I read The Respect Dare as a newlywed …..
4 months into my 3rd marriage!
The truth is I took the class because I wanted to begin connecting with other women in our new church – and that was the only class that seemed interesting. (I encourage you to FIND A GROUP if you are not already a part – women need women!)
The truth is that if I had known the Biblical truths represented in this book THEN, maybe I wouldn’t be on my 3rd marriage NOW.
The truth hurts sometimes.
Another beautiful truth:
2 Corinthians 5: 17-19 (Message)
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.
Praise God that the old is gone and He created the new. Praise God that my past does not define who I am today!
My Knight and I have now been married almost 3 years and every day I am practicing the lessons that I have learned about respect in marriage. Both Martin and I are divorced so our marriage has been riddled with blended family issues; child support, court dates, a Guardian ad Litem, ex-spouses moving (closer and farther away) … the list could go on and on. Let’s just say that thanks to a growth spurt in my Christian walk (charged by The Respect Dare), and a true belief in the Covenant I entered into with God and my Knight, we will remain married until death do us part.
The enemy has certainly been active in our world. All of those above issues could easily have broken our marriage – honestly, I was broken over and over, and we’ve only been married 2 years!!! So…………..why respect after divorce? Because the enemy has already declared a foothold into my world and it’s time for me to stomp on his toes and remind him of his future!
Sometimes I think that divorce comes with a big scarlet letter and equally I think that divorce is so common today that it’s almost rated a non-event. I’m stuck in the middle of the pendulum and given the setting sometimes I get hit with both the letter and the non-event in the same sentence. That tells me that the world hasn’t quite figured out the “normal” for this thing called divorce. And that leads to the reason that I feel led to write on this topic …. There is hope. Hope that the lessons God has taught me will become the “norm” after divorce.
I’m so excited some days about the things that I want to share here and I sit down and realize that each post has to have a logical point – and then I just stop … because my “woman” brain has all the spaghetti noodles of each story intertwined with the next and it takes energy and time to separate them into something that all of you can understand.
Did I mention that our blended family is blessed with 9 children? And we all live together in our home in north Georgia? And I work part-time at Chick-fil-A? And we host a small group in our home once a week? And I do a lot of other stuff because I love people and I love food and I love shopping and I have a heart for babies….
*smile* God has been so good!
Today I want to end with the REAL beginning of this call to ministry.
I’ve followed Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare, on her blog and Facebook for the last 2 years. I was so excited about the things God was doing in me that I wanted to share with her (and anyone else who would listen). Our friendship grew over time and God placed on our hearts separately that I would become a part of the Greater Impact Ministry team. I became an active volunteer over a year ago and I love getting to know these women!! Nina has been a true mentor, leader and friend and I’m humbled under her constant encouragement and support.
I’ve known for awhile that I was putting The Respect Dare into practice in every area of my life. 2 months ago I met with Nina and her right-hand, Debbie, for a few hours. A beautiful gift of quiet time to walk, talk and pray together. During that time, Debbie spoke the words – “so you might feel led to share The Respect Dare with other women who are divorced?” – and my mind started rolling. A few weeks later, I had one of those sleepless nights that really can just irritate a busy lady. Thankfully I am learning to just give up on sleep and go to the Lord, seeking His will for those hours. I stoked the dying fire and pulled out my Bible to read by candle light. That night God showed me a scripture that spoke clearly to me.
The call for each of us, as Christians, is to love.
Now, that’s not really new information. I mean we have the Fruits of the Spirit, we have the Greatest Commandment, we have the Gift of God’s one and only Son, the Bible is all about love.
But love in divorce?
Divorce is all about hurt and separation and if you have kids is usually really ugly.
There’s not a lot of love.
But God led me to 2 John – the whole chapter speaks clearly to this ministry opportunity for me but here are a few verses that really pop off the page. Verses 1 and 5-6
To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Please know that I am in NO WAY saying that I have a new interpretation of these verses. I have not actually read any commentary about “the lady” or “the elder” and this particular situation. But I happen to believe that God speaks loudly through His scriptures directly into my life today. This is one of those times for me.
I found it beautiful that the elder chose to direct a letter to just the lady and her children. So many women today are walking this path alone; whether by choice, by death or by divorce, they are alone and often with children.
The BIG thing that I see here though is the charge to L.O.V.E. And that the result of love is walking in the commandments.
Wow – what a challenge.
For me, to walk that commandment with the everyday people in my life is not easy. To love them as Christ loves me, I have to rely on His strength. But to love those on the other side of my divorce situation …… it’s one of those moments I want to say “really, God? Him/her too?”.
So THIS is where the ministry begins.
Today I dare you to stop and pray, by name, for anyone you know that is divorced. I dare you to pray for love to become ever-present in their lives.
Thanks for joining me on this challenge. God has shown up for me in this area. I can’t wait to begin to share the stories. I also dare you to share this with all of your friends, Facebook, email and in person. I am excited to see all that He is going to do!
Love to you,