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God's perfect plan is never divorce, but unfortunately we live in a culture today where about half of marriages end in divorce, and sadly Christians are no exception. Many have found themselves in a place they never thought possible - while they took their vows seriously, their spouse wants to call it quits; and some are living in bondage to bitterness from a past divorce.
In God Keeps His Promises, Christy shares her personal story of God's comfort and provision through a painful separation/divorce while expecting her second child. Through time and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, she has experienced true healing and grace. She wants to give God all the glory and desperately wants others to experience the same for their lives.
God Keeps His Promises shares:
• Christy's personal testimony of God's faithfulness
• Life applications for going through a separation/divorce
• Key Scriptures for hope, healing, and forgiveness
God does keep His promises, even when others may fail us.
Find God Keeps His Promises on Facebook.
If you dropped by expecting to see Comfort to Comfort, I hope you will still find some encouragement with Long Living. And you can still read my past blog posts in the Blog Archive located on the bottom left side on the home page.
All good fairy tales begin with, “Once upon a time,” right? And like most little girls and the famous line from Pretty Woman, I wanted the fairy tale, too.
When I first got married in 1995, the wedding seemed like the perfect ending to a fairy tale. Even at the end of the wedding video there was a little Cinderella carriage that concluded the recording as if to imply the prelude to a lifetime of happily ever after. However, less than five years later, with a 2 ½ year old daughter and 7 months pregnant with my second child, our marriage was ending.
It was probably the worst time in my life. I could not keep food down, my nerves were a wreck, I was so worried and stressed that I had trouble sleeping and would lie in the bed in a fetal position and shake. As a young Christian (I had recognized my need for knowing Jesus in a personal way and was baptized the previous summer), my mom suggested that I ask Jesus to wrap His arms around me at night, so I tried it. I would imagine that Jesus was holding me in His arms as I drifted off to sleep and it truly helped to calm me down so I could rest.
The day my mother drove my baby boy and me home from the hospital was the day I knew for certain my marriage was over. Separation papers were eventually signed and I took on more debt than I should have because I wanted to stay in the home with my babies.
I did plenty of things wrong during this time and I take responsibility for my part in the downfall of the marriage, but I never wanted to be divorced. I still believe God can heal any marriage if both spouses are willing, but after counseling and lots of prayer we became another statistic.
However, during this trial I learned to trust more in Jesus and read my Bible. I began to cling to His promises.
Promises that He would provide.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
Promises that He would work all things for my good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Promises that He would restore my life again.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:20-21 (NIV)
Promises that He would give me hope and a future (once I got serious about seeking Him first).
“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
Several months later, the Lord was preparing my heart for the work He was about to do in my life. I had been attending a singles’ Bible fellowship class at my church and we had been studying the Book of Ruth. It got my attention because of the fairy tale like story of how God provided for Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi after they lost their husbands. Ruth was a woman of noble character and she was obedient to God. Boaz,her prince charming, was a kinsman-redeemer and they were married. There are so many important parts to this story – they are the ancestors of Jesus!
What stood out to me at the time was how God took care of Ruth and worked all things for her good. Like Boaz was her kinsman-redeemer, God redeems us with His unfailing love (See Psalm 44:26). And The Message version of the Book of Ruth begins with the words, “Once upon a time…”
God is our King in this fairy tale of life and His happily ever after is His unfailing love for us!
Soon God put my earthly prince charming in my path. Not too many weeks after a long walk on the beach in heartfelt prayer asking Him to send someone to love me and my children if it was His plan. If it was not His plan, I had prayed that He would help me to raise them alone. It was my moment of surrender.
Mark (my boyfriend of 2 ½ years in junior high/high school) contacted me not too long after that. Instead of riding a white horse, he was driving a white Chevy pickup. It didn’t take long before we knew it was meant to be.
We were married a little over a year later (2002) and our son Bryson was born on Father’s Day 2006.
Being a blended family is not always easy but I feel very blessed. I believe that with God’s help, we have made the best of things.
So much time has passed since I clung to those promises I read in the Bible. It almost feels like it all happened to someone else. God kept those promises and He proved faithful in working everything out. He provided in ways that only He could, and in ways I could never have imagined, He worked all things for my good. And he did restore my life again.
He also healed my heart and helped me forgive. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
If you would have told me even a decade ago that we would be going to the same church as my ex-husband and his family, never would I have believed it! And the weird thing is, is doesn’t seem all that weird. God continues to amaze me with His sense of humor and unexpected plot twists as He continues to write my story.
If I can offer any comfort here, it blesses me to do so.
In His Love,
Copyright 2016 by Christy Long. All Rights Reserved.
One of the most difficult seasons in my life was the gradual series of events leading up to my daughter’s college drop off as well as the first few weeks of her first semester.
We had already had many awkward conversations about would-be college situations. Raising a teenage daughter in general had been challenging.
One day when she was still in high school, I was certain she hated her mother and I was questioning her spiritual health and the condition of her heart, I walked into her bathroom and discovered these verses she had written in dry erase marker on her mirror:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I was shocked to find those verses that day, during a time of uncertainty and worry. But also, because I had just heard a remarkable speaker at a women’s event at our church give a message based on these very verses! Her message had been what needed to hear, and now God was revealing it to me again in the sweetest way, handwritten by my daughter. It was surely a sign!
He was letting me know He would see this through. I had been fixating on what I could see – the temporary. The immaturity, the rebellion, the eye-rolling. I needed to trust Him for the inward renewing He was working on day by day that I couldn’t yet see – the unseen!
That day, Jesus gave me a sneak peek of what was to come. Just the fact that this verse was written on her bathroom mirror and she was memorizing it and hiding it away in her heart was amazing indication that she was heading in the right direction.
Overall, by the time she was about to enter college, she was a spiritually grounded, normally excited, freshman girl. Why was I so worried about letting her go? Perhaps it was because I started college having been brought up in a similar background, but eventually some of the choices I made were far from God-honoring.
Would she be able to live in this place for the next four years and remain a Christian? Or would her faith falter under the weight of atheist professors and peer pressure?
Again, the evening of her freshman orientation, as I was pondering all these questions, God visibly gave me another sign. I was about to turn in for the evening, and as it so often does in Boone, NC, it came a little rain shower. Afterwards, God sent this beautiful rainbow that I could see perfectly outside my hotel. It was as if to say again, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” And I was again reminded of those verses.
Focus on the unseen. God is at work. After all, that’s what faith is, right?
Now I wish I could say that I never worried again or lost any sleep over my only daughter once she went away to college, but I did. Finally, after a couple of months of adjusting to our new normal, things did get a little easier.
Over four years have passed since freshmen orientation and my daughter graduated from college this past May, got married two weeks later (she met the love of her life through CRU – Campus Crusade for Christ), and is now a math teacher and JV cheer coach at a local high school. She has matured beyond anything I could have imagined back in Spring of 2015.
So, mamas, don’t lose heart!
There are a few things I learned along the way that I hope may help first-time freshman moms. (Some took me a little longer than others.):
1. Give your adult child the privilege of freedom. For control freaks like myself, this one took a little time. And I believe it may be even harder with a daughter. I simply wanted to know she was alive and well every day. Nothing wrong with texting or calling, but try to resist the urge to stalk, or um track them via their phone. Try to battle the temptation to hit that button. They are most likely having fun or even taking a nap. Give it plenty of time before you freak out (not that I ever did!) Otherwise, they will resent your paranoia and call you "cray". Instead, fast forward to #2.
2. Pray hard. I can’t stress this one enough. Keep a journal of your specific prayers, the big general ones like, “Lord, please help _______ to continue to follow you in college, help him/her to find good, Christian, like-minded friends to hang out with. I pray that he/she would plug in to campus organizations like CRU or Young Life, and find a Bible teaching local church with an impactful college ministry.” Pray for the small details as well. Start praying for next year now. Such as, “Lord, I don’t know the best living situation or the best roommate for ________ next year, but You do. Please work out those details.”
I prayed specifically for a 2-bedroom apartment for my son this past year so he and his friend would not have to live with a third random person. And even though we were told only a few were available and it may not happen, it DID! God answers little detailed prayers. Keep a list of your prayers and then check off and date them once God answers. It is so comforting to look back and see how He worked everything out. Trust Him in the details and you will see Him working on your behalf in your adult child’s life!
And don’t forget to pray Scripture prayers. One of my favorites is from 1 Corinthians 10:13, “Lord, when __________ is tempted, please help him/her take the way out You are so faithful to provide.” You can tailor Scripture prayers specifically for your child. What worries you most about sending them off to college? Then search those key words to find verses you can apply in your prayers. God’s Word does not return void. There is such power in praying His Word!
Lastly, we all make mistakes and we all sin. Pray that your adult child will not make any life-altering pitfalls during their college experience and trust God for the rest. And if something terrible should happen, continue to love them as Jesus loves us (in spite of our own sinfulness), and help them to process the consequences of their mistake with your unconditional love and support. Make sure you are approachable and your adult child knows there is nothing they can do that would cause you to stop loving them.
3. Keep a positive outlook. This is important for them and for you. I went through a little bit of depression after my daughter left for school. However, when we spoke, I didn’t drag her down emotionally with my sadness. I missed her terribly but eventually I embraced the new season of life. The same is happening again now that she is married and no longer living in our home. My son is about to leave for his second year at college and we will soon be down to one child in the nest again. All I can say is focus on the joy of your child growing up and maturing and spreading their wings. It may sound cliché but isn’t is better than them staying in their room playing Fortnite for the rest of their life? We raise our kids to be become independent adults and find their purpose in this world. Let’s cheer them on and rejoice in their new adventures! You will be amazed how they grow and mature in this next chapter of their lives!
There will most likely be tears on freshman move in day. (Hopefully, you can hold it together until the ride home.)
But try to embrace this new season. Instead of grieving what is behind, look forward to what’s to come. And maybe God will even give you a rainbow reminder as if to say, “Don’t lose heart, I’ve got this.”
Hang in there, Mamas! And Dads too! It will get easier!
© Christy Long 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Careful what you pray for!
I’m a big believer in praying Scripture as God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). A few months ago, I ran across this psalm and had an A-ha moment. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pray this passage of blessing?
Psalm 126 The Message (MSG)
A Pilgrim Song
126 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
4-6 And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Yeah, God! Do it, again!
Let me be clear that I’m not a believer or a fan of the prosperity gospel. Nor do I view my God as some sort of genie in a bottle in order to fulfill selfish prayers for me and my family.
That’s not who He is and it’s certainly not how I should view my Heavenly Father.
However, I have seen Him do amazing, unimaginable, seemingly impossible things in my life and I know He can choose to do it again, IF it is His will.
In the past, He rained blessing on our family after a time of loss and struggle. He provided unexpected blessing during a time of despair. He supernaturally implemented a plan for me to stay home with my children when just nine months earlier it did not seem fathomable. (Just to name a few.)
To say my God is big feels like a gross understatement.
So, as we have been in a season of spending for my daughter’s wedding, I must admit these verses seemed promising. Not to sound greedy, but any extra blessing here would be great, God! If you feel like showering on us “armloads of blessing” we would really appreciate it!
Often, He doesn’t answer the way we expect Him to.
What had not occurred to me about praying the beautiful psalm of praise of remembrance and petition was that God had done great things for them after a terrible time of captivity, and they are filled with joy.
After all, Psalm 126 is a Psalm of Ascent, which itself implies that you are rising from a lower position – a pit, a valley, or place of humility.
There had to be a trial before there could be a blessing.
Last week instead of receiving the “armloads of blessing” for which I had prayed, my husband lost his job due to cuts made after a company acquisition. The timing is almost comical because as I am writing this the wedding is only 22 days away!
But I know God’s got this.
In my faith journey, there are 3 things I am learning when setbacks happen.
1. Accept the trial. God knows what He is doing. Although I would never compare our situation to the severity of Job’s, we can know through his story that nothing happens to us in life that God has not permitted. It is up to us, however, how we handle the adversity. Whether it be a financial crisis or a major health issue, may we choose to accept the trial and stand firm in our faith, making our Heavenly Daddy proud. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 As my pastor would say, it’s like giving the devil a punch in the nose!
2. Rely on God for restoration. The psalm really says it all! He is beyond capable and all -powerful to work on our behalf. He has repeatedly come through for us. In fact, a little over two years ago, we were in the same situation and He was wonderful to us! (verse 3) Sometimes God must take you back to the trial in order to bring the next blessing. Our job is to trust and persevere. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
3. Praise Him continually and expectantly. To be perfectly honest, we were blindsided over the job cut but there are so many silver linings in this cloud. Ironically, I was driving home that day thanking God for all His many blessings in our lives. Perhaps at the very moment my husband was receiving the news of his job cut, I was in a spirit of praise? At one point, I remember being moved to tears as I was counting the ways God has blessed me and our family. And not just material blessings, but for the stuff money can’t buy. For my husband – his big ol’ generous heart, the way he loves my older two children as his own, the way he loves me and all my messy crazy. For my kids – they are not perfect (none of us are!), but I am so proud of them and for their love of the Lord, they are turning out to be remarkable people and that makes a mama’s heart almost burst with thankfulness. For many answered prayers…I could go on and on…
So, when I walked in the door with my TJ Maxx bags and saw the unpleasant look on my husband’s face, I still had no idea. He said he didn’t want to give me the news while I was driving. Hugging him, I remember saying something like, “It’s okay, God has something better.” And I truly believe it. We are not losing sleep. He always provides. He is our Jehovah-Jireh. My God is an awesome God!“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:28
So, do it again, God! We have faith that You will.
Trusting Him with expectant hearts,
For His Glory,