In the week leading up to my divorce day {author’s note: July 2012}, I felt pretty alone. Friends were checking in and such so I don’t mean on a human level. I mean on a God level. I felt like he wasn’t really there.

I had asked the Spirit for some kind of special verse to get me through and though I came up with a list of some good ones that were really encouraging to me, nothing stood out as the one.

I wasn’t feeling extra peace heading into the big day. In fact, I was feeling that feeling I get right before I’m about to do something that makes me super nervous. Jello legs, sick to my stomach. For six days.

Okay, so, no magic verses.  No unexplainable peace.  All I had was the prayers of my friends (which, don’t get me wrong, is huge) and whatever I had gathered from my faith walk up til that point (things like God loves me, he’s with me, he will never leave me alone, Christ is my peace, if God is for us, who can be against us), stuff like that. Stuff that I knew but wasn’t feeling.

It wasn’t the end of the world. I’ve done hard things before without feeling that peace. And I’ve learned over the years that if I feel exactly what I think I’m supposed to feel, if I am able to define what God says he’s going to do and who he is, then he isn’t all that mysterious and worship-worthy after all. So, even not being able to feel it was okay. I wasn’t thrilled, but it was okay.

Until about an hour before I was supposed to leave my house.  With my morning smoothie in hand, I was checking email.  I read one from one of my best friends saying she was praying for God’s peace to guard my heart and mind.  That would be great, I thought.  So far, not so much. Not feeling very seen. Not sure he knows I’m about to go get divorced.

And then I opened an email from a stranger with the subject line: “praying”. And here’s what she wrote to me:

Dear Elisabeth,

I have some words that I feel must be shared with you today. I do not know where you are today, but God does – and He wants you to know:

‘You are not forgotten. He has engraved your name on the palm of His hand. You are not alone. He is with you every step of your journey, and when it seems as if you will be swallowed up in this trial, He will be standing up at the right hand of the Father for you. Standing – active in your grief – just as He did for Stephen when he was being stoned. God is not okay with what is happening in your life, but He redeems even the worst of tragedies. Just hold on. Grip the hem of His garment tightly, and do not worry about what others may think of this trial. Hang on with a grip that goes beyond nice theology, beyond what you currently know. And when you feel as if you cannot take one more minute of this, know that God understands. He loves you with a love you cannot comprehend, and He does not take the suffering and pain of His children lightly.’

I do not know where you are today, as I said, but I have such a burden for you today. Please do not feel you must respond, as some days it is just too draining, too hard – to put anything into coherent sentences. Just know that you are being prayed for and that – for the time being – God has assigned me as your cheerleader.

In His grace alone,

My breath had just been taken away. This woman did not know what that morning was about to hold for me. That woman has since told me that she’s never done anything like that before. Coincidences are for sissies. That woman single-handedly proved to me that God was not only watching me, he knew every single detail and was holding my life and my heart in his hand. He also showed off a bit…how easy it would’ve been to deliver this message in the ways I had asked or expected…he went out of his way to do so through a stranger.

The next time I’m wondering if God is really there, well, he’ll probably go and show off again. Because he loves me that much.


If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here, “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here or Heartbreak to Hope (now PAY WHAT YOU CAN) found here. And check out my podcast – All That to Say.

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