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Most days I must consciously choose to be content with where I am and see the wonder and joy in seemingly small things such as my five-year-old son cleverly telling his teacher that mommy told him he can’t eat red light food (like fast food) so that’s why he spit out the fries on his lunch plate—but they were sweet potato fries!
But sometimes I am overwhelmed with new possibilities that depend on the word “if.”
If I was not still grieving over the loss of a dream, one that I fought to keep for 13 years.
I am divorced. My three children don’t see their father except via Skype, usually once a week. We live with my parents. This was not my plan. This was not my dream. But neither was 13 years of chaos, losing my identity and suffering in vain.
God rescued us, yes even my ex-husband. If you intimately know Father God as good, then you don’t need an explanation. Even with that knowledge, grief still tries to grip my heart.
If I get two minutes in my day where that lingering grief tries to release through weeping, I now choose to let it. So I can let go and fully embrace the restoration God has already given. Picture me holding a newly created beautiful dream God gave in one hand and well, my other hand is empty but I’m still grasping the air, weary and hopeless. You can imagine how that is no way to live.
Sometimes, my cries are triggered by seeing a Facebook photo of a couple I know who exhibit God’s love or driving by a modest home and wondering if and when my children and I will ever have one or sitting at church, Sunday upon Sunday, and no one seems to notice your single mom state and never asks you if you’re okay and never asks your family to dinner and just – never – say anything beyond a smile and handshake.
Then I cry out loud, asking the Lord why do I have to keep feeling shame and when will I see my new day?
As my head sinks further to the ground, I decide to turn my ear and listen. I need to hear His voice.
He gently reminds me of His amazing love and how He is SO for me and my kiddos and how He is bringing a far greater restoration that I can imagine and . . . He heals another part of my heart as my hand releases its grip and let’s go.
The more my hand let’s go of trying to hold onto the grief from a lost dream, the more women reach out to me, who are going through the same thing–fear, shame, condemnation, rejection, isolation. Unfortunately, time and time again, the support we should receive from the church community turns out to be a very scarce commodity through the process of separation and divorce.
The amazing thing is when all seem to have forsaken you, that’s when you can really discover the family of God. I truly believe that what seems shameful and ugly to us as believers will test our Christ-like love to the core. Those who are able to embrace that which appears shameful and ugly are truly like Jesus.
I daydream about how wonderful it would be to have a place of refuge and restoration for so many women/mothers on their own, who must transition from a place of toxicity to a place of healing and freedom, yet do not have the funds, the encouragement or even strength to take the steps. I thank God I had a place to go, but many do not and choose to stay with the desperate hope that things will change. God wants their husband to choose to open their heart and receive healing just as the wife must do. But some do not and the wife, often with children, must make a life and death choice.
“If” I saw an open door and had the “go” from God, opening homes of refuge and restoration is one of the many things I would choose to do. In the meantime, I am here to talk, to hug, to cry, and to pray with you.
Dear friend, may God give you “the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” Isaiah 61:3
YOUR TURN: Are you letting grief linger? If so, what are some ways the Lord might be nudging you to let go of the ashes in exchange for beauty?
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Shallé is a fearless mom of 3 beautiful children and works as a passionate journalist. She loves walking out her God-given identity, daily receiving His love and giving it to others.