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FROM A DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST WHOSE DIFFICULT STORY INSPIRES ME GREATLY:
Today marks two years of me being a separated wife.
It’s not the story I would’ve asked for and definitely not the one I wanted, but it’s still my story. It can be hard to think a back to the terrible day that my husband left. Having told me about his affair and that he and his mistress were having a baby together in just a few short months, he moved out. Shock, hurt, anger, betrayal all hit in an instant. The journey to today would be long, hard and painful as more shocking details would come to light and his repentance has yet to happen.
At the beginning God was revealing, through April’s blog then through my church elders, the idols of my heart. The Lord led me through an intense time of confession and repentance as I painfully laid down my wants, desires, hurts and “rights” to God. I realized that the idols (stemming from my desire for control) I was clinging to were accusations against God – saying that I knew better than him or that he didn’t really care about me or what I wanted. God was beginning a work in my heart and showing me, more than ever, my great need for him. That he is all we need and that he is a good, loving Father.
Even though my husband and I have been separated for two years and have had very little contact during the past year (a good thing for our particular situation since there is unrepentant adultery), he hasn’t divorced me. Through much prayer and counsel from my local church leaders, I have decided to remain as I am (I Cor. 7) and not seek a divorce. Waiting is hard and each day has challenges. I’m thankful to say that I have many days filled with joy, but I also struggle with depression and anxiety at times and some days I don’t know how I’ll get out of bed to go to work or to be a mom. Despite that, I also know that God has used this situation to grow my faith and to draw me closer to Him…and that is always a good thing.
Today is the two year “anniversary” of becoming a separated wife, so I spent time going through my journal from the past year. I was reminded of how much hope God has given me during the hardest year of my life. I am so thankful for the hope that he has given me, despite my circumstances.
- Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Hebrews 5:1-5
- Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
- Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Psalm 23:18
In a worldly sense, it seems crazy to have hope while going through a difficult trial. But God has shown me where my true hope lies. It is not in the idols I held on to so tightly.
Hope is not having my situation turn out a certain way or having control of my life… its knowing that my future is secure in God’s hands. Hope is trusting in the work that has already been done on the cross, that my salvation is secure through Jesus Christ. It is knowing that my story, as bad as it is, is the story God gave me. I find so much hope in the fact that we serve a sovereign God. My situation isn’t an oversight, it wasn’t an accident, God didn’t forget about me. God is a good God and everything he does is good. He can be trusted to write my story. He knows how this will end and I can trust that he is using it for his glory and for my good.
Through God’s strength, I’m able to surrender my hopes and dreams of the life I wanted because of the hope he’s given that this isn’t my home. I live in anticipation of the life to come. I love reading Hebrews 11 to be reminded of those who have gone before us and how they lived their lives by faith.
- But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16
- He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26
- For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14
The practical way that hope has kept me functioning day in and day out through these past two years is the hope in the promises of God.Never have the promises of God been more real to me than they are now.
When my “worst case scenario” happened, His promises sustained me. When I’m hit with depression, His promises carry me. This is the most useful advice or steps I could tell anyone to take when going through a difficult time: learn the promises of God and cling to them when the hard moments hit. It may be quoting them out loud, praying them back to God, or writing them in your journal. They bring hope and peace because God’s word is true.
- This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50
A few, of the many, of God’s promises that have sustained me:
When I think my life has no purpose or is a mistake, I know God has a plan for my life.
- The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8
When I cry and am filled with sorrow, God promises that He keeps record of my tears (Psalm 56:8) and that one day I will reap with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:5).
When I feel forgotten or alone, God promises that he will never forsake me.
- “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
When I pray to God, I know He hears me.
- I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Psalm 17:6
The list goes on and on. I’d encourage you to search the Word to find His promises. There’s no better way to fight those lies we so easily believe when going through suffering or any day for that matter. When we turn to God in our hardest moments, He is faithful to respond. He will always give us the immediate response of His presence. He will give us a peace that surpasses understanding, even in the most difficult situations. And in His love and care for us, He has given us hope.
NOTE FROM APRIL:
I am not going to be able to approve comments that may be hurtful to this wife in a very painful, and difficult time. Please feel free to share encouragement, prayers, and support.