When I think of summer, I usually think of adventure. Doing things that don’t fit into our normal rhythm during the school year is what summer is all about. Right? Camping, grilling with friends, swimming, road trips, vacations…all of those things scream summer to me, and I love that time of year! 

But in 2007, my June through August didn’t consist of the things that usually encompass summer. Instead, those months were full of confusion, heartache, and devastation. And I often found myself wondering, “How did I get here?”

The summer of 2007 was when my ex-husband left our family. The easy, carefree rhythm of summer was completely lost on me that year. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. How was I going to raise my kids without a father? How would I be the sole provider for our family? Will I make it through this heartache? Again I asked myself over and over, “How did I get here?”

Moving back to Missouri that summer was the last thing I wanted to do. But this is where I had family and support. This is where I could afford to live. And you know what? This is where God wanted me to be. I didn’t know that then, but I am certain of that now. 

Because God had a plan for me, even then in my desperate state of hurt. He was there. And He had a plan.  Sometimes in our hurt, we tend to forget God’s promises to us. He promises to be with us and never leave us. Oh, how I clung to that promise! 

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

He tells us that He has plans for us. How could He use me? I struggled to see how I could be valuable to the Lord since I had let him down in so many ways. But God showed me that this wasn’t true. Our feelings are not truth. He is truth. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

How do I figure out these plans that the Lord has for me? I had no idea at first, but then I realized the key to unlocking that promise is not in that passage but in the following verses. You have to read the entire thought to fully understand verse 11.

 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity.”

Jeremiah 29:13-14

I would not have seen those promises if I had not connected with the church in my hurt. Did I have the energy to go to church? No. Did I want to enter a place where I felt isolated and ashamed? No. But I knew in my heart that is where we needed to be. 

The church provided a refuge for me and my children. Counseling, Divorce Care, Kid’s Klub, Student Ministry…all played huge roles in our journey to health. We all started healing when we connected to God and to His people. Was it easy? No. Was it instant? No. Was it worth it? Yes, a thousand times yes. 

And today, I am working on staff at the same church that played a huge role in my healing. That is never lost on me. Every week I have people sharing their own hard stories with me in my office. And every week, I get to listen and empathize with them, but I also get to share the good news with them, that God has promised to be with us and that He has plans for us, even if we can’t see them right now. 

So now asking myself “How did I get here?” has a whole new meaning. And I smile when I think about how God has put me in a place to speak truth to others who are asking themselves that very question. 

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