...And Love Endures
Now, y'all know that I wasn't raised a Christian. Didn't set foot in a church growing up and admittingly, I studied the Satanic Bible for many years. Read this carefully, I am not ashamed of what I did before coming to know Christ when I was 26 years old. Because of who I was and what I did, I have full knowledge of what God is capable of bringing us out of and how endless His forgiveness is.
There had been times, when I first became a Christian, that I was envious of those who had come to know Christ as a child and had gotten to grow in His love their entire life. That is, until I realized that for all things (and people) there is a season, and a reason. I went through what I did for a reason, mainly because I am able to recognize that spirit of hopelessness and feeling lost in others because I lived it for so many years. I am able to witness from what I know of first hand.
Even when I was lost, God knew exactly where I was and He loved me. When I came to realize this, it was the best time of my life. Unless you've experienced that freedom from the chains that have bound you and to have honestly met God on the most personal level, of giving Him your heart, you'll not fully understand where I'm coming from. However, when I remember back to that exact moment, and the days...months and years that followed, I'm in awe of how much joy one's heart can actually contain.
Okay, so what's up with the witnessing? I'm telling you this, again and at this time, because I'm asked as late why I'm not more upset than I am, why I'm not falling apart, why I don't 'care' more about Mark having left us.
Why? Because I've walked through worse. Because I not only trust in my God who has proven to me over and over so many times that the stars above couldn't begin to measure the times He's seen me through hard times, but I choose to live in His joy rather than my sorrow. Because when I speak to Him, when I confide in Him, when I kneel before Him, I have peace in my soul.
I will never tell you (or anyone) 'you should', 'you have to' or try to direct you in a way that I believe you should go, because I am not God. I am of God, and I will pray for God's guidance of what to do for you, but what you 'should do' or what you 'have to do' is between you and God alone. Sometimes advice is given with the purest of heart, but it's still between you and God, and no one else knows what you should or shouldn't do.
There are times that even those with the purest of heart and best of intentions will try to steer you in a direction that may not be God's will for you. Some talk about a 'gut feeling'...I believe that we have our own personal protective fence around us, God's Holy Spirit. Though some may with the best of intentions give you what they believe to be great advice, let it be the Holy Spirit that guides you, that advises you. Sometimes He may whisper, sometimes He may put His hand upon your shoulder and sometimes He may convict you to tears, but He will direct you in the way you should go. Trust that God loves you in spite of whom you see in the mirror, trust His Holy Spirit to guide you forever in the right direction and trust that there isn't a pain or sorrow that Christ doesn't personally know first hand.
I've been asked as of late why I'm not more angry, why I don't resent Mark or others who have turned their backs on us, why I'm not vengeful, why I'm not afraid. Simple. I choose to love. I choose to forgive, I choose to pray for them instead and I choose to trust in God, as I've learned to do for the past 25 years. God has never forsaken me, even when I've forsaken myself, even when family has forsaken me, God will never forsake me.
I don't want anger in my home. Yes, we were hurt, but we layed that hurt, that disappointment and all anger at the foot of the cross. We left it there. How can we carry it with us when we've given it away?
My boys and I are happy. There is laughter in my home. There is peace in my home. There is joy and so much love in my home. My home is spiritually healthier than it has been in a very long time. We pray together, we praise and worship together and we give thanks together.
Like the life I lived before I came to Christ, the reason for the course of our lives is more often than not unknown to us. But there is a reason, have no doubt, and when God chooses to reveal it to you, He will. Trust. It's a learning experience.
We're trusting, and because we do, we are able to live without fear and all the downfalls that accompany fear.
Regardless of whether or not anyone understands the path you are walking, as long as you are walking with God, walk on. God is good, and His love truly does endure.