When I moved to our little community back in 2007, I was a divorced mom with 4 kids, ranging from 5 to 13 years old, marrying a man willing to take on all of us. Divorce to me was like a scarlet letter, a badge of failure, that was there for everyone to see. As a Christian, I felt the weight of that failure & continually questioned the Lord on IF He could use someone like me again. I grew up serving in church since my youth, from nursery to singing on the praise team, serving was ingrained in me. During my divorce, I was told to step down from where I was serving and I honored my pastor & leaders by doing so. I was broken, unusable, or so I thought. That was a very dark, dry time in my life. I looked for God’s judgment, expected it, but found nothing but HIS grace. From providing a job for a stay at home mom who hadn’t worked outside the home in 8 years to finding a home to rent in my budget (a house that had just been built) to ultimately leading me to find the man that my heart longed for, I look back & only see HIS grace.
In 2007, my kids & I moved to a town that I had never even heard of before and I will forever be grateful for that move. An area that my hubby grew up in, slower paced life & an appreciation for relationship, both personally & professionally. My husband was already serving in his church’s children’s ministry & it was assumed that I would serve along side of him and I did, gladly. It wasn’t a big part, just watching the kids & maintaining order as the service progressed but I was serving! I still carried the weight of my past. Could God really use me? Would God use me? He saw every broken piece inside of me. He knew everything that had transpired in my life, my choices, my decisions, my mistakes, my sins. I went every Sunday with a smile on my face & a weight on my heart.
One Sunday, one of the girls in Kids Life came up to me to give me a note she had written. In that note, she shared how thankful she was for me being in Kids Life & that she saw Jesus in me. Wow!! The weight that was on my heart had been cut by the obedience of one child showing me that God, not only could use me, but was using me!! When we walk in obedience to what he has called us to do, even in the seemingly smallest of tasks, we have no idea the greatness of the impact it will have on the lives around us. My obedience in serving even when I felt useless, plus her obedience in writing her note equaled a breakthrough in my life. I was released from my past defining me.
Fast forward 15 years, the 4 kids are now grown and we have added a 5th, who just turned 6 in December. Have the seasons been easy, no, but I am thankful for all that God has done & is continuing to do in my life and that of my husbands & kids lives as well. My decisions way back when still have an impact, especially on the older 4 kids, BUT God’s grace still abounds. I see it everyday as I watch my children walk out the call of God on their lives. In the smallest of choices that they make, I see God leading in ways that I cannot even imagine. I watch as my second oldest, Micah, loves his bride & baby daughter and leads his new little family. I notice as my oldest, Aaron, seeks to serve in his local church with the talents that God gave him, that my husband helped cultivate. I watch as God is preparing him for the wife that HE is about to bring into his life. I love to see the relationship with my daughter, Bethany, grow into a beautiful friendship & testimony of how God restores all the broken pieces into something far greater than what we could ever think of. I love the almost daily conversations with my 20 year old, Jadon, about how God is showing favor in his life with his job. And…my life would not have ever been complete without my youngest, Jeremiah, in it. He is a physical manifestation of God’s grace in my life. His whole life exudes the joy & love that God meant for us to walk in. His extra chromosome makes him just a bit extraordinary in every aspect & we love every minute with him.
So often, we allow things in our life to define us. We attach every definition to our hearts & allow the weight of it all to keep us from doing what God has called us to do. The reality is, we are who God created us to be. As women, as wives & mothers, we have so much inside of us to serve God, right where we are! When we allow God to define us, the weight of everything else falls off. We are not our failure but we are the grace that God gave to get us through everything we have walked. Our past is not
our prison but it is a hope for someone to see God’s hand in working everything out for our good and HIS glory. I no longer say who I was, I let everyone know who God is inside of me. God’s grace is written all over the pages of my life & when I look back, that is the only thing that I see now!!
Written by Lori C.