Dear Upper Room Readers,
Much has happened in my life since I first thought of this devotion. I did find hope and peace in making only small changes to my Bible reading, and I feel that it prepared me for the things that took place and caused me to “tweak” my life in a big way.
I was happily married for almost 44 years. When my husband died and I was alone soon after the funeral, I experienced a moment that was unsettling yet comforting. I crawled into my bed, and as I was often cold in those early days of grief, I rubbed my feet rapidly against the sheets trying to warm them. Then as I lay still on my back, I felt the bed settle on my husband’s side as if a person were lying down. I immediately felt warmth and peace. That never happened again, but I learned to pay more attention to little signs that God was with me. And each day during the first month of widowhood, I awoke with a hymn in my head—not all favorites, but they had a message.
Then after 10 years of being alone, I met a man and decided to remarry, despite the little messages I was getting—and ignoring. I felt I would set a better example for my grandkids by marrying this man.
I never thought I would have anything to do with the word divorce. I always thought that if you tried hard enough and were loving enough, you could make it work. But then traits that I thought were simply interest and concern from my husband became intrusive and controlling. Slowly my life was reduced to uncertainty and treading on eggshells as my partner vacillated between loving gestures and cold rejection. Finally I had to make a major adjustment—a huge tweak in my life. I had to leave and then divorce my husband.
The strengthening of my prayer life that I wrote about in my meditation, combined with opening up to friends and a counselor, helped me through this difficult time. I’m alone again, but I have regained my joy and my peace.
One thing that has been a blessing is the compassion I now feel for other men and women who are going through similar circumstances. I pray for any such couples I hear about. My situation was irredeemable, and I realized that it was okay to step out in faith and with lots of prayer. I encourage anyone going through a similar experience to trust that you are still loved by God. Through prayer the Lord can bring peace to us all. God is faithful.
Because I had consciously tried to draw closer to God earlier, I found an extra measure of strength when I needed it. As a retired CRNA after 42 years of full-time work, I have found joy in retirement by writing and serving in non-profit service organizations. But I had to help myself—by slowing down to listen to the messages that came from my increased conversations with God—before I could help others. I have come through a dark time of great guilt, soul searching, and uncertainty. And I have returned to a place where I know I am valued and have worth. Praise God!
“Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” — Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
"I lead a small group of about 12 women, and we were looking for a great Advent study. I had used While We Wait years ago and remembered how beautifully written it was.
I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.
Everyone is enjoying it so much and loving the insights that Mary Lou Redding offers for each character in her study. While We Wait has been a great study for us!"