After I left my husband, we went through a lengthy court case to settle the ongoing care of the kids and property, the usual procedure here in Australia, but something I didn’t expect to happen. We were both wounded and hurting, unable to communicate with each other, and the whole procedure was painful and devastating. We eventually came to an agreement on all counts, and the kids continued in the routine that we had all settled into.
Soon after we finished in court, I applied for a divorce, an astonishingly simple procedure, and after a phone link-up with the Family Law Court, our marriage was declared null and void, with no objections voiced by anyone. I was surprised by my reaction to all this, how my heart hurt and I cried for a long time after I hung up the phone. I had thought that this was just another inevitable step in the procedure, that I was finished with pain and heartache, and that now I could move on with my life – whatever that meant. I didn’t expect the deep ache I felt inside, knowing that what had once been my dream had been declared effectively dead by someone in a courtroom a long way away.
Eventually, as it always did, the hurt diminished, and I began to look with hope toward the future for my heart, assuming that I would one day begin a new relationship, one that I pictured would be better than my first marriage. I had already started a nursing degree, and was excited at the prospect of becoming a midwife (as was my dream) once I finished my study.
It wasn’t long after our divorce was finalised, about 2 months or so, that through a series of events I found myself coming to know Jesus as very real in my life, and I surrendered myself to His love in March 2006. It was another completely unexpected turn of events in my life, especially for a girl who thought she had God all figured out. My coming to faith was the first step for me in seeing Him rebuild our marriage, although I had no idea that that was His plan then.
But He didn’t take long to let me know what He had in mind. A few months after coming to faith, I was sitting at a friend’s kitchen table, venting about a particularly frustrating time I was going through with my ex-husband. As I was explaining the situation to her, a thought came to my mind – no, a directive – one that took me completely by surprise and left me wondering where on earth it came from.
In a moment when I was wondering how long I would have to keep going through the difficulty of raising kids in a divorced family, God told me to pray for the restoration of our marriage.
Yep. God told me to pray to be married again to a man I didn’t want to have anything to do with, but would have to for the rest of my life because of our children. I didn’t even really know then what it was to hear God speak, but I had a crash course in hearing God that day. And it was no whisper.
After I responded ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, no way am I doing that, I don’t want to be married to him again!!’, I knew I couldn’t be completely disobedient, so I quickly prayed ‘Fine, Lord, if that’s what You really want, I pray that eventually our marriage will be restored’, and promptly resolved to never think of this curious little exchange again.
I couldn’t have had any idea on that day in June 2006, 13 years after I told the boy I loved that I would wait for him, that I was starting a new journey in waiting, one that would take a lot longer than a few days this time. 7 years later, I know that was the beginning of my lesson in patience, in learning what it is to be patient.
Tomorrow we’ll explore the definitions of patience, but for now, what has been one of your life-lessons in learning to be patient? Big or small, extraordinary or mundane, share in the comments below how you’ve come to know this lesson of love.
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