This past weekend, a friend that I had spent time with several years ago, made a surprise visit. We had some great laughs and enjoyed sharing memories from the days in our recent past (before she had kids and before I met my husband, Scott). While I enjoyed the stories and was able to recall a few scenarios, there were several instances my friend had mentioned, that I could barely remember. A part of me felt dismayed. Was I asleep or on autopilot during this time in my life?
After some thought, I realized that these stories took place during an encounter with a perfect storm of infirmity which caused a major state of flux. In addition to ending a marriage, I was displaced in leaving my home and my job (for a temporary medical leave). I was physically off-kilter with health symptoms I was too preoccupied to deal with.
I do recall after packing up a few years worth of marital memories and household belongings, my loving parents asked for me to move back home. They said, “We want to take care of you, Rachel. You need to recover.” My dad also gave me a note that was intended to serve as a reminder for me. It listed the affects of divorce. A loss of identity, purpose, and foundation. Lord, bless my parents for being there and wanting to help me during this state of flux.
I disregarded dad’s note and turned down my parent’s offer. Perhaps I was too proud or stubborn to stop, rest, and allow someone else to take care of me. I didn’t want to give any time or effort to my health issues. I was more concerned with moving forward in my lifestyle and my relationships so I could convince everyone, including myself, that I was 100% F-I-N-E. The last thing that I wanted was to be referenced as divorcee, motherless, homeless, ill, living at home with mom and dad, and unemployed. That’s pretty pathetic!
But, on the inside I was not fine.
I was frustrated, uncomfortable, numb, and tired. I was aggravated that my brain was overloaded with legal divorce-jargon, real estate transactions, and confusing medical prognoses (plural).
And so, I chose a different path than the road to recovery.
I moved into my brother’s beautiful rental property. It was the perfect environment for me to become completely self-absorbed. I dove into insincere relationships with men whom were more interested in my vulnerability rather than how unhealthy I was physically, emotionally, and mentally. I rushed into advancing my career with part-time schooling figuring when I was well enough to return to work, I would be one step ahead rather than one step behind. And, I even pushed my body to “appear” strong and healthy with ridiculous diets, weight lifting, and participating in mixed martial arts. I remember one time, getting elbowed, near my eye, while sparring a girl who had twice my strength (and anger). I received a golf-sized lump, and yet felt no pain.
Somehow my pursuits began to take precedence over my faith. My self-absorbedness caused me to make unreasonable decisions. I ended up wasting time, effort, and energy. And, I hurt a lot of people that tried to get close to me.
I did learn something significant from my experiences back then. Adrenaline does not just hit in a physical sense. For me, I had a surge of physical, emotional, and mental adrenaline. It’s like getting punched in the face and rather than retreating and walking in the direction to get help…You retaliate with crazy force. Your nerve endings are so stimulated (in a bad way) that you become engrossed with maintaining that level of intensity. You respond recklessly. Before stopping. Before thinking. You behave in a way that you will not be able to sustain.
There is another piece of paper that fell into my hands back then. It was a stress list distributed by one of my professors during a Master’s-level class. It contained some scientific formula in which you could add up points to help determine your level of stress. Items such as divorce, job-loss, a new health diagnosis, selling/buying a home, and heartbreak carried the most weight. I qualified in over 80% of the items mentioned on this list! And what was my response? I bragged about it to my colleagues. “Hey look at this. I am off the charts! Hysterical, huh? I know. I should be getting medical attention…seeing a therapist…taking anti-depressants….moving in with mom and dad. Funny! Isn’t it?”
Friends, if this sounds like you, you are not on the road to recovery. You are on the road to DISASTER.
Recently, I came across an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal referencing a minimum of 2-years to recover from a life-altering setback such as a divorce. Not sure how many years would have been reasonable for the many setbacks I had encountered all at one time. Yet, chances are I would have ignored this advice when I needed it most, as well.
My story is not an ordinary story. (I’m guessing yours is not, either.) Events, scenarios, places of residency, relationships, health issues, and places of employment did not come or settle in any typical way for me, whatsoever. Perhaps this is why my memory cannot keep up with the events in my past.
Although I was in desperate need of recovery, I chased worldly pursuits that had me on a road to disaster. It actually took years and sporadic events here and there before getting on the road to recovery.
So, where was God in all this? Before I can explain this, let’s first reference WHO God is in the the example of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and/or John.
- Jesus did NOT chase people or things in the world. Crowds were magnetically drawn to Him. Those who came (or were brought) to Him in faith were HEALED.
- Jesus rebuked worldly temptations even upon being tempted by the devil.
- Jesus did not RUN around all crazy and fanatical. He was cool, calm, and collective. He walked. He rested. (For crying out loud, he even slept during a storm that had his disciples in a tizzy!)
- Jesus ate when He was hungry. He took care of His body.
SO, GOD WAS THERE ALL ALONG IN THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
He was telling me to rest, take care of my body, resist the temptations of the world, and go to HIM for healing and everything else I needed. There were so many other things to notice along the way, but I was too self-absorbed and looking to the world rather than choosing to recognize God through it all. But now, I see it.
- I see it in the unwavering and unconditional love and support that my family gives me every single day. NO MATTER WHAT.
- I see it in the people I meet.
- I experience it in the extraordinary relationships I have with my female powerhouse friends. The ones who are not afraid to give me a loving smack upside the head. (Yes, I have friends that are unbelievably effective in getting my attention.)
- I recognize it in the MIRACLE in how I met my husband, Scott, (years after my divorce) when we both were not looking. And, the miracle in how I love Scott. I was beginning to fear that my heart would never recover nor allow me to love a man, unconditionally, until I met the one who would capture my heart forever.
Also, these verses in scripture are spot on:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:30
If you can relate to my story or if you are currently going through a state of flux, will you please consider waiting for God to heal you, empower you, and re-establish you?
Hopefully, after reading this today, you are on the road to recovery. And, not the road to disaster.