Deborah's story is a great example of God's healing and restoration. Over a period of years, she chose God's way and turned from her destructive behavior. She now uses her life to minister to others through all that God has allowed her to experience.
Conflict - Run!
Married at 17 and pregnant - divorced 11 months later! Even though I grew up in church, I never knew about the personal relationship you can have with Christ and I had no constructive way to deal with conflict.
After my first divorce, I spent the next 4 years partying and eventually found a man that was exactly the opposite of my first husband, but that too did not work. After 2 years, I was divorced again and part of the problem was not knowing how to deal with conflict. Growing up, I never saw my parents argue and work through it. More pointedly, I learned that the only way available to handle conflict was to run, get away from it. And, of course, the conflict was created because the other person was the problem - right!
Then 2 years after the second divorce, I met another man who was "different" than the first two, at least that is what I thought, but that marriage lasted only a few months. So, at the age of 28, divorced 3 times, and I have a son that I have not parented well. Now I was angry at life.
God Didn't Run Away
I was angry and hurt, trying to hurt as many men as I could...get everything I could out of each relationship. Taking advantage of people, not get too involved, really guarding my heart, and certainly didn't trust men. It's not that I was mean, but I took advantage of situations for my own benefit.
For 4-5 years that was my life, but along the way, I knew that things weren't right. My background drew me back to church from time to time, but I felt worse whenever I went because maybe the Holy Spirit was working on me. I definitely knew something was wrong, but I would not ask for help.
About the age of 33, I started losing everything that was important to me...my job, my male relationship, and my finances were in shambles...everything was falling apart...except one area, my exercise and workout time. I was an avid exercise and workout buff - I consistently spent hours in a gym.
At that point, God worked in my life in two interesting ways. A couple down the street was taking my son to church and he wanted to be baptized. That made me think about getting back into church. Then I lost my long time workout partner. There was another girl at the gym that I had nothing in common with, but we started working out and then started reading scriptures together. After a few months, we decided to try to find a church. We went to every church in town over the summer and narrowed it to 3 churches, finally deciding to attend Midland Bible Church.
At this point in time, I walked in with a lot of baggage, but the people cared about me anyway. Some of my thinking was really strange, for example, when I saw a man put his arm around his wife at church, I thought it was a joke.
Couldn't Run from Myself
When I came back to the Lord, I was sold out to be different. Over a period of 3 to 4 years, God continued changing me. The Hope for the Family video seminar that has grown into GR8 Relationships was an event that God very clearly used to change me. I remember going home after the first night just sobbing, knowing I was forgiven, but seeing the depths of my sin. Once I accepted the depth of my sin, I eventually started seeing that I was a critical part of the problem.
This was a big change for me, because I went back the next day - I didn't quit and run away. Hope for the Family made the difference in how I was to heal. In the past I had always run away, God orchestrated the opportunity and I chose to change with His strength to do it.
While this story is not one where I have found the right husband and have been married happily ever since, I have never married again. But, my story is one of healing, because in the Common Pattern for Life - I chose Truth and Reality - and things became different for me. God's ways work and make sense.
Even though I changed, I still fight the tendency to run. In fact, Dr. Marlin Howe has a good statement, "When stress hits the system, pathology overrides theology every time unless you are sold out to truth." It is so easy to rationalize the bad behavior that we develop early in life.
Time to stop running away and run to the arms of a PERFECT God!
PS: You aren't a second class person because you have been divorced. Trust God to use you in His PERFECT ways.
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!