This is the back story to the series, "Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey".
In a Time Long Ago. . . But More Recent Than I Wish to Admit. . . the Following Events Occurred. . .
I'd been avoiding a certain little hatchback for several days, each time leaving just as they arrived, or arriving as they pulled away down the street. I knew from voice messages left on my phone that this person needed to see me, however I didn't want to see them. But today hadn't been so lucky. . . The package had been delivered, signed for, and I was left standing in my little basement suite kitchen staring at papers suing me for divorce and custody of my two small children!
Secretly long-held fears flooded in as it dawned on me they were about to be realized. The biggest fear to clobber me at that moment was the prospect of becoming a single mother!
A visit to a local female lawyer revealed that failure to combat these papers would more than likely default victory to my estranged husband and hand him the kids in the process. If I wanted any hope of raising my children, I needed to counter-sue.
Counter-sue for divorce. . . Now more fears rose. . . Nightmares created by teachings from the pulpit heard from the pew as a small child. . . If I was to counter-sue for divorce, the nightmares shouted, I would lose any prospect of ever engaging in ministry in God's House! No more teaching Sunday School, no more singing on the praise teams, no more kids choir leadership, no more assistance in the office. . . This nightmare whispered that I would never minister again if I sued for divorce. . . And the trauma got worse. . .
Fleeing my husband had been traumatic as it was. I was raised that marriage was for life and I'd been trying for two years by that point to keep a failing 6 year old marriage together. My ex had said if anyone came for the kids to take them away, he'd meet them with a gun, of which he owned several. . . I had learned to clean, polish, disassemble and reassemble these things, and even how to aim and shoot them. . . This was the last straw in what had become an abusive relationship. The counsellors at the women's shelter to which a victim's assistance officer had brought us, identified several areas of abuse. . . financial, sexual, relational, social, and emotional. Fortunately physical abuse wasn't in the mix, but some of the other scars I swear cut deeper and hurt worse than physical wounds ever could! In fact I am convinced that physical wounds heal far quicker and more completely than those hidden from the naked eye.
Flight or fight syndrome had kept me going for two full weeks on extremely little sleep as I closed out accounts, wrapped up affairs at various venues and businesses around town, and prepared to get my children out of the province and back into my home province. The counsellors had never seen a woman try so methodically and deliberately to pull what pieces she could of her life together to start over. My sister made a kamikaze trip with a rented van to whisk my two small children and myself, and what few belongings we could grab from the house, out of that city! I wouldn't find out till 6 months later, that an hour after we crossed the provincial border, my ex had obtained a restraining order to keep my kids in Alberta! This piece of paper would never be produced in a court of law.
So here I was, three months into life back in British Columbia, struggling with the thought that not only had I fled a failed marriage, but I was now facing the prospect of never serving in my Lord's House again. I honestly don't know which was more traumatic, losing my marriage, or losing the ministerial giftings God had given me.
Finally I did it. . . I replaced the phone in its cradle and sat down at my desk, staring blankly into the rest of the living room. . . I'd begun the counter-sue. . . As the fall season began, I figured the one place I could still minister was in the choir. . . at least there it seemed few people asked questions and perhaps I could minister if no one knew what I was facing.
Those first three months had been a whirlwind of activity in spite of how tender my nerves were. Every minor confrontation would set my nerves to shaking like a leaf! I couldn't handle it. . . Yet I was putting myself through college to get a career to feed my children. I'd found my own place in that little basement suite. Found a car. Put my son back into kindergarten and my daughter into daycare. There was no room for tears, no room for emotional outbursts. . . Until the divorce proceedings began to jump into full swing. . .
Then it snowed. . . that particular day my lawyer seemed more upset than I was over how things were going between my ex and the lawyer he'd obtained. Things were emotionally tense and my poor lawyer needed calming down more than I did. . . when I looked out the window and saw snow blanketing everything. . . That would be the first time I felt God's overwhelming, calming, reassuring peace. . . the first time I would solidly get the message that God had it all under control. . . There would be many more emotionally trying moments, days and weeks, and any time I would come to the end of my rope thinking I couldn't take a moment more, it would snow! Every single time dear reader. . . Right into the spring of the year 2000. As proceedings were winding down, God quelled another stressful and emotional moment with a late spring freak snowfall! I looked out my window and couldn't help laughing at the ludicrous timing of that blanket of snow near the end of March. I shook my head and prayed, asking God for a positive outcome to this nightmare.
The divorce would finalize by the end of June, early July of 2000, with the courts giving me custody of the children with no alimony or child support. For those who are curious, it was a result of calling my ex's bluff when he kept saying he couldn't afford child support throughout the divorce proceedings. When he was offered the chance to grant me full custody without child support, he signed the paper!!! I and anyone who knew me, was shocked! The judge had actually approved and my ex had actually signed!
Now I was truly on my own, two small children in tow, a personal reputation lying in so many shattered shards at my feet. . . Tears joined those shards. . . many tears. . . My education had wrapped up and I would begin life as a working single mother that fall.
There were things I was adamant about never letting into my thoughts or home however! I wasn't going to live off the welfare system for starters! My ex had insisted we live off the system while he went to college several times, tried to urge me to find work while pregnant twice, and sponged off the church the rest of the time between short stints at various jobs. So I was determined we would not sponge off the government or the church! That we would be as self-sufficient as possible, as responsible as possible, as upstanding as possible, that no one would have reason to look upon my household as leaches or lazy bums. I also determined that we wouldn't live on the street, that I would do whatever was necessary to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table!
I lived this way from that summer of 2000 until 2006 when the second biggest personal storm would explode in my face and send me on probably the harshest whirlwind I'd ever experienced! My parents were moving away. My ex was threatening me with possible court action again and challenging my morals with the kids. My son was having major issues in school and at home, and I was getting nowhere with the school leadership. All this kicked up between late September and October, and I found myself slipping into a depression. Offers of hope in conversation or circumstance turned into blinding trains bowling me over under their wheels so often that by the time December rolled around, I was scared to get excited for anything, fearful that if I got too happy over some development, that it would turn into a raging lion and tear me to shreds! I wept for an hour one Sunday afternoon before taking part in a massive Christmas performance as a gift to our city.
This storm continued into 2007. A three week lull whipped up into a fury as my son was expelled from school and a guy who feigned mentoring my son to get my hand instead, was kicked out of our lives.
But then the strangest thing happened. . . Hardly a week after kicking that guy out of our lives, and hardly two weeks after obeying God's prompting to put my kids into the public school (against all gut feelings and experiences), I was sitting at my desk at noon working a quiet shift for Your Tech Online when suddenly I was enveloped in such an incredible warmth that I thought I'd fall asleep on the spot! My head fell forward and I straightened up shaking myself wondering what just happened! It was then that an unmistakable sensation came over me, as if God were holding me in a 360 degree embrace and saying, "NOW I can love you!" Fresh tears began to flow as I sat there soaking in a love I had never anticipated could ever flow from God to me.
I honestly had never learned that God could touch my emotions. I had never expected that God's love and talk of His Bride would be anything more than ethereal head knowledge found in the pages of Scripture. Needless to say I had to go diving through the Scriptures to make sure I hadn't suddenly snapped and fallen off the deep end.
What followed led to the lessons, discoveries and revelations found in this series!
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