Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And Then She Spread Her Wings



It was the eve before my big solo trip to the Austrian Alps. I was tired, I was worn, and I was despaired. I went for a run with my dog to refresh my spirit. As the sun dipped behind the rolling green hills, casting shadows upon the earth and painting the sky with miraculous colors—I hit my knees in a wild field. And there amongst the mustard flowers I cried my eyes out. I prayed my heart out. It had been nearly two years, two years since my husband had walked away from me. And yet, still, our divorce was not finalized and I felt the frayed ends of our unraveled relationship were still unraveling me. Desperately I cried out to God to help me move on, to close this chapter, as I had been praying for years.

I prayed, I cried, I prayed, I cried. And then I stood up from that place and dusted dirt clods from my knees, lifted my head to the Heavens and was given a great peace. Single, married, separated—whatever my marital status was—it didn’t matter. What mattered was the woman I had become because of this storm, and the faith that Jesus Christ had grown in me. God had helped me overcome seemingly insurmountable fears through these past two years, and I knew that He had done a miracle in me. I was, and am, a strong, independent, Godly young woman—a statement I could not have made two years ago.

So I walked out of that field with the peace that only the Holy Spirit can give; knowing completely that whether or not our divorce was finalized, it was finalized in my heart and in my spirit.

The next morning I awoke to an email from my lawyer, stating that just the day before, the judge had signed off my divorce, and I was now legally a single woman again. I was utterly amazed. Before I had even hit my knees in the field in faith—God had already moved and finished the work He was doing. Praise God, and all the glory be given to Him! In His perfect wisdom He delivered me and freed me at just the perfect time.

So I set off on a journey of a lifetime, all of sudden my trip to Austria turned into an enormous celebration of the woman I had become and the work that God had done. It was my Independence Day and I spread my wings as far as I could, and I flew. No, I soared. 

My trip had so many unexpected twists and turns. All of my plans fell through. After a few days isolated, alone in the Alps with nothing to do, I decided to make new plans. I packed my bags and headed to Salzburg and found a youth hostel. It was a leap of faith, to say the least. I like my life planned out, safe, predictable. But God, you know Him; He’s always up to something! But boy, did I have a blast! I went on a Sound of Music Tour, went to Vienna, to Bavaria, walked in the snow, went to Easter mass in a historic cathedral, ate and laughed and cried and thanked God for such an adventure.

My last night I sat above the city wall and looked out at the glittering lights and listened to the cathedral bells ringing out all over town, and I cried my eyes out (again). Never have I ever felt so free, so peaceful, so whole. I didn’t want to leave that place. But I knew that greater things were on the horizon for me. God had shown me so much, and even in just that week He showed me that I was braver and stronger than I ever thought I could be. 

So here I sit, four months later, a single young woman, in the blessed process of buying my first home, and eagerly living an abundant life. I am so thankful that God closed that chapter of my life and that He has allowed me to heal and fully move on. Of course, I get lonely sometimes, as any single person does. But I am thankful for the independent spirit God has given me. I know that in His perfect timing He will bring the right man into my life. In the meantime I am determined to live an abundant, adventurous life—the life I am meant to live! Each day is a precious gift that will never come again. Each day is an opportunity to grow and thrive. I am going to live this one, beautiful (sometimes messy and chaotic) life that God has blessed me with—one day at a time—with a grateful heart and my eyes set firmly and securely on Jesus.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Life Without Fear: The Year of Adventure!



I was 23 years old when my husband of seven months left me. I had just begun my life, and yet it was over at the same time. The earth and everything I held dear crumbled beneath my feet. I was shattered. I was broken. I was alone, and I was lonely. I looked at my past and thought, “How did I ever end up here?” I looked at my ghastly circumstances and pondered, “What am I doing?” and then hopelessly wondered, “Where am I going?”

The truth is—I had accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and life when I was 18 years old, but I wasn’t living for Him. (I certainly thought I was at the time, but that’s the funny thing about time, you see things so differently in retrospect.) I prayed and asked for things, but I didn’t really believe they would happen. I went to church and enjoyed it. I went on mission trips and at times was on fire with passion, but my flames always smoldered. I overslept instead of reading my Bible. I overslept on spiritual growth. I ignored the things God wanted and instead replaced them with things I wanted—after all, this is my life. I built my life around the man I loved, and who loved me…or so I thought. He was my foundation. He was my rock. He was the center of my happiness.

 He was also the chain around my neck that ultimately sunk me and anchored me to the dark and murky depths of depression, to which I was tethered for a grueling 12 months.

I was a house built on sand. When the storms came, I was beaten, ripped to pieces, my foundation creaked and moaned. My boards splintered, my beams broke. Every piece of me was washed away and destroyed. And there I stood, in the middle of the storm, completely exposed.

Sometimes God only needs to remodel you: add a little paint, maybe even strip off the last layer first, lay down new floors, and add some d├ęcor. But not me. My spirit was a house condemned. “Not fit to live in,” said the sign across the door of my heart. God knew the work that needed to be done. Not even my foundation could be salvaged. 

So he ripped it down. All of it. He ripped it away. It was tragic, it was painful, it was horrible. And yet, it was freeing, it was beautiful, it was a relief. In the year that followed, I suffered through muddy depressions and struggled to figure out who I was. What do I like to do with my time? What kind of woman am I? Is this who I want to be? 

Then God began to rebuild. He carefully chose a solid Rock foundation (Himself), and lovingly selected each beam, and he built me anew: a completely different design. I am a new woman. I have a renewed love and vigor for Jesus Christ and His ministry of love. My past is gone, and here I am, stronger than ever because of the nightmares that I have endured. God had to rip down everything I had built by my own selfish desires, and he had to rebuild me from the ground up, to be the woman he always planned for me to be.

And Dear Lord, oh how I am thankful; thankful for the searing pain, and for the healing. I know God is a God of compassion and that he truly does bind up the broken hearted. I know, for he has healed my broken heart.

As I reflected on the year 2012, I say goodbye to it with both exasperation and happiness. There was good, and there was very bad. There was pain, and there was joy. I had finally begun to live my life, and not only so, but I dared to even enjoy it too! I thought about my humble circumstances, how far I had come, and what lies ahead in the future.

The last year and a half have been a sojourn to say the least. I realized that over the years, I had somehow spun a web of fear in my mind so thick that I had convinced myself that there were invisible limits on my life. “I can’t do this!” I would say. “I cannot do that!” Echoed my mind. “I’m too scared!” “I might be hurt.” “I can’t do it alone.”

LIES. All of it. Satan’s whispers in my ears, deceiving me as if it were my own voice reasoning with myself. Convincing me of a long list of things I could not do. I couldn’t have fun. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t be alone. I couldn’t do so many things.

Well I’m done with can’ts. I’m done with a life that is limited to the boring and safe. I am done being controlled by fear. I AM A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH! (Philippians 4:13) Obviously the long list of fears and “can’ts” that I had constructed over the years were a lie. 

So I made a decision. I decided to live a life without fear. There is no more room for fear in my heart. There is no more room at all. Christ died so that I may have life, and not only that, but so I would enjoy it. Every day that speeds by will never come again. It is time to live this life that I have been blessed with. It is time to step out of the door…and go on a few of adventures. 

So this is it, 2013: The Year of Adventures! I have made a list of things I have always been too afraid to do, or have somehow convinced myself that I could not do. I am going to check those things off my list. Cross them off with great satisfaction and joy. I am going to live this beautiful life that God gave me, with Him leading the way, and guiding me. I choose to walk in love and joy (even when sadness comes my way) and seek the adventure and fun in each opportunity.

Join me friends, in laying down your fears, taking up your crosses and living the purposeful lives that you were made for. You won’t regret it.









Adventure #1: January 6th, 2013 –Skydiving
I cry at the top of roller coasters. Yes. It’s true; I really am that much of a wimp. Or should I say used to be
Today, my best friend of 16 years and I drove to NorCal Skydiving in Cloverdale, CA and took the plunge. I was ecstatic. There wasn’t one moment that I was afraid. I was overjoyed. I loved the plane ride up; I loved the jump, the freefall, the landing. I have never in my life felt so peaceful and serene as I was when freefalling and looking over the glorious beauty of the land.

It was a perfect adventure, and something I had convinced myself was far too dangerous and scary for the likes of me. As we floated down my instructor laughed as I told him how it was nothing like I had nightmares about. He said to me, “You are afraid of things you don’t know anything about! How can you be afraid of something you’ve never done?” And Jimmy was right. How can I fear something I have not done? For years I limited myself, and yet here I was careening down to the earth from 13,000 in the air, tears ripping from my eyes and the biggest smile on my face and my heart. I didn’t even scream.
Today was the best birthday ever. 

Here’s to a life without fear.

Here’s to adventures!












Monday, September 17, 2012

A Promise Kept

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"Everything works together for the good of those that love the Lord." Romans 8:28

If you've followed my blog for the past year or so, you might be getting sick of these verses. (After all, I reference them in nearly every entry.) Like a favorite song or catchy tune that you can't seem to get out of your head, these verses are constantly on 'repeat' on my heart. Over and over again I chant them. They have become my battle cry, my strength, what gets me through each day and gives me the endurance to keep going. I have clung to these verses white-knuckled with every ounce of courage and hope that I have. With every fiber of my being, as a desperate, broken woman I have clung to these promises from God, grasping tightly to the hope that someday they would come true for me.

Someday...

Someday all of this pain will work together for my good.

Someday...

Someday the Lord will prosper me, give me hope and a future.

Someday...

Friends, rejoice with me! Praise God with me! Worship and shout out because the LORD my God, my Savior Jesus who has made these promises to me (and to you) has made good of His word, and that someday is NOW.

These verses were once just dreams and hopes, now they are promises kept, proof of Jesus' compassionate and faithful, enduring love! God has truly used the pain and the brokenness to heal me, to grow me, to teach me, to mature me. God has strengthened me through these trials. He has traded my pain and sorrows for joy and smiles. He has swapped my despair and depression with hope and confidence. God has made me whole. He has provided for my every need and blessed me. Truly I proclaim to you, that He has kept His word!

And if God has kept these promises to me, why should I have any doubts that He will faithfully fulfill all other promises He has made? I have searched my soul, I have studied His word, and I have cried out in prayer. Friends, I tell you, I have found no reason to doubt God. He is true. He has been true throughout the ages, and He has demonstrated time and time again throughout my life that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.

"What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

A few weeks ago I went for a rather long hike. As I sat in a large walnut tree grove I prayed to God and asked Him many things. I unloaded the burdens of my heart to Him. I begged Him for mercy. I asked Him to finalize this divorce, to set me free and bring me into the future that He promised. As I cried and prayed, I felt the urge to read my Bible. So I opened my Bible app on my phone. The first page it opened was a Verse of The Day. As I read the verse I began to choke on tears. God heard my prayers, and He responded in a real and true way. I read the words of Romans 8:31 over and over again, smiling more and more each time. "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Let me tell you friend, your prayers don't bounce off the ceiling. God hears you. God loves you, and whether you see it or not, He is responding to you.

Recently I decided that I wanted to get to know the heart of God better. I've never read the Old Testament and I felt like I was missing out on the rich heritage of my people, of God's people, of God Himself. So I started to read. As I read through Exodus I noticed something about God that was so utterly profound and still rings true in my life today. God performed miracles in order to set the Israelites free and bring them out of the land of Egypt and out of slavery. He did these things because He loved His people, because He heard them cry out, because He had compassion and did not want them to suffer and because He had promised their ancestors that He would deliver them. And yet for forty years after He set them free they struggled against Him, wandering aimlessly in the dessert. And here's the rub--God did not free the Israelites so that they could continue to be slaves, lost, hopeless in the desert. No! God freed His beloved children so that He would deliver them out of slavery and into the promised land, to give them hope and a future!

I began to see the connection between the desert-wandering Israelites and myself. I have wandered for over a year now through this desert-like Limbo of the divorce process; at times, losing hope, and other times grasping firm to it as the only option I had left. But what I've come to realize through my dear Israelite brothers and sisters is that my compassionate Father God did not free me from an abusive marriage so that I could continue to be bound and wander the desert. No! God saved me, so that He could bring me out of desperation and into the promised land, into the future that He said He would!

I trust Him. I faithfully follow Him and with all my heart I trust Him. I've wandered in the desert for so long, but the promised land is just over the horizon, I can see it, a blur coming into view. 

Friends, please pray for me. Sometime this week or the next, my divorce paperwork will once again go to the judge for final judgement. I have done all that he has asked. I have made all the corrections and refiled and waited and waited. I know that all this time has been for good reason and that God has used every situation to better me. I have grown through this time in the "desert" and I know, I just know it, I feel it deep in my soul, that God is going to deliver me. Please pray that He will. Pray that he moves Judge Powers' heart, pray for a miracle.

I pray for you too, that no matter where you are in life, no matter what your current struggle is, that you would hold firm to God's promises. I pray that God is using my life, my story, my struggles as a way to show His awesome glory and power to you. You are loved and cherished. Thank you for joining me on my journey, I pray that God blesses you abundantly and reveals His glory and wisdom to you.

I love you friends, and more importantly, Jesus loves you with an unconditional love that has no bounds. May we learn to not be Israelites lost in the desert, pointing our fingers at God and blaming Him, but instead learn to faithfully follow Him and trust that He is guiding us to the promised land. 

After all, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"



"I Walk By Faith" is one of my favorite worship songs; and it epitomizes what I have been through and am going through!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Making The Grade Is Not Enough


One sunny morning two weeks ago I awoke early with a cheerful disposition. (This may seem normal to you but the words “early” and “cheerful” along with “morning” are about as rare as a blue moon in my life.) “Today is the day!” I said with a smile as I jumped out of bed. “Today is the day I will go down to the courthouse and close this chapter of my life!” So I got dressed and skipped my way downtown. I prayed all the way, “God I know you’ve drawn this divorce process out for a purpose, but I am praying boldly and faithfully that you will wrap this up…today!


I turned a corner to get in line for some free legal help. After nearly two hours in line my sunny disposition had not changed. I was so hopeful. I stepped up to the counter, explained my situation to a quizzical woman. She took my paperwork and came back a few minutes later. “I’m so sorry,” she said as my heart sank, “but the only person who can guide you in this matter is on vacation. I’m afraid you’ll have to come back in two weeks.”


My fellow divorcees in line looked at me with such sad faces “We’re so sorry!” they said, hoping for better for themselves. “It’s okay,” I told them, “what’s two more weeks?” But as I walked away down the hall, with each clickety clack of my heels, my heart was singing a much less hopeful song. “But God I was so sure, and I prayed with boldness like you word tells me to. I’ve done the things you’ve asked me to. My heart has changed. I’ve learned contentment. I’ve been sharing your love with others. I just don’t understand.”


Friend, I’d like to tell you that I’ve had a divine revelation in the last two weeks—but I haven’t. I’d like to say I know exactly why God is holding this back still—but I don’t. But you know what? That’s okay—really, I mean it—it’s okay! God has taught me about loving Him, following Him faithfully, being content and being patient. Through this last year He has taught me these things and maybe, just maybe, He is testing my faith to see whether or not I will walk the walk. It’s one thing to study hard and regurgitate the right answers on the test—but months later, do you still remember what you learned in class, can you apply it to your life and actually use it? Or did you just study enough to get by, and now all that time spent in class was a complete waste because you don’t remember a thing?

There it is! Did you catch that? There it is! The revelation I have been searching for—it’s not enough to simply pass the test—no, we must continually study and put into use what we have learned, lest we completely forget it and have to go through the class and test again. I am reminded of a scripture in the book of James, chapter one, verses 22-25.22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in itnot forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

I’m in tears, God is so good. He is a perfect Teacher. He doesn’t just want us to get good grades; He wants us to actually use the wisdom He gives us. He doesn’t want us to continually struggle with the same things over and over. He desires for us to blossom and grow, to produce fruit, to move on to the next class.

I have my prerequisites for life; I have passed the beginners class. But do I remember enough from it to pass the next?


I know that this is about walking in faith, about persevering through long suffering and continuing to be hopeful and have faith. Like Jesus said, Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9). Jesus says don’t give up! Keep going, no matter how many times you have to pound on the door, eventually someone will get up and open it!

As I read Luke 11:9 and I prepare to go again to court I am reminded of the story Jesus shared about the persistent widow in Luke 18: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly…

You know what I really love about that scripture? The part that says the purpose of the story Jesus shared was to encourage His disciples to “always pray and not give up.” You see, faith is easy when you get what you want. But it’s a heck of a lot more challenging when every door you try to open is locked. But don’t be discouraged! Jesus wants us to use what we learned, to continue to walk in faith, to keep knocking, to keep seeking, to “prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness and our sincere love…” (2 Cor. 6:6).

Lord, I pray that I will remember Your Word and all that You have taught me and brought me through. I know that the greatest way to remember is to continually read my Bible and pray. Forgive me for being lazy and not studying enough. Help me Lord to be successful in this longsuffering—to keep knocking, to keep seeking—knowing that You will deliver justice to me. I know that every day and every moment has a purpose. I know that all things are working together. You are God, I am not. When I prayed for you to wrap things up “today” what I was really saying was “wrap this up my way”. Forgive me Lord, may Your will be done, not mine. For I know that You have used this to make me new. So now my God I pray, please wrap this up Your way. However long it takes or whatever I have to do—I know it’s in your hands. I don’t need to worry. You will deliver me. I have faith and I boldly pray that you will go before me. Please set me free and help me to move on. But more than anything Lord, use this time in my life to draw me close to you—no matter the cost.


So I will keep knocking and seeking for my God has told me that He will ensure justice for me, and quickly—and wouldn’t you know it, my two weeks is almost over…


Be encouraged my friends, be encouraged my soul!
Love,
Amanda

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Learning to Fly

I’ve been blessed with a second chance at life; a second chance to love, to live, and decide who I am and for whom I stand. God has graciously lavished me with wisdom and pruned my sinful ways and my past life. And now like a mother bird who has equipped her baby with what she needs, God pushes me out of the nest and yells after me “Remember to spread those beautiful wings I gave you, and FLY!”
I tumble down parallel to the tree, gravity pulling me towards the earth. I smack a branch on the way down. “God, why would you do that to me?! I’m not ready for this!” I shriek as I plummet down, the earth getting closer. I hear shouting behind me, what did He say? The world is a blur of images around me. Suddenly His words are crystal clear in my mind, He’s been teaching me for so long, how could I forget this so quickly? Only mere yards from hitting the ground, a saving grace of wind swirls around me and I spread my wings, lifting me up towards the sky. I’m flying…I’m flying!!! I swoop victoriously through the air, reveling in my newfound victory as I beat my wings and victoriously turn towards my Maker in the heavens. Thank you my Lord, I never would have flown if you hadn’t pushed me.”
“His divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness.” 2 Peter 1:3
God has given me the power to do some truly amazing things—things I never thought possible. The biggest hurdle He has equipped me to overcome is living a single life. (It has been nine years since I was last single.) I used to think I needed a man—literally needed him. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid to not have a companion. My happiness and sense of self-worth were completely and hopelessly tied to him. And worst of all, so was my faith. I sacrificed growth with God and traded it for an unhealthy relationship with a man who was not walking with God. Oh, but it wasn’t a waste of time—God has a way of turning our mistakes into our greatest lessons and using them to forever change us.
Being alone used to be my biggest fear…it’s not anymore. The past few months I’ve learned what it means to truly have a relationship with Christ. I’m not talking tradition. I’m not talking “I do it because I’m supposed to” or “because I have to” or “because that’s what my family wants me to do”. No, no, no…baby I’m talking ‘bout LOVE, L-O-V-E; the kind that makes you stay up late just so you can talk about nothing; the kind that makes you swoon and sing silly songs; the kind that you think about first thing when you wake up; so madly in love you’d drive any distance to see them, buy them any trinket just to make them smile; I’m talking head-over-heels, so this is real, bubbly feelings, giddy, excited, serious, committed LOVE.
YES! I am completely and madly in love with a man who changed my life and His name is JESUS. He has blessed me. He has planned what is before me and my heart is in His hands. I need not fear loneliness, because I have the One who will never leave me.
Wow. Getting to this point has been quite a journey, a tear stained and traumatic journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Because now I have my prize: now I firmly grasp what it is to be in LOVE and CONTENT in Jesus Christ, and nothing, no-thing could ever be greater than that.
I’m not saying that I don’t want to fall in love with a man someday, surely as my blood is red and the sky is blue I do! But what I’m saying, is that I’ve finally come to a place of contentment with being single. I enjoy my time alone—in fact, I look forward to it! I embrace myself, and I am learning to love me. My happiness is no longer dependent on someone else. My self-image and sense of worth is not dependent on whether or not he compliments my outfit or if his eyes wander the room. No. It’s me, just me and I am happy being me. I have time for me, and things and people I love. I don’t have to worry about him or check up on a story to catch a lie. I have time to grow in Jesus and have removed the stumbling block that kept me from doing so.
God has taught me what it means to be content and find joy in any and all situations. He has shown me how to stand for Him on my own. I think this is one of the many important lessons God wanted me to learn through all of this—that I must learn to stand firm in the faith by myself before I can stand with someone else.
I am so thankful that God has brought me through all that He has, and that He has revealed such wonderful wisdom to me. I can confidently stand as a single woman, holding on to each day as a gift and being thankful for every moment! I pray that you too would open your heart to what it is God is trying to teach you, and that you too would know the peace of contentment in all situations; and that when God pushes you out of the nest, you won’t fight the wind, but instead embrace it and use it to your advantage—fall in love with Jesus and learn to fly!

Be encourage my friends, be encouraged my soul!
Love,
Amanda

p.s. Here is a video of my favorite song right now, "Beautiful You" by Trent Monk. It's the sweetest love song to Jesus that makes my soul sing out and makes me want to dance around. You can't listen to this and not smile. I dare you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Arriving

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

Click-click-click-click-click…on and on go the menacing sounds of the suspenseful ride and gradual incline to the top of the track, all-the-while I’m holding my breath waiting for the unavoidable sudden, stomach clenching drop. I know it’s coming, but I can’t avoid it, it’s too late. I’m already on the coaster, buckled in and in motion. There’s no stopping what is to come…
A brief peaceful moment atop the track, overlooking everything, then in one split-second the wind gushes and blows me back, plummeting seemingly out of control to what surely must be the end. The wind rips tears from my eyes and streaks them across my face. I scream in fear of the unknown and cry out for it to stop, but the coaster continues its journey on. It must finish what it set out to do.  
After the horrific drop down, a wave of relief comes, but it’s short lived. A violent swing of momentum pushes the ride up, up, up, only to pummel back down, then up, and down, going through loops and twists with no sign of relief anywhere to be found on this strange and hopeless ride.
I gaze around but everything is a blur. How did I get here?  How did things get so out of control? God I can’t do this. I need you, please help me! My stomach is in knots and at any given moment I might just hurl everything I’ve ever eaten all of this whole train. When will this end? I think to myself.
As the ride continues I get smarter and learn to brace myself for the coming twists. I learn to look ahead to learn how to react to the different pieces of track. I try not to look too far ahead lest I get overwhelmed and panic, forgetting all I’ve been through and all I’ve learned to make it through.
I learn to cope with the sudden drops and constant blasts of wind. And just when I’m starting to accept the fate of this ride— WHAM the train slams to a stop and I’m pressed hard against the harness, hair windblown around my face.
Slowly the train lurches forward , bewildered I sit back it my seat as my train comes into the loading zone and my hardness clicks open. I pull myself up out of the train and walk to the glowing “exit” sign. As I stop to catch my breath, I look back at all the terrified people in line on the other side. And with a victorious smile I wave confidently to them and bravely proclaim, “It’s not that bad!”
Then I turn and leave for the next coaster, knowing that I can conquer that one too, because hey, I just did the impossible, something I never thought I could and now I stride on with joy and peace, laughing evermore, “bring it on!”



You’ve probably guessed by now that this story is a metaphor of my life this past year. In every way it truly has been a roller coaster. Yes, I’m still going through this divorce, but I feel like my train has come back to the loading zone. I’ve finally made it through the terrifying track, through the deep depression and into a meadow of contentment.
God has blessed me abundantly and taught me more in this past year than I have learned in my whole life. He has taught me about pain, about listening to and following His voice (not my own), He has taught me about perseverance, patience, contentment, grace, mercy, and love. In short, through the tribulation of losing my husband, God has revealed His true heart and His divine nature to me. When I thought there was no way, Jesus showed me His way. When I thought love was a lie, God unmasked the truth.
As I pull myself out of this coaster I am a new woman. I am no longer the scared girl that embarked on this journey. Through the twists and turns, the sudden drops and the fear—God has created me a new being.
I glance back at the roller coaster, and against all odds, I smile and I boldly pray “thank you for the ride,” because I know that although this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it was also the greatest. I see where I am now, on the other side and I wouldn’t change a moment. Because here I am, I have arrived…

“If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has gone away—behold! The new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17