Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I’m sorry. Say that again?! “Give thanks in ALL circumstances”? That seems a little…impossible.
How am I supposed to give thanks when walking one of the darkest roads of my life? What am I supposed to be thankful about when trying to get away from an abusive marriage? How am I supposed to thank God when I will forever be afraid for myself and my son? HOW can I be thankful that I will now be raising a child without a father?
In the midst of the dissolution of my marriage, I couldn’t help hear those questions circulate in my mind. My pregnancy had not been easy. I’d been hospitalized twice for pre-term labor, been on bed rest for 6 weeks and at 35 weeks, with preeclampsia, the doctors decided an emergency C-section was in order. 5 weeks post-partum, my husband decided that he didn’t want to be a husband or father so cleared our bank account and disappeared. He also left his 2 children (my step-children) in my care.
I had 3 children, was on unpaid maternity leave and had $50 in my pocket.
I was terrified and living my worst nightmare. After almost 3 weeks of searching, hoping and praying…he decided to come home. But it wasn’t a joyous homecoming. Maybe at first, but that quickly dissolved. With a million emotions parading through my hormonal body and so many questions to ask, I was rejected, neglected and made to feel like his disappearance was my fault.
Then came the icing on the cake.
After a few months of him being home and – on my very first Mother’s Day – instead of a flower, card or thank-you, he asked for a divorce. The next few months became a blur of pain and heartache.
He moved out a few months later but 1 week before the divorce was to be finalized, he decided he’d made a mistake and didn’t want me to go through with it. He started stalking me, threatening me and I was advised by an officer to obtain a restraining order.
Once I did so, the situation got substantially worse. A dark criminal history was revealed and I was one of 5 women that had felt the need to keep this man away from me. The next several months came with desperate attempts to keep him away from both me and my son. He was jailed twice and then let out with an ankle bracelet and I was given the “pair” to it…a stalker monitor so that a security system was able to ensure he didn’t come within 1000 feet of me or my son. HOW was I supposed to be thankful during a time like this?
Ephesians 5:20 also states that we are supposed to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How Lord…how? It would’ve been easy to get caught up in all the despair I faced. It could’ve been easy to be angry at God for allowing this to be part of my story…but that was simply it! It was only part of my story!
This was only a small fraction of my life story and I had to press on to find out how God was going to turn this horrible situation into something for HIS glory. He brought provision out of places and people I would’ve never imagined. My finances were covered by fellow believers, prayers for protection covered me from every angle. I was fed and loved on all throughout the Christian community. Even simple things like a cup of coffee were gifted to me on a daily basis by women who simply stated “we need to take care of each other”.
God was working behind the scenes and through the most unexpected resources the whole entire time. The officers on my case were passionate about Domestic Violence and worked hard to seek justice. Every single person involved with my case and placed on my path, during what I thought was the most impossible season of my life, were orchestrated and put in place by MY Father who never left my side.
I encourage anyone who is going through a time where things seem impossible, to stop and count your blessings! Focus on the things that are helping you to persevere. Seek out blessings that might be in front of you or simply disguised. Don’t allow the enemy to swallow you whole but grab onto to every life preserver that God drops around you. If you are still breathing…you have something to be thankful for. Today, write a list of blessings (big or small) that are helping you survive right now…