On July 3, 1999, I thought my life was over. That was the day my previous husband moved out. We had only been married less than a year, and it was already over. Divorce was not an uncommon reality in my family, by any means, but I was determined to never join the “divorced” club.
That didn’t work out so well (and I think I beat the record with how quickly it could happen).
He moved out just a few weeks shy of our one-year anniversary.
I was never able to see the dreams come to pass that I had in my heart with him. It was practically over before it started. I was absolutely crushed.
I can still remember that day so clearly. When he was moving his belongings out of our apartment, I went to my Grandma’s house, because I didn’t want to be around to watch him. I came back later to find so much emptiness.
I felt incredibly alone.
My apartment was empty, and my heart was even emptier. I felt so incredibly alone.
I can still so clearly remember standing on my Grandma’s back porch, seeing the fireworks for the 4th of July that weekend, and looking up into the sky wondering what my future held. I will never forget that feeling of hopelessness. My heart was broken.
We had worked together for years and dated for quite a while. It’s not like I married a stranger, although he started to feel like one shortly after we got married.
We both drank alcohol many weekends when we dated, but I stopped before we got married and thought nothing of it. Many mornings he would not remember the night before, which always baffled me. I was completely naive to what blackouts were and had no idea that this was a huge red flag of trouble that I was overlooking.
We would always joke around, saying that we would be married for 65 years, but it lasted less than one.
I had pictures in my mind of what our children would look like (I was sure they would have brown eyes like his) and what many other dreams might look like, but none of that ever came to pass.
I thought my life was over.
Little did I realize that night I found myself looking into the sky, feeling more alone than I had ever felt, that my future held some of the most amazing parts of my life.
My loneliness and despair led me to start searching for a church that I could go to. I hadn’t been to church in several years, but I just wanted something to give me hope.
Jesus reached out to me in one of the most tragic times of my life.
Even though I was raised going to church, I found myself learning more about Jesus than I ever had. It felt personal for the first time. There was a depth to everything that I had never known before. I gave my life to Him almost a year later.
Little did I know that my ex-husband would die of a heroin overdose 4 months after I gave my life to Jesus. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through that time without Jesus in my life.
I was in so much emotional pain and feeling such confusion. I was finding out details of his life from others that he had kept hidden from me. I knew he never wanted to hurt me. He was actually one of the kindest people I knew. He was trapped, and I know that now.
At the same time, for the first time in my life, I felt such comfort in knowing that God had a plan for my life. I didn’t have to wander around hoping that I was going in the right direction. I felt like my life had come to an abrupt stop, but I started to trust that He wanted to help me and guide me in whatever direction He had for me.
I can look back today and see myself looking up into the sky at those fireworks in 1999 when I thought everything was over. I thought everything was ruined.
Little did I know that my life with Jesus was just beginning.
Since that time, Jesus has healed me, delivered me, and set me free in so many ways. My relationship with Him has grown so much over the years. I am now re-married and we have 2 (blue-eyed) children. Now I can’t possibly imagine a life of never knowing and loving them.
If you have followed my story or blog for any length of time, you know there have been many ups and downs in my life over the years since that one particular 4th of July. There have been other instances of death to dreams, challenges in my marriage, and other situations that have left me feeling very empty and grieved, (just like anybody else’s life).
Every time I see fireworks I’m encouraged to remember just how much Jesus has done in my life and how much He has restored.
I never could have imagined how much having a relationship with Jesus could show me my true purpose in life, transform my dreams, goals, and give me a new vision for my life.
If you don’t have a true relationship with Jesus, you are missing out on more than you could ever imagine. It’s more than just knowing who He is. It’s a relationship.
Whether you feel like you don’t have any hope left in your life, or maybe you think your life is already just as you want it to be…having a true relationship with Jesus will transform your life in ways that you have never even thought of yet.
The biggest thing He will do for you is save your life. He came to this earth to die in place of us. He died for our sins so we wouldn’t have to live in hell for eternity. If you choose to follow Him, He will save you from all of that. He will save you from having to spend eternity in hell, and you will forever live with Him. This is the only way to get to heaven.
He can’t force us to give our lives to Him, but His arms are wide open for us when we turn to Him.
He loves you so much and wants to give you hope, purpose, and eternal life with Him. Like I mentioned before, maybe you think your life is already just the way you want it. That may be, but you need to surrender your life to Him to be saved from hell when you die. We all die, and no one knows when that moment will come.
My former husband is proof of that. His mom found a new shirt in his car that was still in the shopping bag that he bought the day he died. He never got to wear it. He had no idea he would die later that evening.
If you have never given your life to Jesus, ask Him to come into your life today. Ask Him to become your Lord and Savior, and He will. Ask Him to forgive you for all of your sins, and He will. Turn your life from the direction you have been going, and start walking with Him.
Ask Him how to do that. He will show you one step at a time.
Pray to Him every day. Lean on Him for all of your decisions. Lean on Him for everything.
Being a Christian is not about going to church on Sundays (although that’s good to do!). It’s about having an intimate relationship with Jesus. It’s not about thinking about God every once in a while, or just when you need help. He wants you to give your entire life to Him.
He wants all of you.
Thank you, Jesus, that you are such a wonderful Lord and Savior! You gave me hope when I had none. You have delivered me, saved me, and given me a future that I never could have imagined otherwise. I love you!