This month I am writing a series on Instagram for women going through separation or divorce. Each day I post a verse or two of scripture and a short reflection. On Saturdays I will post the full week here for those who aren’t into Instagram (cause I hear these people do exist). Day 1 and a short introduction to the series can be found here.
The Lord is my light and my salvation —
Who shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life —
Of whom shall I be afraid?
I believe that fear is a common emotion in women experiencing separation and divorce. You may fear the financial strain when the numbers are just not adding up.
Perhaps the voices around you have filled you with fear for your children. Kids from single-parent homes never grow up to be well-adjusted, kind, and productive members of society, right?
Maybe you fear what will happen when your family and friends discover that your life and marriage are not as picture perfect as they believed.
Or perhaps you are simply afraid of being alone.
I am here to testify that Jesus can handle every one of those concerns. He is bigger than debt, stronger than statistics, closer than a brother, and He will never leave you alone. He spent some time in the garden of Gethsemane and He knows the fear that shakes your heart. He doesn’t expect you to simply decide not to be afraid. In the early days of my separation I wrote these words as a status on Facebook,
Fear is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the decision to take the next step anyway. That might just mean that you get up out of bed and brush your teeth. Maybe you put your shoes on and go to your son’s soccer game even though you would rather hide in your closet. Perhaps it means that it’s time to tell your sister what is going on in your life.
Do the next thing today — even if you are afraid. You are not alone. Jesus is pleading for you before the throne of the Father and I am cheering you on.
“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
If your heart is wrung dry by questions of custody and financial concerns, remember today that He is mighty to save. If you feel ugly, worthless, and cast aside, remember that He delights in you. If your mind won’t stop going over all the times you missed the signs of infidelity or analyzing your life together, He will quiet you with His love. He rejoices over you with singing, sister. Repeat these words as necessary today:
“He is might to save.”
“He takes great delight in me”
“He will quiet me with His love.”
“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 my people be shamed.”
Joel 2:25a & 26
It is hard to escape the feelings of shame and despair when life is crumbling around you. Separation and divorce can leave you wondering if you wasted your best years. As you walk through today, remember that nothing is wasted in the hands of your God. He didn’t fall asleep and wake up to find you fighting a losing battle. He is working wonders for you — even in the silence.
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…”
When the person who promised to walk through life with me broke his promise, the enemy began to whisper lies to me, “Nothing in life is sure. There is nothing you can count on.” Thankfully, I already had this truth written on my heart — God cannot lie and He does not change. He is the anchor for my soul and my firm foundation. This is hope. This is why I get up and do the next thing. Rest here, friend.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
There is nothing quite like being rejected by a spouse to make you feel like the least attractive person on the face of the earth. Even if you don’t start questioning your weight and the size of your eyes, ears, or mouth, you probably wonder about your personality. Maybe you wish you were naturally more easy going or wonder if you had just been more organized if he would have loved you enough to stay.
I love these verses because they tell us that the God who created sunsets, the Alps, autumn leaves, and the rolling green hills of Ireland, also created us. He didn’t just create our physical bodies but He created our inmost beings. This means that He formed both your personality and your metabolism and He doesn’t make mistakes.
When you hear the lies, speak back the truth. You are beautiful and valuable – so valuable that Christ died for you.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
I don’t know about you, but I did a lot of crying out to Jesus when I was going through my separation and divorce. I just wanted Him to send me a big sign and show me His plan for my life and marriage. I may not be able to tell you what will happen with your marriage, but this verse tells us what His will is for today.
Give thanks. This is a simple act of obedience that doesn’t always feel so simple. Sometimes you need to sit down with a pencil and paper with the purpose of reflecting in gratitude. In my first year as a single mom, I learned to sit down on Saturdays and record seven things that I was grateful for during the previous week. I called the list “Seven on Saturday” and sometimes I wrote down huge things that God had provided for us and sometimes I wrote down the fact that I found pumpkin spice coffee next to the school supplies at Target. Some weeks it was much easier than others, but I always came out of the exercise feeling more content and peaceful.
I don’t think God tells us to do this because He wants our praise — He tells us to do this because He created our hearts and He knows that gratitude produces joy. So take a moment to day to go back over your week and think of the little things for which you can give thanks. Maybe it’s the smile on your son’s face after he scored a goal or your daughter’s test score. Maybe it’s that near miss at a stoplight that could have been a horrible wreck. I promise that He has shown you His grace all week long. You just need to go back and find it.
You cannot control your circumstances but you can control how you react to them. Choose today to react with a grateful heart.