**One of the main things we want to share on this little blog is the story of how God has restored our lives – how He has replaced sadness with joy, emptiness with purpose, scarcity with abundance in all areas of life. To be able to fully appreciate where we are, we must remember where we were. To do this, we are going to have a series of His and Hers stories that give some background on both of us individually. We want to paint a picture of who we are and where we came from. Then we will share Our Story.**
Even though my first marriage was so difficult and unhappy, actually leaving it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I am not one to take commitment lightly and I most definitely hate to fail at anything. It felt like my insides were being ripped in half. There were many days where it was hard to breathe. I had to live minute by minute for several months. I went through what some friends called ‘Trauma Trim’ and lost 30 pounds in about a month.
Even though I felt like falling apart, I knew I had to keep it together for my precious little boys. They were young enough that they didn’t really understand what was going on, but they understood that things were different.
The only thing that got me through the struggle was my faith in Christ and the strength that comes from hope in Him. I wondered how anyone could possibly survive this experience without that hope. I had a constant string of verses I would recite to myself when my mind began to wander.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Walking away from my marriage felt like I was jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. The hope I have in Christ made me confident that, even though the fall would be terrifying, in the end I would be safe.
There were nights when I was so overwhelmed that all I could pray was “Lord, help me.” Many times I prayed that I would physically be able to feel the presence of the Lord, to feel his arms wrapped around me to pull me out of the loneliness.
Another, more unfortunate, way I learned to cope was to shop. Because of the divorce, I had lost my home and most of my stuff. It is silly how important those things can seem. When I was lonely or upset, looking around the bare, cheap apartment made things worse. I started roaming the mall looking for things to pretty-up my living space, enjoying the temporary high of having something new and shiny.
Because of this, I eventually overdid it and maxed out my credit card. I wasn’t drowning financially, but I was definitely on the way down. Being in financial trouble with no one to blame but yourself is hard. That plus the defeat of a failed marriage is one of the most desperate feelings I have ever experienced.
As with most things, time was the greatest healer. Day by day, things began to get easier. I began to breathe again and set out to create a new normal for my family. I had to refocus, setting my coarse back towards the life that the Lord had planned for me.
Digging out of the hole that I had fallen into was definitely a humbling experience. I realized that no one other than me, with the help of Christ, could repair my life. My mistakes had gotten me to that point, so my choices from there on would have to get me out.
Being a single mom to two boys was definitely an adventure. Some days were very, very hard. Some days were amazing. I poured myself into making sure their lives were as predictable and peaceful as possible. It was the most exhausting and rewarding thing I have ever done. There were days when all I wanted to do was give up, to stop trying so hard. Thankfully, there was always a tiny voice deep in my heart that reminded me giving up was not an option.
I decided that dating would be at the bottom of my priority list for a while. My focus needed to be on repairing my life. I dove into scripture to strengthen my faith, found a job that I could be proud of, and spent every available moment with my boys.
There were a few first dates here and there. Even less second dates. With most of them, I knew almost instantly that it wasn’t meant to be. Although it wasn’t the most important aspect of my life, it was one of the more frustrating parts.
Some days I remember crying out to God. ‘Why have you left me all alone to raise these boys? Don’t you see how hard it is?”
Other times, I smiled through tears of joy. ‘Thank you, Lord, for the amazing life you have blessed me with, for all that you have spared me from.’
We are such fickle creatures, aren’t we?
I spent six years as a single mom. Six years learning to lean on the Lord, to completely find my joy in him, to realize that my life was full and I was satisfied.
And then, when I least expected it, He brought Brandon into my life.