I have just come out of a season of wrestling with God, a season of sadness, depression, uncertainty. I was trying to assume control because I didn’t think He was moving fast enough or moving according to my will. Even as I type those words I think how silly it all is. I have walked this walk with my Lord and Savior long enough to know it isn’t about me. My will should always bend to His. Sometimes we get so caught up in our circumstances that we forget what He is doing or has already done. Instead of looking up or out, we look down and around or within. It is a scheme of the enemy that I am still trying to overcome daily. My hope in sharing my heart is that some of you will be reminded to look up!
It has been five years since Geoff died. It was sudden, tragic, and full of crisis for my children and me. I have spent the past few weeks looking back and remembering. Not just remembering the events but remembering how big my God is, how he has held us, loved us, and healed us into a space of completeness that I tend to overlook or forget. I forget because this world says as single women we are missing something. We aren’t complete in some way, but that is NOT what God says.
Psalm 68:5-6 ESV - Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity.
Our homes may not have an earthly father, but as believers they have a great big and mighty Heavenly One. One that is present in all circumstances. Don’t miss that He settles the solitary in a home. If you are like me, sometimes I think my home isn’t complete but it is. If God is my Husband and the Father of these children how much more complete could it possibly be? Sometimes we forget or we get down and depressed, and we forget to ask for reminders. That is where I was during this past holiday season.
I forgot how good and gracious my Father has been. You see my marriage was a huge train wreck headed towards the edge of a cliff. We were making a bee-line for divorce and in that, we would have blown my children’s world apart. If I had forced my will in the matter I would have devastated myself and my children…and that is where the perspective shifts. I can look at my life and Geoff’s death through earthly eyes and focus on what we lost and what we don’t have anymore, or I can put on God’s perspective and see how He moved and healed and restored.
Yes, Geoff is gone, and I miss him more every day. I don’t say that flippantly or lightly. I really do. For those who know our situation intimately that may sound strange, because they were witness to the destruction that we hurled at each other on a daily basis. They saw what we did and said to each other. It was anything but kind, gentle, and loving. However, what they may not see or know is how God redeems and restores if we will hand over the whole mess to Him. Five years ago today, I came to my end, the bottom of my own pit. The end of my will. I had lived 37 years going my own way and it had not worked out well. I was a widow at 37, completely estranged from my biological father, angry and lashing out at my mother, and honestly ready to take out anyone who would get in my way or call me on my stuff.
Joel 2:25-26 - I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.
Those two words are my favorite in all of the Bible because I have lived it. No matter how big of a mess or no matter how bad of a sinner he can turn it around if you will hand it all to Him.
I started counseling, bible study, prayer retreats…anything I could get my hands on to discover who this God was. I had been baptized and saved as a young child, but I had never had a relationship with Him on a daily basis. A relationship of trust where I could sit and bare my heart and soul to Him and be met right where I was, without condemnation or shame or guilt. That didn’t come instantaneously, but it came. I think if I could share any insight with you it is this…His word says there is not condemnation for those that believe and there isn’t, but you have to get past your own shame and guilt and let him redeem that too. He will work it all out, but it is an act of daily surrendering and trusting. Do you trust Him with your heart?
Romans 8:1-2 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
That is the question I keep coming back to on my journey. Do I trust you? I have spent most of my life abandoned, hurt, rejected and told that I was not enough by men that should have cared for and protected me. That stuff has great impact on a person, friends. It has lasting impact, until we have eternal impact from the Kingdom! However, it requires taking the hardest steps that you’ll probably take in your journey. It requires laying down the hurts, the scars, the baggage, the memories, the earthly relationships and embracing that THAT is NOT of God or from God. That is of this fallen world. He never wanted any of that to happen to you, and he doesn’t want you embracing things that aren’t from him. When it is all you know, it is easy to fall back into old patterns. It is why He tells us to fight against the patterns of this world to seek Him first and you will find the Kingdom.
Romans 12:12 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Matthew 7:7 - Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
This past summer I did a bible study about the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In one of the lessons it talked about unbraiding the identity that we bring to the Father and who He really is. After this season of wrestling with God, I have found that I have a lot of unbraiding left to do. I find that sometimes the enemy whispers in my ear, and I actually listen to him. I know that I must take every thought captive and hold it up to who I know God to be, and sometimes I possibly need to unbraid who I think He is. When I remember how far He has brought me, I see his true identity. Remember His good works friends and focus on these acts on the hard days.
2 Corinthians 10:5 - We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
After five years I can look back on my marriage and I only remember the good. I remember the laughs, the love and the friendship we had. I remember that in the beginning and for the majority of our marriage we were best friends. I remember that Geoff was incredibly romantic but also incredibly practical. I remember that he thought of the little things like filling up my car with gas on a cold winter day. I remember that when “Roxanne” by The Police came on the radio he would sing with a raspy, high falsetto voice that would make me laugh till I cried. It still makes me smile every time I hear it on the radio. I remember the day that Will was born and the moment he took his first breath, his daddy said he saw God in that moment. All the bad and ugly has just faded and that is nothing less than a miracle. My God who is so merciful and good has redeemed and restored the past and left me with beautiful memories of our marriage. Memories that the enemy tried to steal by trying to get me to focus on the sins and the toxicity. But God…
We certainly didn’t get a lot of things right but the two things we did get right live on in our sons. Two precious boys who are thriving socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Two boys who honor their father’s memory by learning about him and asking questions. And that is a blessing I never saw coming. You see the bad and the ugly don’t exist for them. And by God’s grace alone He has healed my heart enough to hold no root of bitterness so that I may give them only the good memories. The good of their father that they carry on.
Hebrews 12:14-15 - Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
So is our family complete? Absolutely, 100% yes! How could it not be with all the redemption, grace, and mercy that has been showered on us. Do I trust Him with my heart? Yes! 1,000 times yes! Do I still wrestle with that on the hard days? Yes, but every time gets a little bit easier and every time I come out on the other side more blown away by His goodness, faithfulness and His overwhelming love for me. He remains faithful even when I need to wrestle a little bit. When I am done He quietly and assuredly invites me back in to a steadfast relationship with Him. His faithfulness is my anchor that holds me no matter how hard I struggle. For that I can’t even put into words, my thankfulness.
Hebrews 6:19 - We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.
My question for you today is do you trust Him? Are you willing to wrestle with Him a little to get to the unbraiding and the truth of Him in your story? I am praying that even if that answer isn’t a confident yes that you take one step towards wanting it to be a yes. That you will learn that He is a good, good Father waiting to redeem and restore it all. Trust Him sweet sisters! He is worthy!
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.