I wrote this story this morning in hopes that it will encourage anyone who is overwhelmed with hopelessness and grief.....This story is for you....please pass it on to anyone who might need it....
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
In everyone’s life, there are ‘seasons’ from the time they are born until they die and go Home to Heaven. We can understand the cause for these seasons in our lives by learning about nature. In everyone’s life, there will be ‘winter’. Winter is a season where everything around you seems ‘lifeless’ and everything looks as though it is dead. However, underneath the ‘soil’ during wintertime when the winds are blistery and cold, the roots of the trees are spreading and growing outward in order to give support to the tree and make it stronger to be able to withstand the winds that are blowing against it. It is during this season that the tree can be ‘replanted’ from its’ original position to another one by its owner. Then, when ‘spring’ arrives and the sun shines with warm heat, the tree becomes alive and begins to thrive once again with blossoms and beauty and as the years pass, with each spring, the tree grows more tall and beautiful than the year before until it reaches full maturity.
When tribulation or ‘winter’ comes into our lives, we sometimes wonder where God is and why He has abandoned us. We think we must have done something really wrong or that we are His stepchild and He wants nothing to do with us. We turn our backs on Him because we wonder if He even exists. We don’t understand how a ‘loving’ Father could allow the depth of pain and suffering in our lives if He truly loved us as we read in His Word. We know that we, as parents, would ‘move Heaven and earth’ to make sure our own children didn’t have to suffer. So we despondently grieve over the pain we are enduring with little hope that ‘spring’ will ever come.
Some people, like me, begin their ‘winter’ the day they are conceived. My mother smoked non-filtered cigarettes and drank hard liquor throughout her life and didn’t concern herself with the consequences of those actions on the baby she was carrying in her womb. I was born with 85% yellow blood and required a blood transfusion in order to live. She continued to drink so heavily that my father had to hire someone to take care of me to ensure my safety the first six years of my life. They divorced when I was 7 and he was awarded custody of me due to her inability to be a proper mother. My father immediately remarried a woman who had two children of her own and the following years of my life were filled with mental abuse and neglect. My father was a workaholic and my stepmother hated me. She only spoke to me when she was ordering me to do something or belittling me. My stepbrother sexually abused me and my stepsister made fun of me to her friends. She was gorgeous and blonde and I was the chubby, plain brunette that was shy and stayed in her room. We moved almost yearly, therefore friends were non-existent most of my life.
In the divorce decree, it was ordered that I spend weekends with my mother. She lived with a man who provided her liquor and she stayed drunk from an hour upon waking until she passed out in bed. I only knew my ‘real’ mother for the first hour of those days and relished those moments with her. During those times I would sit beside her on the couch and beg her to stop drinking so that I could come live with her. I would tell her of the abuse that was going on, but her only reply was that she couldn’t stop drinking and she would drink until the day she died.
When I was 12, I went to live with my aunt and uncle, who already have five children of their own. I stayed there for a couple of years until my aunt couldn’t handle all of us anymore so I had to move back home. We moved almost annually and so I attended several elementary, middle and high schools, some of which I can’t remember the names of them. My father worked late every night and when I needed him, he was always ‘tired’ and really didn’t know how to be a father. His own father died when he was six years old while working on an oil rig. My older two sisters were grown and married during my teenage years and they both married at the age of 17. When I turned fifteen I went to live with my older sister, was only 23 at the time, and had three children of her own. She felt that she could rescue me from my horrible home life and I could help her with her children at the same time. I lived there for about a year and then went to live with my best friend of seven years and her family. Within months of my living with them, my father died suddenly of brain cancer. I lived with that family until my senior year, and then moved in with my grandmother for a year and subsequently lived with my maternal grandmother for two years until I met and married my first husband.
The marriage lasted less than two years but during that time, my mother finally passed away from liver failure due to her excessive drinking. Her statement that she would drink until the day she died finally did come true. So, at 21 I was left with no parents and no one to support me. I lived on my own until I met and married my second husband, whom I only knew two weeks. I was 26 years old and wanted to start a family before my ‘biological clock’ wore out. We had a son within the first year of marriage, but I also found out that my husband had been unfaithful and that fact never changed during the five years of our marriage. When our son was three, I became pregnant with twin girls, but due to the stress of his infidelity and the death of my paternal grandmother, I lost one of them at birth. After the girls were born, I left my husband with my son holding one hand and carrying my one month old baby daughter in the other. I came back to my hometown and never looked back.
I supported my two children on my own for five years. During that time, I hated God because I thought He hated me. I couldn’t understand WHY He allowed me to suffer my whole life. I felt that I was His stepchild and He didn’t even know I existed. I couldn’t fathom His being my ‘Father’ if He could just ‘look the other way’ while I was barely able to hold my head above water to keep from drowning all my life. I had times in my life that I loved and served Him but it seemed that every time I turned around, He was neglecting and abandoning me, so I finally gave up and figured He just hated me for some unknown reason. I was filled with rage at God and everyone around me. I allowed bitterness to overtake me and become an intricate part of my soul. I didn’t know who I hated more, the father of our children for abandoning us and his inability to care, or God, for not changing the circumstances of my life. One day, while I was sitting down to write my ex-husband a hateful letter, Gods’ Spirit enlightened my heart with His love. It was truly a ‘Saul/Paul’ experience and it changed me forever. God somehow revealed to my spirit that He had never left me and that He had been ‘holding my head’ above water, while I was treading that deep sea all of my life. He revealed the depth of His love for me and changed my soul and spirit from that point on. I can’t begin to put words that would adequately describe what happened to me, but suffice it to say that I’ve never been the same since that day. I was 33 years old and from that day until now, my ‘springtime’ had begun.
Shortly before the time when God revealed His love for me, I had been unemployed. I had left the job I held for a year due to an offer from another employer. During the interim, I had given notice on the house I was renting and everything was packed up in boxes. I was ready to move and start my new job. However, within a week of it coming to pass, the new employer informed me that the company had a hiring freeze and the position was no longer available. I was suddenly without hope of even knowing where I was going to live or how I was going to feed my two children, who were two and six at the time. In confiding my problems to my aunt, she bluntly told me that I should give my two children up for adoption as she had the opinion I was unfit as a mother. However, God was taking care of us and provided a friend to live with and a decent paying job, working for the government that would take care of us financially for the next three years. The ‘leaves’ were starting to sprout on the tree and life had begun for me for the first time in my life.
Then, three years later, as in the story of Cinderella, God brought my ‘Prince Charming’ into my life. Surprisingly he wasn’t anything like the men I had dated and married previously. But I knew in my spirit that he was the man that God wanted me to marry. I fearfully trusted God and obediently married him after knowing him a mere four months. It was sort of like being on a beach, looking out into the ocean, and then closing your eyes and running into it and allowing the waves to envelope you as you surrender yourself to its power and overtake you. It was a huge step for me, but I obeyed what I knew in my heart was His desire for me and I trusted His heart and His will for me and for my children.
It’s been sixteen long years now since that day I walked down the aisle and it’s been the best years of my life. My two children were abundantly provided for and were given a stable home life (until they rebelled as teenagers of course). They never had to ask for anything and were given above and beyond their hearts desire on their birthdays and holidays. We had a ‘real’ Christmas every year, complete with decorations on the tree and the house and singing holiday songs together. For the first time in my life, I experienced what a real ‘family’ was like, as I never knew that growing up. I even was privileged enough to never have to work again and homeschooled my children for a short time. Life had its ups and downs at times, just as a normal family would, but I knew ‘spring’ had begun and I could rest in knowing God was holding me in His arms and bringing me back to ‘shore’.
As I type this, my children are now adults and live on their own. I have grandchildren now and my ‘springtime’ is in its full maturity. My husband of sixteen years is providing me with our gorgeous retirement home back in my hometown and our ‘castle’ is the home of my dreams. I had always dreamed of having a home this beautiful but I never thought it would come true. Now, in the final ‘season’ of my life, my last dream is coming to pass. I can honestly say that my life has been a ‘Cinderella’ life and that dreams really do come true.
If you are in your season of ‘winter’ as you read this, please know, if you get nothing else from my story, God will hold you up during this time. He has NOT abandoned you. He is holding your head up out of the waters so that you will not drown. He WILL hold you in His arms and bring you back to shore. You will not have to endure your ‘winter’ forever. Springtime will come when you least expect it and your dreams WILL come true!
As a runner looks toward the finish line, keep your eyes on your ‘season’ of Spring because it’s right around the corner!
YOUR FATHER IS FAITHFUL!
When you can’t see His hand, trust in His heart. His love for you endures forever…….