Each week, for the last year or more, I receive several emails from ladies who describe their current life of uncertainty. They recount all the dreadful circumstances that they are facing––the husband leaving and seeing other women, lack of income, bills going unpaid, having to share or release the children to him and the other woman, dealing with the lies and the drama… all while living through a pandemic.
Besides the time while I was going through my divorce, and experiencing these same things (not including the pandemic), I can’t remember a more uncertain time in my life. For a few months before, and during my divorce, I didn’t know how I’d buy groceries, pay my monthly bills, or where my children and I would live after we had to move from the marital home. I was living with a lot of uncertainty which felt like I was standing in a rowboat on rocky waters.
Then, I started walking my restoration journey after divorce.
When I think back over the seven years of walking this journey, I feel the growth that has taken place in my life and in my heart. I want this same Spiritual growth and understanding of God’s promises for you too!
This is not to say my circumstances don’t bother me on occasion but it just doesn’t have the same effect on me as it did all those years ago. Life is uncertain all of the time. So, whenever I’ve felt a (rhetorical) storm moving in, filling me with fear and anxiety about the future, I have to remind myself of Jesus with His disciples in the boat (Luke 8:22-25).
Where is our focus?
After a day of teaching, and Jesus sharing parables, it’s interesting that the disciples should encounter their very own live parable experience. Jesus was fast asleep as a large storm moved over all of them in their tiny boat on the lake. Feeling in grave danger, the disciples cried out to Jesus to save them from this raging storm. Jesus did what they asked but replied with, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26 NIV).
They were so focused on the storm that they forgot who they were riding with. They allowed the storm to make them believe that these circumstances were more powerful than God in the flesh. That it could destroy them right then and there with Jesus fast asleep next to them. Would He really let them die? Jesus showed the disciples that He had the power to command the wind and the water to stop immediately. That He wouldn’t let any harm come to them unless He had a reason or it was part of His purpose.
The disciples’ eyes were on that storm even after walking with Jesus for that long. They had Jesus physically next to them and they still struggled with their faith; yes, you too are free to struggle. But it’s also a reminder to trust that Jesus is still walking with you today. And when you cry out to Him that you’re scared, feeling alone and afraid, He has not forsaken you. He won’t let anything happen to you that He won’t safely walk you through.
He doesn’t stop the storm or take away the problem or heal the illness, but He walks with you through it. Those are times when we must trust Him. Again, if He has said to you, ‘Let’s go to the other side of the lake,’ He will get you to the other side of the lake! It may not be through placid waters, but you will arrive. – Greg Laurie, Hope (Hope for Hurting Hearts Book 3)
What If The Storm Continues?
Many women often believe this story of Jesus calming the storm as a promise for immediate change if we pray, seek, and ask. But as we learn together in my book, Your Restoration Journey: Rediscovering Your Faith & Yourself After Divorce, when we analyze other passages like Jeremiah 29:11 contextually, we understand that this storm may continue long after we want it to.
‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ – Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
Jeremiah 29 is a letter to the captive Jews still in Babylon. Jeremiah told the people they would return after seventy years––yes, seventy! (v. 10). This wasn’t going to be a swift return. Jeremiah was suggesting they learn to thrive in the midst of their exile. God has a plan, but even though the struggle would continue, God had not, nor would He ever forsake them (v. 11). – Grice, Pg. 23
Storms that cause destruction take years to clean up. Divorce is a very destructive storm. Even in our stressful and painful circumstances, and in the clean-up after, God wants us to learn to thrive. But it’s so hard to thrive when our eyes are still so focused on the fear that this storm will ruin us. You may even think that life will never get better, that things will always be this way, and there is just no hope for a redeemed life after divorce.
Where Our Focus Should Be When Faced with a Storm?
We can easily look at what is going on around us and forget who is walking with us. Who will be there and save us from this storm?
The disciples encountered another experience where the wind and waves had battered their boat on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22-36). Jesus walked out to their boat in the middle of the sea. Again, the disciples were immediately frightened, thinking He was a ghost. But Jesus reminded them that they had nothing to fear; He was with them always.
Peter replied to Him, ‘Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.’ He said, ‘Come!’ So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ – Matthew 14:28-31 AMP
It was only when Peter looked away from Jesus and onto the storm that was around him that he began to sink. We too do this when we’re struggling to remember that God won’t let the storms of life overtake us. We worry or have fear about everything going on, all that we’re experiencing. But we need to recall His promises to us, to never leave, to always protect, and not to harm those who are weak and suffering. He really is on your side!
A broken reed He will not break [off]. And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish [He will not harm those who are weak and suffering]; He will faithfully bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:2 AMP
What About My Circumstances Now?
I wish I could say that things change after seven years and your ex-spouse will finally stop trying to ruin your life. I can’t because I’ve yet to see it happen. The psychological games have not stopped. My children still do not see that words and actions do not match up. They don’t see the harm in the nasty things said about me or the lies that are spread.
My close friends wonder how I’m still able to live in peace without thoughts of revenge. They wonder how I’m not angry, falling over with anxiety, or just wanting to give up on everything. How can I be so loving and kind after all? How do I not cry every day over all the losses?
Sometimes I do feel feelings of upset, hurt, and anxiety because I have a soft heart. I’m not hard and calloused. My heart breaks. Occasionally, a fleeting thought of running away comes and goes. I just don’t let anyone or anything, including my feelings, push me over anymore. I take ahold of them and my circumstances and tell them Who’s in control over everything! He’s still on the thrown; sovereign over all.
How to Be Deeply Rooted
On my restoration journey, I have learned how to become deeply rooted. I’m like a mighty oak tree, I have roots that are grounded into the solid Rock. The Rock that always keeps His promises and never lets me down, even if the storms continue. He fights for me. He has redeemed me and my story; I proudly (yet, with a little fear of judgment) share it with you in my books and online.
God doesn’t see what I have done, I’ve repented (turned away from that thinking and those behaviors instead of rationalizing it away) of everything in my past. There is no shame because nothing is hidden; God sees it all. Shame has no control over me either because I speak of it out loud. He made me His; reclaimed me as His own and loves me unconditionally, flaws, scars, past sin, and all.
Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord. And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord. For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the river; And will not fear the heat when it comes; But its leaves will be green and moist. And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought. Nor stop bearing fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8 AMP
In order to stay deeply rooted in God and His promises, we must have an anchor. The anchor is hope! Hope is believing that something good can come out of all these bad circumstances and the destruction of divorce. You can have hope that there is a future up ahead that God has planned for you, even if you don’t know what that is or what it looks like.
This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells], where Jesus has entered [in advance] as a forerunner for us, having become a High Priest forever. – Hebrews 6:19-20 AMP
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude. – Colossians 2:6-7 AMP
Are you focused on the storms in front of you or the future God has planned for you? Can you trust God’s promises and plans, even if part of His plan includes this divorce and all the destruction that comes with it? How are you staying anchored in hope even as the storms rage?
Many days growing and learning to be deeply rooted in Him,