Monthly Archives: January 2016

I Never Expected This

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John 4.28-30

The woman left her water jug beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

 

God’s stories always involve redemption. Even when you’ve been a Christ follower since you were 15. Even when you don’t even know that at the age of 51 you needed redemption again. Especially, when you have just handed God the biggest disappointment of your life to date.

 

The one thing you said you would never do.

The one thing you said is never an answer.

 

Painful decisions automatically in your mind tell you that you can’t be used by God again. You messed up. You are hereby disqualified.

I’m sure many of you have said it too. Life has a way of happening and it’s not always peachy.

 

Today, I’m sharing my road to redemption out of obedience, because not only do I see the pain and confusion around me; the judgment of my decision from a watching world, but also because a friend (who shall remain nameless) has asked me to please share, over and over…

THIS is me running back to the village to tell everyone:

I  never expected this…

I filed for divorce January 22, 2014. Just a little background…

  1. Married for 25 years
  2. 2 sons
  3. I had literally done all I knew to do

 

My road was painful. Many have walked this road and didn’t want to, didn’t expect to, or didn’t choose it.

My divorce was final May 12, 2014.

There’s a lot that happened in that first year. Learning to live alone, being an empty nester; it was lonely. Hard. Cannot begin to describe how excruciatingly difficult it was. Awful. My heart hurt. Grief like I’ve never experienced before.

 

One of the most difficult storms I’ve encountered has been providing for myself financially. The middle of May 2015 brought even more devastating news. I had 2 weeks until my rent payment was due and my support check didn’t arrive this time. I live very carefully & can’t afford to leave any room for error. I sat on my sofa, staring at my calendar & my bank account, weeping…

 

I was at a loss at what to do so I asked for prayer from a close circle of friends. I was scheduled to volunteer at our women’s conference that evening. Around 8:30am, a dear friend texted me and asked how she could pray for me. My response was, “ that I would continually hear from the Lord that He knows. I don’t need an answer, I just need to know He knows.”

 

That evening at our women’s conference, I sat intently listening to the last speaker of the night, Bianca Oltoff. Bianca was maybe 15 minutes from being done, when she spelled out the word K-N-O-W.  Stunned, I sat there, hanging on her next words. “He knows”…she said.  You need to hear this, from Him…”I Know!”

 

Ok, let’s go there…one more time, just for good measure….Toni are you listening? “HE KNOWS!” (she didn’t actually say my name, but I can tell you God was shouting at me to get my attention). I’m positive there were more statements in between the “I knows”, but if I’m telling the truth here….that’s all I heard. Specifically for me.

 

I almost missed it……

God was reminding me over and over….

 

So, here I sit in December, and I’ve quietly & carefully been holding close all the miraculous things He’s done for me since my divorce was final & the moment when the Lord told me, “He Knows”….

Check this out…

 

  1. I received a gift  that my rent was PAID IN FULL by an anonymous group of people for 4 MONTHS.
  2. I received an anonymous check in the mail and my Life Coaching certification was paid for.
  3. I went on a vacation that I wasn’t expecting because I didn’t have the money to take a break. To the beach!
  4. I’ve been invited to serve at my church in areas I can play to my greatest strengths  and have been welcomed with open arms, even as a divorced woman.
  5. I had lunch with my (ex) in laws at the beginning of December. I was very hesitant at first, but knew God was telling me to see them. They were extremely kind and very gracious. In a sense, (which I didn’t know I needed) I was released. A confirmation from the Lord two years after He released me.
  6. My (ex) sister in-law came to visit just this week and once again God in His infinite wisdom granted grace and a very sweet and teary reunion. No condemnation.
  7. Even though I’m divorced. I’ve been invited to visit my great-niece Leigha and be around people I’ve known as  family for years!

 

Confession: I never in a million years believed God would provide and heal in these ways  For others, without question! But not for me…

 

I was incredibly tempted NOT to share ANY of this with you because to be honest, I’ve felt completely unworthy. Whenever you’ve walked through the biggest disappointment of your life and feel (notice the word feel) like God will never use or choose to use you because of your journey, shame and guilt are heavier than any max bench press you can do!

 

You hear this over and over in your head: There’s no way He will use you. So you lay low. Out of the spotlight. Do what you know to do. Try and do the right thing every time.

The truth though is that God is hovering and NEAR to the broken hearted. He delights in showing me His love. He’s delights in showing me there’s more grace than I ever thought possible.

Divorce brings so much stigma to your life, along with unwarranted judgement. I can’t tell you how many times sincere people had asked me to fix it or assumed that I wasn’t trying. Devastating. You cannot fix, control, or manipulate those who do not want help. Who choose to stay the same.

 

God will use you, bless you, and take care of you. It takes diligence to bathe every decision you make in prayer. Knowing that when faced with the hardest one, He knows.

He doesn’t ask for perfection. He just wants your heart. He wants your trust.

 

His love…I can never see the end….