February 23, 2015

In The Moment

It is a good morning here in "not so sunny and warm" Phoenix. Yes, we have clouds and a strong potential for rain today. I am blessed, so very blessed, because I love the rain, and I love it when the skies are not always bright and sunny!

The Lord is good, so very good. I know that I blog about His goodness all the time, in fact, if I did a word search on my blog, I would bet that the phrase "God is Good" would out rank every other word or phrase. I have been blogging here at Blogger.com since 2004 (well, 2005). I started my blog at the encouragement of a fellow home schooler. She had a blog and was writing on it daily, and I found her posts informational and inspirational. I had a website at that time (I still do) that I used for home schooling and my family history. I kept it updated, and I referred people interested in our home school journey to check it out. It is a popular website, with more than 500K visits. I am sure people still visit it, even though I haven't updated it with any new home school content since 2010.

When I think about my life back in 2004-2010, I marvel at how much it has changed. I mean, back then, my main emphasis in life was to be a wife and a mother. I was working 3/4 time from home as a website designer, and I was volunteering at church in Sunday School and Awana. I was home schooling, and I was doing my best to keep many, many irons in the fire (so to speak!) My life was relatively carefree, in that my days were mine to do with as I pleased, and with the exception of my professional work as a designer, I pretty much did what I wanted to do each and every day. Yes, it wasn't financially viable back then, and as a family, we struggled to make ends meet each month. My ex-husband managed our money, and for his part, made sure we had food on the table and a roof over our head. We never had much more than what was absolutely necessary, but we did try to find joy in being together and in doing things together. In truth, as I look back on my life, the main struggle was personal and private. On the outside, our family looked good. We were poor, and we lived a life that was of our own choosing. We didn't complain to anyone, and we didn't ask anyone for help. We lived simply, and while we didn't have much, what we did have we used well.

I knew our life was not good on the inside, I knew that something was not right, but I hoped my sense was off, and my inkling was wrong. I buried my feelings deep inside, and I put on a happy face. I told the world that everything was OK between my ex and myself, and that our life was "what we wanted, what we made." I tried to support my ex's interest in business, and I tried very hard to be a good wife. In the end, all my efforts were not enough, and the marriage crumbled due to the weight of dissatisfaction and destructive choices.

Still, when I look back on my life then I see a different person. I see someone who looks like me, but who wasn't me. It is hard to explain, but I see a different version of Carol. I was a strong person back then, and I still am. I was disciplined and focused -- determined to see things through and to do right. But that person no longer exists, not in the way she was on the inside. The person I am today is vastly different, vitally more focused and determined, and visually striking (not beautiful, but rather as in intense). I wasn't in control of my life, I didn't have a say in anything important because my ex husband was the head of our household. It wasn't that he was mean to me or abusive physically or anything really. It was more so that we followed his interests, his desires, his way of doing things. We followed him. This is all well and good when the husband is following God, but when the husband isn't following the Lord's will for his own life or his family, then problems occur. In our case, my ex followed after his own interests, thinking they were okay with the Lord. The truth was that they were not because these interests didn't bring us (as a family) in closer communion with the Lord, but rather they took us farther away from Him.

I don't blame my ex anymore because it does no good to hold onto any bitterness. My life was what it was for 25 years, and now that is all "water under the bridge" as they say. I am a new person, a different person, and I have vastly different opinions, views, and desires than I did before. I am on a new path, and that path is one that is leading me closer and closer to God. I love the Lord more each day, and I trust Him with the details of my life. He is my everything, and as such, my entire being is oriented toward His service. I love what He has done with my life, the way in which He has remade me, and the blessing of reward for my obedience in following Him has been sweet. I am good, so very good. I am whole, and I am healed. I am learning new things every single day, and I am becoming stronger, more disciplined, and more focused. I am excited for my future, and I believe that the plans the Lord has for me are so very good, so very good. Today I am blessed. I have full confidence that tomorrow I will be blessed as well. Blessing and favor flow from His hand, and I am enjoying the splish-splash of the Lord's blessing as it runs all over me. Selah! Selah! Selah!

Today, I stand and I thank the Lord. I give Him praise because of His goodness toward me. He has not forsaken me, He has not given up on me. No, rather the Lord has provided good to me, good in every area of my life. When I think about where I am today, I cannot help but fall on my knees, and give Him praise and testimony for His goodness!!
  • I survived divorce. As shocking as that may seem (for a Christian), I can say it proudly that I survived the devastation of divorce. I say it this way because I am a survivor now, not a victim. I went through the very dark days of discovery, suffered through the devastation of learning the truth, and survived the destruction of a marriage and an identity.
  • I learned how to live again. I was remade in a new way. The Lord took the broken shards of my former life, and created something new, something vital, and something beautiful. He showed me that I could be whole again, and that I could have a new identity formed in Christ. I became new, and through the process of learning how to live again, I came to know Him more intimately, and I learned to trust Him for my every need.
  • I developed new interests. Some of the interests I have now were latent within me, left overs from childhood dreams and aspirations. The Lord reignited passions within me, and He gave me a new direction, a new vision, and a new purpose. I am now on a new path, following hard after Him, experiencing wonderful things, and learning to walk in new ways.
  • I found new hope. My world seemed limited after the divorce, limited by thinking that was stuck in survival mode. It took time, patience, and a lot of hope to begin to see the possibilities of a new future. I had to learn how to envision again, to think and dream BIG and to expect more from God than my daily bread. I had to trust Him, to believe in Him, and to rely upon Him in order for Him to reveal His plan for my life. Now I see open-ended life -- new chapters filled with blank pages -- all ready for His pen to write upon them. 
  • I began to think differently. I still find myself stuck in the old patterns of doubt, but most days, my mind thinks about the possibilities of walking with the Lord, endless options and opportunities that exist when you tarry with the Great I AM. Yes, I am His and He is mine, thus whatever He determines to be best for me, for His plans, for His work, then I am open to His ideas. I am considerate now of all options because He is in control of the details, He is leading the charge, and He is moving me into the plans of His choosing. 
In addition to the above, I am also at a place where I can think about joining hands with another sojourner, another follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I can consider thinking about being married again, and the desires that go along with that blessed union. I do nothing out of my own desires, but rather, I do everything out of His desires. I have said "so be it" to the Lord in this matter. Therefore, should the Lord choose to move me, to open the door to marriage, to partner me with someone for His Name and His Praise, then I know it is His will. I rest and I wait for Him to move, and until then, I know for sure that I am right where He wants me to be. God is good, so very good to me. And, all the time, He is good!

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