I know I’ve shared before how God has restored and redeemed my life, marriage, and family, but this is a chapter of my story I haven’t shared very often.
Eight years ago I felt completely hopeless. Although we had been married twelve years at this point, it had been two years and a couple of months since my marriage had crumbled and instead of things improving they continued to get worse. Also, our finances felt hopeless. Gary was laid off due to a merger in the pharma industry, and we had two spec houses that had been sitting for two years, which meant three mortgages each month (counting the house we lived in). I was utterly depressed and felt there was no hope for my life or my family. I despaired of my life. On NYE 8 years ago I told my Dr. I was done with my life, and that he needed to hospitalize me. Instead of listening to me, he obeyed the Holy Spirit and asked me to go to a prayer conference at a church the next day; a church that I had never stepped foot in and that I only knew one person who attended. I remember thinking, “I’ve been praying, but it’s not helping.” In fact, everything about our situation continued to get worse the more I prayed. Because I’m a first-born rule follower, I agreed. He made a phone call to the pastor’s wife to let her know I’d be there. I left his office and called my friend, who attended that church, and she offered to pick me up the next day. I can’t say I was hopeful, or that I had any expectation of my life changing at that point! My friend picked me up the next day, and my very appearance when I stepped out of my front door took her breath away. She later told me I was the deadest looking person that was still alive that she had ever seen. She was right. I felt dead on the inside, there was no light in my eyes, my head was always down, and I weighed 117 lbs soaking wet (which is crazy for someone 6ft tall). Over the next two days at that conference, God began the process of breathing life back into my dead soul. My circumstances had not changed, and they wouldn’t for several years. However, God gave me hope for my future (Jeremiah 29:11), and strength to continue to engage in the battle to fight for my family. He used Godly women to speak wisdom to my heart, and the Holy Spirit undergirded me with a new determination that I didn’t know was possible. I went home a very different woman. Instead of being hopeless and defeated I left that prayer conference as a warrior ready for the war that had been waged against my family and me. Don’t get me wrong; there was still so much that God needed to do in my life, as he has continued to heal my broken heart and restore my life.
So if 2016 was terrible and 2017 looks equally as hopeless, don’t lose heart. My circumstances didn’t begin to change for at least two more years, but my strength came from God, and my hope no longer depended on what my situation looked like. I learned to walk in faith like I never had before and cling to my heavenly Father for strength, wisdom, and hope. As my pastor said a few weeks ago, tears are a prerequisite to joy. (Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5) I know that scripture to be true as I sowed with countless tears for years, and now I am reaping JOY! It’s interesting how so much has come full circle for us. The church that I visited for that prayer conference has now been our home church for 7 1/2 years and has been key to our spiritual growth as individuals and as a couple. The Dr that I had mentioned that sent me to the prayer conference has now become one of my husband’s closest friends. His wife is one of my most precious friends and prayer warriors, and our kids are even close. It is amazing just how much God has changed my circumstances and turned my mourning into joy. None of my pain has been wasted, and I am a much better person after experiencing brokenness as it has made me so much more empathetic to others and given me a passion for hurting families.
For years, I have not wanted to share this part of my story out of embarrassment. Honestly, I still don’t, but I felt the Lord nudge my heart and tell me it was time. I pray that if you needed to hear my story that your heart is encouraged and that you find HOPE in the one who created you. He is forever faithful and can be trusted with the details of your life. I’m so thankful for new beginnings!