I am an optimist. And somewhat of a perfectionist. And a moralist. So I had always tried to live my best life. The Bible says there is a way that “seems” right to a man, and it sure seemed to me that I was going about it right. But the path was not always straight. There were many disappointments and frustrations, twists and turns, especially leading up to my divorce after twenty-three years of marriage. Then for over 9 years as a single person, I marched around and around the mountain – never getting any closer to where I was supposed to go.
My husband and I met in high school and for the most part dated only each other throughout college. We did take a break or two in between. At 19, I had become a Christian. Due to my newfound faith, I broke up with him, making it clear that I could not be with someone who did not embrace faith in Jesus. He was nearly devastated. However, eventually he “came around”; and after college, marriage seemed to be the obvious step. It was the right thing to do. I went into it with no hesitation, feeling certain that he would take care of me financially, idolize me as always, and give me everything I needed, especially emotional and spiritual support.
I was set up for disaster! Until marriage, I had been given everything I ever wanted in the relationship. So when my husband stopped meeting all of my expectations, I didn’t know what to think. I was certain that if only he knew God better, he would love me more. He would better understand me. He wouldn’t be so demanding. He wouldn’t make me feel so inadequate. And he would spend more time helping me discipline the kids. God would bless his business, and we would have more money. Things wouldn’t be so tough.
Never mind that knowing God better would have given him a more satisfying, peaceful, Spirit-directed life. It was really all about me! All I could think about was that I needed more love. When that didn’t happen, over time, I blamed God. I deserved better!
If only I had known then what I know now! Such as: rarely, is there such a thing as greener grass. But that’s not the half of it! If only I had understood the truth about my Father God. That He loved me first. And so much so that He paid a huge price for my freedom. That He always wanted the best for me.
If only I had understood the reality of a fallen world. That I had carried bondages with me since the beginning, and I had not dealt with those issues yet. My revelation to that point in life had been minimal, and I didn’t even know these bondages existed! I had no way to know that they had kept me from loving and trusting God first. They had caused me to make poor choices and kept me from living the life He had intended.
Here’s what I didn’t get: my circumstances were not the issue. My lack of transformation was! But God couldn’t push Himself on me or my husband or anyone else. I was not a willing party. I was not listening. His hands were tied.
And so my husband and I separated and later divorced. For about five years I totally forgot God. And my life as a single person became further defined by the One Thing, finding the man who could and would meet all my deepest needs. It was a lonely process. There were more disappointments and heartbreaks.
Then one day I heard a familiar voice calling. I decided to listen. The Voice was patient and gentle. Forbearing, very much like the voice of a Shepherd. I was still wayward. The One Thing still had a grip on me. I was still spending a great deal of time thinking about it and pursuing it, and making bad decisions in the process. But at the same time, I was slowly developing a new attitude and a new mind and a new heart. I was saying new things. I cannot do this by myself! Father, help me break out of this vicious cycle! I receive all the good things You are trying to give me! And when I would run off again somewhere dangerous, He kept pulling me back in to Himself, whispering in my ear, “Let me hold you in my heart.” There were many ups and downs, but He was still always there with me.
Later, came the most difficult period of heartbreak, when I lost the man I thought I would marry. But this time I did not let go of my Father God. I clung to Him even more. And I listened intently. He was giving me new revelations. In a dream one night He said He was transforming me into the image of Jesus. Then He showed me my destiny. It was far greater than what I had become! I felt like He was lifting me higher, and the Spirit’s power was making me stronger.
Soon after, God spoke to me again through a visual experience that would change me forever, two conch shells on a sandy beach. That’s when I realized what He had been trying to tell me the whole time. For a near lifetime, God had played second fiddle to my One Thing! The truth had been hidden. In reality, He is the only Person who can and will meet all my deepest needs. With that revelation finally seen and heard, I began to let go. . . .