Damaged by divorce: Restored by grace


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Christian marriages are not immune from divorce. It happens much too often. Marriage is an institution established and ordained by God. The marriage union between man and woman mirrors the relationship between Christ and His bride, which is the Church. (Ephesians 5)

My husband and I have both been through divorce in the past, but by the grace of God we were forgiven for the mistakes we made in past relationships. God brought us together and He has have given us an opportunity to serve Him as missionaries. We also try to use our past experiences to minister to others with similar experiences.

Read more about this in the article, “Damaged by Divorce & Restored by Grace“. I wrote this article for startmarriageright.com.

His Little Girl


I love the song; You’re My Little Girl by the band, Go Fish. Jason, one of the band members wrote this song for his wife. While they were still dating, she told him about her parent’s divorce and how much that had hurt her. Jason wanted her to know that no matter what she was going through or how others may hurt her, God is always there and He loves and protects her because she is His child — His little girl.

The first time I heard this song, I didn’t know the history behind it but it ministered to me for the same reason that he wrote the song. My parents divorced when I was sixteen. The pain and confusion over that event affected me for many years. Life changed dramatically at the moment that they announced their plans to divorce. My world seemed to turn upside down and for many years it just seemed to spiral out of control and way off course. I don’t blame my parent’s divorce for my world being out of control for so many years. The divorce was not my choice and it did change the course of  life… at least as I had thought it would be, but it was my own bad choices after that point that caused me pain.

I love the message of this song because it reminds me that I am a child of God. I’m His little girl, so no matter what this life hits me with, I can run to Him because that’s what little girls do when they are hurt, or scared, or confused, or sad. Daddy is always there to pick them up and wipe away their tears and daddy can protect his little girl from anything.

Throughout my life, I tried to use relationships to fill a void. In the end, these relationships caused more pain because of emotional and even some physical abuse. During these difficult years in my life, I didn’t fully understand that I had a heavenly Father waiting with open arms to comfort and protect His little girl. By the time I did run to Him, I was a frightened, emotionally damaged little girl who had lost what little self-worth I ever had. It has taken me years to learn that God sees me as His child, His little girl… the apple of His eye.

“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—”  Zachariah 2:8

Do you understand the message of this scripture? God is saying, “anyone who dares to touch my little girl is hurting my most precious possession”. Even an earthly dad would not allow someone to hurt their little girl, so how great is it to know that we are a child of God.

Have you been hurt by someone else? Perhaps someone you love has abandoned you in some way. Perhaps you felt the fear and pain of abuse. Maybe your spouse has betrayed you in some way. Maybe you are like me and your lack of self-worth prevents you from understanding that God sees you as the beautiful child that you truly are. If your self-worth depends on the approval of others such as your parents, your friends, or your spouse… you will only find disappointment. Only God can heal the hurt that someone else has caused and only He can love you the way that you need to be loved. He will protect you and never abandon you… because You’re His Little Girl.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

Let Go


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I can relate to the words of Lindsay McCaul’s song, Let Go. So many times in my life, I held on to things far too long… things that weighed me down… things that made life more difficult. Why is it that we find it hard to let go and allow God to carry the things in life that are too much for us to handle? Nothing is too big, too heavy, or too hard for God, so why do we hurt ourselves when He stands there waiting for us to let go?

My husband is a big, strong guy and he can lift and carry a lot more weight than I can, so when there is heavy lifting to do, he handles that for me. I have some problems with my back and neck that actually makes it even more difficult for me to lift or carry anything of substantial weight. However at times I will lift heavy items on my own instead of depending on my husband and when I do this I usually end up with back pain. My husband reminds me that He would have taken care of the lifting if only I would just allow him. He is strong enough to do the lifting and to carry the heavy stuff with little effort, so He wonders why I don’t just let things go and let him take care of it.

In the same way that my husband is willing to make things easier for me and to help me avoid pain by carrying the load, God stands waiting and willing to carry our burdens, if we will only, let go. My husband can take care of the physically heavy stuff for me, if I let go and hand it over to him. God can take care of all the heavy stuff that others may not even be aware of. There are things in life that we hold on to and attempt to carry that can hurt us much deeper than just causing physical pain.

For many years, I had things in my life that was weighing me down. I was a single mom with a low paying job. I worried about finances and how I was going to pay the bills. I worried about my children because I knew that they were affected by every poor choice I had made. I was lonely, so I tried to fill the void with unhealthy and ungodly relationships. I was angry at people in my past that had hurt my children and me. I was angry at myself for allowing my life to get so out of control. I was ashamed of the person that I saw in the mirror. I was disappointed that life had not turned out as I had planned. I reached a point that I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and I felt that I could not take another step. I could no longer handle the weight of the load I was carrying.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   Phil.4:6-7

I knew the Lord during this time of my life. I was a child of God, but for some reason I refused to let go of the worry, the anger, the guilt, the disappointment, and the shame. Instead of letting go, I stumbled through life with this heavy load and I endured the pain. When I finally fell on my face in exhaustion, I cried out to God and asked Him to please take the burden off me. I remember the feeling of peace that I felt the moment I finally let go and gave it all to Him. Since that day in 2002, life has been so much easier. Life is not worry-free, nor is it pain-free, but life is easier because I’m not weighed down by things of the past or by things that I have no control over. I have peace because I know that God now carries all my concerns about my children, my finances, and my future. Since I let go, God has taken away the anger, the guilt, and the shame of my past. I no longer feel lonely because I walk with God and He assures me that He will never leave me alone.

Are you holding on to something that you need to allow God to carry for you? Let go and give it to Him. God can carry any load that you have. He carries mine and He can handle yours also. You can trust God to take care of your loved ones. He loves them more than you ever can. You can trust God with your worries about the future because He holds tomorrow. Let go and give him your worries, your grief, your pain, your bitterness, your anger, your unforgiveness, your guilt and shame.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

God desires to carry our burdens but we must first let go. He will not pry open our hands and take things from us, but He does gently cradle our hands and assure us that everything is ok and that we can let go and place things in His hands. God wants us to trust Him with all we have… no matter how large or how small. It’s time to LET GO.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Damaged Hard Drive


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This morning I was trying to access files that I had saved on an external hard drive. The device would not open but instead just gave me error messages each time I attempted to plug it into the USB port on my laptop.

I’m not a computer expert but I’m “tech savvy” enough to know what questions to ask, so I searched the Internet to get answers from those who are “experts”. I’m pretty good at following directions and I can usually fix most technical issues with just a little expert advice and clear instructions. However, that was not the case today — I’m still working on this issue.

The point is: As I searched for answers to why I was getting these error messages, I consistently saw the same words appear in my search results: “damaged”, “corrupt”, “recover”, “restore”. As I read these words, I wasn’t thinking about the damaged hard drive or the corrupted files any longer. These words described me — but not just me. These words describe all of us. We are all broken and have suffered damage in one way or another. Some have suffered more than others and their damage may be visible for all to see. In many cases however, we can’t see the damage that has been done to others. They carry their scars deep inside and do their best to hide the damage from outsiders.

When I picked up that storage device this morning, it looked as if it were in perfect condition. There were no visible signs of damage. However, even though the device can still be read and it is possible to see that there are files stored on it, it does not function properly. Because of some corrupted files or damage to the partition, the device no longer serves its intended purpose. In order for this hard drive to work as a storage device once again, the corrupted files have to be cleaned up, and the damaged partition has to be repaired. All of this is done by running recovery programs and if the recovery process is successful, then it is possible to restore the data.

This may not be a completely accurate explanation of the technical recovery process but it’s a pretty accurate description of the spiritual process of recovery and restoration. If our lives are filled with corruption, we can’t be spiritually or even physically healthy. When we attempt to function in life as damaged vessels, we can’t fulfill the purpose for which God created us. The good news is: He can and will clean us up, He will repair the broken parts, He will help us to recover from the hurts, and He will restore us to a place where we can fulfill our purpose in life.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3

I don’t know if there is hope for my damaged hard drive, but I know without a doubt that with GOD there is HOPE for you and for me because He does not discard the broken pieces. He molds and shapes us into the person He created us to be.

 “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand,… ”  Jeremiah 18:6

Dear 16 year old me


206468_1063012942220_8031215_nHi there, it’s been a long time. It’s been 34 years since… well, since I was you. I’m sorry that I’ve taken so long to write but I thought it was time that I contacted you to tell you how life has turned out so far and to try share a little of the wisdom that I’ve gained over the years.

First, I want to tell you that I know how you feel about yourself and I want you to try to learn to love yourself. You really are a very special person and you have a lot to offer. Don’t sit on the sidelines so much. Try new things, take a few risks and don’t be afraid of failure. It’s okay to fall down; it’s okay to make mistakes, just don’t give up. Please stop comparing yourself to others. Learn to like what you see in the mirror or better yet, get a new mirror because you are seeing a distorted image… you aren’t seeing yourself the way others see you. Life will be much easier for you once you learn to do these things. To be honest, 34 years later, you are still working on this but you have come a long way.

I know you are hurting right now. Life seems really hard and it’s not fair. Your parent’s divorce felt like the ground crumbled beneath your feet. All the safety and security of home was taken away from you but you and your brother and sisters will get through this eventually. This event does shape your life in many ways, as does every other experience, but your feet will find stable ground again.

You will someday understand that your parents did the best they knew how to do. Try to spend as much time as you can with your momma and daddy. They will be with you for many years but your momma will go to be with the Lord much sooner than you are ready to let her go. After she is gone, you will think of many things that you want to say to her and there will be many questions you want to ask, so make sure you do that while you can.

Prepare yourself, because life is about to take another drastic change. You will soon be married. I guess you needed to grab onto something after the divorce and this relationship was convenient. In less than a year, you will be a mom… yes, soon after you turn 17; you will become the mom of a beautiful little girl.

I wish I could tell you that life is wonderful from now on and you live happily ever after, but you will experience divorce again… this time, it will be your own. There will be other bad relationships as well. There will also be some very good times. You will have another baby girl in 1984 and a baby boy in 1986. Enjoy your children. They will always be a source of joy and comfort for you.

A part of me wants to warn you of all the situations and people that will cause you pain so you can avoid them. but I know that you must travel the same journey that I’ve already traveled. You will go through times when you don’t want to face another day… but God has His hand on you and He has a purpose for you, so remember this at those times when the depression drags you so deep into those dark pits that you can’t see a way out. Remember this when you go through sleepless nights worrying about your children or about how you are going to get through another day.

Many years from now, when you are 40, God will bring you to a difficult place; A place where you will have to make a decision to either try to continue to live life depending on your own abilities or to depend completely on Him. Remember this scripture: “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). God will use this verse during this time to speak to you. At this point, your life will begin to change in wonderful ways.

I wish I could tell you how to avoid the difficult times and to spare you so many nights of crying yourself to sleep, but if I did that, it would change who I am and where I am today. Although some parts of your life will be hard, it’s this journey which  you must travel that will make you the person that God created you to be.

This is what I want you to know about the person you will become.  Every hurt, every scar, every experience, good and bad has shaped me into the person that I am today. The journey was not always easy, but even during the bad times; there were wonderful blessings, such as my children. This journey eventually intersects with the path of a wonderful godly man who is now my husband. I know it’s hard right now to think so far into the future but just try to remember whenever times are hard that God has a plan for you and it’s worth every tear and every rough spot in the road.

With much love,

Darlene (50 years old)

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