I always found that trust is one of the hardest parts of faith. To have faith in God means to trust that He knows what He is doing. It means when things happen in your life that are not easy to deal with and you feel like you can’t take anymore, believe that God knows what He is doing and He has a plan for you.
There are times that are harder than anything you have faced before. You may feel that you are not strong enough. You are right. Often we are not strong enough, but it is not our strength we have to rely on, it is God’s. At times like this, when I feel like I’m just treading water and trying not to drown, I am reminded of the poem Footprints In the Sand, and its final verse…
“During the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me? The Lord replied, ‘the times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.’”
This took me a very long time to realize. Growing up was a long, hard process for me. I had a lot downs, and never really felt that I had too many ups.
My parents divorced when I was around six years old. I have some slight memories of my parents being together growing up, but the hardest memory I have is the day my dad left. I remember how sad he was, and how confused I felt. Things changed that day; my life took a turn that I would never be able to come back from. My path was set. Little did I know that this was part of the path that God had set out for me.
All I knew at that time was that my dad was no longer going live with us. Up until then I was a total daddy’s girl and this daddy’s girl started having some huge anger issues that day, most of which I took out on my mom. She was home and my dad wasn’t so who else would get the brunt of my confused angst?
I didn’t realize then how hard things were for my mother. She was a single mom, with two girls. She thought she had it all planned and now she had to start over again. None of this was able sink in for me; I was too young to notice. I also was too young to know or understand why my parents got divorced.
It wasn’t until I was about thirteen that I realized at least part of what happened. I was talking with my best friend about my dad and stepmom, and how quickly they had gotten together. The realization that my dad had cheated on my mother cut through me like a knife. It was devastating for me.
The first thing I did when I got home was confront my mother with my suspicions and very calmly and rationally she confirmed them. She was not bitter, or at least she did not show it if she was. From my view of things my parents had one of the most amicable divorces that I have ever seen. Neither one spoke badly of the other, at least not to me. Considering the truth behind the divorce, it was extremely cordial. My mom even got along with my dad’s mom, father and sister really well afterwards. Of course, I found out years later that it was because my grandmother had laid a hard and fast rule that when they were in her house they needed to keep her grandchildren in mind and there was to be no fighting. No one ever questioned Mem’re; her word was law.
The final realization of what happened allowed me to better understand my feelings towards my stepmother. I’m not saying they were deserved; I was mean and distant. However I now understood why those feelings were inside of me. Part of me realized that things had changed when my stepmother came into my life. It would still take a long time before I would let myself forgive her or my dad for what happened. It was also awhile before I realized that the cheating was not the only reason behind the divorce, I realized that there was something fundamental wrong with my parent’s relationship. It’s been well over twenty years now and my dad and stepmom are still married; obviously something works there that didn’t work between my mom and dad.
One day, finally, my mother did fall in love again. However, to say that I didn’t get along with my stepfather would be the understatement of the century. We butted heads terribly. Explosive tempers, teen angst, the works. My stepfather was not a perfect man; he had his issues, however I have to finally admit (and agree with my mom) that I took a lot of my anger that I had for my father out on my stepdad.
I have a huge apology to offer him; one that is all too long overdue. The sad part is I cannot say it to him in person, not until I meet him in heaven, as he passed away when I was nineteen. I wish we had been on better terms when he died and it grieves me to this day that I allowed things to end like that between us.
I tell you this not to make you feel sad for me, because there is no reason to; not anymore. I tell you this because through all of the heartache God had a plan for me. These things that happened to me and my family paved a path for all of us. I cannot change that. I wouldn’t want to. My mother was able to find love again after my father. And although I wish she was able to keep that love a little longer, God made sure she was not alone when this happened by giving her another baby girl with my stepdad. And now, at twenty, my sister is one of the most beautiful people I know. Without my parents’ divorce the world would not only be short of her but also my brother from my dad and stepmother. We are a blended family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That rocky, hard road I was on in my early, young life took me past a lot of angst, but eventually I found God on it again. Of course He was there with me the whole time; He was just waiting for me to catch up. When I finally did, He made sure to remind me that if things did not turn out the way they had, I would not have been in the right place at the right time to meet my husband. And if I didn’t meet him, I wouldn’t have the two beautiful daughters I have today. There is plenty more road to go, and I’m ready for the bumps, and I thank God for them every day.
God really does know what He is doing. We don’t have to like it or even understand it; we just have to trust in Him. That’s easier for me now. And if it isn’t already, I pray that it can get easier for you too.
Nikki is from New England where she shares her life with her husband and their two daughters. Outside of her family and God, writing is her passion. She shares this love through her blog, Growing Up Mom where her mission is to keep it simple and easy, and always continue to grow.