Have you ever come to a crossroads in your life where the road behind you is full of disappointment, the road ahead is full of uncertainty and you’re not sure which way to go next? My friend Alice found herself there recently. Her journey and her faith has inspired me and she has graciously and courageously shared her story below as a way to help others. Her words will touch your heart and challenge you to see your own struggles with a new perspective.
One Woman’s Extraordinary Journey
Guest Post by Alice Metts
I am a 39-year-old believer in Christ. I grew up in the church and have known Christ intellectually since I was a child. I have spent much of my adult life seeking to learn more about God in my actions and through bible study, but my story is not about any of that. My story is about finding Jesus on an emotional level. Oh, what a blessing life becomes when Jesus becomes your best friend. What an amazing and wonderful Savior we have. One that promises never to abandon us and to love us unconditionally no matter what our past is.
I will tell my story for the purpose of giving glory to a God who can use all circumstances for the good of those who trust him. Looking back on my life I realize that much of my bible study and actions done were motivated out of fear. I have spent so many years focused on how others perceived me and focused on what I am not. Always concerned about how to please others. I grew up with deep seeded insecurities of not being good enough. I spent my whole life in church but never really understood God’s grace.
I was 32 when I met the man who would become my husband. He was divorced with two kids at the time. I immediately clicked with him and both kids. During our dating relationship, my husband told me he had done life his way and was ready to do things God’s way. I took him at his word and a year and a half later we got married.
We had discussed my desire to have children prior to marriage. We decided to try to have a child soon after we got married. We agreed to seek treatment for infertility about two years into the marriage. We did five months of infertility treatments. The second month I did get pregnant however it was an ectopic pregnancy and we lost the child. At the end of the infertility treatments I was sad and tired. The process of infertility treatments had taken their toll on me. My husband and I decided to stop seeking treatment and I began the process of acceptance.
Then my life came to a complete stand still. About three weeks after finishing infertility treatments my husband told me he was unhappy being married and that he was not sure if he was the marrying type. My world felt like it was crumbling. That night I went to my closet and fell on my knees. That is when I met Jesus on an emotional level. I can’t even describe the peace and comfort I felt in that moment. It was absolutely life changing. The rest of this story is about how an amazing God has shown up in my life and how He is transforming me and meeting my every need in my brokenness.
As I write this I have been separated from my husband for 11 months. I miss my step kids and am grieving the loss of being part of their everyday lives. I love them very much and thank God for the opportunity I had to have been in their lives. My husband tried to stay and we went to counseling for a season but in the end, he decided to leave. My story is about some of the lessons God has chosen to teach me in and through these circumstances.
Here’s what I learned…
A lesson on free will
When my husband told me, he was not the marrying type, our lives went on. We functioned for several months while he was debating what he wanted to do. During this time, I spoke with him about the commitment to marriage he made and about working together to create a healthy marriage. I spent a lot of time praying about how to make him see the truth. Then one day I was coloring with my step daughter when God decided to change my perspective. I was coloring with brown and she wanted me to color with black. For some reason, this day I decided to stand my ground and continue coloring in brown. She of course got upset that I did not do what she had requested. I then told her that this was my picture and I get to choose what color to use. The Holy Spirit immediately whispered into my spirit, “this is your husband’s life and he gets to decide which color to use”. In that moment, I realized my husband had all the facts and it was his call. No matter what I said it was ultimately his decision to make. It did not matter if I agreed with it or not. I had to learn to respect the fact that as a human being he has free will. That revelation gave me freedom from the shame of being the abandoned one. My natural response was to think I did not measure up. I was the reason he left. In reality, he is ultimately responsible for his decisions. I was never intended to take on the shame of someone else’s decisions.
A lesson on people pleasing
Going through circumstances I never imagined I would be in, I am learning what a life of faith really is. It is a daily decision to submit my will, my dreams, my plans, my family, my work, and my actions to God, knowing that His will is far greater than mine. He is the one in control whether I decide to let Him have the control or not. The beautiful thing about our God is that He has chosen to use us in His plan. What an amazing design to give us purpose and hope.
Of course, my husband was not the only broken one. Looking back at my life I realize that I have chosen to give my security to people. I found my purpose in pleasing others. If I am honest with myself my desire to be accepted led me to many people pleasing behaviors. God is opening my eyes to the fact that people pleasing is a form of idolatry. It is putting people in front of God. My intentions were to do good however my motives were based out of my insecurities and fears. In addition to wanting to please people, I wanted others to make my decisions for me. I did this out of ease. I am a follower by nature and I literally expected my husband to make all our decisions. I have learned how that was never intended to be my husband’s job. I have learned that my security must be in Christ alone. He is the only one worthy to have it. I have learned I am responsible for my decisions and when I give that power to anyone other than God, I can expect disappointment. I have learned that I am of value and that as a child of God I can expect good. My value is wrapped in Christ alone. In saying this, I began to realize that being focused on what I am not, is in fact insulting to God. I am His creation, so choosing to focus on what I am not is saying to Him – You could have done better. My heart hurt when I realized this. I surrendered that negative pattern of thinking to God that day. It is amazing how infused my insecurities are to the way I think. I am so grateful to a God who has chosen to change me little bit by little bit.
And THIS might have been the most important lesson of all…
A lesson on forgiveness
In these months of separation, I have struggled with forgiving my husband. I began to get diligent with praying that God teach me how to forgive him. I began to focus on praying for a forgiving heart and the ability to glorify God in my decisions and thoughts. I realized I wanted no root of unforgiveness in my life, but still felt so hurt. I began to be led to pray for blessings for my husband. I remember thinking you have got to be kidding right now. How about I just pray that he figures out what a mess he has made. Then I heard a small still voice, “Every one of you have made a mess. I forgave you and want good for you, even though your sins have hurt me. You don’t deserve forgiveness either. Your choice to forgive your husband is one of love and grace and has nothing to do with if he deserves it or not.” I put my running shoes on that day and went running repeating over and over “Bless him” with every step. I did it out of obedience to God, not because I felt like it. It is still a daily decision I make to forgive him and pray blessings on him. I want no root of bitterness and have become even more aware of the amazing gift of mercy and grace God gave me. Ultimately God is God. He is the only one capable of administering fair punishment. That is not my job. My job is to glorify His nature, which is one of love and grace.
A lesson on focus
God is teaching me the importance of focus. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.” Phillipians 4:8. I read this verse for like the billionth time in my life the other day when something hit me. I mean what is all of this? It occurred to me that the only thing that all these adjectives describes completely is God Himself. We as humans may have moments of nobleness or goodness or pureness but we inevitably fall short. If we focus or think about people all the time we will be disappointed. If our focus is on Christ, then we suddenly can see humanity for what it is. We will disappoint and hurt each other because we are human and not GOD. We all have a sin nature which is why we need Jesus in the first place. When I focus on Christ, I suddenly become so grateful for my Savior and for grace. I can love people, not for what they do for me or how they treat me, but because they are people – wonderful creations of God with both strengths and weaknesses. Loving God’s people does not necessarily mean denying the hurt or living in unhealthy circumstances. Loving people is choosing to give those hurts to God who is the only one capable of healing them and choosing to react with forgiveness and grace.
A lesson on purpose
My circumstances have challenged me in ways I never saw coming. Ever since I was a child I longed to be a mom and a wife. Obviously, my circumstances are ones of loss and brokenness. They are circumstances in which one is forced to re-evaluate things like purpose. As I write this I realize that I could choose to be devastated that my plans did not work out. But when did God ever promise me to do things to my specifications? I have decided instead to take my dreams and my future to god. I trust that He has good in store and I am letting go of what I thought my purpose would be. I am starting to realize what a blessing it is to have to opportunity to be part of God’s plans. He is more than able to make beauty from my ashes.
My final lesson is what changed everything…
A lesson on pain
When my husband first left, I felt the inexplicable comfort of the holy spirit leading me to seek rest in Him and Him alone. I have found that resting in the Lord is quite active. It is praying like you never have prayed before and focusing like you have never focused before. I began to feel led to go on a mission trip my church takes to an orphanage in Guatemala. If you had told me God would take me to an orphanage to heal the wounds of infertility six months prior to this, I would have said you are crazy. I got my passport renewed and made the arrangements I needed to make out of obedience to God. That trip was emotionally difficult for me but as I sat there in that nursery holding a three-month-old child who was a true orphan, I realized pain is pain. It does not matter if you are the 39-year-old infertile abandoned wife or the three-month-old orphan, we will all face pain at some time during our life. What we do with the pain is what matters. I prayed for that three-month-old that day. I prayed that he would give his pain to Jesus one day. Then I did exactly that.
I would love to sit here and say that I don’t ever struggle anymore but I can’t. I am so grateful to a God who is patient and continues to amaze me daily with His unconditional love. He chooses to open my eyes slowly and gently to change me into a much different woman. I still battle insecurities and negative thinking but God continues to love and show a different way. I have no idea what my future holds and I am learning to be ok with that. I have given my future to God and pray that He uses it to glorify Himself. I am learning to live in the present and choosing obedience in the here and now. He has not disappointed me thus far.
For additional information, please contact Alice directly at: [email protected].
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