Even though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
Some of the greatest words ever recorded in Scripture, in my opinion, are: And it came to pass…
The appearance of this phrase marks the conclusion of one event and signals the beginning of a new event. And it came to pass lets us know that the events and circumstances that life brings are temporary. That’s right: TEMP-OR-AR-Y.
Fifteen years ago this week, I was feeling the effects of having my entire world being turned upside down. My marriage had completely crumbled and I was in the process of packing up life as I knew it in Texas to start a new and unknown life back in my hometown. As I waited for our final court date, I remember sitting in the middle of my house wondering what in the world was going to happen. How was I going to just start over? I was 33 years old, had two children and had totally failed at my previous career. The pain and heartache was unbearable and I cried until there were no longer tears available. How long will the pain last? I wondered.
Fifteen years ago this month, I was fixing to make some extremely difficult and painful changes. In September 1999, my marriage was in a tailspin; by December 1999, my X had moved out of the house, abandoning me and my two small children, and it was obvious that nothing would ever be the same. We had been living in Texas for nine years and had a pretty decent life (well, except the volatile marriage filled with abuse, alcoholism, and multiple mental illnesses): nice house, wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors, awesome church, nice schools. Life was perfect…except for the marriage. By the time December 1999 rolled around, it became painfully obvious that the marriage had ended.
Sometime during the spring of 2000 I filed for divorce, and made the decision to move from Texas back to Ohio to live with my parents, bringing my children and my dogs with me. When I received word of the final court date of June 13, 2000, it was bittersweet. I was relieved that there was an “end” in sight; at the same time, words cannot describe how devastated I was to be leaving everything I had known for the past nine years.
Fifteen years ago this month, I was slowly packing up my Texas life. I had no clue what was in my future. I had no job and no home of my own. I was fixing to undergo some major CHANGE and, quite frankly, I was scared, sad, anxious, numb, angry…and many other emotions and feelings. On Father’s Day weekend, 2000, my parents arrived with a big Ryder truck and we, along with many church members who came by to help, loaded up everything and made our way back to Ohio. I will never forget how I could barely see because of the tears as I drove out of our Texas neighborhood one last time as I followed the Ryder truck in my red/pink Astro van loaded with my kids, mom, dogs and computer.
As time passes, I realize that change is a part of life. Change can be painful. Change can be exciting. Change can be good. Change can be bad. The bottom line: change is going to happen. I could not control the changes that happened in 2000; however, I could control what I DID with those changes. I would like to report that I moved back, jumped right in and kept going, but that was not the case. It was a long process that took “baby steps”. Some steps were painful (finding a new career); some were awkward (finding my “place” in a new church where I did not fit in); some steps were sad (being suddenly single and a suddenly single mom); some steps were humiliating (being on food stamps); and, of course, some steps were fun and liberating (being able to make my own decisions about finances, fixing my hair however I wanted, decorating my house using my own taste and style, and finding some “girl time” with new girlfriends).
And it came to pass…
Praise God that the dark times of our lives DO pass and that life’s stinky circumstances do not last forever. I am so thankful for these changes and that He does not leave us down in the pit, or in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Even though there were many times that I didn’t feel His presence, He was there. He IS there to guide us through the Valley of the Shadow of death.
In spite of a world that is constantly changing, we know that there is One who NEVER CHANGES. God remains constant and in control in this world that sometimes seems like complete chaos. God IS. And…God is good, all the time. His mercies are new every morning!! Great is His faithfulness.