Once upon a time TV commercials claimed a certain candy bar to be indescribably delicious. This commercial has to be the most mouth-watering, appetizing, enticing one I’ve ever seen:
This is the LOVE month. Hearts. Candy. Chocolate. Love. JOY.
But this world knows nothing of true LOVE or JOY. Granted, the Almond Joy brings a momentary party to your taste buds. Yum.
Real love and joy comes from God. The Bible says God IS love. His love toward us as believers is indescribable. Much more indescribable than the deliciousness of this candy bar, which, by the way, won’t be as beneficial to you as the nourishment of God’s Word. Indeed, it is one of the healthier temptations out there, due to the coconut. However, I’m sure the Almond Joy and Mounds bars have been altered with fillers and toxins since that 1961 commercial. But I digress…we won’t go into that.
Let’s get back to eating delicious things.
I love how God uses our senses metaphorically. Jesus is the Bread of Life:
5 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. — John 6:35
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. – Psalm 34:8
These and many other Bible verses talk about feeding your soul. Spiritual nourishment. This is real deliciousness. Jesus satisfies our deep soul longings. We will never hunger or thirst when we believe in Him.
The Indescribable Love of God
The love of God is difficult to understand. How can the Creator of the universe, the all wise, holy and pure God who dwells in light unapproachable, desire to bring into loving relationship such impure and hateful rebels like US?
My husband and I saw an excellent Christian movie that tackles the complexity of God’s love toward us. The movie Indescribable tells the true story of a hymn written by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917 called The Love of God. Pastor Lehman tries to describe the love of God and has difficulty completing the verses. His son, Blynn, sets out to help his father finish writing this hymn. God reveals himself to Blynn through adverse circumstances. (Yes, have tissues on hand.) Blynn comes to know God’s love even as he struggles to understand it in this sweet, humble, and refreshing production. A fascinating part of the hymn’s history is that the third stanza is a poem composed by an eleventh century Jewish rabbi. The Love of God is a favorite of many and is still sung today.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. – Psalm 30:2
The good news came after a very long wait. I am cancer-free! This whole trial has been an extreme test of patience and waiting on the Lord. From the drop of blood in April until the doctor’s call with my pathology report the evening of August 18th, it was a very. long. time. With the good report came refreshing weather, as if God lifted all of the heaviness of the air as well as the heaviness of my soul in one fell swoop.
Thy Will Be Done
For months, it wasn’t easy to pray thy will be done. I realized the Lord could continue to afflict me. But I prayed with this portion of scripture in mind:
9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matt. 7:9-11
He is so loving and kind towards me. He answered my prayer and the prayers of my family, friends and church family.
Lymph nodes are clear. No further treatment needed. Praise the Lord!
My Date with da Vinci
Now I rejoice as I reminisce about my date with da Vinci. The date that almost wasn’t (click to read about that here). I didn’t dare look at da Vinci. The pictures I’d seen of him online looked scary and intimidating. So when I was hauled to the OR, I looked at the ceiling, the big lights and the faces of people around me who were grabbing, poking and getting me ready for the Master to perform my surgery.
A little arm rest, one of them said as she bolted them down.
Arms stretched out and tied down, I was at the mercy of these medical professionals and one large robot. But my trust was in Jesus. I knew He was with me.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I whispered.
I’m going to give you something to relax you, another said.
Over and out.
Next thing I knew was intense pain. I heard myself moaning.
Hang on, I’m adjusting your pain meds, one of them said.
Later that night, I thanked the Lord continually and relived the events of the day. In the OR, I was in an utterly vulnerable state: naked under my gown, on a tiny plank of a bed, arms pinned down, ready to be cut, blood would run out. It made me think of Jesus going to the cross for me. How they stripped Him. How he stretched out his hands on that cross, willingly, for me. How he would have intense pain inflicted upon Him, with the goal of killing Him. How he did not drink the sour wine mingled with gall, for He would not be tranquilized. He was not anesthetized. Jesus’ pain was fully felt.
He would not drink it, because he … would have nothing like an opiate to lessen his sense of pain, for he would die so as to feel himself die, because he had so much work to do, as our High Priest, in his suffering work. — Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matt. 27:34
I welcomed the anesthesia as well as a nerve block for my pain. My pain was inflicted to remove cancer, to heal me. My Lord’s pain was inflicted upon Him to give me ultimate healing.
So when I woke up and saw the connect-the-dots wounds da Vinci designed on my belly, I thought also about His wounds. He was wounded for my transgressions. He was bruised for my iniquities.
That is the ultimate healing. And now this, too — he gave me physical healing.
The Great Physician, Master Surgeon, Has Healed Me
It wasn’t Master Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn’t the medical geniuses that invented this robot. It wasn’t Dr. David Moore. It was my Master, Jesus Christ, who performed all my surgery. As I read that very morning:
…the sharp cuts of the lancet have cleansed out the proud flesh and facilitated the healing. –C.H. Spurgeon
I previously posted how this affliction was a visitation from God (read that here). So I actually had a date with Jesus, not da Vinci. His abiding presence was with me, as He promised.
…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. – Matt. 28:20
While this blog’s focus is on remarriage after divorce from a Reformed perspective, I thought it appropriate to post my testimony of God’s care during the time of my separation, divorce and eventual relocation from New York to Indiana. I pray that readers can see evidence of the Lord’s mercy and long-suffering toward me through His miracles and kind Providence displayed while I forged through deep waters. My prayer is for this post to be an encouragement to women faced with infidelity, abandonment, divorce and the despair that goes with it. Names are changed to protect privacy.
December 30, 2002. Long Island, New York.
“I’m not in love with you anymore.” The words pierced my heart like a knife. They echoed in my brain as I drove to work.
Fleeting thought: All I have to do is glide over into oncoming traffic and close my eyes.
I wasn’t in love with him either. But I loved him with an abiding, comfortable love most long marriages enjoy. Being in love was juvenile euphoria and hormones. Wasn’t our long history together precious to him?
“You can have the house.” He’d already divvied up the goods with devious calculation. I thought about the long years spent here raising our three children. My heart was in the home while his had been far away.
“Now you’ll have to work full time,” he sneered. He loved this part. My provider resented providing for me. I felt that resentment while watching our boys play Little League Baseball. He admired the women who did it all. Those women who came to the games late, stylishly adorned in career garb, trendy haircuts and make-up. I graced the bleachers in my frumpy sweats and a t-shirt. Funny, but those women envied me. They witnessed his affection for me in public. Apparently, it made him appear heroic. Perfect husband.
I was a Christian since childhood. I thought my family life was near exemplary. My husband held my hand in the mall. He bragged about my cooking, my frugality, and my decorating skills. For so many years, he doted on me. I felt secure in his love, never doubted it. Betrayal was totally unexpected. I was fooled for 23 years.
The words of his mouth were softer than butter, yet war was in his heart, his words were more gentle than oil, yet they were swords. – Psalm 55:21
On a frigid day in January, my husband left our home for his new apartment in the city. Thus began the four worst years of my life.
My sons were 21 (away at college) and 18 (a senior in high school). My daughter was 13 and she suffered most. I’d get up for work to discover her curled up in bed, unable to go to school. Piano lessons stopped.
Something like adrenalin kicked in. My body kept going, zombie-like. The body that shed fifty-seven pounds so he might love me again. The body that only craved liquid dinner after work – wine that calmed me and helped me forget. Anger stirred me. Then complete sadness overtook me. I reminisced. I rehashed, analyzed and cried. I played games like revenge dating, hoping he would be jealous. It only hurt more when he wasn’t.
I filed for a legal separation to protect myself and ensure that he’d give me monthly support. I needed to stay afloat and pay the mortgage. I prayed he would have a change of heart and told the kids to pray for the same. I didn’t want a divorce. Six months later, he was sure he did.
John Flavel wrote: “The Providence of God is like Hebrew words. It can only be read backwards.” I remember wrestling with going back to work six years earlier. Homemaking gave me all the creative outlets I craved, but my husband admired those career moms. I took the hint. My degree in Advertising Art was twenty years old and computers had taken over the design profession. Unequipped to revive my art ‘career’, I was hired as a proofreader at a small community newspaper. My boss allowed me to learn graphic design on their office computers. Self-taught, I joined the design staff shortly after. Even though I really didn’t want to re-enter the workforce, in doing so, the Lord prepared me for what was ahead.
When my Judas left, I was a single mom with updated skills and six years of experience in graphic art. I got a full time job in what I called the Ad Agency from Hell. The place was a horror, but I couldn’t be picky. I thought if I had to continue working, I needed to get out of the advertising industry. I enrolled in college for a Bachelor’s degree with a minor in writing. I carried twelve credits per semester and worked a 4pm to midnight shift at the agency. Foolishly, I dated subpar men via online dating just to have something to look forward to on the weekends.
My daughter and I hardly saw each other. She called me at work many nights, just before my shift was over, asking me to pick up gooey brownies or some other sweet and I obliged her. We had to keep our endorphins flowing. There I was at the 24-hour supermarket, wearily buying some mood enhancer. It’s the little things that keep you going during devastating times. Little things like a quiet cup of coffee, a brownie, or Godiva ice cream. Mommie Dearest met her match when, in desperation, I devoured my daughter’s Godiva ice cream when my own pint was gone. I knew I’d suffer her wrath, but did it anyway. She never lets me forget this.
I shouldn’t have dated at all while merely separated and vulnerable. My rationale was broken vows meant we were already divorced. I wanted to cling to someone again, while Jesus, the only One I needed, was waiting for me ever patiently, to come to my senses. My disobedience only resulted in chastening. There was a car accident, there was pain, there was more agony. I sought counsel, though it was not the wise kind. My liberal Lutheran pastor gave me worldly psychobabble, not Biblical wisdom. The Lord beckoned me through a Sunday School lesson I taught to five year olds. Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and his friends couldn’t even stay awake with him. Did he feel alone? Abandoned? Friendless? He was speaking to me and I drew near to Him. As I did, He drew nearer to me.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8
After two years, and with the divorce final, I resolved to stop dating. I studied, worked, wrote papers, slept. Realizing local churches were in apostasy, I tuned in to sermonaudio.com each Sunday instead. There I found the meat of Gospel Truth like the reformed preaching I’d been listening to for years on radio. Through the website, I discovered a local church that preached reformed theology and began attending.
Meanwhile, each weekday afternoon I was frantically pumping on my elliptical while praying, Lord, get me out of here. This was my ritual before I headed to the ad agency. I prayed for a sabbatical. Lord, please make it a long one. At least six months. I’m so tired.
My daughter had been communicating with someone she’d met online since she was 14. Lori assured me they met unintentionally through a gaming site chat room. This young Christian man helped her through her emotional struggles in dealing with her father’s abandonment. They talked on the phone for hours. Romance blossomed. It was time for us to meet this Indiana boy. I knew that Lori was wise beyond her years, but I wasn’t sure she was mature enough to trust her feelings. I glared at this Country Boy, interrogated him at my kitchen table, and spoiled his appetite for the New York pizza I’d bragged about. Once recovered, the Country Boy got a tour of New York City.
Lori suggested we move to Indiana. I searched online for Indianapolis homes and their affordability tempted me. I knew I couldn’t keep our house on my salary. I didn’t want to either. The house haunted us with past memories. Lori and I had enough. Eventually, my sons moved out and were managing on their own. Our turn came to visit Indianapolis. Continue reading →