The boys and I were at the beach with my BFF, Angela, and her family when I listened to the voice mail from my FH (former husband), telling me he was engaged. I remember hearing something like, “I didn’t want you to hear this through the grapevine.” It was July 2014 and we had been divorced seven months. My body kind of went numb and I pulled Ang aside (she and her hubby, Brian, were making dinner) to tell her what had happened. I remember her asking me what I needed and I told her “time by myself in the pool” and on cue she and Brian completely took over my parenting roles and took care of my boys for the rest of the night.
I got in the pool in the back yard and allowed myself to be covered by the warm, soothing water. I cried. I prayed. I cried some more. I wouldn’t have known this was coming except for a Mother’s Day card exchange that had taken place between me and my former sister-in-law. In it she had mentioned something that made me pause and acknowledge that things were getting serious between them. I remember even having the thought that they could someday be married and I recall being shocked by that notion. I just hadn’t allowed myself to go there until then.
So it wasn’t out of left field but it did feel like I had been stabbed in the heart.
I spent a couple hours at the pool and then made a short trek to the beach for sunset. I remember bawling on that walk and kind of stumbling down the path. I felt so lost and broken. As the sun slowly disappeared against the endless ocean, I felt a wave of peace. “You’re going to be okay,” I told myself. “You’re going to make it through this.”
Fast forward to January 2015. I don’t remember how I found out but I knew the date and time. Because I had a little ramp-up on this one, I 💯% knew that I had to get out of town. I reached out to one of my dearest friends, Nicole, who has a family beach house and asked if she might be open to me staying the weekend. She is one of the most organized people I know and I within the day she had everything lined up. She called and told me that she and her husband were going to pay the cleaning fee…they wanted to treat me to a few days at the house. I remember closing my eyes and saying, “Thank you.” Those words had such weight and meaning…I was grateful to Nicole for such a special gift, and grateful to God for my friendship with Nicole and for providing a way out.
I invited my life-long bestie, Wendy, to join me on this trip. Without hesitation, she was there. She has six kids and a fantastic hubby, mom and in-laws. I don’t remember the details now but she got everything organized so the kids were taken care of and made plans to be with me on one of the hardest days. I felt so much love.
Wendy and I met in Jacksonville. I remember being quiet, particularly on Saturday morning when I woke up and had my quiet time. My prayers were desperate and full of pain. I was definitely feeling somber and Wendy took note. She was full of kindness and empathy as we gingerly navigated through the weekend together. We sat on the beach, took walks, went shopping, even giggled a little. It was everything my heart needed on the weekend my FH and former sister-in-law got married.
I live near the mountains but it’s the ocean that comforts me. I figured that out a long time ago and God was so gracious to ensure that I was on a beach for two of my hardest days. I love the power and majesty of the waves that remind me of His magnificence and grandeur. He loves us so and He is a big and powerful God who is full of compassion, mercy and grace. No matter how great our problems, He is greater. I have felt His love run deep for me over the last few years and I am so grateful for my big God and His big love. Not sure where I’d be without Him.
I think it’s so important to recognize the things that bring us peace and that we pursue those things in the best way we can. I fully realize that I could have been anywhere when I got the news of the engagement and if I had been alone in my house, I would have just had to deal with it. But this gracious God knew that I needed some of that salty sea water and so He made sure I was at the ocean when the call came in.
Sometimes we need to pause and reflect on God’s goodness in our lives. Circumstances can be daunting and overwhelming and cause us to spiral but God is in the midst of that. Often we can’t see the life ring buoy we’ve been thrown because we’re so busy flailing around in the water. But if we allow ourselves the time and space to sit and soak in His peace, we realize that God is there.
I’ve had a really busy couple of weeks. In fact, I missed posting last week because I got a migraine during the small window I had to write. And work has been really crazy for me this summer. So today I’m going to pursue those moments of peace and quiet and I will embrace them with intentionality. I might not be at the beach right now but when I close my eyes I can see and hear the ocean. And my heart responds with a little dance. (By the way, what makes your heart dance?)
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.