Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
Since my divorce eighteen years ago, there has been a constant theme in my life.The Lord has called me to be strong and courageous more than I would like to be. It is in the call to take courage that I have learned some of my greatest lessons. Lessons that became life altering opportunities towards a transformed life. Today, I am stronger because of these divine calls. In order to start healing, sometimes you have to revisit the hard stuff. My journey required me to start with my broken heart; I had to look inside an old tattered box in my garage. Kneeling beside this tattered box is where my journey begins towards the life of hope and restoration.
In the Hispanic culture when a young girl turns fifteen, families celebrate with a huge quinceanera which symbolizes a young girl transitioning to a young lady. When I reached this milestone, my parents gave me a hope chest. In this treasure chest, I collected kitchen towels, a simple set of baking dishes, cookware, a scrapbook, and a journal. I placed them in there with the dreams of someday becoming a wife. My dream came true one December.
As I sat on the cold garage floor and as I cracked open this dusty and tattered box, I could hear the crackling of an old hinge. I could smell the musty scent of the items within. It took everything in me to open that box. As I took a look, my wedding dress and tiara were stained with spots of yellow and they smelled old and musty. Flashbacks of that day sprung up from within as my heart wrestled to forget. My life as a wife had been stripped away and I could no longer hold on to that dream. As I pulled other items, my mind raced through the memories. Each item represented a promise that was to be kept until death do us part. However, those promises from long ago had been broken. As tears rolled down my desolate face, the heartache from within was unbearable. Item after item forced me to accept my current marital status. Divorced.
Alone and broken, I mourned this loss. A reality I could not bear. It was heart wrenching to accept that my dreams from long ago had been severed by a piece of paper and a gavel. As I sat there with no hope at all, I pulled the last item from this treasured and tattered box. I pulled out a white Bible with our names embossed on it. Our names too were no longer a true statement. It took courage to accept this truth. However, as I flipped through these stainless pages, a ray of hope beckoned me. A still small voice from within whispered, “Draw near, I am here.”
Who is this that beckons me? His soft whisper for the first time gave me hope. From that moment forward, I started a journey that led me through various seasons. My dark days turned to brighter days. My hurts turned to healing and my heart turned to the One who filled me with an ever flowing hope. Jesus is the answer to the hope you are seeking. Draw near, He is waiting.
Always and Forever,
Don’t be concerned about outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is that chick after all? Do you remember when you were young and you would spend several hours in front of the mirror wetting and drying, flipping and curling, and wetting and drying your hair again and again? Hot rollers were in during my time; I was blessed that I did not burn my ear off during that process. As a matter of fact, I perfected that skill by placing a piece of toilet paper between my ear and my head so that my ear had a chance of survival. Those hot rollers would reach some hot temperatures. At the cost of causing some type of degree burn, it did not matter because I was determined to get the biggest 80’s hairstyle.
As a teenager, I saw myself as a playful, young, unstoppable, adventurous, outgoing, and gorgeous girl. I did not question a thing about myself at all. Aside from trying to attain the 80’s hair style, I spent another few hours putting together the perfect outfit by accessorizing it with the perfect pair shoes and purse. The outfit according to my standards was stunning, and I looked marvelous. I was confident, and I was on a mission to get noticed by any guy that would notice me. It did not matter who he was or what he believed in. He just needed to notice me and when he did my mission was accomplished.
Today, as a woman, it is incredible the stunts I have pulled to be accepted, to fit into a size I do not belong in, or to look like the model in the magazine. I have tried to fit into various social groups by conforming to their ways and by going against my inner being in order to belong. I have worn body suits that could have sent me to the emergency room. Are you kidding me? There have been times I think to myself as I have worn one of these body suits, if I get up from this seat right now; I might leave the bottom half of my body on that seat. I have been numb from those things. They are torturous! Of course, I am not getting back into my high school cheerleader uniform. I am a mom, and I am a woman now. My body has changed. I have kept clothes in my closet for the “someday” I will get into phase. These someday pieces have been in my closet so long that the elastic has worn out. No, nobody has worn them. They are just that old. Aside from them not being in fashion any longer, the musty smell will not go away no matter what Downy scent you buy. I have spent more money on clothing than I like to admit in order to be accepted or to fit in. The only acceptance I get at the end of the month is accepting the total on that statement. I have gone to extremes to try and change my appearance. I have tried every fad diet and every make-up regimen to try and to look like the perfect model in a magazine. If God wanted me to be a model, he would have sent the agency to my house breaking down doors in order to get me on that runway. I am still waiting; I suppose they have not been able to find me.
Why have I gone to this extreme? It’s simple. When I look in the mirror, I’m critical of myself. I’m not happy with the size I must slip into, or should I say try to slip into. I criticize everything about me. My wrinkles are too noticeable. My eyes could have been a different color. My hair is changing color plus I don’t like that I have natural curly hair, so I pull out the straightener to straighten it out. I have seen smoke/steam coming out of my hair while using one of these straighteners. How is that natural? Why can’t I accept who I am and enjoy who I am? We have so many influences. Television and magazines play a large part in how we view ourselves. We set our eyes on those magazines; and we tune into the television shows. We set for ourselves ridiculous goals we can’t attain and they leave us depleted and defeated.
Let’s turn off the television and skip the magazine in the grocery aisle. Instead, let’s sit at the feet of Jesus. He is our designer. His fashion surpasses any runway from here to New York. He is not interested in what we are wearing; He knows what we look like. He doesn’t make mistakes. We are His masterpiece. How many times have you seen yourself as a masterpiece? A masterpiece is treasured. Our designer loves us just the way we are. No fashion, no hairstyle, or piece of jewelry can ever make us feel content. Instead, His concern for us is not that we concern ourselves with our exterior but instead that we dress ourselves with a quiet and gentle spirit. These two characteristics are so precious to God. You want to be noticed. Be noticed by our awesome God, and let Him fill you with the beauty that comes from within. You won’t have to walk any runway or go to extremes to make an impression. Instead, your spirit will impress those around you for His honor and His glory.
Lord teach us to love who we are because you are our true designer and you do not make mistakes. Let out beauty come from within so that you are honored and glorified through our lives.
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10
What’s in my identity? Who determines my identity? Can I change my identity? As a young girl, I identified with my family unit. I grew up in a family unit that believed in the importance of uniting as one and supporting each other along the way. I watched my parents go through life facing everyday challenges with perseverance and embracing occasional victories with gratitude. I quickly learned that when life gets tough, we got tougher. We came together as a unit and we walked through the trial or the victory as one. Naturally, I learned that having a family was part of who I was. I belonged to a unit that worked together. I knew as a young girl that I wanted to have my own family.
By the middle of my young adult life, I had a preconceived notion of what I wanted out of life. I wanted to be a wife, a mother, and a teacher. Evidence of wanting to identify with these three things were penned in my childhood journal. A journal stashed away in a treasure chest held my dreams of someday becoming all these and so much more. Believing that I could attain these identities was my mission in life. I desperately wanted to achieve them. I wanted to marry and to raise a family; hence, becoming a wife was important to me.
In December, 1987, I became a wife to my high school sweetheart. Slowly but surely in my adult life, my dreams were becoming a reality. First, I became a wife, and then I became a mother to my first daughter in 1995 and then again to my second daughter in 2001. These two important identities became part of my makeup. I built a life around these two statuses. I had all I needed and I just knew that nothing in this world could ever destroy who I was and what I stood for. Wrong!
After fifteen years of marriage, my whole world came crumbling down. My identity as a wife had be stripped down to a document that declared me as a single woman. The one thing I dreamt of being and becoming had been taken from me. The stripping of this identity pierced my innermost and most intimate parts of who I was as a woman. I loved being a wife. I could not come to terms with this new divorced status. How is it possible that someone could take this from me? Don’t they understand that becoming a wife was part of who I wanted to be. I dreamt of living the “happily ever after” story. What happened? Who am I? Where do I belong? Whose am I? How will I survive this loss?
Thought after thought bombarded my mind. At my time of weakness, the enemy started his deceitful scheme with his own plan of destruction. He was quick to whisper, “You failed as a wife. Your dreams of becoming a wife were a lie. You were wrong all along. You will never rise from this again.” The more I listened the darker my world. I was alone, hurt, and desperate. Every single word he whispered, I believed. Defeated, disillusion, and depressed his plan to destroy me was pitching me into a dark pit. As I spiraled down this pit of destruction my world was getting darker and darker. At this point in my life, there was no point at all. I had been stripped of the one thing I dreamt of becoming.
How do I keep going when life comes crashing down? How do I move forward? Where do I belong? Who should I identify with? My dark days were greater than my bright days. I had no hope for my future and for myself as a woman. I did not want to keep going at all. I was exhausted from the mental turmoil. One day and in search for significance, I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood as my daughters slept. As I cried out to the Lord, he heard my cry and revealed himself to me like he had never done before. On this day, I met the One, Jesus Christ, who would change my life forever. He changed my life in the most extraordinary way on an ordinary day. I have never been the same since that day. He’s waiting to change your day and to seal you with a new identity. Don’t lose hope!
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God had joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6
I can still hear my shoes hitting the sidewalk as I made my way from the parking lot to the courthouse. I remember it like it was yesterday. One of the hardest days of my life was the day I had to show up for the pronouncement of my divorce. As I stood in that cold courtroom with my attorney, the judge came in to separate the one thing I cherished. My marriage was coming to an end. As the judge decreed the future of my marriage, the words he used to destroy the one thing I believed in echoed and ricocheted against the marble walls. Some of the words I heard while others faded within the marbleized walls. As I tried to make sense and to pay attention to what was before me, I was trying to internalize all that was happening. The progression of the divorce was moving forward, and my marriage was in the hands of a man. There was no way to stop the process. The one thing I do remember hearing was the banging of the gavel as the judge decreed that my marriage was dissolved and no longer in existence. I was declared divorced by end of the last bang coming from the gavel. My attorney walked me out of the courtroom and down the hall to the exiting doors.
As I made my way to my car, tears rolled down my face. Both cold and warm tears flowed from my eyes to the nape of my neck. I was trying so hard to make sense of what I had just experienced but none of it was making sense. As I got closer to my car, the more my tears would flow. My heart ached so much; the pain was excruciating. At this point in my life, I had never experienced this kind of pain. It was deep within the depths of my heart and at that present moment there was no consoling this broken heart. Question after question filled my mind. How does someone recover from such a wound? What about my commitment to the marriage? What about my dream of becoming a wife? What about my children? What do I do now? Where do I stand with God? How can man separate what God has joined? How is that possible? Why Lord? Why me?
I sat in my car for over an hour with my tears pouring out of my eyes. I would cry loudly at times in disbelief that I was no longer married. I was now a single mother with two daughters that were clueless as to how their family dynamics had changed. At times, I would lay my head on the steering wheel crying while the sound of people walking on the sidewalk made their way to and from the courthouse. Not one of them knew the agonizing pain I was going through during this dark time. As I sat there, I was afraid to turn on my car and to leave the parking lot. I felt that if I did leave my life would crumble into more pieces. At that time, nothing made sense. My mind was working on overload and I could not stop the many thoughts that crowded it. It was one thought after another. They kept coming from every direction. Confusion started setting in and I was lost in all that confusion. A thick fog was crowding both hemispheres; my brain was short circuiting and it was affecting every function of my body.
At one point, I looked at my hand and I was still wearing my most treasured possession. My wedding ring was still on my ring finger. I had hope until the very last second. I was no longer married according to the judge so the symbol of marriage I wore was no longer a part of my identity. I was no longer a wife; hence, I could no longer wear it. How can this be? I made a commitment before the eyes of God to remain married until death would do us part but a judge, a man, had declared me as divorced. A document had been signed, stamped and delivered. Coming to terms with this type of declaration was hard to accept and to process in my mind but especially in my heart.
At this point in my life, I was a new Christian. I became a Christian in 1998; I was divorced by 2003. I was prompted by the Lord to accept him as my personal savior, but I really did not develop much of a relationship with him. I knew about him and I understood certain things about him but that was it. As I twirled the ring between my fingers, the one thing that kept crossing my mind was if God joined us how was it possible that this judge could separate us. What do I do now? I am so confused. The longer I sat in my car the more confused I became.
While I may have been confused, God was not surprised or confused with what transpired in my marriage. On the contrary, He would go on to teach me that my identity was not in being a wife but in building a relationship with my one true love, Jesus Christ. My pain was necessary for me to return to him and to his ultimate plan for my life.
The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
What happens when glass breaks? It either shatters into many pieces or into several larger pieces. Sometimes these items can be easily mended with the proper adhesive. If it is a treasured item, the owner more than likely will try and put it back together. I have done this with several treasured pieces that have been damaged throughout the years. An individual is able to repair this item on his own and use it to its full potential.
What happens though when your heart is broken? How do you mend a broken heart? Where do you start? How do you put it together again?
I discovered a journal entry after my divorce from my childhood. One of my desires as a young girl was to marry and to have children. While I did not have the name of my significant other, I did pen that I wanted to marry someday, and that I wanted to have children. As a matter of fact, I wrote down the name of my first-born daughter. My first born was a daughter and I named her just like I had written many years ago. In 1987, my dream of becoming a wife became a reality; I married my high school sweetheart. Being a wife was precious to me; I cherished my relationship with my husband. I loved him dearly. My entire heart was invested into this relationship. Was I the perfect wife? No. I failed. I will be the first to admit. I will write about that later.
Nothing in this life would have prepared me for the loss of my marriage. After fifteen years of marriage, my marriage came crumbling down. Decisions and choices had been made for me. The process of divorce had made its way into my marriage. The pronouncement of a judge had declared my marriage as dissolved and I was left with a broken inconsolable heart. The deep piercing pain in my heart was intense. At times it felt like I could not breathe. Breathing actually hurt. The normal rhythmic pattern of my heart changed. I could physically feel my heart racing at times or my heart skipping a beat from the pain that surrounded its chambers.
My days were long, and my nights were dark. I spent them trying to ease the pain for the sake of my daughters, but alone I could not find a solution. Nothing at all would suffice. Day in and day out the grief was real, and it was pitching me into a pit of despair. The pressure and the tightness of my chest sometimes was unbearable. At some point, I made an appointment with a cardiologist to see if maybe he had a solution. The pain was that intense. It was affecting me physically, and I knew it. How will I ever survive?
It was in this broken state that I encountered the One who would walk me through this immense heartache. I was familiar with Him, but I really did not know Him. During my pain and in search for an answer, hope beckoned me. Hope? What hope? For the first time in months, I felt a bit of relief from the one who knew my pain. The Great Physician, Jesus Christ, found me in dire need. Little did I know; the process of restoration was on its way. He started a process of restoration that would teach me, mold me, discipline me, restore me, and free me. Christ is that hope; He is the one that beckoned me on that dark, raining, and sunny day. Yes, I experienced all three of these things on that dreary day.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Welcome to my blog. I am so happy you are here. I have decided to step out of my comfort zone to tell my story. I believe with all my heart that God wants me to tell my story so that those who read it may be changed by His Word. His Word is alive and active and it never returns void. It has the power to transform your life.
It has been sixteen years since my divorce. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, fear, worry, self-image and self-esteem issues. Through God’s grace, I have overcome many of these obstacles. He has restored many aspects of my life and he continues to do so. It is my prayer that my sharing my story you too will seek a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the God who restores and makes all things new.
I have a passion to teach others. I enjoy teaching others about the Bible or about photography. I believe God has given me these gifts to share with others. As you navigate through my blog, stop by my photo gallery tab. The photos in this tab are personal photos that serve as reminders of God’s faithfulness in my life. Through these photos, the Lord has solidified my faith and my relationship with him.
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