When I was talking with a new friend at lunch recently she asked me if I ever thought I would be single. I think to answer that question I have to say yes. I thought I would be single my entire life! Marriage was never something I desired at least not on the surface level. My dreams and goals in life were to climb the corporate ladder to be CEO of some huge corporation some day. I didn’t want “rug rats” as I used to call them when I babysat. I didn’t expect any man could handle me. I am strong, opinionated, stubborn, and I consider myself smarter than most men and just as capable as any man to do anything other than brute physical strength. So for me to say did I think I would be single at 43 I would say yes.
But that was 25 years ago. God had other plans for my life. God brought me a man to marry who seemed to be perfect for me. He was sweet and kind and loving and gentle. I then quit school and got married thinking I would go back to finish and continue on my career path as soon as the wedding was over. Again, God had other plans. He brought me a husband who desired children! So I gave up my life for his. I birthed his children and even became a stay at home mother when our oldest was 3. I gave up my career, my dreams, my desires for his. I then started homeschooling at his suggestion and went on to birth 5 more children.
Somewhere between the altar of marriage and the daily stuff that life is composed of we had problems. Things went way wrong. God wasn’t in our lives. He wasn’t in control and we were a huge mess. I’m sure we looked good to many people. My husband was financially successful and we traveled, even lived in Europe for a time. We had everything we could want…except what God wanted for us.
Six years ago it all fell apart. My husband announced he wanted a divorce and I was 7 months pregnant at the time. It was horrible. I had given everything to this man. I hadn’t worked outside the home in years and now he wasn’t happy with all my sacrifices and he was leaving me with 3 kids and one on the way? What would I do? I cried out to God. God…help me. I can’t do this. I turned it over to God and let Him lead me. He told me to die to myself. I thought I had done that. I had given up my dreams and goals in life but I was resentful of it. This wasn’t my life it was the life my husband wanted.
That was probably the hardest thing I had to do. I gave up my happiness and possibilities for it and I focused on serving my husband. My happiness was no longer an issue. God showed me that the wife can win her husband without even a word and he told me to stay, to love and to keep my mouth shut. That was hard. But I did and our marriage changed. My husband changed and our marriage was restored. My husband then decided we should minister to others who were in our situation. We became marriage mentors at our church. We were told we would be a showcase couple that others would want to pattern their marriages after. We still had problems but we had come so far. We were both dedicated to our marriage and each other and there was love and joy that hadn’t existed in years.
Then it happened. God allowed my world to come crashing down. At this point in my life, I had accepted my role as wife and mother. I knew what I was supposed to be and rather than fighting it I embraced it. I knew that God wanted me to be a submissive wife and not strong-willed and stubborn. God had done so much work in my heart to make me into a loving wife and mother. Things were good. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and I wasn’t angry and resentful about doing it. Then on Valentine’s Day, my husband walked into the closet and put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. In that instant, my life shattered.
All this time and preparation God had done to make me want to be a wife and mother and now it’s gone. I’m no longer a wife. God, you worked hard to make me a good wife. You worked hard to make me WANT to be a good wife. You took me through so much and now that I know how to be a good wife I’m no longer a wife? I don’t understand. Why God? Why did you do this to me? Why did you let this happen to me?
God and I have spent a lot of time talking about these things over the past year and there are a couple of things that He has said to me. I put my husband before God in my life. I even told God that one day. I said, “God I know I should love you first but I don’t. I love my husband. He’s here and he’s real and I can feel his love. I can’t feel yours. I know that’s wrong. Help me love you more.” I won’t say God took my husband away because of that but the problem was certainly resolved in his death. I put God first. I had no one else to turn to except God and my relationship with God became what it was supposed to be because of my husband’s death.
God wanted my children. I asked Him if He knew everything why He would allow me to marry and have six kids only to wind up a widowed mother of six. God said, “I wanted the kids”. Wow. Really? He says He has plans for every one of them and that without my marriage and giving birth to them He couldn’t have them. He said He has plans for me too. He said that He is going to take all this stuff I’ve been through and use it for His glory! Wow. Really?
So if you asked me 25 years ago if I thought I would be single at this point in time I would have said yes. If you asked me 2 years ago if I thought I would be single at this point in time I would have said no. You see…God is God and I am not. He knows what it’s going to take in my life to get me where He wants me to be not where I think I should be. He’s going to do whatever it takes to get me there. I only have to do my part and it’s simple. All I have to do is obey Him. I can do things the easy way or the hard way. I can obey immediately, completely and with the right attitude or I can refuse to obey. When I refuse He takes me though things that may be harder than what I would have walked through if I had obeyed him. I’m pretty stubborn. It took a lot for God to get me where He wanted me but He’s got my full attention now. I’ve learned to listen for His voice and follow Him even when it makes no sense to me.
God will never leave me nor forsake me. He is my shepherd. He takes care of me. He provides for me. He loves me. When I had to walk out last year God gave me a verse to cling to. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
He’s there for you too. God the father is there to love you. Jesus his son gave his life to redeem you and the Holy Spirit is there to fill you with everything you need. All you have to do is submit to His will and let Him have it all. When you do, you will finally know what abundant life is.