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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
On March 20th, 2011, I made a phone call that I had been dreading, and putting off for many days. After 5 years I was still struggling with my divorce, with what had transpired during the waiting period, and the time immediately following it being final. I still did not know why it had happened. When I was told, “I don’t want to married anymore,” it completely shocked me.
A few weeks prior to March 20th, I had been praying about this situation. I just wanted some clarity and direction. I wanted God to show me what I could do to get over the feelings of bitterness and anger that were still anchored in my heart. While I was laying in bed praying, I clearly heard God speak to me, telling me to, “call her” (her being Robyn, the woman I believed had ended my marriage). The reason this was so freshly on my mind was that my friend, Marj, had just been to visit and we had talked about everything that had gone on 5 years before. Something she said stuck in my head. That along with something my sister had been told, (that I knew what the truth was) weighed heavily on me, eventually bringing me to the point of tears and crying out to God for answers. I knew that He was speaking to me. It was very clear and it wouldn’t go away. I became very anxious and all I could think about was the voice and the instruction “call her.” However, this was just not something I could possibly do of my own accord.
I shared this with my friend, Misty. She advised me that I needed to be obedient to God, reminding me of the verse in James, “He who knows the good he ought to do, yet does not do it, sins.” Ouch. So I’m being disobedient and sinning. This was causing me serious distress. I felt anxious all the time and my heart was skipping beats and palpitating, which of course increased my anxiety about the whole situation. I knew what I had to do, but I just couldn’t do it.
On March 20th, I shared this situation at our prayer meeting. I asked for prayer, that my “bitterness would be resolved,” and that I would “give up to the task at hand and call.” After we were done with the prayer portion of our meeting, I started to feel worse, almost to the point of a panic attack. I grabbed Misty and told her that I felt I needed to make the phone call that night. I asked if she would pray with me and stay with me while I did it. We went up to her room, she prayed and I dialed. My heart was racing. I didn’t know what to expect and I was afraid. I had been asked this question, “could anything she says hurt you any more than you have already been hurt?” I felt like the answer was no and I waited for the phone to start ringing. However, the phone call never rang through. I got a recorded message: “The number you have reached has been changed or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this message in error please hang up and try your call again. Thank you.”
I hung up the phone and looked at Misty and told her the phone number was disconnected. She asked me what I was going to do. Without thinking, I responded, “I’ll call his parents.”
One of the kids answered the phone and I asked for Paula, my former mother-in-law. At this point, my anxiety was through the roof. Although Paula and I had been very close, I hadn’t spoken to her in over 4 years. I had no idea what to expect. When she got on the phone she said, “Hi. How are you? Is everything okay?” I squeaked out that I was trying to get hold of Robyn. She told me to call my old home phone number that it hadn’t been changed. I responded that I had just called that number and it was disconnected. She said she was unaware of this and said I could call grandma’s house and see if she knew what was up. I didn’t feel comfortable calling her, it was late, so not to worry about it. We ended up talking on the phone for over half an hour. She asked me why I was calling, and I told her the truth. God had clearly spoken to me and instructed me to call. I explained that I really needed closure and was being obedient to what I needed to do. We had a very nice chat. Paula had been a very important person in my life and I loved her. We talked like no time had passed. She told me that I could call anytime and that she missed me. Upon hanging up she said, “I love you.”
I went back downstairs and shared what had happened with my friends. I was reeling and still feeling anxious, but also it felt like a weight had been lifted from me. In the coming days I started to realize that the anger and bitterness were receding. I wasn’t thinking about it everyday. I finally saw that God had released me from the situation. I was obedient to Him and He honored that. I felt more calm and peaceful than I had in years. I was finally done with this difficult situation, or so I thought…
The morning of April 23rd, my dad called me. He said that he had just gotten a call from Paula. She had called and wanted my phone number. My dad had taken her number and said he would let me know. I called her immediately thinking something bad had happened. I wasn’t expecting what she had to say. She told me that I needed to call Dan, my ex-husband, the person who had destroyed my life. I told her that I hadn’t been trying to get hold of him when I had called before. She said to me, “Misty, you really need to call him. He was just here. He is at the lowest I’ve ever seen him.” I didn’t understand why she would be asking this of me, or telling me to do it. Then she said, “He told me you were right about everything.” At that point everything became really clear. I knew I had to call him and I told her I would.
At that moment I honestly could not believe what I was about to do. I know that God was with me. The voice on the line was the same one I had known, “hello?” my response, “hi Dan” to which he replied, “you were right about everything.” I don’t feel like I need to share exactly what I was right about. The short version is that I learned he was getting divorced and his life was probably as low as it could get.
Throughout the conversation he kept saying that he couldn’t believe I was talking to him, but he was glad I was. He apologized for everything that had happened between us, and for all the hurt he had caused in my life. He said he would answer every question I had as best he could. After many questions and answers, I finally received the validation I needed. The thing is, it didn’t feel good. Being right didn’t feel good because it meant so much hurt for so many others.
At this point I knew that God was working in me. Dan asked me why I was willing to talk to him and help him. The word that popped into my head was “grace.” I knew this was from God. The only way I could be here in this moment was by grace. The only way I could say, “I forgive you,” was by grace. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”. Heading into Easter Sunday I had many fresh reminders of the love that Jesus had for me, and because I was forgiven I had to accept the opportunity God was giving me to forgive. Not only could I be relieved of this burden, but I could also share what God was doing. When Dan had asked me why I had called his mother a month ago I was completely honest and shared about my prayer and God’s instruction. In that moment I was not afraid to share my faith. I was not ashamed (Romans 1:16). I knew that God was giving me this opportunity and I had to seize it.
On March 20th, I had no clue how God was going to use my obedience. In a million years I would not have anticipated my dad’s phone call, or Paula’s revelation, or watching my own fingers dial Dan’s phone number. I never would have believed that I would be sharing my faith with the man that I believed had destroyed my life, or how God was going to use that to draw Dan near to Him. I encouraged Dan to find a Bible and start reading John. I could feel the Holy Spirit moving in him and I knew this would be a turning point in his life.
Yesterday, my heart was joyful when I received a text message from him with a picture of his new Bible. Every time I think of him, I pray for God’s will in his life, that these dark days will be used for the glory of the Kingdom.
Through this time I’ve had several people ask me how I feel about everything that is going on. My response is that I feel at peace. I know this is from God and that it is good. My burden has been lifted and now my path is clear for God to start using me for His purpose. We’ve done our business and its time to move on.
P.S. The phone number had not been disconnected…
I hope you have been blessed by these encounters. I would love to hear your encounter. You can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are loving this series make sure to check out last years lenten series, “40 Encounters With Jesus.” Available in both Paperback and Ebook formats. ~Jen
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