If you know anything about the fermenting process of making wine, you'll understand me when I say the press on my life after leaving my 20-year marriage hasn't been easy, but it's allowing me to rise above the pain, endure the press and reach towards what was meant for me - the promise.
After years of posting about being a wife and mother, it feels a little odd posting as a mother only; however, in February of this year after being separated for almost three years, I filed for divorce.
If you've followed my blog, you know I'm a big be a "good wife" advocate. I've stressed the importance of being a loving, supportive, forgiving and patient wife and I've been all those things plus faithful and understanding. I could probably name a few more "good wife" character qualities I had, but none of it would make any difference now - my marriage is over.
Please don't feel bad or sad for me. I'm happy. It feels like I just got out of some type of sports tournament where I played my heart out and gave my all, yet still lost the game. The only difference is I don't feel like I lost - I won. I found the courage to walk away from a twenty-year marriage and start over with my head high and feeling free. I mention this in my latest book When All Hell Breaks Loose, but I don't go into details because that's the next book.
I'll be sharing more...
I awoke extra early this morning and was led to pick up one of the ten books on my bedside table. It’s not really a table, but a two drawer file cabinet I use as a table. The book, 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast was where I was directed. This book was referred to me by a friend’s mother who had no idea God was dealing with me regarding fasting. The season of Lent is upon us and although I don’t participate in Lent, the book by author Alicia Britt Chole has definitely been food for my soul. In the beginning of the book, Ms. Chole expresses something similar to my “worship is a lifestyle” mantra. She explains how Lent/fasting shouldn’t be a timed project, but a place we stay - something we practice on a daily basis.
Lent shouldn’t be selfishly picking and choosing things we want to refrain from, yet should lead us to practice discipline and living in oneness with our God. After all, if we’re honoring the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t that take a little longer than 40 days or a 3 day fast from chocolate or bread? Wow, I thank God for this enlightenment and I thank God for using my friend’s mother to bless me. It never ceases to amaze me how God will bring people in our life to be a conduit for his love and knowledge.
As I fast (decrease) from selfishness and pride, my heart is opened and my blessings are increased in ways I never imagined. Today I am thanking God for the loving hearts of women in my life willing to share their wisdom.
Joy comes in the morning but recently I experienced an unusual joy at the break of dawn. This dawn wasn’t the usual first appearance of light before sunrise; this dawn was a friend I hadn’t seen in over 15 years. Dawn and I recently spent some time together and while we laughed and caught up on each other’s lives we realized we both had experienced our share of spiritual storms over the years. I would have never known Dawn had gone through anything she spoke about because she continuously spoke of the goodness of God with her bright eyes and big beautiful smile. She definitely didn’t look like what she had been through. She looked so happy!
We all will go through things that have the capability of breaking our spirit – it’s called life. I speak about this in, When All Hell Breaks Loose. I called it maintaining our ‘spiritual poise’ in the midst of our storms which basically means to trust God’s hand in what may look like hell breaking loose or life falling apart. We have to maintain the right perspective in the storm – knowing God is in control and He knows what’s best for us. Regardless of what the storm looks like, it’s always in our best interest.
I could go on and on about storms because God knows I’ve had my share and will continue to have storms, yet my soul is anchored in Him – not my circumstances or what’s going on around me. Yes, joy does come in the morning but with the right perspective, joy can come in the evening and also at the break of dawn.
Firstborn knows I’m a tea drinker and I use the same coffee mug all the time. Well, he bought me the cutest mug for Christmas. It was white on the outside and purple, my favorite color, on the inside of the mug and the words, To God Be the Glory were sketched on the mug. I’ve been using the mug every day and yesterday I chipped the rim. Firstborn and I just happened to be texting each other when it happened. I think I bumped the mug on the microwave or something – not really sure. Firstborn said he would buy me another one, but I told him I would use it regardless of the chip.
As I boiled hot water for my tea, I looked at the chip and thought – there is no perfect vessel. The words on the cup resonated with me in a different way also. Before I give God the glory, I have to go through something. My life must be touched in some way. My heart and soul have been chipped on more than one occasion and although the scars are not visible, they are there. God gets the glory when we share how our lives have been chipped. We all have a chipped story. Again, there is no perfect vessel.
My chipped mug means more to me now than it did before I chipped it. I can imagine God felt the same way about us when we were born perfect in His sight. He knew we would have even more value to Him once we’ve been chipped. Unlike my coffee mug, the great thing about us being chipped is that God makes us whole again and each time we share the story, God gets the glory!
I remember reading that when we see an island, it may be the tip of a mountain and unless we dive deep – real deep, we’ll never see the mountain in its fullness. The same is with us. People only see the surface of who we are and if the truth be told, it’s quite possible that we only know ourselves on a surface level. To really know who we are, we have to go deeper – not into ourselves, but into a deeper relationship with our Creator.
Our personality and individuality are only skin deep. The marrow of our being is with our Heavenly Father. Once we acknowledge that we are nothing without Him and can do nothing without Him, we open ourselves to His ways and thoughts. We surrender our will and allow His will to be done in us and through us. We become one with Him instead of being who we think we are. God allows our paths to cross with others who will introduce us to new ideas and invite new visions. There is a whole new world beneath the surface of the skin we live in. Our personality is that island everyone sees. If we allow God to take complete control and consume us with His Spirit, we’ll meet who we really are – without reservations and boundaries. Don’t settle on an island, live as a mountain.
I shared with a church book club over the weekend and as I sat and watched the ladies arrive, one by one, I considered God’s amazing grace that he would use my mess to bless someone else. It never ceases to amaze me that someone would want to read what I’ve written or come to hear what I have to say. I take absolutely no credit for anything. I write about my challenges as a woman because I know I am not alone on this womanhood journey with all its roller coaster rides of emotions in its many fascinating seasons, so my goal is to help another woman realize she is not alone.
It doesn’t take a book to share. The world is full of women in need of acceptance and hope. We must brighten the corner where we are and when the opportunity presents itself to share what we’ve been through, by all means, allow Holy Spirit to guide us to open our mouth and share. Some woman is waiting to hear your story! We’re all in this together and no one is excused from having issues, challenges, and perhaps a little mess. Spiritual storms strengthen us and when we come together to pour courage into one another, womanhood is strengthened.
I read something over the weekend that I’d like to share with you. Wish I could take credit for it, but the author is unknown. May you read with benefit and allow the holidays to speak to you, not stress you.
Stillness Nurtures Peace in my Soul
The hectic pace of life may seem to push me to keep busy, yet a full calendar could leave me feeling exhausted and at odds with others. So I practice caring for myself by making time to be still.
Prayer and meditation are priorities in my day. A moment of gratitude before I get out of bed becomes a seed of pace planted early. I take the opportunity to pray wherever I am with whatever time I have available. As I wait in line or move between appointments, I focus on my breath.I slow my breathing. Each cleansing breath calms my racing thoughts. I may whisper a phrase like “peace, be still” to my being. Stillness nurtures peace in my soul. Restored and renewed, I return to my day at peace.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed – Mark 1:35