Eighteen years ago I became a single mother. Lots of life has happened since then. Lots of really great life. Much of what I learned about God’s faithfulness to me was first discovered in this season of heartache.
Six weeks after my second son was born I became a statistic – one of over 2 million women raising children alone. My husband of six years announced without warning, and without a good reason he was leaving me. He abandoned me to chase a dream he could not define and left me to pick up the broken pieces of my own shattered dream.
As he walked out the door with his bags in hand, he took with him every ounce of confidence I had in myself. My spirit was crushed. I went from believing in myself to questioning everything about me. It’s amazing how much damage occurred in those short weeks. He shot a hole through my heart large enough to spill out every good thing I knew to be true. Battered and broken, my heart was crippled with self-doubt and I unwillingly joined the sisterhood of women dying to feel loved in a most unloving world.
The initial days and weeks following his departure were the toughest. Despite an army of friends coming to my rescue with words of encouragement and support, I felt lonelier and increasingly more rejected with each passing day. Seeing a perfect opportunity for emotional destruction, the enemy remained close enough to whisper how unloved and undesired I had become. I bought into the his propaganda – hook, line and sinker. He worked overtime on me, whispering persuading lies during a season of life when emotional vulnerability prevents you from seeing truth clearly. He stripped me of my self-worth and convinced me I had been forsaken by the one who once loved me. He enticed me into bondage and I agreeably followed.
I longed for the companionship of my husband, for the security of a provider and for the embrace of a man. I remember crying out to the Lord many nights for him to “fix” all of my problems, to bring my husband back and restore our marriage. Having been a believer for twenty years prior to this event, I thought God owed it to me to work this out. How could he let this happen to me? And how could I feel so desperate and so empty?
On the morning I first returned to work since the drama began, I stood in my bedroom trying to hold back the tears. Unsure of how I was going to get through the day feeling so wrecked, I selected a long, black skirt and heels that were supposed to trick my brain into feeling like going to work. Every movement was a conscious decision – breathing, walking, and blinking. At times, I willed my heart to continue its rhythm as every involuntary action had been paralyzed by sadness. My two-year-old son entered the room as I was getting dressed and pleaded repeatedly, “Spin, mommy, spin!” He liked to watch my skirt flow outward as I twirled around for him, pretending to be a dancer. Dutifully I spun around for him, trying to memorize the smile on his face that it might get me through the day. He sweetly giggled and I obliged him again and again. After three or four spins, dizziness overtook me and we both fell laughing on my bed. Laughter quickly turned to tears – and big ones. They were the kind of tears you can’t hold back even if you try because you don’t even know why you’re crying. Perhaps I had to make up for the last three minutes I had spent actually being happy since happiness seemed like a betrayal to my new prison of loneliness. A moment later, my son put his tiny arms around me and proclaimed through my tears, “Mommy, you’re my girl.”
I cannot describe the blessing in those words from that tiny voice. I was his mommy and he loved me no matter what. My little one didn’t care what I looked like, how smart I was, or where I had to be. I was his girl and I was loved by him.
I began to listen closer. “You’re my girl. You’re my girl. You’re my girl.” I listened until it was no longer the two year old voice talking to me, but the gentle, quiet spirit of the Father calling me out of my world of rejection and into His full acceptance where grace and mercy and unconditional love abound!
My life changed forever that day. For the first time since my husband left, I felt loved and cherished. I began to surrender my pain to the Father. He began an amazing work in my heart. He healed it, and then he claimed it for his own. As I pursued Him, he filled every hole and refined me. My longing for companionship with my husband was replaced with a sweet intimacy with the Father. The emptiness that imprisoned me was destroyed by the acceptance and affirmation of my King. I found what I was looking for – a love that lasts.
My husband never returned; and I was never the same. I was whole, complete and I was loved without a doubt. It wasn’t the ending I had envisioned but isn’t that just like the Father? The crazier the outcome, the more I’m convinced it is the hand of God. I learned the Father was more consumed with affirming HIS love for me than he was with a man’s affirmation of love for me. And this is a love to be treasured!
It is my testimony that when the Lord becomes the fountain of everything meaningful in your life – when He is your companion, your protector, your provider – you will never be lost or disappointed by what happens or doesn’t happen on your journey.
Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel who summons you by name.”
Thank you, my King, for those treasures of dark times, because now I know You are the One who calls me by name.