I stared blankly at the form in my hand. The words “Declaration of Homelessness” were written in bold font across the top of the page. Moments earlier the nice lady at the elementary school desk informed me if I didn’t have any bills or documents to prove we were residents of the district, the “Declaration of Homelessness” form was necessary before enrolling my children.
I swallowed hard and attempted to steady my hand as I filled in the blanks. Tears stung my eyes and blurred my vision. So this is what eleven years of faithful marriage had come to. Eleven years of following my military husband around the world, holding down the fort during deployments, washing his clothes, making his appointments, carrying his children, getting up early to make his breakfast, putting aside my own education to support his career — all of it had come down to this — my husband had chosen his mistress, one of my closest friends, over our family.
Now, I was a 30-year-old woman without a degree facing a life as a single mother of three, and apparently the state considered us homeless.
Homeless. What a waste. The enemy threw the words at me like daggers. The best years of your life are gone, and all you have to offer your children is a shared room in your parents’ two-bedroom townhouse, a mother who works the early shift at a coffee shop, and a school where they will wear a homeless label and eat free lunches. You — have — failed.
I still see myself sitting there in a green knit sundress fighting back my tears, my panic and my self-loathing, as I scribbled out answers and signatures. Even in that moment my mind searched wildly for hope. I fought to make sense of the pain and find value in the years I’d spent building the home someone else had torn apart. As was often the case in those early days, the only words I could manage to throw from the dark fog of my mind were, “Jesus, help!”
Over the following weeks, months and years, my Redeemer went to great lengths to teach me nothing is wasted in His hands. I soon fell in love with the promises found in Joel 2:25-26, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten … you will have plenty to eat until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will be people be shamed.”
As I worked full time and went to school, the Lord seemed to multiply my hours and bless my labor. Day by day He provided for our needs and within a year we were living in a home of our own. As I searched for purpose in my pain, I found my purpose in life. I discovered that my highest calling is to allow the people around me to see the hand of God as He proves His faithfulness over and over again in my messy life. Psalm 44:3 has become my battle cry —
It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
Perhaps you too are facing the agonizing death of a marriage today. Maybe the pain in your chest threatens to crush you, and the enemy is whispering lies as you search for the purpose in your tragedy. I see you. The enemy can’t steal your happily ever after — Jesus paid for it in full on the cross. Rest in the arms of your Redeemer. Nothing in His hands is ever wasted.