Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Neon signs

Do you ever find yourself in a situation that you never imagined? I mean truly? We live life and know that unexpected things or plans will take place, but often do we really give them a second thought, or really think out of our lines of expectations. Well I find myself in that place.

I have been married for just over 13 years. I have two beautiful girls who are magnificent gifts. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for his Grace with them, with us. I've lived a blessed life, certainly had my share of problems or concerns, but overall believed with my heart that all would be well with the world. Over the past few months my husband and I have agreed to separate, for good. It has happened before. There are many things that we have been plagued with, many mountains just too difficult to overcome. Through all of those I never quite saw myself without him. Not "Mrs. Pittman". I have loved my husband unquestionably and I have believed with my whole heart that standing beside him and showing him love, even when he may have not deserved it, has been the place I belonged, regardless of circumstance or what he had done. I have dealt with much criticisim over the years, regarding my decision to stay many times and in many ways, but I never doubted. Until now. The difference is, when I agreed to this, I really felt in my soul it was the right thing. Don't mistake my sadness of wishing a different outcome for knowing that this is the plan. See, one of the biggest challenges I have faced over the years is what God thinks of divorce. It's "man made", it is not of God. And there are many interpretations, bibilically speaking, about it. But none that have spoken to the questions over the years that I have. I have never been critical of others that have chosen the route....just never felt moved in understanding to accept that it was MY route. That said, I know my place in this world and it couldn't be anymore clear to me that I am in my Father's Hands. He is holding me, and with me, He is beside me as I type, with me when I wake, and even when I cry. He is there. While I have always known this, He opened the eyes of my heart recently and allowed me to clearly see his direction. You know how some people say that we can not understand why God does things. They compare it to a developing piece of needlework. From the underside all you see is thread, strewn in every direction, every color, notted in spots and crossed in others, no real direction or image of it's purpose, but when you flip it over, there is a masterpiece - a breathtaking, priceless work of art. God has allowed me a glimpse of my masterpiece and I am so proud to be with Him on this journey.

I have hesitated writing of this epiphinay. I have wanted to make sure it gets the appropriate care and attention to detail it deserves, but I don't want to take too long. I want to share my experience so others can see all is not hopeless, regardless of what you are going through or how you feel - there are constant touches of miracles, we must just take the time to see them.

~A year ago, my husband and I seperated. We were struggling significantly in our marriage and I did not know what the next step would be. The entire time we were apart I prayed, read scripture, looking for some indication on what to do. EVERY time I was compelled to seek reconcilliation, whether it was in leading through scripture, messages I would listen too, prayer, or even kids shows (yes I said "kid's shows). I had always teased that I am the type of person that needed neon signs or billboards from God saying "Do this or that". Last year, I didn't get it. Just the hint that I needed to "go home". And I did. And to this day, even where we are now, I do not regret that decision. I have no doubt I did the right thing. Within months of our return together, my husband received a promotion and we moved to New Orleans. We knew it was the right job and company, and were lead here in every way. I wasn't sure that I would like New Orleans, but within a week or two came to realize the true spirit of this city. Our move went well and we unloaded box after box, flattened them and put them on the curb for pick up. We thought we would be here awhile, so only kept a few of them. Thankfully, someone took all of them. I was happy to see they were going to be used. Over the months, we found a terrific church, fantastic neighbors, and incredible sites. We weren't clear on a school choice and literally fell in the lap of some church members that homeschool. One of the families lives on our street, we talked and I prayed about it and began homeschooling. The "true" school option here, just didn't reveal itself to us and I have enjoyed the extra time with my 9 year old.

While, we grew to love life here in New Orleans, I began to realize it just wasn't going to work. I don't want to and won't go into detail of my relationship with my husband, that is not what this is about. The lesson is there and I found it. I will say, to this day, I love Marty with everything that is in me, this isn't what I want, but understand it is necessary. Shortly, after telling our daughters I began to prepare emotionally and physically for the move. With help from my mother in Kentucky and my sisters, we found a house for the girls and I and movers and set a date of November 1st. We told some of our friends, including those at church, and began to reconcile to the idea of leaving a place, in all our years, we have truly loved. I noticed I began to get angry, as did my oldest daughter, Bella. Why would God lead us to a place we love, with people who are so loving and supportive, only to make us leave so quickly? It just didn't make sense. I began to question all of my decisions...every one, going back years. The anger and rage of it all just took over and my emotions were out of control on a daily basis. I soon knew and felt that I had to leave early, the pain of being with my husband, knowing the outcome and of living longer in a city I didn't want to leave was so raw I couldn't face it anymore. With consent from the movers I moved the date up to October 22nd, I had two weeks to prepare for the move. This is the first move in 12 years that I am packing everything myself. One of the luxuries of a corporate move, is that you don't pay for it and the movers pack it all for you. I was beginning to feel so overwhelmed with the enormous task that lay at my feet. I decided to have a Garage sale to shed some pounds in the move. Friday morning, the 12th was the first day of the sale. It went slowly. I was stressed. My sister called and we were talking. I was sharing my great concern about not having enough boxes. I knew that I didn't and was frustrated that we put all the boxes out on the curb in our move here. She listened and offered suggestions, we spoke of the neon sign we always teased about and went on with our day. By 2pm I was spent. Bella and I decided to close shop early and as we were putting everything away in the garage a woman was driving by and stopped in her car, yelled from the window, "garage sale, ya moving?" - I said yes and that it would be on again tomorrow, but offered that she look anyway. She got out and came up. Immediately, she said "So why are ya movin'? Ya just got here!" - okay I had been hearing this all day...I really wanted to scream, "I don't want to go, I love it here, I hate what is happening" - but I didn't - I just said something like "Change in plans!". she looked at me and asked very sharply, "Ya sure that's it?". Stun took over, I couldn't believe she could be so bold. What was she thinking? Before I could respond, she continued. She began to tell me about a message she heard on a Christian radio station the day before. It was a man preaching about divorce. He talked about when a woman "has no choice", for whatever reason. As I listened to her talk, the tears streamed down my face. What she was sharing spoke to alot of the personal concerns I have had. When she stopped, she told me that she did not know my circumstance, but that she believes she was inspired by the message and heard it to share it with me. That it was MY message. Again, tears. I thanked her for sharing the message and didn't know what else to say. She went on, "know how I remembered that you just moved in?" - I answered that I didn't. She began to tell me about the day that we put alot of boxes on the curb. She took them. She said that she hated to see such good boxes thrown out and it took her five trips to get them all home (some of them were not broken down), but she did. She took every last one that day. I just told her how glad I was that she was able to use them and thanked her for sharing. She just cocked her head and looked at me as if to say, you still don't get it. She grabbed my arm and said "Come 'mere" - we walked to her van and she opened the back. Boxes, there were boxes. MY boxes. She pulled some out and lay them in front of me. They were mine. Our names were on them, my daughters' names, our move info, everything, they were ours. She told me that she moved a couple of weeks ago and didn't use them. She remembered that morning that they were in storage and felt compelled to go get them. She said that "God would lead her with what to do with them". She just happened to be driving down our street and saw the signs, literally.

I wept all over again. I had this beautiful woman in my driveway sharing an experience that was transparently God driven. I asked her how it felt to be an "instrument" and she just smiled and pointed up. She grabbed my Bella's face in her hands and told her to remember "this day" October 12th as the day, that Ms. Shirley told her we would be alright. Told her to help "Mama and her sister" and that she would be well led and blessed. That God would not leave her.

Shirley came by the next day with more boxes and even bought items from my sale and today, she stopped by because she saw something in a store that she thought my girls would like.

See, the moral to the story is, HE is always there. He does listen and yes there are billions of people in this world, but he knows each of us personally, he knows the hair on our heads, he knows whats in our hearts, he knows what we need; even when it's as simple as boxes.

Thank you God for leading me to New Orleans, for the people here who have been instrumental to my girls and I through this, for allowing me to know you, for my husband, and my marriage, for the unending patience you have had with me, for the knowledge that you have a great plan for me, for angels in the form of native New Orleaneans named Shirley. And even for Neon signs when we aren't looking.

1 comment:

  1. B...oh my God. Your story brought me to tears. Thank you for being my friend and having you in my life, no matter how far apart we apart we are. You continue to be an inspiration. May the Lord bless you and the girls.