentors and friends, I presented him two options…..to get help through the church and/or through outside counseling or we would have to separate.

 

In 2008, with Valentine’s Day approaching, he had planned a last minute ski trip with some of his friends.. I asked him to let me know, before he left, what his decision was.

 

We met for a quick lunch before he headed out of town. Of course, as was his typical way of dealing with conflict, he didn’t bring it up…and so as we walked out to our cars, I asked him if he had made any calls. He had not. He clearly had no clue or just didn’t care how bad things were, or how serious I was.

 

I didn’t hear from him all weekend. So, on Sunday after church, with the help of a friend from church, I gathered some of my things and was headed to stay with our small group leaders. As luck would have it, he got home from his trip as I was gathering the last of my things. He was shocked at what he found….he obviously didn’t believe I was serious or that I would ever really follow through on my cries for help…until then. He was shocked and hurt. He said some very ugly and hurtful things and told me to get out…

 

Stay tuned for the continuation! I have many unanswered questions in this life, as I’m sure you do too! The older I get and the more I experience, the more I know that the only solid and true foundation…the only real truth worth living for and even dying for is found in the living Word of God…the Holy Bible. While there is much I don’t understand, there are some things I know FOR SURE.

 

Romans 8:38-39 is one of them – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I pray my story is an encouragement to you….of what to do in some ways and of what NOT to do in other ways! How much heart ache and pain would we save ourselves by learning from the mistakes and successes of others?!?

 

Until next time…