Seven years ago (can’t believe how time has flown!) my world, as I knew it, came suddenly and unexpectedly crashing down around me. My marriage of 26 years ended abruptly. Circumstances were presented (falsely) to me in such a way as to make me believe that it would not be possible for me to stay in my home. Health issues interfered with my ability to earn an income to support myself so that I could stay in my home. I ended up having to move in with my mother (to whom I will be eternally grateful) with not much more than my clothes, some books and a few personal possessions. My new life with her started off with me sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in her bedroom.
I had lost my marriage, most of my possessions, and my home and had to leave behind my friends, my church, my church ministry and volunteer work, and my community and sense of belonging. Those are all physical things, and as difficult as it was to lose those, it was harder to lose my sense of self-worth, my identity, and my purpose. To top it all off, a few months later, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and possible kidney cancer! So now my life was also at stake!
I could definitely associate with my ol’ brother Job! And I came across a few “well-meaning Christians” (read Job’s miserable comforters) who would tell me Christian platitudes such as “you are never really alone because God is always with you”. Well, I know that is true, but even Jesus felt alone and isolated in the Garden of Gethsemane near the time of his crisis.
I am so grateful that during this very difficult time in my life, God placed many “guardian angels”, not the least of whom was my Mom, to surround me and to uphold, encourage, support, provide and pray for me. One of the scriptures that was often “spoken over” me was:
Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, …
I clung to that verse like a drowning person clings to a life preserver! There were many times when I couldn’t see how that verse would be fulfilled. I sometimes fell into despair which led me to desperation. Beware desperation! It can lead you to make desperate choices. I fell for a wolf in sheep’s clothing (he was literally the kind of wolf that the Bible warns us about – the kind of person who says that they are a Christian but they are in fact, the opposite) and ended up getting severely fleeced!
I continued to hope in God and not only did he bring me through those difficult years, He has truly “restored the years the swarming locust has eaten”!
I have been blessed with the most wonderful husband (who also endured great loss) who is truly my “soul mate”. We both had to start over from scratch. God has blessed us with the ability to completely furnish our home with new furnishings, all co-ordinating, and completely paid for (a first for me)! We have a nice car. Although we don’t get to go on fancy vacations, we have been able to enjoy romantic stays at hotels. We eat well (too well I think! lol) and can enjoy going out for an occasional meal. We live in a picturesque town surrounded by many lovely nature trails. I have been cancer-free for two years. We are going to be first-time grandparents this summer and another son is getting married. I am co-leader of a women’s fellowship. I volunteer at a local Adult Day Centre. I have a great camera with which to indulge my passion for nature photography.
My life still has it’s challenges, struggles and stresses, but when I look at how far I have come in the past four years, I almost can’t believe it! My life is filled with more love, joy, laughter, peace, fulfillment, and material blessings than I could ever have imagined ( and I have quite the imagination!).
I can truly say that God has, and continues, to restore “all that the locusts had taken”.
Joe 2:26 And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of Jehovah your God, who has dealt with you wonderfully; and My people shall never be ashamed.