Everyone has a story. It’s the vehicle in life that sets us apart making us indescribably unique. It’s the instrument through which we receive our greatest joys and the container which holds our gravest sorrows. But from God’s perspective, our story is much like an incubator, serving as the most favorable temperature for development in becoming more like Jesus Christ.
At thirty-four years of age, I found myself single again after my husband left me. It wasn’t news to him that our marriage was in grave danger, but it was to me. Heartbroken with a two and a four-year-old in hand, I sat devastated at 5 o’clock in the morning on the white chair in my dining room with the navy blue wallpaper. God invaded my darkness when the sun peaked its rays over the roof of the house across the street. Its light beamed down on my darkness, much like a flashlight aims at its target. His words came to me ever so clearly, Pam, I’m going to raise you up to speak to thousands of women of what My grace and power can do through a single mom fully yielded to Me.
That was over twenty-five years ago. And He has done just that! Women wonder if God still speaks to earthlings, revealing His future plan. HE DOES, but often that wooing feels most real when our hopes are dashed against the rocks of disappointment.
My story has two chapters. Part 1 – Marriage to my first husband, and Part 2 – Marriage to my awesome, generous and humble second husband, Rich. Since God’s called me to a single moms’ ministry, I’ll share tidbits of Part 1.
I remember the days as a single parent when I’d wake up wondering if the two-year separation and divorce were a bad dream. I remember when my former husband announced that he was marrying a woman whom I had been her counselor and pen pal at Kanakuk camp. I remember when my heart melted every time I looked at him because I still loved him. I remember when I dreaded the children’s back-to-school night for “parents” (plural), where I would be walking into the building as a divorced mom. I remember when his grandmother told me I’d love his new wife because she was just like me. Friend, if you’re a single mom with a heartbreaking past, I’m sure you have your own “I remember when’s.”
However, above all, I’ve come to know that God takes the pain of our losses and the ashes of our dreams and interweaves them into something inexpressibly beautiful. That’s been my heavenly Father’s job all along – to lead me to say, “My divorce was the worst/best thing that ever happened to me.” Worst – in that it totally redefined the way I do life. And best – in that it allowed me to know the REAL Jesus: sustainer, comforter, provider, companion, lover of my soul.
I call myself “seasoned” in that I’m now seeing my divorce through the lens of watching my two children, Jason and Sara, have babies of their own. Has the breakup of the first marriage affected them as adults? Yes. Has it sharpened them in making deliberate choices to keep their marriages strong? Yes. Has it allowed me to see the unbelievable faithfulness of God in the midst of all the transitions? Yes. I rejoice with my feet kicking high in the air that God’s Word is true. As moms when we abandon ourselves to God’s ways and fall under the influence of His Holy Spirit, God allows us to experience the reality of His greatest motherly promise, “And your children will rise up and call you blessed.” – Proverbs 31:28
Some folks are people watchers. Others are sale watchers. As for me, I’m a story watcher. So with that in mind, I’m embracing life one day at a time, seeking lessons to be learned as my own circumstances unfold one by one. Life is challenging, but oh how I’ve witnessed that His load is light.
I have a personal mission statement that thrills me. Chills me. Drives me. Empowers me. It’s one that beams out of my innermost being: LET – IT – SHINE. I’ve discovered that I can shine or not shine. I can make a difference or not make a difference. I can leave a legacy or not leave a legacy. The choice is mine. Life is short. Eternity is long.
What we do with our stories is our choice!