One of my greatest joys and accomplishments is being a mother to three incredible, talented, smart, funny and loving young men! I love them more than I could begin to say! It has been quite a journey raising these guys, and to be completely honest, there were times when I didn’t think I’d be able to do it! You see, at the age of 26, within a year of bringing my youngest son into the world, I was abandoned by my first husband. I was now a young single mother of a 4 year old, a 2 ½ year old and a 10 month old. Life seemed utterly overwhelming and impossible. I remember many nights after finally getting them to sleep, I would cry out to God in complete exhaustion: “WHY? This wasn’t the way my story was supposed to be! Where are You? I need You desperately! I need to know that You are good, that You are faithful, that You have a purpose in this mess of my life, and that You have not abandoned me too!” It was during this moment of complete need and desperation that I began a journey of a true relationship with my Lord.
Despite my circumstances, I clung to the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that affirms: “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 hope and a future.”
MY ROCK IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM
He was my only hope, and through a tremendous trial, I found Him to be everything I’d ever wanted or needed. He was my constant companion! I talked aloud continuously to God, sometimes screamed, cried, laughed, and even celebrated small victories with Him like balancing a check book or changing my first furnace filter. It was a whole new experience for me and my sons, but I am grateful for my faith that assured me that He was my Rock in the midst of my storm. I had to hold fast to the rest of that passage in Jeremiah that says: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
BEAUTY FROM ASHES
To tell you that I was always confident and unwavering in my faith during this period in my life would be false and misleading. I struggled! I was afraid! I felt defeated more times than I can recount. But I will tell you that I believe with all of my being that My Lord is Who He says He is! Even when we doubt and fear, He is there! He has since blessed me with a Godly man who has walked by my side these past 20 years of a marriage rooted in Christ! He has answered prayers beyond my wildest dreams! He has turned my story into one of beauty from ashes. I can now testify to His promise to His children (Israel) in the book of Isaiah…
Isaiah 61:3 “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. That they may be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
PLANTING OF THE LORD
I am not the same woman today that I was then, and I am so thankful! Because of my experience, my heart is compassionate to single mothers, my heart is for mending and restoring broken marriages! My heart has been cultivated! He has brought purpose and meaning through my trials so that I can truly witness to those who have experienced the same! I have become a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor! And I will forever praise and thank Him and point others to a God who saves, to a God who loves us, pursues us, and redeems our messy lives!