Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where is the End of My Rope?

In this season, I have relied on God and what I believe about God and His will for my life to keep me sane. For several weeks now I have felt compelled to burn the journal I started when my husband informed me that our marriage was over. That was well over 18 months ago and we still can’t seem to manage to get divorced. It may seem that divorce would be a simple thing to accomplish since we seem to be in agreement or at least I am willing to comply with his request for a divorce.

I have grieved the loss, accepted the failure and disappointment. I want to burn the journal because I want to grieve no more.

Although my spouse has asked for a divorce, there has been little initiative or cooperation from him. As I earnestly want to put this behind me and continue with the life I have begun to build for myself, I had to ask myself “where is the end of my rope?” How much longer must I spend in this dark season of my life and what it is I am yet to learn in order to return to happier days?” In this in- between state of not married and not divorced there is a loneliness and frustration -not to mention a spouse who carries on as if he is already single. I figure there must be more to learn because the season persists….

When I asked myself the question: "where is the end of my rope?" I realized I already knew the answer. That if God is my rope - there is no end as long as I have breath. So I thought about this season in my life and God as my rope and the imagery that sprang to my mind looks something like this:

I am holding a rope that stretches forward beyond what my eyes can see. I am kind of pulling myself a long, hand over hand with each step forward. And in the bright light of day the rope is just additional comfort and assuredness. But as I look ahead and see darkness coming and the rope stretching into undefined darkness – I hesitate, but I know I must still move forward and follow the rope. I hold onto the rope and head into this dark season - prayerful, afraid, and anxious – this was never the way I thought my life would be…

Still I put one foot in front of the other and follow where the rope will lead. Now I could assume that this dark season is all about life lessons for my spouse. How shortsighted would that be? So I hold onto the rope and put one foot in front of the other and step into this season – knowing God surely has a plan. As I walk in the dimming light I know I have a choice. Letting go of the rope is never an option… but how I will follow the rope is my choice.

And still in my imagery, I exam my options:

1. I can forcefully and resentfully resist and be dragged by the rope fighting all the way; learning nothing and wallowing in the pain and perceived injustice.

2. I can hold onto the rope eyes squeezed tightly shut and reluctantly, fearfully walking through the dark with nothing but the rope to guide me and nothing learned in the process. (This is voluntarily signing up for what I call spiritual special ed – the lesson will be repeated over and over until I get it – whatever ‘it’ is)

3. I can hold on to the rope with assurance – I can acknowledge and trust in my heart that God would never the lead me into a place of harm without it being a season of preparation for something greater. I hold onto the rope, stepping into the dark one foot at a time eyes open (of course cautiously – fear is fear and the dark is unknown). I allow myself to feel, really feel the anxiety, the uncertainty, the discomfort and pain, but allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness and see what was there to learn and understand.

What I am finding in the darkness is surrender, forgiveness, faith and love. Yes – I still feel anger toward the selfishness and heartlessness that created this season in my life, but it is not enduring. I am not compelled to seek revenge and carry the bitter wounds forever.

And I have tried, to face what is happening in my life with my heart and my eyes open to whatever lessons God is providing in this season. I know that in the end God will be glorified. It's pretty amazing because to many people on the outside it all just seems like madness.

Still I have settled into the life I began to build for myself once we separated. I find great joy in the company of my family and friends, working with my clients, and mining interests and hobbies. I continue to find solace and comfort in God’s unbreakable promises.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I was in a client’s office the other day and a sign on the wall said “the will of God will never take you where the grace of God will never take you where the will not protect you” And I thought AMEN for that.

I shared the quote and my feeling about it with a friend. He said, “How can we ever know the will of God?” I could appreciate his question. I mean with free will and intellect we can misinterpret what God has intended. Then I thought about it some more and I thought I would restate that quote as “Obedience to the will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you” Now you may think you would still have the same problem of understanding what is God's will. I like to think of myself as a fairly simple person and I think God has given us some very clear and simple directives on what is his will is:
From Exodus 20:1-17

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

This seems to me a simple place to start and while other biblical passages may add to this I think these are simple and easy enough to adhere to without confusion.