“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long shall I have perplexity in my mind and grief in my heart, day after day? How long shall my enemy triumph over me?
Look upon me and answer me, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death.
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him.” and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.
But I put my trust in your mercy; my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt with me richly. I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.”
This psalm takes me back to the grief…the pain of separation after being married for 20 years, followed by an unexpected divorce. I believed that my husband and I would grow old together, that when the kids were grown, we would travel across country in an RV like my parents did.
The grief was most intense on August 18th, the anniversary of my first marriage – the one I believed would last until death parted us. I could not understand how God could have let this happen. I felt deserted and confused.
Even I didn’t know what a wreck I was after the divorce, until I woke up from the nightmare of a sick rebound relationship.
In the years that followed, I wondered what was wrong with me, that I couldn’t find anyone right for me to date, let alone, marry. It seemed like I was alone for a long time, but in retrospect, it wasn’t that long, and I was never alone.
God was with me the whole time. My guardian angel walked beside me, shaking her head in exasperation. And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was always there, lighting the path of love, that led back to the fold.
Jeremiah 29:11 was my life preserver.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give your hope and a future.”
Maybe God wanted me to be single so I could accomplish more, because relationships do take time and effort, even the good ones. And the unhealthy relationships, well, they can be insanely distracting, taking us way off course…
(Or maybe not off course, but learning what we need to change to be ready for the gift.)
What I know now is that I had to work on me, and be a better parent, and draw closer to God. I had to love myself and do what was right for me as a single person. I kept going to the church where I felt accepted and cherished. I kept working and learning, singing and enjoying creation. I kept putting one foot in front of the other, loving the family and friends who walked beside me.
And God did have a plan!
Now, August 18th is just another summer day with the love of my life. God has dealt with me richly, with many blessings, including bringing my soul mate to me when the time was perfect.
In times of uncertainty, I must remember God’s mercy and let my heart be joyful!