I’ve been chewing on this word for nearly six years now, it was one of the first things that hit me square between the eyes when my world shifted. There are two words that have meant a lot to me in my journey (resilience and intentionality), so I thought I’d dissect one of them today.
My parents run an international marriage ministry so I grew up around couples who were hurting and needed help, but also those who had struggled and overcome, and then decided to pay it forward by helping other hurting couples. I didn’t realize it in my younger years but my parents were modeling, teaching and living the concept of intentionality.
When I was in elementary school my parents’ marriage was holding on by a thread, and from any outsider’s perspective it was over. My dad had moved on to another relationship, although he still lived at home because he didn’t want to lose the house he had built to my mom. But God gave my mom a picture that she and my dad would be back together someday (and for a greater purpose than just the restoration of their own marriage). My mom stepped out in bold prayer, asking God to heal their marriage and confessing that my dad was a Godly man who led his family according to 1 Timothy 3:1-4 (I’ll quote from The Message Bible): “If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect.”
God had given her hope and she was very intentional with it. She not only prayed but she also did things to remind my dad that he had a place in their home and in her heart. She would serve us dinner and then prepare a plate for my dad. When he would come home from his alternate life, he always had a home-cooked meal. It was one of the things that he would later say endeared him to her.
I’m embarrassed to say that when I divorced, I had a certain image of a divorcee in my mind and it was hard to tell people about my new status as a single woman. I still cringe when I have to fill out paperwork that asks about marital status. I’ve mentioned this before but six years ago I felt like me and the boys were a sad little family of three. I didn’t like that feeling at all so I set out to change who we were.
One of the first things I immediately did was to evaluate the number of years I had left with the boys at home and then I asked myself, “What do you want to do with that time?” I knew right away that I wanted to take them on missions trips to expose them to other cultures and give them opportunities to develop and use their gifts. We’ve been on four summer trips since then and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we made that decision together. Because here’s what I know…when we are feeling sad or frustrated about where we are in life, that’s when it’s time to give. When we are giving we are living; not for ourselves, but for others. Our souls long to give and love others well (God has put that in us!) so we have to take opportunities to do that.
I’ve been very intentional about the environment I’ve created for my kids over the past few years. It was really important to me that they stayed in the house they lived in prior to the split. We had previously moved around so much that I saw our house as an anchor, something that would give us peace, stability and consistency which I felt the three of us so desperately needed. I worked hard and made sacrifices to be able to keep our home and raise the boys there. Another thing I was intentional about was making sure there wasn’t too much change in their worlds since they were now living in two households. I drove and still drive the same car, we ate the same food, they went to the same schools.
I intentionally changed my entire master bedroom. I sold the old set and decided to paint several “new” pieces of furniture myself (craigslist finds). I then went to an estate sale and bought a beautiful high-end custom made Arhaus comforter and a gazillion pillows for next to nothing. I didn’t have much to spend but I intentionally and purposefully created a new beautiful reality within the four walls in which my FH (former husband) and I had spent so many painful years together.
And I was intentional in my paradigm shift and in my pursuit of healing in my life. I started declaring and praying these things over my little family of three:
God protect us, watch over us, keep us safe. May angels encamp around us.
May we be a friend to the friendless and reach out to those who are hurting.
Speak to us, tell us who needs to know your love today.
Help us to be obedient to your voice and actually do what you are telling us to do.
We put on the armor of God so that we can stand firm.
God, direct our path today. Show us the way.
I get emotional when I read through that list because God gave us AMAZING faith that we could tap into when we felt like we had (and were) nothing. The more we gave the better we understood our purpose as a trio. At the beginning Luke was a mess, losing his school assignments and struggling with staying organized and keeping track of his things. And Jake was pulling his hair out…bless his heart he had a big bald spot on the top of his head. We were a stressed little clan but we had HOPE and we had PURPOSE, we just had to be intentional about making a plan.
Where are you stuck? What holds you back or keeps you down? What is the truth that fights your embarrassment or lack of faith? It’s time to be purposeful…it’s time to make a plan with God. After all, we have a God who is very intentional in His unfailing love for us, in His mercies that are new every morning, in His gift of strength to the weary, in His divine protection and in His plan for our lives. Let’s ask for His guidance in changing our good intentions into intentional plans!
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.