by Laura Petherbridge
In the 40 years that I have walked with Christ, there have been many times when I’ve pondered, “Does God care?”
The first time was when my former spouse was having an affair, and he wanted out of our marriage. I’ve never felt so abandoned or truly alone. For hours I’d sit and listen to worship music, crying out to God for relief from the emotional agony. The words from those songs became my passionate prayers. My weary brain was too despondent, and depressed, to form words or thoughts on my own.
My divorce triggered hidden trauma that I never could have anticipated. It uprooted my intentionally suppressed childhood, along with all the insecurities and anxiety. With cruel and relentless advertisement divorce declared to the world that my deepest fears were true. “You are an ugly, fat, disgusting failure. No one will ever love you. Why would anyone want a stupid loser like you? You can’t even hold onto a husband”.
I wanted to take my life. I seriously contemplated it.
Even though I was a very new Christian, I was blessed to have a wonderful church and mature women surrounding me. God used the prayers and teaching of those precious, trustworthy women to crush the evil lies that divorce repeatedly echoed into my wounded mind and heart.
They helped me to comprehend who God really is, and who He isn’t. They showed me Scriptures that revealed how God sees me, even in the pit of despair.
I started to believe them.
And then one verse in particular leapt into my heart.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT
What? God counts my tears? I was astonished that God desired to be that intimate. I could see Him delicately and tenderly placing each tear in a beautiful hand-crafted bottle. Not one of my tears were ignored, went unnoticed, or slipped through his fingers. Each moist droplet was carefully tended to by my Creator.
Captivated by the thought of it all, my tears moved from a place of sorrow to one of contentment. I was weeping from a place of gratitude. I knew for certain God meticulously observes and cares about every moment of my life. He gently cradles my suffering like a compassionate Daddy.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you. Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT
Said simply, He loves me.
And I’ve never been the same.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Laura Petherbridge is an international speaker and author of, When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, The Smart Stepmom, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. She has appeared at/on the Billy Graham Center, Family Talk (Dobson), Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, FamilyLife, Lifeway and Moody Broadcasting. She has been a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series implemented in over 60,000 churches worldwide. In addition to the USA, she has spoken in South Africa, Australia, and Canada. Laura and Steve live in Atlanta, Ga and have been married for 35 years. She has two stepsons, daughters in law, and grandkids. She may be reached at www.TheSmartStepmom.com.
Laura’s resource When I Do Becomes I Don’t-Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce is answers to her most FAQ after 30 years in divorce recovery and stepfamily ministry. It includes chapters for friends and family, and a section for church leadership.
Join the conversation: What part of God’s care for you fills you with gratitude?