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Behind The Scenes of Our Wedding Day
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hi sweet friend
I’ve never written about this… I’ve alluded to it in writing and people that know me well, and likely many that don’t, could probably tell when it was what I was referring to… it’s a label I never wanted and an experience I wished so hard I could pray away for so long. For so long I thought it was the title of my book… through God’s goodness, I now KNOW it is only a chapter in all that He is doing in my life. A defining chapter because of all He has shown me, taught me, and done in my heart, but a chapter nonetheless.
I have a weird brain and I can remember dates like no one I have ever met… seriously. Tell me your birthday once and I’ll likely remember it forever. This freakish memory of mine… well, it’s annoying sometimes, if I’m honest. However, while I may have a brain that remembers odd, oftentimes seemingly irrelevant details, I think most of us can remember days that stand out to us, both good and bad. Think about it for a moment and I bet you can remember a handful of those days pretty easily as well.
Three years ago last month, my now ex-husband left our house. I didn’t know it at the time, but the previous night would become the last night we would spend together under the roof and inside the walls that were our house — a house we were going to build a future in, a house we made into a home, a home that was filled with laughter where we loved to host friends and where we made memories, a home where we talked and dreamt about the future together.
I was 26 years old at that time and by the week of my 27th birthday in March, I received our finalized divorce papers. I talk a lot about experiencing the cave or tomb of our lives. When you read the Bible and the story of Jesus, you realize that the tomb was a time when God breathed new life into dead bones in order to resurrect our Savior. Much like Christ did, many of us experience a period in our life that feels like a cave.
… a cave so cold and dark that you don’t know which direction is up
… a cave so cold you become pretty close to losing your desire to seek warmth because it just feels too draining.
There was a time when heartbreak, shame, loss, and regret left me feeling like I didn’t know if I would survive. In the depths of my heart I feared that that season would never end. I asked God daily if it would every get easier. I asked Him, what felt like every moment of every day, why it had to happen… why me? How could it have happened? Would the pain ever leave? Would I ever overcome the shame and guilt? Would I ever be happy again? Would I, could I, ever love again? Could I ever be myself again… the girl that attacked all life had to offer with joy, excitement, and passion? Would this day haunt me forever, could I ever get past it and be healed?
Do you want to know how great our God is? For a girl that can remember the weirdest details and has a crazy memory for specific dates… I didn’t even realize that the anniversary of “that” day was had come and gone until later that week when I just-so-happened to look at Facebook memories and one of the memories triggered it for me.
Want to know why?
‘Cause God heals. God restores. He is in the business of breathing new life into dead bones. He heals the sweet broken places in your heart. He takes those broken places and fills them with His love and strength for you, His precious child. He covers your past with grace to equip and empower your future.
… of unconditional love and healing.
Sweet friend… I don’t know what you’re facing…. Divorce. Death. Despair. Poverty. Illness. Betrayal. Abuse. … sadly, the list goes on. I don’t know if you feel like you’re the one that put yourself into that cave or if you feel like unfair situations or decisions out of your hands sent you there. I don’t know your story and I don’t know all of the details of what God is doing in your life. What I do know, now so much more than ever, is that there is a God that loves you so much He sent His one and only Son to this earth to live a life we couldn’t and to die a death we deserved so that we could spend eternity with Him. He loves you too much to leave you in your cave. You are never alone in your cave. He is there with you. Taking it in HIS time, breathing new life into you so that at the right time, after He has worked in and through your heart, you can come out of your cave a new creation equipped to approach life boldly from the stance of His love for you, and empowered to leave behind the things that needed to die in the cave.
What the enemy meant to hurt you, to harm you, to destroy you… God still reigns sovereign over and when laid at the cross, He will use for your good and His glory.
If you are still in your cave, in your tomb… know that the tomb is where things go to die so that better, stronger, death-defying, sin-conquering, new life can be born. Trust me on this — lean into what He is doing. Rest in His presence at the foot of the cross. Cast it all on Him and open your heart up to the breath of New Life.
His plans for you are good. It may not always feel good while we are on this side of Heaven… but He who promised is faithful, He who began a new work in you will see it through to completion, and He will never leave or forsake you. And, when it doesn’t “feel good” while on this side of Heaven… take comfort in knowing that our treasures are in Heaven anyway.
Take it one day at a time and I promise you — while your current pain, struggle, and situation is very real, one day you will be able to look back and see how much He has done in you and through you, all for your good and His glory … to draw you in close to Him in order to advance His kingdom.
One day… the day you thought you’d thought you’d never get past and the season you never thought you’d survive will become a reminder of His glory, His goodness, and His grace. And you will truly be able to laugh without fear of the future because while hindsight may be 20/20 … when we know Who holds our future and can see how He has continuously been faithful to us, giving us His strength and allowing us to experience the depths of His joy, loving us unconditionally and granting undeserved grace… foresight is 40/20… if not better.
Sidebar: Let me also include this becomes sometimes I worry about this – I think our society can glorify and glamorize divorce and I do not stand by that. With my whole heart I believe marriage is a gift from God, second only to salvation. I believe wholeheartedly that there is NOTHING the Lord cannot restore, redeem, and heal when it is taken to the cross in complete surrender. If you feel you’re in a cave right now and it has to do with your marriage and you are still married… I implore you to focus all strength and energy in prayer for God’s restoration and healing. Nothing is more important. New and shiny will not fix problems — only God can. Only God can bring about retribution, only God can soften hearts that have hardened, and only God can turn what the enemy meant to harm you into something good. We have to be willing to take it to Him. We have to be willing to get into the trenches and do the dang hard work to restore. We have to ignore the enemy’s temptation to move on to new and shiny when God asks us to allow Him to do a working like only He can. He restores, redeems, and renews. He works in us in an unexplainable way so that when nothing else makes sense… we realize it’s because it’s not from this earth. He loves to show up and show out, but we have to invite Him in. The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding… but He couldn’t have performed that miracle if He wasn’t invited to attend the wedding in the first place.
If you are past that point and find yourself divorced, grant yourself grace and take comfort, strength, and confidence in knowing that the label of “divorced” doesn’t define you. What does define you; however, is salvation. You are a child of God, an heir to the throne, chosen, righteous, and blameless before God. Kick the enemy to the curb and allow God to turn it all into His glory and your goodness.
Double sidebar (is that a thing?): Yes, there are some situations that I do not believe God would want you to stay in… but I also believe that, if given the opportunity, He would love nothing more than to allow His power, grace, love, and strength to change your situation and restore your marriage. Don’t be tempted from those efforts by what the world has to say – seek His truth, spend more time in prayer than you ever thought possible, seek Godly counsel and invite Him in to do a working. Seek discernment, without allowing outside voices dictate decision, and trust that He will direct your path.
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