*It might seem a little dicey in the middle, but really, it's a positive post, so just keep reading!*
The Lord reminds me often that He alone gave us free will. Now this sounds great, right?
The Lord gives me the free will to walk in His way or not. He give me the free will to love with His love (or as close as any human can comprehend His love to be) or not. The Lord gives me the free will to use the gifts and blessings He bestowes upon me how I see fit.
But how about looking at it from the flip side?
What if I pray daily for someone, yet that someone still chooses to walk with the enemy? Guess what. The Lord gave that someone the free will to do that! The people that make choices that hurt us, or our children? Free will. The murderers, pedophiles, addicts and criminals that seem to be everywhere we look? Free will.
So long as the Lord gives us free will to choose him freely the enemy has that foot hold into people's lives to advance his cause, and to hurt anyone and everyone.
Free will really is a double edged sword! And that double edged sword has made deep cuts into my life and my family! And today (or for the past few weeks...) I am bleeding from one of those cuts.
You see I am a single mom. Not that I EVER wanted to be a single mom. Not that I didn't spend YEARS in prayer and working HARD to make my marriage work. I am a single mom because my husband and the father of my children has free will to choose a life of addiction, a life devoted to selfish pursuits, and in general a life controlled by the enemy. Because of his free will, and his choice to walk away from the Lord, from the teachings of the Bible and to lead a life controlled by his addiction I can not remain married to him, therefore I am a single mom. My life, and that of my children, bears a scar from free will.
And just to make it clear for those of you who do not know the history, I stayed in this marriage for YEARS because God clearly told me to work harder, pray more, keep on keeping on. Then one day the Lord CLEARLY released me from the marriage. I know He HATES divorce, but He clearly HATES abuse too, and He opened EVERY door that that the children and I needed to find a healthy life. I have sought to follow the Lord's will in this heartbreaking journey and I STILL pray DAILY for the man I married and who fathered my children. But right now, the path of a single mother is what the Lord has me on.
I don't know WHAT the deal is, but the last few weeks I have been HAMMERED with talk of Godly Fathers, strong marriages and in general men being Godly.
While it can be encouraging to be reminded of how God calls us to act, it can be totally disheartening in my situation too. I find myself wanting to get angry and ask God why I don't deserve a husband that is Godly? Or what my kids did to be in the situation they are in? But then I would just be opening the door for the enemy to come in a run with that negativity! I choose to SLAM the door in the enemy's face!
On the other hand, all of this talk also makes me wonder what the Lord is doing to my heart now. Is He preparing my heart for a godly man to step into our life? (Is there REALLY a man out there that would knowingly take on me and my kids??? Seriously...) Is He affirming, that while I might be desperately lonely, this really is the road He wants me on because my marriage was SO TOXIC? Or is He just reminding me what I did not have so that the enemy can not get a foot hold in there? I have no idea... all I know is He is doing SOMETHING!
Through all of this I have sought a way to praise the Lord, for the Bible teaches us to ALWAYS have praise and thanksgiving. And you know what... it's REALLY hard to praise the Lord for what others have that you don't!
But then I started thinking. I thought of some friends that I have who DO have godly men for husbands, and how blessed their families are because they have those men in their lives. I thought of how I would NEVER wish the journey I have on anyone. And I began to praise the Lord for the men who ARE godly fathers and husbands who touch our lives. I have began to diligently pray for these men, that they remain steadfast, that the enemy NOT find a foot hold in their lives, and that they KNOW that they are a blessing not only to their families, but an example to others.
You know what is funny though? I bet none of these men even KNOW me! (Well, actually one has met me.. .but I bet he has NO IDEA what an impact he has in my life on a regular basis!) You know how I know these men, and their character? Through the blogs that their wives write! And through the looks into the families lives I can clearly see what a blessing these men are to their families! I would like to introduce you to some of the men that touch my heart, and who I have begun to pray for diligently!
First. This man is first for many reasons, but mainly because he has touched my heart longer than any of the others. Years ago, as I was struggling in a toxic marriage, I would see this man lifted up on his wife's blog and it really opened my eyes to the fact that there are men out there that can and do deal with their child's disability in a positive way. You see, this couple (like many of the others I will mention) have a son with Spina Bifida, just like I do. In the days when God was showing me it was time to leave my marriage, He often used Dave and April to drive home His points. More recently, the Lord has used Dave and April's own transparency to bless me beyond words! This darling, yet real, couple write a weekly series that I LOVE called Dear Dave & April (seriously, better than most marriage classes and retreats I have been to, GO READ IT!). Each week when I read their post I think to myself, "If God ever gives me another man in my life I want him to be A LOT like Dave, with a HEAVY dash of Jon in there!" And if you want to know why Dave touches my heart so much as a father check out THIS (watch out, this one makes me cry EVERY TIME) or THIS (really? There are men that do that?) and there are more... I just can't find them right now! Dave is a devoted husband and a devoted father, and I PRAISE THE LORD that April, Kaia and Blake have him in their lives!
Next is a man that has only recently come onto my radar screen, but I see in him SUCH a love for his family and his children. Please meet Bryant. Cute post, but nothing SO BIG?? well check THIS out! Seriously, he took his special needs daughter on a trip ALONE with her. I CRIED when I read that.... How blessed is sweet, precious Katie to have a daddy like that? He also does lots of other cool things with his kids like THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS. Thank you Lord for giving Bryant to Sarah, Katie, Ella and Carter, and the fatherly love he showers on his family!
Another family that deeply touches my heart is the Henn Family. Karin is blessed to have two wonderful men in her life, her husband Tim, and her father (who I cry almost every time I read a post about!) I don't know if I can even pin point posts that show what I mean, it just oozes from her blog what amazing men these are, and I am so honored to get a peek into the life they lead! Seriously, if you have not met this family, go read their blog for a few minutes, and I DARE YOU not to get teary eyed in almost every post! I PRAISE YOU LORD for the fatherly love and guidance shown by the men in the HennHouse, and I ask you to continue to bless then with your grace in all they endure!
I could go on a bit more, but really I think you get the point.
God calls us to a higher standard of living, and when we choose, through our own free will, to answer that call lives are BLESSED. Not just the ones we see every day, but ones we don't even always know about.
Free will can cause pain and suffering and leave scars, but free will can also bless beyond words.
What are you going to use your free will for?
And for those of you walking through darkness (and please help me remember I am NOT the only one!), remember...
"When I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed Be your Name"
Praise and thanksgiving in ALL THINGS!
The blessing is there, just keep looking until you find it!
**BTW.... When the Lord gives you words to write, you should write them before He gets the 2 x 4 out.... My head is not feeling so great since He gave me these words over week ago and I kept arguing with Him that no one would want to hear them.... Yup, He hit me over the head enough time I finally wrote the words today! Hope it blessed someone....**