Looking Back

Looking Back

There comes that day, when looking back is a good thing!!

It has been years since my divorces, and I still look back at times. They are few and far between, but after this long it feels so good to see how far I have come.

I remember those painful days. I remember the stabbing pains, the confusion, the worry. All of the emotions that divorce causes are nothing now. They are in the rear view mirror. And may I say, they are beyond the horizon.

It has taken me much longer that I expected to complete a couple of projects to help others called “Divorce to Healing: 31 Days of Healing and Wholeness”. I have been sitting on the book for over 4 months because I hit a wall with computer issues and believing I needed to retype all of it to complete the publishing process. So I just procrastinated.

I found other things to work on, but I needed to finish the book. I completed a Reading Plan for YouVersion’s Bible App, which has reached over 5200 people as of today. I am humbled to say that God has been so amazing with what He has given me, but He requires more.

So, yesterday I completed the review process for the written copy of the book and as of this moment, it is in the review process. I will be ordering a proof copy tomorrow. If all goes well, I should be ordering a few copies for personal distribution and it will be available for sale in a matter of days.

Today while reviewing the introduction and proof-reading, I was able to look back again and see how far I have come. I read my story to myself, and it encouraged me. As if I didn’t know the story already.

Taking the time to look back gave me such an appreciation for all those people God blessed me with to help me heal from my divorces. My family, friends, pastors, and just acquaintances I got to meet while going through the process. Most of all, God did His work in me. And for that, I am eternally greatful!!

Looking back, I see how God has fulfilled the promise in Romans 8:28, which says, “..28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I am living proof of that.

It is hard to see how God is going to use you and your divorce when you are going through it. Just like a swimmer can’t see what their final time will be or if they will win a medal, divorce is a learning and healing process that is working within you to make you a more complete person.

I know that usually for one party in the divorce, it is not what they want. Someone is willing to work towards keeping the marriage together, and the other party does not. I am sorry, but that is the sad truth.

But God can use it for good and will use you in ways He never could before, if you take the time to heal and let Him make you whole. Only He can do that. Only God can mend a broken heart. Let Him.

There will come that time, when you will look back. You will see the potholes you drove over, the ditches and valleys you had to 4-wheel through, and the traffic jams you had to sit through. It will be tough, but it will be easier as time and healing happens.

Let God do the work He wants to do in you so He can do His work through you to help others someday.

That is my story, and it can be yours too.

Storms

Storm

A free devotional called “Divorce to Healing: 31 Days of Healing and Wholeness” is available to all my readers here.

Most people reading this blog are in a storm, or coming out of one. For those of you that I am describing now, I want to tell you something vitally important. It is ok and it will get better. And I will prove it to you!!

First, storms in our lives are good for us. Now before I lose you and you click that x in the upper right-hand corner and cuss at me, hear me out.

Thunderstorms bring much needed rain. Without moisture, everything would perish. 50-65% of an adult is water. It is even up to 78% as a child. Water is the #1 most important element besides air that we MUST have or we will die. Period.

Storms in our lives, though sometimes with much damage, actually bring us what we need. It is in those times we can actually get replenished and refreshed through the struggles we must endure to get what we need. In some ways, God uses storms to bring what we need to survive. It is through the storms that we dig deep, hold on, and reach out for help.

How many times have you prayed to God because you feel like this storm you are experiencing can only be handled by Him? Guess what? God wants your attention and to bring your cares to Him.

Second, there is always a beginning, middle, and end to a storm. There has never been a hurricane, thunderstorm, typhoon, tornado, or any kind of weather phenomenon that has lasted very long in comparison to the length of our life. In 1 Kings 17-18, Elijah prayed that it not rain and it did not for 3 1/2 years. Even this extended drought ended.

Sometimes you can see the beginning of a storm from a long way off. You get a forecast days in advance so you can prepare. You may also be blindsided, caught in a downpour (typical for us here in Florida about 2:30pm) without an umbrella. In either case, there is a starting point to the storm.

No amount of preparation, anticipation, and vigilance will stop the storm from coming. You are in for it, and it is the time of testing. How you prepare and weather this storm will give you wisdom and strength for all the storms to come. Some big, Some small.

Remember the story in Matthew 8 when Jesus calmed the storm? He is there for you, but you need to go to Him if you want Him to calm it. Are you afraid of the future? Are you scared you may not survive this storm? Go to Jesus.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus could sleep while a storm was almost capsizing the boat? Could it be that He knew it was temporary and it was ending soon?

Every storm ends. I am right this second looking outside to a stunningly blue sky with marshmallow white clouds. It is about 89 degrees. The last storm is long gone and I don’t even remember when it occurred.

I don’t mean to make light of the storms people have weathered or are still riding while the waves continue crashing upon them. My point is that every storm ends because it is calm and beautiful now. Be assured that your storm will pass too.

Just like the saying “the calm before the storm”, the statement “the calm after the storm” is true as well. Think of it this way. The greatest amount of your life is lived in a calm or storm-free season. It may not seem like it, but think back. Unless you had a very tragic childhood that carried into your adulthood, most people spend way more time out of storms than in them.

Finally, realize that storms are a part of life. Some big, some small, some tragic, some refreshing. Just as storms always end, there is also one on it’s way. It may be nothing more than a rainmaker to bring you the rain you need.

How you weathered the last storm will prepare you with greater wisdom and strength to weather the next one. The old fisherman that has a severely wrinkled face, wisdom to steer around storms, and fortitude to roll with the waves has learned to weather well.

If you need to wake up Jesus in your storm, go do it. Stand firm in the faith you have and allow the storm to prepare you for the next storms to come.

My prayer is that your next storms are just gentle showers that refresh and renew you.

A free devotional called “Divorce to Healing: 31 Days of Healing and Wholeness” is available to all my readers here.

 

Seasons

Seasons

Everyone and everything goes through seasons. It sounds so cliche, and yet it is so true. Maybe I can encourage you in a way you haven’t considered in the past. Then again, maybe not, but it is up to you to find out.

When it comes to divorce and relationships, we plan for the good times. We look forward to every day to be full of fruit, ripe for the taking. Every tree has the ability to grow and produce fruit, even if it is only seeds to continue the cycle of populating the earth with more of itself. Count me in for a nice big ripe Fuji apple or a giant Ruby Red Grapefruit from my friend’s tree. How about you?

Expectations that the tree will provide some sort of fruit, nut, or seed to help with providing for other’s enjoyment and to carry on the species is a good one. The problem with our expectations is that most times they are not realistic. We forget that it takes a full cycle of seasons in the life of the tree in order to reap a harvest or provision.

When do we celebrate the harsh winds and severe cold rain or snow that attacks the very life during the winter? In the fall, it looses all the strength it has to hold on to any fruit and leaves. It looks like it is dying. It never looks healthy and looses it’s “hair”, barren and naked. Springtime brings a time of struggle to gain the nutrients and water in order for life to be displayed yet again.

Most of it’s life is spent preparing for the fruitful season, which can be unbelievably short in extreme cases. The Amorphophallus titanum, or “Corpse Flower” is one of those. It takes 7-10 years before it blossoms for the first time and then in can take 3-10 years again before the next blossom. The odor it releases smells like death and the flower blossom lasts for only 24-48 hours.

Not much fruit, smells like a dead body, and takes forever for it to happen again.Some people may think that is what dating is like after divorce. That might be true for you. (Mental note: Future blog post on dating after divorce) Then again, it may just be the Axe body spray he is using.

It takes time for healing and to feel whole again. Don’t worry about how long it takes. Rushing through the healing process just causes you to drag baggage from one relationship to another. It isn’t fair for someone else to do it to you, so don’t do it to someone else. Invest in yourself and be ready when the time comes.

When the storms of life come, it is the roots that you can’t see that are rooted in the soil that will tell you if you will survive. If the roots are shallow, it doesn’t take much wind to blow you over. How do roots grow deep? In times of drought they must search deeper for water, thus stretching them towards the water. Too much water keeps the roots shallow while a lack of rain actually allows strength to come to the tree by developing the survival instinct to search out the water, no matter how deep. If it doesn’t reach for the water just beyond it’s reach, it will die. It may only be inches away, but it must struggle and reach the water to continue on to the next season.

There is always a spring. When you are in the fall and winter seasons in your life, it may seem so far off and it may even be late, but it WILL come.

If the tree doesn’t give up all the fruit, leaves, seeds, and nuts in the fall, it will not be able to weather the storm of winter. It needs to hibernate and save it’s energy for the season to come. There are times in our life that we must let go of things so we can enter a season of rest, preparing for new life to come forth through us. New fruit. New seed.

People notice the growth during the spring season. Think of this, though. If you would not have taken the time to rest and heal during the winter and storm season with no protection and fruit showing, you would not be ready to grow beyond where you were in the last season and bear the fruit you are meant to bring forth in the next season.

Be encouraged. No matter what season you are in, know that you are meant to grow, bear fruit, let go of what you must, weather the storms of life while resting, and getting ready to do it all again. Don’t think you can skip seasons. You can’t, so stop trying. Just accept the fact and get excited for the next season.

A free devotional called “Divorce to Healing: 31 Days of Healing and Wholeness” is available to all my readers here.

 

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