Monthly Archives: April 2015

Taking the High Road in Divorce

IMG_1059Amalfi Coast

Can “taking the high road” and the “D” word really be in the same title? Yes, I think so. God’s high road (in divorce or any other catastrophic life event) represents the way that leads to Him. It is to accept His grace and forgiveness. To choose hope over despair and trust over doubt. To believe that through Him all things are possible, including a joyful life — even after divorce.

IMG_1072Italy’s breathtaking Amalfi Coast is a challenge to navigate even on the short straight stretches. The tight curves demand tremendous finesse, and you often feel like you’re at an impasse. The chaos makes it hard to take in the amazing views. Staying the course requires a little humor, a lot of patience and an ultimate focus on the bigger picture. My first marriage was a similarly hard road. Divorce  was the hairpin curve I thought would propel me over the cliff.

I married in 1986 and divorced in 2006 after years of counseling, prayer and trying to make it work. So far removed from anything I could have fathomed for my life, these chapters of my story were once a source of shame, guilt and defeat. I let divorce define me. No more. I no longer live under a cloud of regret. Whatever your past, you too can live in victory and look forward toward the prize.

IMG_1557In a recent sermon, I heard an interesting metaphor: Life is a like a mountain trail we’re all climbing  together.

I closed my eyes to picture the mountain. There are certainly treacherous stretches — narrow, difficult and dangerous. But the holy beauty of life on the mountain is its over-riding theme. There are awe-inspiring views and renewing meadows. Amazing sunrises and peaceful sunsets.

The gifts point to the Giver — on every step of the trail. It’s all about God: His redemption and restoration of His children — of you and me. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

IMG_0050No one escapes hardship — brought on by the world, the flesh or the devil. The times that are most difficult are in some ways our most beautiful, as we lean totally into Him as our only hope.

The early terrain of my failing marriage, divorce and singleness was beyond what I could bear alone. I’d rather not look back, but I remember a friend who had been through divorce graciously comforting me in my despair and loneliness. Now I have the gift of perspective to share with others passing that same rocky way.

I wrote a number of posts around divorce before many knew I had a blog. I’m sharing these links in red below with the hope they will serve as encouragement. Imagine my calling out, “Hello! I was where you are, not long ago. I know the path is crumbling behind you. You can do it, because you’re not alone. God is clearing your path and preparing a way.”

IMG_2505I remember that stairway felt like eternal hell, but now I know it was just the Refiner’s fire. I was safe; all was well. God was with me every step of the way. He’s with you. Carrying you when you can’t walk.

He was answering my prayers to change me. To transform me. To teach me to love and trust as He desires.

I want to share the redemption God achieved throughout my journey. I see His faithfulness beyond what I could have hoped for or imagined. Things I’ve learned that I just wasn’t understanding otherwise: surrender, dependence, ruthless trust, deep love.

The pain was acute. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. You see, I don’t think anything was wasted. In His mysterious omniscience, God allowed just what I needed and not a bit more. He still does. His ultimate goal is for me to become more like Jesus. To allow Him to transform me. I trust that He loves me beyond compare and wants what is in my best interest — even when it makes no sense to me.

IMG_0067At times I’m still frustrated by the ongoing difficulties that enter my life through divorce. I’m the last to glamorize it; divorce hurts children and spouses in subtle ways for years to come. When I’m hurting, I often catch myself envying those who’s family life seems all wrapped up in a white picket fence — but not for long. Comparisons are pointless.  I truly feel happy for their blessings, when I remember how incredibly thankful I am for all God has done and continues to accomplish in me and my life.

Having no regrets is about ruthless faith and trust in a loving God. Then it’s about forgiving myself. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”


Since Rob and I married we’ve encountered more rugged stretches. Maybe others intended  things for evil… but God will use them for our good! He promised. He has a plan, and everything is part of His plan A.

I’m not yet sure of the purpose in some of our hardship (and may never know), but we’re content and trusting — except when we aren’t. And those times are much shorter-lived now. We march on. Remembering what’s behind, we are grateful and trust Him in what’s ahead.

Sharing that thankful remembrance is part of a road well-travelled. Great things He has done! I think He wants us all to call back down the trail to others in a similar place — giving them hope in their darkness.

IMG_2539Below is a list of posts I’ve written around divorce. Divorce is a terrible thing. If you are in this difficult place, please lift your eyes to Jesus who will rescue you from sin and shame. He is the One who defines you and gives you Life. I wish I could talk with you in person, but hopefully you will feel His love for you in these words.

Just click on the titles below for laughs (at my expense), lessons He’s taught me,  and most of all hope. God loves you and He has plans for your life — for hope and a future. Blessings to you!

IMG_0136The divorce chapter

Recently Single

Honeymoon’s Over

Double Blow Out!

Sex and Singleness

Cheap Forgivenenss

5 Things Everyone should know about Divorce

IMG_0490Dating at halftime

Addendum to dating at halftime

Loneliness in Life Changes

God you want me to do WHAT?

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Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

Have you ever prayed about a decision, felt God’s peace, stepped out in faith, fully believing you were in God’s will — and then all hell broke loose?

IMG_2315When things are “going wrong” all over the place, keep believing!  When a door is entered by faith, God is in the room  — even when everything looks and feels “bad.”

We often speak of God’s blessings when life is clipping along comfortably. The house sells,  the acceptance letter comes, a check arrives for just the amount we need.

I’m not minimizing those times or the importance of praising Him for them. He is good — all the time! But let’s look at how we feel about that little word — ALL.

Do we dig deeper into our faith and find reason to rejoice and trust Him, even in hardship? If you’re like me, when the flu arrives, a big customer leaves, the pipes burst, a child is hurt… trust, joy and gratitude might not be the first stops of the journey.  I often take a painful detour through righteous indignation and shock. Why God? When You could have prevented this.

I know the answer (in my head). God has my BEST in His heart:

IMG_0506We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience.  And patience produces character, and character produces hope.  And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5) That should be enough.

But when I honestly examine my heart (and Jesus says we should), I find a hint of Christian entitlement. Despite knowing better, deep inside I want following Jesus to make my life easier. God pouring out His love to me, as He sees fit, isn’t always most important to me.

In my early adult years I thought if I asked for God’s blessings and tried to obey Him, He would (in return?) provide marital bliss, adolescent children without acne or angst, assets with predictable appreciation, great vacations, lots of friends… You get the picture; it’s embarrassing how shallow that sounds.

IMG_2367But I’ve grown a bit. Now I’m only perplexed that the world is unstable and dangerous.  That I’m still fighting weeds and that midlife and the sandwich generation feels a lot like middle school — which I swore I’d never return to. Okay, sometimes even the little things get to me. When all the big things start going amiss, I want an explanation and an escape.

God delivers — just not quite as I envision. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If we define abundant Christian life as being comfortable and easy, when we hit the inevitable wall of hard knocks, we will doubt God, ourselves, and each other.

Satan, the ruler of this world, is the author of lies, doubt, confusion and despair. He hates it when we seek God for Who He is and seek to love and obey Him… maybe that’s why when we go through one of God’s opened doors, life often gets much harder. Storms of all kinds just happen in a fallen world; Christians aren’t immune. Other times, trouble weazels in through cracks of opportunity we leave unchecked:  desires of the flesh.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:13-14)

IMG_5389“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)

Here’s the deal. Jesus never said if you believe in me, life on earth will be easy — but rather, “You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (Matthew 24:9)

IMG_4853Only once does He mention ease in the Bible, and He isn’t talking about cozy circumstances. The same Jesus who said, “I am the door”  (John 10:7) also said, “My yoke is easy.” (Matthew 11:30) That’s a metaphor for living like Him. Surrendering my “rights” and life, so that I’m constantly receiving power and grace from God. Easy happens on the inside. It exists when the joy of the Lord is my strength in the middle of all my messy problems. That’s abundant life.

Starfish! Alligator Point, FL
Starfish! Alligator Point, FL

It’s time for me to quit being surprised and doubting God’s plan when all hell breaks loose. Jesus is interested in producing His Holy character in us. Walking in the Spirit, we will battle the desires of the flesh. We’ll battle loving the world and everything in it too much. And we will draw the attention of the devil. But James 4:7 says “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” What an inspiring promise, but it rests on our humility before God.

I started with a question, and I’ll end with a few. Have you witnessed God’s amazing faithfulness? Have you been through a long, dark season, and come out on the other side with a bit of His wisdom? I have, and I wouldn’t trade all He has done in me through the trouble He allowed, for anything I once thought I wanted more than Him.

IMG_5662God has also allowed periods of blessed rest. When Rob and I married, we had a long season of reprieve. I was in a Bible Study where almost everyone was struggling with something, and I was thankfully but sheepishly at rest. Then we moved, and the relative break turned to constant challenge.

That’s why I wrote this post — to remind myself, and hopefully you too, that God’s got this. He’s doing amazing things on the inside, and He’s in control of everything on the outside. All is well. God is with us! ALL the time!

Ray Montagne’s song “Trouble” was popular years ago. How about a better message with a worthy focus? When I heard the following song, I wanted to break loose from the frozen chosen, stand up and say AMEN! Listen and be blessed.

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What Should I Do? Which Door Is Your Will, God?

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” Revelations 3:8



IMG_1151I have a fascination with doors. They represent many things: peace, opportunity, challenge, protection, adventure, mystery… and a choice to enter or not.

At 14, I was compelled to enter the door of Salvation through Jesus: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9).  Thirty years later I was absolutely certain God wanted me to uproot my family and move to Atlanta for seminary. I knew anything else would be disobedience.

No matter how wild the invitation, it’s a wonderful thing when God’s will is abundantly clear. More often than not, however, I’ve struggled to find His “ordained” plan for me.

IMG_0786I’ve begged, “please God, just give me a sign, tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it!” Almost always, he leaves me to wrestle with my decisions, dreams and motives.

I think it’s because God’s much more interested in what’s going on inside of me, than on the outside. God’s will for me is the person I become as I let Him develop the character of Jesus in me. Decision making forms character.

Midlife is a time I never really planned for. I’m not yet who I want to be, and I know there’s something meaningful yet to do. I feel a new urgency to step out, but to where?

IMG_1069I asked God who am I and what should I do, and he began transforming my heart. I’ve committed to trusting God to have His way in my life. To keeping my focus on Him. I’m expectant and excited about the future, yet I’m still listless —  more overwhelmed by what’s next than compelled.

“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” (Proverbs 8:24) I’m listening, God. I see many open doors. Which is Yours for me?

I want an unmistakable door. With a burning bush, a fleece or a talking donkey beside it! And a pleasant room inside, please. My real motives? For God to relieve the anxiety and messiness by telling me what to do, and for Him to guarantee relative comfort, meaning, and success along the way. I just want some downtime to enjoy life … haven’t I grown enough?


What God gives me instead is a blessing: divine doors of possibility without many details as to what’s inside. More opportunities than I could accept in several lifetimes, provided by God, to join what He is doing, for His purposes.

IMG_0073 IMG_0742And usually, His answer to what should I do is — You decide. It’s up to me which doors to walk through and which to forgo (missing out is almost as scary as a mis step). The process might be painful, it will definitely build character. Lack of overt heavenly guidance doesn’t mean God doesn’t care about my choices, or that I’ve missed my celestial walkway.

Not what I asked for… but is this really good news? Could it be that inertia isn’t Life? That mistakes made with the right heart are allowed, even useful. I no longer need to fear missing my perfect door? My mustard seed faith in a BIG God is enough? So it is and it isn’t all up to me… the pressure’s off?


I ask God for wisdom. Wrestle with my desires and gifts. Redefine my strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge that doing something well without passion is actually a weakness. I see some  of my discontent as righteous restlessness, and some as my conforming to this world’s selfish ways. I open my eyes and my heart — expecting to see God’s kingdom.

God wants to bless from His great abundance. That should be my mission too.  “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col 3:23)

IMG_1169But how?  Joyful decisiveness can be learned. When presented with life’s doorways, we can be closed-door thinkers (believing my worth depends on perfection, outcomes and performance) or open-door thinkers (committed to growth and embracing the journey).

In this post, I’m not addressing doors of temptation leading to immorality or selfish ambition (except in examining my motives and desires). Sometimes we lose the battle of flesh vs spirit. I usually know when I make a sinful choice and need to repent.

IMG_0507Instead I’m opening myself to endless divinely opened doors — all sorts of opportunities to join in God’s work. If you’re like me, this is where we struggle with choosing wrongly, which can lead to paralysis.

When I’m closed-minded I have to prove myself. Failure isn’t an option, so I’ll tediously arrange for my success and good image. My delays and rationalizations may seem prudent, but really I’m being self protective and refusing to trust God. I operate from the limited supply of my own strength. I’m slow to move and rarely take risks. My life is safe but unfulfilling.


When I’m open -minded, I know I’ll grow when I cross His thresholds… even failure is useful. I am confident and secure, because God loves me and goes before me — He’s already inside. I’m not ready or capable, nor do I know what’s beyond, but I know God is with me.

IMG_0533Every opened door isn’t for us, but as God presents them, shouldn’t we have just a slight bent toward saying YES! Toward the little ways we can engage and serve others to allow His love to flow through us, instead of withdrawing. Our small gifts in His hands are immeasurably valuable.

And especially in midlife, shouldn’t we say YES! to at least some adventures way beyond our means and abilities? Impossible without God. Outside our comfort zone. Often requiring us to join others and always to rely on God. Places where we grow and God unmistakably receives all the glory.

IMG_0778A word of warning: Once we go through God’s opened door, we can’t expect things to always be easy. “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Cor 16:9) We have to remember, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)

More on that and finding joy in the journey is coming down the pike.

It’s great to hear from you. If this post resonated with you, you are welcome to share it through the social media buttons below. I’d love for you to receive future posts straight to your inbox by letting me know below or join the Pink Reflections  Facebook community. Your comments are so encouraging. Thank you!