reclaiming my heart.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to even begin to understand how I am where I am now. Six months ago I thought my world was over. Life as I had known it for the past 10 years had completely changed, and aside from losing a child, the worst imaginable experience I could ever pray to avoid had happened.

Divorce.

I remember the night everything happened. How I pounded my fists on my kitchen table. How I said I hated God for all that He had allowed to happen in my life. I couldn’t fathom the WHY. Because I knew the creator of the universe. I had SEEN Him do amazing things. Create beauty out of ash. So why couldn’t He save my marriage?

Why me? Why my girls? Why now?

For months I resigned myself to the likelihood that I would live in the darkness I had sunken into for an indefinite amount of time. My decision to hate God for not rescuing me out of that pit had only lasted a short time. I decided I couldn’t hate someone I needed so much to survive. Every day I had to force myself to get out of bed and go to work. I plastered a smile on my face, and hid the pain that cut wounds so deep I never thought I would fully heal from.

I did what was necessary, signed on the dotted lines where I was told to sign. Divided up what had to be divided. Made plans to move on. Faked happiness where there was none. And let the floodgates open every night and cry myself to sleep. It was a never-ending cycle and it felt like a nightmarish version of Groundhog Day (a movie I hate anyway!).

It was a hell I hope to NEVER re-live ever again. Truly the darkest days of my life and in those months I could never imagine life could possibly ever move past just surviving.

I was wrong. So wrong.

There came a day (although I don’t remember the exact day) when I realized I hadn’t cried myself to sleep. A day when it hit me that I wasn’t faking a smile. That I got up out of bed willingly. And it felt good.

I remember a crucial turning point for me came in June, when I began reading a book called “Reclaiming Your Heart” by Denise Hildreth Jones. Something deep in my heart still cried out for more than where I was. I wanted to be whole again. I wanted hope that God could turn my mess & my failure into something beautiful for His glory. I wanted to hold onto the hope that perhaps I wasn’t destined to be a lonely, bitter, single old woman when I died, living alone in a house down the street with 100 cats. Yes–that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. I knew with the ending of my marriage, my heart had been scarred. I was jaded. I wanted to come back to the God I knew was still good, and find the love that my heart craved in HIM.

The first night I started reading that book, this quote hit me like a ton of bricks. It was as if the Lord was saying, “This is YOU. Your heart has shut down, and it is time for more than this. WAKE UP!”

“With each crashing wave, instead of falling at the feet of our Creator, many of us just fall deeper and deeper into the lie that life will never be more than what it is. The cumulative effect leaves us asking, ‘If this is life, why should I even show up at all?’ And that’s when it happens. That’s when we hide out, go numb, give up. We close off our hearts, layer by layer, piece by piece. John Eldridge describes it like this: ‘After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do no like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set.”

I realized I had went numb. I was just surviving. And I was going to miss out on God doing amazing things in my life if I didn’t make an about-face and let Him heal my heart.

The amazing thing about our Lord is that we will find Him if we seek Him. He doesn’t hide. He pursues us. He loves us with a love we all long for–just sometimes we search for it in the wrong places. I can honestly say even in my darkest days, the horrible nights, He was there. He was faithful.

I find it impossible to get over how far He has brought me in the past six months. Sometimes it is so overwhelming at how ALIVE I feel again. I feel so undeserving of His mercies and His grace. I feel undeserving of all the GOOD He has brought into my life despite the mess I have come from. I have always loved Ephesians 3:20, but I can see now just how He has brought this verse to life for me.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine…” Ephesians 3:20

I have thought lately about the story of Lazarus. Of how Mary & Martha sent word to Jesus that he was sick. I remember how I sent Jesus my own message–my marriage is failing. Fix it. But he didn’t show up. Or at least I didn’t THINK he did.

I love the words of John 11:4…

“When Jesus heard it, He said, ‘The final result of this sickness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the son of man will receive glory.”

I can only imagine what Lazarus’s family must have thought. They KNEW Jesus could’ve healed Lazarus. I am sure they found it hard to imagine why He didn’t come when they sent word to Him. But He makes it clear He had a higher plan. I sometimes wonder what His higher plan is when it comes to my life. For the things I have went through. Right now we only see in part…

I know many of you personally who read my blog–you are parents, you are going through divorces, you are moving, changing jobs, struggling, tired, etc. I am FAR from having anything figured out. There are days when all my old fears creep back in. Days when I feel unlovable, scarred from a past no one could possibly accept. Days when I feel I am failing my girls as their mom. Overwhelmed from all that I have going on in life. But our Lord is sweet. He wants to reclaim our hearts. Hearts that are broken, scarred, what we might consider un-mendable.

I am learning He doesn’t want us to just SURVIVE. He wants us to THRIVE. He wants to take our hurts, our pain, our failures, and create something so amazingly beautiful from it that we could have never imagined our lives would be this incredible left to our own devices.

For His glory.

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
Isaiah 43:18-20 (in Context) Isaiah 43 (Whole Chapter)

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