As those closest to me already know, my story has been marked with suffering as I faced the death of my marriage. Yet, through it all, I found myself being held and sustained by my Lord. His grace has been sufficient for me. As Joni Eareckson Tada expressed through her own suffering, “There is nothing more sweet than finding Jesus right with you in the middle of your splashes of hell.”
I’m now ready to own and tell my story, to be vulnerable more publicly, for the benefit and encouragement of God’s church and to give God all the glory in my story. I will boast in my weaknesses so that the power of God may rest on me (). God has taught me several important lessons about Himself through the death of my marriage.
- God reigns. I’ve come to realize how powerless I am to control my situation. I am completely dependent on God for life. All of life is grace. There is no magic formula I can use to get God to do what I want. He doesn’t owe me anything. He is the potter, I am the clay. His ways are above my ways. His wisdom I can not comprehend. As Spurgeon explained, the sovereignty of God is the pillow on which to lay your head at night. In God’s strange providence, this has been His plan for me. I’ve learned to submit my will to God. As Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done.” God wants all of me. Through submission, God wanted to rule my heart. God wants my heart, not a perfect marriage or a ‘perfect’ Christian.
- God wants to be my treasure. I am a child of the living King and being married to Christ is my primary hope. Marriage to a spouse is good, but not the ultimate thing to live for. Life is all about the display of God’s glory. My source of joy is to be found in God himself, not in my circumstances. In my suffering, God was giving me an opportunity for me to display His supreme worth and value. As someone has said, if you have everything but don’t have Jesus, you have nothing. And if you have nothing but have Jesus, you have everything.
- The Lord walks before me. Christ Jesus came to this world to save sinners. He entered into this world because He was not ok with the brokenness. He wept over the misery of suffering and sin and then He acted. He was so deeply moved by the misery of sin that He had to intervene. Thomas Merton said, “In order to suffer without dwelling on our own affliction, we must think about a greater affliction, and turn to Christ on the Cross.” My suffering has been a kind reminder of the sufferings of Christ and has increased my hatred of sin. Sin is ugly and I am to hate the sin which put Jesus on the cross. Jesus entered this world to cover my guilt, nakedness, and shame.
- God gives grace to broken vessels. I am weak and I need grace every day. As one pastor put it, spiritual strength is the amount of grace I depend on in my weakness (). God showed me that I can do nothing apart from Him. He showed me that he uses broken vessels so that his power can be shown by complete dependence on him. I became profoundly aware of my need for grace. I’ve always known God’s grace, but not like this. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace can’t be earned. Grace reaches out to those who don’t have any righteousness of their own. Grace is for the broken. This. is. me. “Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the Cross I Cling.”
- God is love. God has shown me His love and grace through His church. The love of brothers and sisters in Christ was a tangible demonstration of the reality of God’s love (). Tangible love, from the elder who literally stood by me as I confronted a womanizer, to the friends that offered their presence and ears. Lovers of Jesus moved toward me when I felt unlovable. Their compassion towards me in my darkest hours reminded me of , “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” Tangible love, tangible grace.
- God is truthworthy. I found my faith in God’s love growing when I could not explain why. I have learned to trust Him even when I don’t understand. Perhaps that is the essence of faith. Believing he is trustworthy. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us (). The cross is the proof of His love. God who did not spare His Son for us, how will He not graciously give us all things… So, I cling to hope. It’s not a hope in my circumstances, it is hope in a person, my Savior. Why did God set his affection on me? I can’t explain it. God loves me because he does. He just does! My value and worth can’t be found anywhere else. While being loved by another person is great, the love of Jesus my Savior is just the most awesome thing in the world. I find my worth in being united to Christ. He is the solid rock on which I stand. He will resurrect my life in His time.
May you be encouraged to trust in the Lord through my story. Let us praise our Redeemer!
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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. (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (ESV)
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight. (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)