Being in a broken and abusive marriage was hard. Coming out of it was even harder. I was lonely, sad, depressed, angry and hurt. My dreams had been crushed. The life I thought I was going to have no longer was. I had to move back in with my parents and carried a huge amount of debt. I was still searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I jumped into more unhealthy relationships, seeking comfort they could never give. When I met new people, they would always ask if I was married or single, to which I responded each time, “Divorced.” I carried the D word like a scarlet letter.
I could feel it tattooed across my chest, my forehead and my heart. I struggled with guilt and shame over the choices I’d made. For years I lived in that pain.
I didn’t like myself very much. I’m not sure that I ever did.
So many people would encourage me to date and do online dating. They would say, “If you don’t put yourself out there, how are you ever going to meet someone?” I’m not against online dating at all, but I knew what I was supposed to do. God wanted me to wait on Him. He wanted me to be pursued. There were times I questioned God. I wondered if I’d ever get married again. Amazingly, He kept reminding me of Isaiah 61:3, which says,
To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. (NLT)
It was time for me to focus on God, not on my singleness. He had called me to pursue Him and only Him. We went to the movies and out to eat. I got more involved with my church. I would take walks with the Lord and talk with Him. I mean really talk with Him, not at Him. I shared everything — the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with being single at times. Just like everybody else, I wrestled with feelings of loneliness and sadness. God knew how I was already feeling, but He wanted me to give all those feelings to Him.
I pursued my own freedom at church through classes and volunteering. I enjoyed my time not only with Him, but also with myself. I started to develop friendships with others. God slowly began to heal my heart. He showed me my worth — something that had been lacking ever since I was a little girl. My confidence grew. I could look at myself in the mirror again and actually like who I had become. I learned to love myself and be OK with being single.
Jesus became my joy. His joy was my strength. This Scripture became my life verse:
Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. –Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)
I’m so grateful for my time of singleness and season of life. Of course, I can say that now, looking back. It has helped me to be grateful for the hard times and struggles that I might go through today. God used one of the most painful experiences of my life to heal wounds that had been hidden deep in my heart for so long. I began to know Him more intimately and drew closer to Him, no longer relying on myself or on others. He reminded me that I am His child. He showed me that my past doesn’t define me. God doesn’t put labels on us either. He just wants to call us His own and lavish us with His love.
It was also during this time that He brought me my new husband, Danny! I truly believe that the Lord orchestrated and prepared me for a time such as this. God’s love has been shown to me most through my husband’s love. I am still in awe of His blessings. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary on June 30, 2017 – a promise fulfilled and worth waiting for.