Saturday, August 9, 2014

12 Years Post Divorce - God Is Faithful

Although I don't celebrate divorce, I have celebrated God's faithfulness to me every year since mine, and this month marks 12 years of living on my own. Some years have been especially difficultjoblessness, physical challenges, stupid personal choices and troubling realities beyond my control. But the good years have outnumbered the bad, and for that I'm truly grateful. As I've said before, in feast or in famine, three things get me through life: Faith, Family and Friends.


Without question, God has blessed me with wonderful FRIENDS. Some live near; some live far. Some are old; some are new. But all have made this journey a little easier in some way. A meaningful card, a caring phone call, a timely text message. Lunch, dinner, breakfast. Even if we only shared a cup of coffee, your outstretched hands meant more than I can say, and I am honored to call you friend.

Thanksgiving - 2013

Having a FAMILY to love and listen when times are hard is something money cannot buy, of course, and I'm beyond grateful for mine. Each member holds a special place in my heart.

2002

My parents have always epitomized unconditional lovemeaning they haven't always agreed with my choices in life, but they have always loved me, and have always been there for me when I was in need. I have given that same kind of love to my child, and no child should ever be without it.

After my divorce, Mom and Dad were pillars of strength. Not only did they open their arms, but when things didn't go as I had planned, they opened their home. Day, after gloomy day, while I tried to focus and get my footing, they reassured me that the rain wouldn't last forever. The clouds would surely part. The sun would shine again. Sometimes you just have to walk by FAITH.


And walk by FAITH, I did. My journals tell the story. I revisited them this week.

When days turned into months, and I couldn't find a job, I wrote of how faithful God is. When I was barely making enough money to put food on my table, I wrote of how faithful God is. When disappointments came, I wrote of how faithful God is. When I felt betrayed by those I trusted, I wrote of how faithful God is. No matter how bleak the days were—and there were many bleak, bleak daysI was never without hope, as long as I had my FAITH

2002

And my FAITH didn't go unrewarded, of courseAs the old hymn says, "All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!" I don't know what my journey would look like without my FAITH, but I know how favored it's been because of it. 

2002

Likewise, I don't know what my life would look like without my two sisters, but how rich it's been because of them! They are like giant sequoias in life's national forest, rooted deep and soaring skyward. Even in the midst of their own battles, they still lift my head when needed and help me find courage to fight another day.

We all need words of encouragement sometimes, and when you hear them from someone who has faced and fought their own fires of adversity, they aren't just hollow words, my friend. You can take them to the bank.


Of course, my journey would've been much lonelier without my beloved Leslie at my side. Her very existence kept me going when death seemed less painful. She is truly God's gift to me, and I love her without measure.

Regardless of why parents divorce, all children are innocent victims, often taking on roles they weren't intended to play, and their struggles can last a lifetime. It's easy for both parents to lose sight of that. One parent is usually focused on self-survival, while the other parent is usually just focused on self. In both cases, the children get lost in the rubble, like war torn refugees.

After it became clear that Leslie and I would be living on our own, she made this poignant collage for me pictured below. She was 16 at the time. Today, it hangs in my bathroom and is a priceless treasure.


If you look closely, near the bottom, you'll see the words, "You can lean on me." I remember the day she gave it to me, and how my heart ached and tears welled up in my eyes when reading those five little words. In fact, tears still come when I read them. Why? Because no child should ever feel the need to shoulder the load of a parent.

2003

Undoubtedly, I could have been a better mother during the stormy years following my divorce. More times than not, I was flying by the seat of my pants, with the wipers on high, trying to see the road and stay out of the ditches. And although that doesn't excuse any failings on my part, I can't change what happened in the pastnone of us can. All I can do is focus on today.

Photo by: Megan Ella Photography

Yes, Leslie is grown and has become a strong woman in many way, but she still needs her mother. I never realized just how much until recently, and I want to take whatever steps necessary to be the best mother I can possibly be. In the words of Mother Theresa, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

Photos by: Megan Ella Photography

If you know me at all, you know that becoming a grandmother last year added meaning to my life in countless ways, not to mention more joy than one heart can old.

Like most mothers and prospective grandmothers, I suppose, I had hoped a husband (to love, protect and provide) would be a part of my daughter's baby plans, but from the moment I heard the heartbeat of the child she carried, I knew grand-parenting would be a breathtaking experience for me.


And I was right, of course. Loving Audrey Emeline is like no love I've ever known. Whenever she's with me, any burdens I'm carrying are merely feathers in the wind. No, I can't shield her from storms (just like I couldn't shield my own child), but I can be a godly grandmother of FAITH, who prays for her every day, and offers a soft place to fall if she ever needs to come running.

♦    ♦    ♦

And that bring us to August 2014.

As of today, I have a great-paying job, live in a nice house and drive a car that I paid for. I don't know what tomorrow holds, of course, but wherever it leads, my FAITH will go with meand hopefully, friends and family, too. ☺


Someone recently suggested (for the umpteenth time) that I get married again. I admit that 12 years is a long time to make your own coffee and drive your own self, but I'm pretty sure that marrying again isn't something I want to do. However, for the sake of this blog (that just might never end) let's pretend that it is. We have the issue of where to look.

Oh, I've had dates and some would-be suitors, but for the most part, women my age aren't a hot commodity in the dating sceneand quite frankly, men my age aren't such a hot prize either. However, for the sake of this blog (that's becoming a novel as I type) let's pretend that none of that is true.

And let's also pretendsince we've now officially entered the land of make-believethat there is a castle filled with handsome kings who all want to marry me. We then have the issue of what I'm looking for. And therein, my friends, lies the real rub: I have no idea.

I mean, it varies from day to day, depending on my mood, my desires, or my immediate need or crisis. One day, it's a carpenter, the next day, it's a chef. One day a mechanic, the next day a masseur. The other night, after helplessly watching a butter knife go clanging down the kitchen sink, a pea trap expert sounded mighty good to me. (Are you getting my drift here?)

And of course, when twin sister and brother-in-law board Cloud Nine and head to faraway places, the only man I'm interested in is a financially sound one, with a penchant for travel and a big RV.


Perhaps I'm over-thinking thingsas I have a tendency to dobut the way I see it, until I can firmly nail down what I want in a man, I should continue making my own coffee and driving my own self. Maybe in another 12 years, I'll have figured it all out. ♦


Linking with Spiritual Sundays.

22 comments:

  1. Loved your story and how you have overcome with Faith in Jesus

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  2. Gayle, thank you for your sharing this candid synopsis of your life for the past twelve years. I have never been there so I can only imagine. How great it is that you have this wonderful support system and your faith in God is quite evident. And because of your faith, I am pretty sure if there is a man out there for you, the Lord will bring you together one way or another...and you will know it's right!

    Many blessings to you!

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  3. What a great place to be. We must take our needs to the Lord first, even when we DO have a spouse.
    I was single for about 9 years, and became very happy being single. I remember the day I said, "Lord, I am happy being single. With parenting, working and home maintenance, I do NOT have the energy for a man in my life. But if that is Your will, so be it. But you're gonna have to put him right in front of me, because I am NOT looking!"
    And soon thereafter, He did.
    He is indeed faithful.

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    1. I'm glad your man found you, Carol, and those are my sentiments exactly. If he's out there, he'll have to find me. :-)

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  4. Thank you Gayle for stopping by my blog and your wishes on our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary. I love your blog and your style of writing: honesty mixed with humor and lots of praise for Him. Delightful. How blessed you were and are to have such a wonderful support system of friends and family. Congratulations on being a grandmother. Have a blessed day.

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  5. This is a post which will give hope to every woman out there who is alone. God is faithful to get us through the darkest times which we think we can never survive. What a blessing for you to now have the joy of another generation to love on & show His love. May He continue to be with you & bless you!

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  6. I too, enjoyed your honesty. Sometimes I sit here and make all sorts of plans, then I remind myself that we have no idea what the future will be like. But God does...so glad you are doing well!

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  7. Can you imagine your journey without faith? It's such a beautiful story of how God was with you through the journey. I love the song, "Great is Thy Faithfulness' and you've proven the words. ~Pamela

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  8. I can't imagine being in your shoes, and certainly can't imagine going through it without faith in God! You are a shining example of what it means to keep the faith. I'm honored to be not only your friend but your identical twin sister. Love you beyond words!

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  9. P.S. Any man would be lucky to have you by his side, and if I have a say in it, go for the RVer!

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    1. Y'all be on the lookout for me at all those campsites. Wink.

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  10. It's always great to look back and see how God's timing is perfect & every trial so refining with more beauty coming forth & the pain forgotten.... That my friend is YOU!! So glad I've been a small part of your journey. We should get together more often- you are so close.

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    1. We should, Melissa. Working full-time and having family makes it hard though. I'm thankful our paths crossed and that we've stayed in touch. You have a special family.

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  11. Your blog was worth reading several times today and I read it four. It's such an inspiration to those in situations similar to yours. It's also an inspiration to those who are going through difficult times not related to divorce. Thank you so much for slapping me in the face so I start clinging to faith and hope no matter what may be happening or what the future holds. Too often we feel helpless and hopeless instead of keeping the faith and trusting God that things will work out just as He had planned. I WILL find that faith again. Love you so much. Don't let anyone pressure you on the re-marriage issue. If and when it's God's plan, you'll meet the person God intendeded for you.

    Thanks for posting from your heart. I love you dearly.

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    1. I love you sister friend. I'm thankful I could point you toward faith. It's the opposite of fear, you know. Hugs!

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  12. Ok, this is a bit wordy...Ms. Gayle, what an honor it is to be mentioned amongst the ranks of friend. Since or first meeting some 7 years ago I've always admired you as a woman of faith, strength, character, and class. And as a child if divorce I always admire how you "get it" as a parent and your relationship with Leslie is a shining example. I read your blogs as often as I remember, sometimes reading several at a time to catch up! Each time I am uplifted and encouraged to continue my own journey in life. And as I read your blog today I was reminded of these few things: God truly has been, and always is, faithful. You apparently do not age (well at least the last seven years!). When you call someone friend you mean it, period. And last, but not least, Leslie has a penchant for hairstyle changes like no other! So as this year goes in the history books as a remembrance of God's faithfulness, I look forward to not only many more years of friendship, but also all that our Father has in store for you, His beloved daughter!

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    1. Thank you for your gracious words, James. You're a special young man. And yes, Leslie has kept me guessing on the hairstyles...and color! I didn't post pics of when she came home with cranberry locks. Oh, my. Never boring.

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  13. From the first time I visited this blog I "read" you as a very strong woman who was independent yet still soft, traditional, and more than anything faithful. I haven't changed my opinion one iota. I really love your love of family. It's my favorite thing about you and Dayle.

    This was such a wonderful post to read. You inspire me more than you know.

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    1. Thank you for those gracious words, Debbie. You inspire me as well.

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  14. What do people do who don't know the Lord, don't have Him to lean on? And what do people do who don't have beautiful, strong, virtuous daughters to lean on, too?

    Through it all
    Through it all
    I've learned to depend upon His Word.

    Hugs and love,
    Kelley

    P.S. Mother has been divorced from Daddy for 30 years. On her refrigerator is a sign that says something like this: "There's not a man out there deserving of me!" LOL!

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    1. I love your mother's sign, Kelley!!

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  15. Your words are beautiful. Honest, it had to be this long!

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