Happy Saturday, friends! 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 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.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
When I realized that my marriage was in trouble, some of my greatest fears were for my children. A friend shared this verse with me and I have held it as a precious promise ever since. I love to think of Jesus holding my babies close to his heart. When I have no idea how to handle a parenting challenge, I am comforted by the fact that He leads me. One of my favorite hymns speaks to this truth:
Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
-Joseph H. Gilmore
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
This verse sums up my prayer for you on this Monday morning. May you be greeted with a great sense of peace and may He direct your next step as you walk into the week ahead. Hold fast to the truth that His love for you will never change.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
I Corinthians 13:12
I Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter and it can be hard to read when you are walking through separation or divorce. The verses found there can cause you to wonder what it would be like to experience that kind of unconditional love and leave you with more questions than answers — unless you keep reading to the end. In verse twelve we find a beautiful promise: this imperfect world is not the end. Love doesn’t finish writing here. The life we live on this earth is just a dim reflection of the life we were created to live. Someday the questions will be answered. Someday we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are both fully known and fully loved.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
What a beautiful Word for a Wednesday morning. You are redeemed. You are called by name – fully known and fully loved. This week, this divorce, this struggle shall not consume you. Lift up your eyes and keep walking through the fire.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge —
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
My Pop Pop carried this scripture onto the battlefields of Europe during World War II and I memorized it in the KJV as a teenager. I have repeated it over and over again on days of varying degrees of calamity and fear throughout my life. Today I am taking my oldest son to the DMV to take his road test and hopefully (according to him) get his driver’s license. I have to be honest here — my mama heart is terrified.
Whether you are heading into the counselor’s office, a meeting with an attorney, or a face-to-face discussion with someone who has hurt you, I pray that you will carry these words with you today. The God of angel armies is by your side.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
There have been many days when I felt like I was losing my grip on hope. When I first began to realize that my marriage not be saved — that a redeemed marriage might not be part of my story — there were days that I felt like hope was lost. But the beautiful thing about Jesus, Who is our Hope, is that even when we let go of Hope, He never lets go of us. Rest in the assurance that if you feel too exhausted to hold onto Hope today, Hope can carry you.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
When are going through a separation or divorce in the church, you will hear a lot of statistics about children growing up in a single-parent home. These numbers always paint a grim and terrifying picture for a mother. They will tell you things like this:
“Your child is 5,000 more times likely to end up in prison.”
“Kids in single-parent homes are 1,000 times more likely to end up addicted to drugs and alcohol.”
“Girls raised by single moms are 500 times more likely to end up a teenage mom or 100 times more likely to fall prey to human trafficking.”
I wrote a letter to Christian leaders about using these stats from the pulpit about a year and a half ago (you can find it here). Here’s the truth: You build your house on Jesus. You cling to Him and He will not fail you. Jesus is bigger than all those scary statistics they try to throw at you. It won’t be easy. Single parenting is HARD and your kids will deal with things that kids in two-parent homes don’t have to deal with, but Jesus loves them even more than you do and He can walk them through this storm as well.
Don’t let the numbers get you down today. Keep doing the next right thing and Jesus will be faithful to bring you all safely Home.