Focus on giants – you stumble. Focus on God – your giants tumble. Max Lucado, Cast of Characters
Carol flipped open her phone to read a text message from her husband. Little did she know, her life was getting ready to fall apart. I’ve taken all my things and I won’t be back. I’m done, the message read. In that moment, Carol drew her first breath as a single woman and mom.
The days that followed were filled with questions:
Why did he do this to me?
Is there hope for our marriage?
Where are You, God?
The choices of her husband seemed to reinforce the message she had heard her whole life: “You aren’t really wanted.” Carol felt dinged and dented, and her future was uncertain. The words that flew back and forth between her and her husband were spoken from pain and were often meant to cut – and they did. There were moments when Carol had to remind herself to breathe, because she felt paralyzed by fear.
Piled on top of fear were regret and shame stemming from the word “divorced.” The only thing that brought Carol joy was holding close her 20-month-old daughter, who had no idea of the lives that were crumbling around her.
Carol and her husband were involved in their community. He was on staff at church. She was in full-time ministry. How did we get here from there? Carol often wondered. The shattered pieces of her marriage seemed to be on display for the whole world to judge, and the faith that she claimed was tested. She often stood in the doorway to her baby’s room, where the most valuable gift she received through her marriage resided. She focused on her child and talked herself into surviving one more day, reasoning that there most be a purpose for doing so. Her little girl was worth fighting for.
Except for her daughter, Carol began to isolate herself from other people. She had convinced herself that if no one could get to her, she would never be hurt again. But as time passed, Carol began to long for more. This desire started with seemingly insignificant moments, such as sweet smile from someone she didn’t know, or the thoughtfulness of a stranger who held an umbrella for as she wrested with a stroller in the grocery parking lot.
These small kindnesses seemed to whispers that God was there. They also forced Carol to smile back and say thank you because, after all, that’s what a southern girl did.
Her hunger for more caused her to look for God in ways she had only talked about before her husband left. According to Carol, her faith had been an “always there” accessory, but now it was what helped her exist moment by moment. She struggled financially for the first time. She was working as hard as she could, but the money just didn’t stretch far enough. Diapers showed up from friends and strangers, even though she was too proud to ask. Her daycare needs were met when it seemed impossible to do it alone. Each day, she turned more to the God she professed faith in and the promises she had learned since childhood. But even as she was making it, Carol still wondered if the pain would ever subside. She had read about healing in the Bible, but she didn’t know if it was for her. She didn’t have leprosy or a withered hand. There was no debilitating disease from which she needed to be cured.
In fact, no one could see how serious her heart condition was from the outside. She could play the part and say all the right words. She could be funny and brave and strong – except for when the lights were low and no one was watching.
When Carol looks back on that season of her life, she believes that God carried her during those first few months. Though she woke up each day with a hurting heart, something greater was sustaining her and protecting her.
The Mended Heart, by Suzanne Eller. Chapter two.
Sorry that I didn’t post this chapter yesterday. It was my Mama’s birthday yesterday and was busy doing stuff with her and family here at home. We had a birthday diner and games afterwards and of course birthday pie. Chocolate cream pie is my Mama’s favorite. After we watched beauty and the beast the one with Emma Watson in it. It is our favorite one.
~Well till tomorrow~