When We Feel Empty

It wasn’t even a full three days since I posted “Singleness is NOT a Punishment!” when my dear, sweet friend sent me this through Facebook message:

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If you have ever seen this or something like this, I want to just help erase any of the damage that it may have done to your heart.

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First of all, who else saw Xena the Warrior Princess when you first starting reading that? Ha! But I digress. Let’s respond to the letter from the anonymous internet person to the Princess Warrior. (Which is supposed to be a letter from God the Father to me, His beloved daughter.)

First of all, I look nothing like sexy Xena the Warrior Princess nor do I feel like her, even though I do know I am a daughter of the King and in His army.  Second of all, I would have to honestly say that, for the most part, I desire the approval of God alone. When I was young I sought the approval of my parents and my teachers and now that I’m an adult I seek the approval of my boss. There is a certain crush of mine who I highly admire and respect and from time to time I will find myself desiring his approval but it’s only because I hold him in such high regard. I don’t think validation should come from anywhere but from above as we are complete in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) but I don’t think the desire to feel accepted and supported is wrong. In fact, that’s not only normal but God designed it that way. Allow me to explain:

The letter goes on to say, “I designed you to desire Me and Me alone.”

I challenge you to find a passage in the Bible that says that. You will be hard-pressed to find such a verse because I guarentee it is not there.

Have you ever been in a crowded room, yet felt completely isolated? It’s not a good feeling at all, is it? Loneliness has never been part of God’s plan for his children. After all, in the beginning when God created the Heavens, the earth, the water, trees, flowers, birds, fish, and animals, He looked over each day of creation and declared it to be good. However, upon creating man, God stopped and for the very first time declared something as “not good.” He said, “It is NOT GOOD that man should be alone.”

Adam had God by his side and yet God still said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Not until after God created Eve did God say, “…and it was VERY good.” All this is to say that we need each other and to deny that is to deny God’s design. Yes, we were designed to desire God, but He also designed us to yearn for a helpmate in life. We are sexual beings and our bodies are naturally created with a longing to be intimate and to be fruitful and multiply. Is it a sin that we desire these things? NO!

Some Christians might tell you that desiring sex is a sin but that is not biblical. The distinction comes from the OBJECT of our desire. If our desires are fixating on something evil (i.e. adultery, fornication, etc) then the desire itself is evil (Matthew 5:28, Matthew 15:19, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20). If our desire fixates on something good (i.e. marriage, companionship) then the desire itself is good (Proverbs 5:18-19, Song of Solomon 2:5-7, Proverbs 18:22, Ephesians 5:28). Sexual desire is wholesome, honorable, and right when it is enjoyed within the boundaries of holy matrimony.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

We have become a generation with a distorted view of marriage.  When we try to convince singles that we shouldn’t desire sexual intimacy or that longing for marriage is somehow unholy then we are giving Satan the credit for God’s beautiful design.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Psalm 37:4 is NOT an equation.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4

If Psalm 37:4 were an equation, then I’m pretty sure I would have a husband and children by now. Don’t believe for one second that if you’re still waiting on the Lord for this blessing that you must not be doing something you’re supposed to be doing.  Though it certainly feels like a curse, singleness is very much a blessing.  I know that it hurts, especially when you’re lying awake at night in your empty bed with nothing but pillows to squeeze for comfort.

Now let’s take a look at another passage in the letter:

“When you choose to live for Me, you will never again be thirsty for attention…”

Is that really true? What kind of a message does that send to people who struggle with depression? With aching emptiness and longing? With grief and loss associated with divorce? Just because we’ve given our lives to Jesus and chosen to live for Him doesn’t mean that we don’t still struggle with the pain of an empty womb or the longing to share our lives with a companion by our side. Telling a woman that she’ll never thirst for attention if she chooses to live for God… Do you see how that could be detrimental to her spirit? “Oh, I am still thirsty for love and affection…” She thinks. “I must not be fully living for God.” 

In the wise words of one of my favorite authors Alyssa Joy Bethke: “God is good and everything that happens is for our good. Not necessarily for our happiness but for our holiness. God’s goal is to make us more like His son, and often that involves trials and pain. But those difficulties are opportunities to rely on our Savior, to run into His arms, to nestle ourselves in His embrace and to walk with Him.”

Emptiness is that feeling left over after you give something your absolute all and it still doesn’t turn out the way you worked so hard for it to. You’re exhausted of energy, depleated of hope, and disappointed that it didn’t work out. Perhaps you have some unfulfilled dreams or a place in your heart that aches because your beloved didn’t return your love. Perhaps, like me, you fought hard to save your marriage and did everything possible to redeem it but it still fell apart in your hands.

God’s Word offers some promises to combat the emptiness and find fulfillment in Christ.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” – Psalm 81:10

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

“I ask God from the wealth of His glory to give you power through His Spirit to be strong in your inner selves,  and I pray that Christ will make His home in your hearts through faith as you open the door and invite Him in.  I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love—although it can never be fully known—and be so completely filled with the very nature of God.” -Ephesians 3:16-19

Just because we’ve completely given our lives to God doesn’t mean the longings He’s plsb10065339i-001aced there will completely go away. I believe they are from Him and they aren’t sinful. I mean, not all of us are called to be nuns!!! On the plane home from my sister’s wedding last weeekend I saw a nun. I immediately was drawn to her because of her calm, elegant beauty and of course the curiousity of what made her decide to live under the vows of poverty and chastity but especially the latter. Perhaps she doesn’t have those desires? I can’t imagine not having those desires. If she DOES have those desires then I applaud her for her strength and uncompromising commitment to purity.  She is SO KICK-BUTT! Wish I would have had the courage to ask her my questions. Again, I digress.

It’s healthy to recognize that sometimes the longings we feel aren’t for anything Earth can provide. Psalmist cries out to God, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1). Just like the Samaritan woman at the well who thirsted for Living Water, God put a longing in our heart that was intended to lead us back to Him. There is an emptiness that ONLY HE can fill. There is a deep thirst that ONLY HE can quench. If His love doesn’t fill you up, then nothing else will.

“Now let me ask you again, My beloved daughter: Whom do you seek?”

If you’re like me, you’re COMPLETELY honest with yourself and if your desires are the same as mine then you’re seeking a husband. The Bible says, But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” -Matthew 6:33. It never says it’s wrong to seek a husband, but make sure God is first in your heart.

As for me, I’m allowing God to use this loneliness and emptiness to teach me what it means to depend upon His strength and love every day. I know that having a husband won’t satisfy the craving that only God can fill. When you allow yourself to be controlled by Christ’s love you have the indwelling of God’s presence and are closer to unity and maturity. I don’t think we can ever experience the whole measure of the perfection that is found in Christ (Ephesians 4:13) this side of Heaven, but I do believe we can experience joy and fullness here on Earth. I pray this for us both, dear reader, that we would be filled with His love and be content in our single season.

Why Dating Sucks (But I Still Do It)

Dating SUCKS. I just want to skip this horribly awkward phase and go straight to being a wifey. Shucks deluxe, I was MADE to be a wife and I miss being a wife and I want to be a wife… no, I NEED to be a wife more than anything in the world. I hate almost everything about dating but it’s kind of a necessary evil if I ever want to get married again someday… unless my parents arrange a marriage for me. (Come on, Mom and Dad, I’m serious!)

Here are eight reasons why dating freaking sucks:

  1. Getting rejected SUCKS. It’s probably the worst thing in life EVER. Unfortunately, rejection is kind of a package deal when it comes to dating.

    Some people don’t really know what they’re looking for… but I’ve always known exactly what I want and when the intangible dream becomes embodied before me (which is once in a rare blue moon) it’s really hard to keep calm and carry on like a sane person. Before I am even consciously aware of what is happening, I am idealizing the object of my affection and it becomes this massive infatuation that permeates my being. If not dealt with immediately, it could quickly escalate out of hand. So I perform the only cure for this love sickness: I “pull a Ruth” and inform the crush of my deep admiration.

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    Except this crush is not my Boaz and I am not redeemed from the curse of unrequited love.

    It sucks that he never gave you the chance to rock his world. It sucks that you wanted to make him happy so bad.  It sucks that he told you “I’m not really picky when it comes to women” but he still rejected you anyway and now you feel like a complete failure of a human being. It sucks when he says “I love you… as a friend.”

    It just sucks. There’s absolutely nothing I hate more than rejection.141d5668c1abda56

    2. Finding someone compatible SUCKS. The older you get, the smaller your pool of eligibles becomes as everyone pairs off with each other. For followers of Christ, your pool is even smaller because even though 75% of the U.S. calls themselves “Christians,” most Americans  don’t take their faith seriously and, according to The Federalist, 75% of those who claim they DO take it seriously lack basic theological knowledge like the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and the ONLY way to receive salvation. Religious homogamy is something I absolutely cannot renege. According to this OK Cupid survey of online dating users, only five percent of people are willing to wait for marriage before they have sex so you can imagine how many times I’ve been dismissed by otherwise perfectly eligible bachelors. Husband hunting is literally a full-time job and Heavens to Betsy, it’s exhausting.sex_marriage

3. Dating sites SUCK. (Okay, let’s be fair, I met some wonderful gentlemen on dating sites but I still haven’t met MY gentleman.) Why are people on dating sites in the first place? Like me, they probably have trouble meeting the right person in real life. This could be for any number of reasons. I, for one, have absolutely no trouble meeting people in real life. Heck, my mailman gave me his number the other day. A guy from salsa dancing asked me out the other day, too. It’s not hard to find men whom I’m intellectually compatible with and with whom I have mutual physical chemistry… but it’s ridiculously hard to find someone with both of those aspects present AND who shares my beliefs, values, and unique vision. looking-for-love-alderaan-places-1
Enter technology. Technology is a beautiful thing because it opens up many more possibilities by bringing people together who otherwise might never have met.
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But online dating is just WEIRD in general. For example, on OK Cupid, you can see all of someone’s beliefs and personal sexual preferences before you even say one single word to them. I will literally get hundreds of “likes” a day and I have to sort through so many messages of guys who have very low compatibility percentages with me (even though my profile clearly states not to message me unless you have a desire to follow Christ.) Chalk it up to sheer exasperation with the scarcity of like-minded individuals on the site, but the other day I responded to a conversation with a handsome Christian man by asking him straight up why he claims to be serious about his faith but only wants to wait 3-5 dates before he has sex. (Probably the absolute worst way to start a conversation with someone in the history of online dating) but I got a date out of it anyway and we’re already talking about a second date so I must have done something right. Online dating is just awkward and thank God this young man had the kindness to forgive me for my social blunder but *CRINGE.* It’s just so unnatural to know so much about a person’s lifestyle before you exchange polite conversation and it makes it so easy to judge people before you even know them.
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If you’ve been on dating sites for any length of time, dating evolves into something more like tsa agents profiling passengers for suspicious behavior. Even scrolling Facebook sometimes can make you feel like a K-9 sniffing for drugs and explosives. Dating was never meant to be stalkerish but this is what the Information Age has yielded.

4. Getting your hopes up SUCKS.
Oh the emotions! The highs and lows of dating can feel like you’re on a roller coaster of drama.

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Does he like me as much as I like him? Why is he taking so long to text me back? Is this going to last forever or am I going to get crushed again? Is this guy everything I think he is or is he another fake? It’s not like these guys come with a warning label. One must invest time to learn someone’s heart and by the time you’ve discovered red flags you’ve already caught the feelings and it’s too late.
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5. Commitmentphobes SUCK! So this one kind of piggybacks on getting rejected, but it deserves it’s own spot in the lineup:

Everything can be going hunky dory in the relationship and then suddenly, one day for seemingly no reason, he gets cold feet and runs away saying, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or my personal favorite, “You’re too good for me, you deserve someone better.” *Rolls Eyes* If I have to hear that stupid line one more time…

My dear reader: you deserve to be loved wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, unrestrained by hesitations, doubts, and fears which impede the growth of the relationship. Intimacy is a deep, biological need and withholding commitment is a deprivation of love. You can’t give your heart as freely as you would like if you don’t feel it’s in safe hands. The lack of commitment creates stress and insecurity and affects not only the duration of a relationship but the quality as well. The stress reduces the likelihood of there ever being commitment and then it becomes a vicious cycle of widespread aversion to commitment which has become an epidemic in our culture. Watch out for commitmentphobes!  They fear cutting off other options, changing their mind later, or being tied down. Don’t believe the lie that you can be the one to change them because you can’t. Just don’t get involved with them at all and you will keep your heart intact.

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Signs to look out for:

  • They ardently pursue because they love the chase but don’t want the kill
  • They are extra charming, romantic and affectionate in the beginning but can’t seem to keep up the pace as the relationship progresses
  • They cancel plans or make excuses about why they can’t spend time with you

6. Mind games SUCK! You can’t tell if he’s playing hard to get or if he’s just not that interested. You can’t tell if he’s trying not to look too eager or if he’s legit afraid of intimacy. It has even crossed your mind that maybe he enjoys all the attention you’re pouring into him and it strokes his ego so he keeps you around but he has no intentions of ever elevating the relationship to the next level.

7. Breaking up SUCKS! When you realize a person just isn’t for you, it’s hard to break things off without hurting their feelings. Honesty is always the best policy rather than beating it around the bush and leading people on. It’s still not fun and no one likes doing it. 

8. Having to get back out there SUCKS! Well, it didn’t work out, so now you have to try again. It’s all very tiring. Since getting married seems to be the main goal I’m focusing on right now it has taken over my prayer life. My prayers lately seem to be saturated with pleading. I’m like Jacob wrestling with God, demanding Him to bless me and not letting go until He does. This desire to be desirable has almost become my driving force instead of a desire to conform to Christ, which should be my top priority. The failure to attain this goal has taken a toll on my self-worth and I catch myself wondering what the heck is wrong with me. Instead of focusing all my energy on developing qualities that I believe are the most attractive to the opposite sex, I need to die to myself and let Christ live through me. If I’m not careful, marriage (which is a beautiful thing and a gift from God) can become an idol, if it isn’t already in my life. Reminder to self: My identity is in Christ alone and not anyone else. Being lonely is part of being human in this sinful world because of the separation from God’s intended Eden. Even Jesus Christ was “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3). I will pull up my proverbial bootstraps and get my butt back out there because it’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) and I know that eventually God is going to bless me beyond measure, I just have to be patient. Whenever I get frustrated that THIS FREAKING SUCKS, I will remind myself that this is temporary.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis

A Letter

To the man who promised me forever:

I forgive you.

I remember the black and white checkered pattern of the hospital floor, pacing back and forth that day you were in detox, pondering hopefully, as I am oft-inclined to do, that our situation can only look up from rock bottom. I had never loved you more than in that moment when I thought I would lose you forever. I loved you more than life itself and I would have done almost anything to stay by your side and help you through your darkest hour… but you left me… your faithful wife who only wanted to support you.

I thought my heart would always belong to you and I would never get it back. I thought I might never heal from that intense pain. I thought the aching emptiness might never go away.

But I forgive you.

There has been more than one man who won’t date me because I am your “left overs.” You chewed me up and spit me out and now no one seems to want me. I feel like Hester Prynne with a giant scarlet letter on my chest warning everyone to stay far away because I’m unable to keep a marriage together.

I finally met a God-fearing man who doesn’t mind that I’m divorced. “It’s your past but it doesn’t define who you are,” he assured me. But he thinks that his family won’t understand. He thinks they won’t accept me, at least not right away. He asked me not to tell them just yet.

Tears fought to spill from the corners of my eyes. I thought I had worked through my guilt. I accepted my truth and learned to love myself even when I wanted to despise myself. The harsh reality is that I may have moved on from mourning but people may continue to judge me (as I had once judged others in my situation) and that judgment may stir up the regret and sorrow I thought I had buried and finished grieving. Every time a man I hope to date rejects me for being divorced I feel the grief once again.

But I get it. I really do. If I’m honest with myself, I’d rather not date someone who has been divorced, either.

Whether I like it or not, you’re part of me and you always will be. You’re part of my love story because you’re the first man I ever passionately loved; the first man I would have laid down my life for because I loved you that much. You taught me how to love unconditionally… Not because you showed me what that was but because I learned to love you despite you not loving me. My world revolved around you. I was infatuated with the spell you cast on me. Even when you were absolutely horrible to me I couldn’t see anyone but you.

I won’t deny that you were once the most important thing to me on Earth.

After you left I tried desperately to win you back. I must have been plumb crazy. But that’s how I know I am a fool when I am in love and I will make someone an amazing wife one day because of you.

So thank you.

Part 2 of My Confessions

“Raise your right hand, please. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”

“I do,” I answered… the same two words I uttered with all my heart as Pastor Larry asked me if I took Mathew to be my husband as long as we both shall live.

Standing before the judge, she asked me if I believed my marriage was “irretrievably broken” with “no hope of reconciliation.” I felt my whole body tremble and a hot tear streamed down my face. “The tissues are over there, honey,” said the judge softly with compassion in her voice. I grabbed a couple and wiped miserably at my nose. I explained that we went to marriage counseling with my pastor and that it hadn’t worked. That I waited for two years for him to come around, but finally decided to end the marriage legally because he wasn’t going to do it himself.

“Do you wish to return to your maiden name?” asked the judge.

“Yes, please, your honor.” Then I signed Dannielle Albert at the bottom of the divorce certificate and…

That was it. It took all of about five minutes. “You are now single,” said the judge.

I sat back down with the rest of the people getting divorced that day; a few were with their spouses and a few, like myself, were there by themselves because their other half didn’t show up. One woman was sobbing. One woman was trying desperately not to. One man was sober with a serious expression I couldn’t read. One man was cracking jokes that we were all invited to his “divorce party” afterwards with drinks all around. To me, this was nothing to celebrate. I wanted to have a funeral, not a party.

tearsAs I sat among my fellow peers, I couldn’t help but wonder what brought them here today. What were their stories? Were they anything like mine? I prayed silently and wrote two Bible verses in my journal.

“I will restore to you the years the swarming locusts have eaten; you shall be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God who has dealt wondrously with you.” -Joel 2:25-26


“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.” -Psalm 145:17-19

You know all those prayers I prayed after my husband left me? They were not a waste. And all those tears I cried? They mattered. They were collected in God’s bottle because they are a precious treasure to Him (Psalm 56:8).

The four years of my marriage were not a waste. The two years I spent waiting for him to come back were not a waste. The year I will spend healing and not dating anyone will not be a waste. I look around at all my peers who have babies and are living their dreams and it hurts so deeply because I wish that were my life, but that is not what God had planned for me. I’ve grown to accept that and be content that He allowed me to marry Mathew. He knew that it wasn’t going to work out since before I was born, even though I was certain it would be happily ever after.

Every moment of my courtship, engagement, marriage, and two years of separation were a part of God’s ultimate permissive will and I believe it was for a reason, even if I do not know why He let it happen if it wasn’t going to end in “death do us part.”

I felt stuck in a horrible marriage, but I wasn’t going to give up. Every day I gave my marriage to God and asked him to heal it and restore it. I believe my prayers were a sweet-smelling, Christ-like fragrance rising up to God in worship.

God will use my sorrow and grief and pain and suffering to mold me into a stronger believer and transform my heart into one that trusts Him completely each and every day. My sufferings in this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us one day! (Romans 8:18). I look forward to that day with eager anticipation.

Someday, I pray, my LORD will bring a godly man into my life who will be an equally yoked partner; I will be his helpmate and we will work together toward a common goal, making decisions together, discussing matters together, sharing the burden of life, supporting one another. I know without a doubt that if the good Lord doesn’t provide a husband for me, He still has a beautiful plan for my life and I will look forward and ahead, forget my messy past, press onward toward the prize and not look back (Philippians 3:13).

The Truth Will Set You Free

The truth is a gift. The truth will set you free. No matter how hard and scary it is to speak the truth, you must find the courage to get beyond your vulnerability to reveal how you honestly feel. Speak the truth as kindly and gently as possible, but never hide the whole truth. It is the key to living an authentic life that honors God and honors yourself as well.

The truth?

Mathew wants to get back together with me. He has written e-mails stating thus. However, my pastor has talked to him and does not feel that Mathew wants to be reconciled with the right reasons. He feels Mathew only wants a roommate, but not a wife.

The truth?

I am completely open to the possibility of reconciliation, but it can only happen if my husband does a complete 180° in the direction of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He must totally surrender his life to Him and follow Him with all his heart, submitting to the Lord’s headship as the ultimate authority. I care so very deeply for my husband and it hurts that he wants nothing to do with Jesus. A marriage simply cannot work if he is unwilling to yield to God. God is number one in my life and I have nothing in common with a man who does not trust in God. I was willing to try to make it work for years and years, but when he finally abandoned me, it gave me the courage to move on from what was a very abusive marriage in which I was unequally yoked with an unbeliever.

The truth?

I drove to the courthouse to file the papers. The whole way there I listened to Christian music. It was a very difficult road and I almost turned around and went home twice, thinking that I love my husband very much and maybe I could give him one more chance to make some positive changes in his life. When the song by Casting Crowns based on Psalm 103:12 came on the radio, tears streamed down my face during the lyrics “You know just how far the east is from the west… from one scarred hand to the other.” In His great love and grace, Jesus sacrificed his life to remove my sin as far as the east is from the west. He remembers it no more. His compassion and mercy gave me the freedom to continue on the journey to the courthouse and file the papers that have been signed and sitting in my house for months when I did not yet have the bravery to stamp them officially.

It took me another couple months to actually have the papers served to my husband. This morning they were served. I felt a mixture of relief that it is finally done and a little bit of grief that it’s over.

This is my story: I am getting a divorce. I, who am a daughter of the most High King and who hates divorce, yes, I am divorcing my husband. In a way, he already divorced me in his heart two years ago and I’m simply just making it legal.

I never thought this would be my story. I am a stronger woman because of the pain that I’ve experienced and the grace that has set me free. I trust God with my future and I can’t wait to see where He leads me next. I am totally open to Him and ready to go where He guides me.

Remembering a Special Day

“Your wedding day is still one of my most cherished memories,” whispered my best friend Anna who was a radiant bridesmaid on that special day five years ago. “The fact that he left you doesn’t make that beautiful day any less sacred or meaningful.” (That sweet lady always cheers me up no matter how low I am feeling.)

Anna and I on the Happiest Day of My Life

Anna and I on the Happiest Day of My Life

On this particular evening, I had begun to regret the day I ever said “I do.” My wedding day was once the best day of my life and I was beginning to feel guilty that I still thought of it that way, circumstances being what they are. “If it’s inevitably going to end in a divorce, then wouldn’t that make my marriage a mistake?” I wondered out loud. “Is it wrong to keep those Facebook wedding albums public? Is that precious picture of me smiling ear to ear with my sisters after the ceremony somehow tainted now and better preserved in a private scrapbook rather than displayed in a pretty pink frame on my buffet table?”

I felt angry at myself for not having been able to see red flags that this marriage was not going to last. All the expenses to make June 7th, 2009 the most incredibly amazing and unforgettable day of our lives were pretty much kicking me in the stomach like a huge waste of money. My once gorgeous, white wedding gown is now yellowing with age and collecting dust in my childhood closet… it feels less and less to me like the flowy, satin raiment of a virgin queen bestowing her beloved king with the treasured gift of her everlasting commitment and more like the gown I wore on the last day of my purity I can never get back.

I wish I could write a happily ever after ending for this entry like my husband and I are now living out the purpose God has intended for us, but that would not be accurate. Too many times I fantasized ways out of my destructive marriage… the sudden, unexpected death of one of us, for instance, because I was slowly dying each day and death was better than abandoning the one I promised to love, honor, and respect “until death do us part.”

The very few people I told about the domestic violence asked me, “Why don’t you just leave him? One of these days he’s going to go too far; you need to protect yourself.” I can’t pretend I didn’t think about it. I had an emergency escape plan in place just in case I needed it, but I prayed it would never come to that. I was going to be faithful and loving ’til death do us part, even if I died trying, so help me God.

Just as Christ washed his disciples' feet (John 13:5) my husband and I promised to serve one another. I truly meant this with all my soul.

Just as Christ washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:5) my husband and I promised to serve one another. I truly meant this symbolism with all my soul.

I’m in a better place now. Tragic though my story is, it is also a story of hope. I no longer pine for a way out or desperately cry out to God for some kind of miracle. His ways are above my ways and while I don’t understand them, I know His will is good. Now I look forward to the future, forgetting the former things. I’m done dwelling on the past. I am making a way in the wilderness and straining toward what is ahead. (Isaiah 43:18-19, Philippians 3:13)

If you are struggling in a difficult matrimony, please don’t ever believe the lie that your wedding day was a mistake. If you truly meant those vows with all your heart that day, they are just as real and valid today as they were then. If he’s told you, “I regret the day I married you,” that doesn’t mean you have to regret marrying him. I chose to love my husband for better or worse within God’s Divine Providence. I committed my marriage to Jesus Christ and tried my absolute best to make my relationship honor God. He could have disallowed it if He intended, but I’m convinced everything happens for a reason.

If you are grieving over the death of your marriage, please remember that your pictures and memories of that special day are still just as precious and it’s okay to feel warm and happy when remembering that day you put so much time, energy, and money into making memorable.

I still look back on my wedding day fondly, even though now my memories are tinged with an edge of bitter-sweetness.

I Traded My Business Suit for a Pair of “Mom Jeans”

The title of this blog entry was my facebook status update on May 14th. It received 56 likes (my new record I think).

I stepped into this new full-time role with only four days to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had no idea that I would have to make such important decisions so quickly like, “am I going to play ‘the tooth fairy’ tomorrow morning?” This is actually very important to me because I don’t want to deceive the children or confuse reality and fantasy, but I also don’t want to dash their hopes and spoil the magic that their parents wanted for them. Another small dilema is that my two girls asked if they could call me “Mom” today. I’ve only been their parent for four days and already they’ve wiggled deep into my heart. If you would have told me one week ago I’d be caring this much for four little munchkins, I might not have believed you. Who knew there was a Mama Bear inside me all these years just waiting to come out? Moms-Night-Out-Quote-400x400

Being a parent is hard work and stressful at times but I feel blessed and honored to have this job. God placed me here for such a time as this. These kids needed a parent and I happened to be in a season of my life where I’m all alone and don’t really have much else going on… so why not? I felt led to ask for the opportunity and the Lord granted me my desire. Psalms 68:5-6 says, “Our God, from Your sacred home You take care of orphans and protect and defend widows. You find families for those who are lonely.” He truly uses broken people to serve other broken people This job was a match made in Heaven for me. I love serving these kids and they’ve touched me in ways I can’t describe and gave my life new purpose and meaning. To think that one year ago I was crying myself to sleep every night and thinking my life was pretty much over.

“They that sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. They that go forth weeping bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

ordinaryI have to play the “bag guy” sometimes to get the children to bed on time and I have to be firm but I’m new at this and I’m so thankful for tons of co-workers who live near me with their own house of kids. The campus is like a big family who’s always there for you. I hope I may emulate those who seem to run their households so smoothly.

I have been graced with respectful, obedient children (most of the time) and they all have big, bright personalities. I wish I could post pictures but since they are wards of the state, I’m unable to but here’s a little bit about them:

My tweleve-year-old boy is full of laughter and is very helpful with the little ones. He is on task and listens well and has a smile that lights up the room.

My nine-year-old girl can be a little down on herself with low self-esteem but she’s fun-loving, energetic, patient, and just wants to be accepted for who she is. I tell her every night that God made her special and everything about her is exactly as He planned and that she is dearly loved by Him.

My eight-year-old girl is a ball of liveliness! Life is a musical in which she is the star who sings and dances through the day. I wish I could just remember everything she says and write it down in a book to make me laugh later because it’s just so funny. She’s also a bit of a flirt and I’ve got to keep eagle eyes on her when she’s around the boys. She keeps telling me she needs deodorant and a razer… she can’t wait to grow up.

My youngest is a six-year-old boy who has night terrors every night about an hour or two after he’s gone to sleep. He’s very sweet and good-natured and extremely helpful with chores. He always wants to pray at mealtime and is a joy to watch at play. Everything seems exciting to him, and he likes to jump up and down at even the simple little pleasures of life like getting to eat popcorn or going for a ride in the van to the store.

When my husband abandoned me, I was left shattered. However, what the enemy intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. I feel so much freedom- like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I think I finally know what God’s plan for my life is and I’m in just the right place now to take on this adventure.

10313042_685191368208431_6674958256683601713_nBeing abandoned broke me. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of day-to-day living. But I still knew God was good and worthy of praise. I praised Him as though the healing might never come. (But of course it did… it always does. God promises that in His Word: Psalm 147:3).  I prayed and prayed for my husband to come home but the Lord chose not to answer my prayer. And you know what? His worthiness is not dependent upon the outcome of my prayer. He is good and His faithfulness stretches across the skies. If you’re going through a crisis like I have been, I promise you there is Hope after devastation. There is hope even when our prayers aren’t being answered. Maybe it’s because God has something even better for you in store than you could ever have imagined for yourself!

So let go of all your fears, insecurities, and self-doubt and place them into the capable, loving hands of the Heavenly Father. Worrying is just a big waste of time and keeps you busy doing nothing productive. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do and being who God called you to be. Every good and perfect gift is from above and God wants to give you good things! Keep asking Him to bless you and He will not only bless you but use you to bless those around you!