For the first 40 years of my life, I wasn’t a Christian, but when I look back on my life, I see how God was taking care of me and working in my life even during those years. In 1992, I left my physically and emotionally abusive husband, and, with my two children, moved to a small town 700 miles away. Family and relatives lived there, and I had visited many times as a child growing up. This was my ‘safe place’ to escape to. My children had no idea I was leaving; for all they knew, we were going on a week’s vacation. I knew they wouldn’t want to live with me in this small town, but I left anyway. That’s how bad it was… willing to ‘give up’ my children to get away from him. My children returned home to their father after a week, and suddenly, I was left without an identity. Who was I? For practical purposes, no longer a wife, no longer a Mother, and suddenly, no longer a homemaker. Life became extremely sad for me, and I would walk the streets at night and cry… they can’t see you cry when it’s dark.
The first year on my own was the most difficult, but especially in the early months, I noticed little bits of joy here and there– God knows I desperately needed them! Almost daily, I would receive a phone call from a friend, a kind word from someone I met, a letter or card in the mail (before e-mail!), a visit from a brother, or I’d notice a butterfly–just lazily flitting around me– I was especially calmed by the appearance of the butterfly. I attended a domestic abuse support group, and I remember telling the counselor about how nearly every day, these little gifts came into my life. The counselor asked one time, “What will you do when these things end?” I know she was trying to get me to ‘progress emotionally’, and I don’t remember what my answer was, but I do know these seemingly insignificant little miracles did not end–in fact, they still happen!
I suddenly had to become strong and tough. If I were going to be taken care of, I had to make it happen. For someone who had been married for 16 years, and dependent on a husband, this was frightening, but God was helping me and working in my life even then… I know that now.
I hit the streets (actually about 4 streets in this little town) looking for work. Within a week, I had found the perfect job, that fit me perfectly, with the perfect boss, and the perfect co-worker– I still marvel today about the perfect job I had!
One of the most obvious ways that God provided for me during this time, happened over a 4th of July weekend. My apartment came with a furnished range and fridge–used, of course. My fridge decided to give up the ghost–holiday coming up, stores nearly closing… crunch time here. I called the landlord and told him of my situation. He commented that a new fridge would cost hundreds of dollars… well, hello… I have no fridge! My food has spoiled, I have to use a cooler with ice, and it’s going to be days before a fridge could be found, delivered, etc. The landlord said, “Stop in at ____ Appliance Store, if you can find a used fridge for under $100 dollars, have them put it on my bill and deliver it.” What could I possibly find right before the holiday, right before store closing, within that insane price range? Well, this girl got a move on and ran down to that store. Walking in the back door, I spied two used fridges. I asked, “how much?” “This one is $100, and this one is $75…” The one for $75 looked better than the other… “I’ll take it!” Praise God! I found a fridge! I still had to wait two days for delivery, and in the meantime, keep my milk and lunch meat in a cooler, but wow, when that second-hand $75 fridge showed up at my apartment doorstep, I was all over the place congratulating myself on the fantastic ‘luck’ I’d had. No, not luck… God. Even then, even during my rebellion, sinfulness and running from Him, He still loved me, cared for me, and pursued me. He kept on pursuing me until I finally realized years later that I really was a sinner, and I really did need a Savior. Praise God I ‘found’ Him! “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5 vs 8.