Starting Over In Christ

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (2 Corinthians 5:17 amp)

Hello Everyone!

This week God placed it on my heart to share a piece of my testimony about starting over in Christ.

As a single woman with primary custody of my 2 children i’ve had to work hard the past 6 years to reframe my expectations of life.  When I got married in 2003 to my now ex-husband, I thought for sure that I had finally got to a place of stability in my life.  Prior to being married, I had made alot of poor decisions that cost me time more than anything else and at the age of 25 I decided that I wanted to shift somethings.  I decided to go back to college and finish getting my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to really make a difference in my community and got involved in activism, and I knew at some point I wanted the American dream.  Find a fulfilling career, get married, have kids, buy a house and enjoy life.

While all of that has happened for me. There were some major detours, pitfalls, and setbacks along the way.  The first one being that my ex-husband about 4 years into the marriage didn’t want to be married.  We separated for almost 2 years and then got back together had our second child and we tried to make things work but after 10 years it was over.  At the time I was an at home mom living on the East Coast trying to build my sewing business and pick up temp jobs along the way.

The marriage had become very toxic and abusive.  I wanted so bad to work things out with my ex-husband that I began to settle for whatever he was willing to give (which was pretty much nothing).  I also didn’t really believe in divorce.  That’s not really something that exists in my family, along with the fact that I was a Christian who had been praying and believing God for a miracle in my marriage.  All of this caused me to hang on much longer than I should have.

Then one day God released me.  He sent me someone who really encouraged my heart and helped me to see that if this marriage didn’t work out, my life would be okay. That God’s grace was bigger than a divorce.  It was the courage that I needed to walk away and let go.  I talked to my husband and told him that I would agree to the divorce.

That was the beginning of the journey to where I am now.  My initial response to the separation was a huge amount of denial.  I had enough faith to wake up every morning and tell myself your starting over, its going to be okay.  But I wasn’t really dealing with the emotional side of things.  I pretended like I had it all together but I didn’t and to be honest I don’t think it looked like I had it all together either.  On top of my own emotions, I had to still parent my children, deal with my families emotions regarding my situation, move back to Wisconsin and into my parents home, and deal with the fact that my ex-husband chose to live in another state leaving me primary responsibility of raising our children through one of the toughest seasons of our lives.

I felt like the roof had fallen in on me.  I was embarrassed by the idea of being divorced, I was struggling with my son who had a speech and cognitive delay issue (he’s completely fine now), I took a job as a nail technician and started to crochet hats and scarve sets to make extra money on the side, and my daughter really needed my love and attention.  It was hard, completely imperfect, But it was my faith in God, my family and my church family that helped me to keep going.

As hard as the situation was to deal with, I’m thankful that I went through it.  It hasn’t been easy but I can say that without a doubt, my faith has been strengthened and my life has greater purpose.

What I realize now is that the life that I planned for myself was not exactly the plan that God had purposed for my life.  When I got married I was not saved, I knew God but I wasn’t living in holiness.  Many of the choices that I was making was based on what I thought a good life was suppose to be.  The life that my parents raised me to have.  Which wasn’t a bad thing, but I was doing all of this absent of the wisdom of God.

Psalm 37:23 says:

“The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].”

When I gave my life to the Lord 14 years ago, I was desperate for a change in my life and my marriage.  I wanted to become the wife and mother that I thought my family needed and I felt like I was lacking, because back then I blamed myself for everything.  I thought for sure if I got myself together then my husband would love me.

I was looking at myself and my situation through a faulty lense.  While there were definitely somethings that I needed to change, there was something bigger at work.

I wasn’t living my life lined up with God’s true intentions for my life.  It was like everything shifted when I got saved and I wanted my life previous to me getting saved to live up to the expectations of salvation in Christ Jesus.  I wanted all of my friends, my husband, my kids, my family, my career, everything to still be in my life and I wanted everything that came with salvation. Except thats not how salvation works. The word of God says:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (2 Corinthians 5:17 amp)

What I came to learn was that I was the one who accepted Christ into my heart not the life I was living.  I became a new person in the spiritual realm but my life had to catch up with my salvation.  The way I thought, the way I talked, the way I made decisions, my overall lifestyle was headed for a major shift at the point of salvation and I didn’t know it. The more I read my bible, attended church and bible study services, the more I wanted to know more about Christ and living a holy life. And the more it seemed like life as I knew it was crumbling.

I experienced a lot of shifts and changes that I wasn’t expecting. Overtime, my friend circle changed, my marriage got worse, I felt like God was positioning me for a career shift from University Academic Advisor to seamstress entrepreneur.  (Which did not bode well with my then husband.) The closer I got to God the more I became detached from my previous life.

Not all of it was hard, It was a gradual shift.  Alot of which was welcome, because with those changes I found more inner peace.  With the loss of certain friend circles came new friends, with the loss of old mind sets, came more wisdom, understanding and compassion.  With the loss of my marriage came the opportunity to completely start over and become the seamstress, designer, sewing blogger entrepreneur that God created me to be.  Single parenting has become easier over time. My children enjoy the summers away with their father and I get a parenting break along with an opportunity to socialize more, build my business and contribute more to ministry. My ex-husband and I have a better relationship and he’s become more supportive of my entrepreneurial calling and financially supports me and the kids while I build my business. I no longer live with my parents and less than a year ago purchased my first home.

Most importantly, starting my life over in Christ gave me the opportunity to see and experience the fullness of God in my life.  God as provider, God as comforter, God as restorer, God as my peace, God as protector, God as my counselor, and the list goes on.  Every trial that I have encountered in the midst of re-building my life in Christ was meant to root, build and strengthen me in my faith.

There is a cost to living in Christ but the blessings that I’ve received far outweigh the things that I’ve lost.

That’s all for now. I pray that my testimony has blessed you. Until next time….

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Starting Over In Christ

  1. What a blessing to read your testimony. I have had many new beginnings since coming to Christ almost 40 years ago. Now I am a grandmother, single parenting some of my grandchildren and fulfilling my entrepreneur goals. I don’t think it is ever God’s plan for us to stay in one spot. Constantly evolving keeps us fresh, ever leaning on and learning through the providence of the Lord. I’m learning not to seek comfort in my current situation but to find comfort in Him, the one who knows me intimately. He tells me “I cannot forget you, You are carved into the palms of my hands’ Isa. 49:15-16.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this Iris. I know it’s not easy to have faced these struggles, but seeing that it’s helped you understand better the faithfulness and the sovereignty of the Lord…that’s way better than anything we face this side of Heaven. We do not serve a God made by our own hands. He is our great high priest who has suffered with us in every way yet without sin, as Hebrews 4 tells us, that we always can have confidence to draw near to the throne of grace that we might find mercy and grace in our times of need. That’s the confidence that can’t be shaken!

    Liked by 1 person

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