Moving Forward

For those of you just now stumbling upon my blog, welcome! It’s nice to “meet” you!

Foundations of Sapphires 

I started this blogging journey to chronicle my personal struggles with separation and divorce. Over time, it became a place of lighthearted venting about my dating escapades. I haven’t updated since last September which is the month I met my boyfriend!

YES! I have found love! (But more about that later.) Lately I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’ve neglected this blog because I’m no longer grieving the loss of my marriage or dealing with difficult decisions regarding that. I’m also no longer involved in online dating shenanigans so I’ve stopped writing about that as well. What other purpose does this blog serve than as a record of a broken woman who climbed out of the pit of despair and allowed Jesus to put her back together again? Jesus bulldozed my old foundation of abuse and hopelessness, threw the wreckage away, and rebuilt my structure on a foundation of sapphires- the symbol of faithfulness, wisdom, virtue, and true love. I’ve decided that this may or may not be my last entry as I wrap up this chapter of my life and move on to new horizons. I hope the words I’ve left here over the course the past five years can be of some help to you if you are going through a tough time and faced with many difficult decisions.

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I’m so blessed that we found one another. He showers me with affection in just the right way that fills up my heart with love. He consistently puts me before himself and brings me closer to my Heavenly Father.  I thank Him that He brought us together.

Overcoming my Past

Nearly five years after my husband left, I still feel like the same old me, but in a way, I am a new and improved version of myself. Through this experience, I have changed negative attitudes and developed a positive outlook, gained new perspectives, set new goals for the future, grown stronger in my faith, and become an individual that has more love and respect for myself. After years of biblical counseling and personal study, I can smell bull crap from a mile away and I don’t put up with it now, no Sir-Ree-Bob!

What I Have Learned in Dating After Divorce

  • Your new partner is NOT your ex. Just because something seems familiar doesn’t mean the same patterns are going to repeat themselves. I’ll admit that things were pretty difficult in the beginning of my relationship due to the trauma, brainwashing, and various types of abuse I experienced in my marriage, but I’ve learned to give these fears and burdens to God, open up my heart to love, and let myself be vulnerable. It feels so good to trust again.
  • I’ve learned to avoid saying things like, “You’re doing ‘X’ just like so-and-so used to do.” It’s important to share your feelings about the past abuse with your new partner, but try not to compare them because they are two different people with different personalities, values, behaviors, and life experiences. If you are genuinely concerned about your new partner’s actions, speak with a trusted friend, family member, or elder at your church to gain insight from someone who is emotionally removed from the situation.
  • Do not rely on your feelings! Feelings change so you cannot trust them. Every day we must choose to love the person we picked for who he is, not for how he makes us feel.
  • I used to believe that leaving a marriage for any reason other than adultery was sinful, but now I believe that God wants you to be safe. Even though my ex-husband was cruel and frighteningly unpredictable, I remained patiently committed, naively believing that my persistent, undying love would conquer all and that if I just stuck with it, we would eventually reap the “happily ever after” outcome of a healthy, mutually respectful, and intimate partnership.  Boy, was I delusional!
  • The abuse was NOT my fault. I can be pretty hard on myself as I’m a perfectionist, so I blamed myself for years for what happened to me but I learned that there was nothing I could have done to make the abuse stop except get out sooner. I was never going to leave so God provided a way of escape, as He always does for those who love Him.
  • Above all, I have learned to let God write my love story. I’ve given Him the reigns of my relationship and let the Perfect Lover teach me how to love and be loved. It is the most freeing experience to trust God that my life is in His hands and He loves me with an everlasting love. When I put Him first, my joy and sense of security come first, too.

Tips If You’re at the Beginning of Your Journey

  • Sometimes it’s hard to recognize abuse in your own relationship. Being able to call it by its name is the first step to stopping it. Abusers can’t abuse if they don’t have a victim! Abuse can be so subtle that you don’t even realize it’s happening or perhaps it’s gone on so long that it has become normative. Here are two resources I’ve found to assess whether or not you’re being abused: [One] [Two] Once you are able to acknowledge your situation for what it is, educate yourself about it. Knowledge is power.
  • Find accountability. This is your support network. It’s important to have people you love and trust in your corner. Speak the truth, no matter how scary it is. Personally, I struggled between my need to speak out about what was happening and my perceived need to  protect my abuser’s reputation and integrity. After you share your burden with others, it will be such a relief! Validation will empower you as you take the steps to make positive changes in your life.
  • Time will bear witness of true, heartfelt change. Your abuser will try to get you to come back once you are safely at a distance but don’t put yourself back in harm’s way unless you and other witnesses have seen serious change over a period of time. Abuse is not normal and you shouldn’t have to accept it.
  • Remember that you can still be who you want to be apart from him. You are deeply cherished because you belong to God and He has prepared a beautiful purpose for you even before you were born. If your relationship doesn’t survive, you still have a bright future ahead.

For further reading, please visit this library of resources I put together that helped me transition into this new stage of my life.

Thank you for joining me on my road to healing! This is not the end but the beginning of something new and beautiful!

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Singleness is NOT a Punishment!

From time to time you may hear an oft repeated adage that “You need to let God fulfill the desires of your heart before He will bring someone into your life to love.” I wanted to encourage you lest you begin to believe that somehow you must not be loving God enough: being content in your circumstances and placing God first in your life doesn’t necessarily imply that God will bring you your future spouse; it’s not an equation. One does not inevitably follow the other in sequence. So please don’t worry that because you’re single that you must be doing something wrong. Believing this misinformation will only bring shame and feelings of inadequacy.

Well-meaning friends and family have all kinds of explanations and advice for why we are still single. I can hear the echoes in my head now: “Perhaps God is teaching you to rest in His promises and fully rely on His provision” or “Perhaps He is teaching you to completely surrender.” Perhaps those things are true but God isn’t punishing you by withholding a good thing because you aren’t yet “good enough” for the blessing.

Regardless of the reason I find myself alone, I know one thing is true: God is drawing me closer to Him and realigning my thinking about Him. One of things I’ve been learning is that I have been trying so hard to please Him when He is already well-pleased with me. Yes! If you have the blood of the Lamb covering your sins, God only sees absolute perfection when He gazes upon you, His beloved. In Hosea 2:19 He says to us, “I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” Like the twitterpated, smitten Prince in a fairy tale sweeps in to win the heart of his beloved, we too are pursued by our Lord who desires us and cherishes us deeply.

A friend told me recently, “Stop trying to make God proud.” At first that didn’t make much sense to me but I have since come to understand what he meant. Since childhood, I’ve endeavored to make my life a fragrant aroma to my King. We are called to be a living sacrifice to God so biblically this isn’t a wrong mindset but how often are we striving to serve God with the things that we DO? Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Instead of running to and fro doing this and that for the kingdom, what if we stopped and simply just enjoyed being WITH God in quiet stillness? Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Martha was busy scrambling around the house getting food prepared to serve Jesus while Mary was sprawled out comfortably at His feet soaking up His company.

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There’s nothing wrong with doing good things for God, as long as whatever you do, you do with all your heart as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). John 15:4 reminds us that we can’t bear fruit unless we are connected to the vine. All of our righteous deeds are useless unless they are done with the correct heart attitude. When we are abiding in Jesus Christ, all the hope, peace, joy, love, and guidance we need flows directly from Him.

So thank you, sweet reader, for joining me on this journey I find myself in. I know it can sometimes feel like it but singleness is not a punishment. In fact, I find it can be a blessing in many ways. The biggest blessing so far is more time to spend with God and serving others.

Why I’m Still Single

Don’t you hate it when guys say, “You’re amazing, BUT…” Oh that dreaded word “but” you always know he’s going to tack on at the end of that sentence. It’s so frustrating, right? Because if I’m so amazing then why the heck am I still single?

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “If only I were ____fill-in-the-blank___, then I wouldn’t be single?”

STOP IT.

There isn’t anything wrong with you.

The truth is, you could probably easily find someone right now to date… but you have high standards. You know the kind of person you’re looking for and you’re not going to settle. Don’t let the devil eat away at your self-esteem by making you believe you’re somehow “less than.” You know God desires someone for you who is your equal counterpart. Anyone who isn’t complementary is not appriopriate and is outside of His Divine will. (Genesis 2:18)

Relationships require a little bit of sacrifice and compromise but not so much that you no longer feel like the person God made you to be and certainly not any compromise that would build a wall between you and God.

If ever you start feeling discouraged about who, how, where, but mostly WHEN you’ll meet your future hubby or wifey, just remind yourself of these three things:

 

God is faithful. 

He has always been faithful in the past and He will be faithful to answer your prayers concerning a spouse.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. –Psalm 100:5

God is not finished with you.

God will never leave you for long without direction. He will comfort and renew you and guide you where He wants you to go. Stay faithful to the Lord even when you feel like settling. Trust that He’s working all things together for good. When you are running low on strength and it’s newborn baby season on your Facebook feed and you feel tempted to give up waiting, ask God for extra perseverance and for peace. I can’t promise that there is someone right around the corner for you but I can promise you that waiting for the right one is worth the wait and settling will only lead to heartache and regret. Keep obeying God for obedience’s sake out of love for God, not because obeying Him will result in blessings.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. –Hebrews 10:35-36

You’re a freaking unicorn.

That’s right, you heard me!

Because you’re made in the image of God, you have a beautiful purpose for your life, and you are dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe who sent His son to wash your sins clean and made you pure white as snow.

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