THE REALITY OF DIVORCE DISCRIMINATION

What is divorce discrimination?

In my opinion, it’s when people who are not divorced (and sometimes even people who ARE divorced) think less of those who have gone through one or more divorces. It hints at instability, at there being something wrong with people.

I’m not gonna lie, divorce is like a big wound. It takes TIME to heal. No excuses, no exceptions. It takes time, but it isn’t a crippling wound. People can function, and feel joy, and carry on. Except sometimes it just hurts, like a wave. It’s alright. Healing doesn’t mean that something is wrong with people, but rather that they got hurt. And they need to work through it, learn who they are again. It’s a big change, and a time to make big changes and reevaluate themselves. Pass through the refining fire, yeah? But here’s where we meet added resistance…

For sure, it’s harder to date. People would approach a guy I dated and ask “do you know she’s DIVORCED?” gasp. Missionaries at that, bless their hearts.  But I know who they are and I bless them in their process.

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It’s harder to be accepted in positions of leadership in the church (I’m looking at you, Southern Baptist church that didn’t hire a family friend because he was divorced). As if a past would hinder God’s work. Saul/Paul much?

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It’s harder in general to feel accepted and not shunned. But this I learned is something we each carry and have the power to drop. I’m rarely shunned now, and when awkward happens I just laugh. They don’t know me like He knows me, and they sure don’t pay my bills haha.

Then I hear the singles say words like this…

DIVORCE IS NOT A WORD IN MY VOCABULARY. (But you just…said….it….so.. it is in your vocabulary, lovey.)

I’M ONLY GETTING MARRIED ONCE. (Only once, as opposed to what, 3 or 4 times? This is a contrast statement about people who remarry.)

I DON’T BELIEVE IN DIVORCE. (Okay, but Jesus does so you have a different belief than Jesus, I still love you though.)

DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. (Oh but it is, not an easy option, but it is an option.)

I hear people saying these things and I wonder inwardly how many times their parents have been divorced. My guess is 2 each?

The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart, and when I hear the bitterness and fear in those statements, I don’t take it personally. They come from fearful people.

I, myself, used to declare with my chin up that I’d NEVER be divorced, but now I stand among the ranks of those statistics, and being on the receiving end of those words makes me realize how sad it was that I opened my mouth and out came the overflow of a heart with two divorced parents, each in their third marriage. But I had NO idea and ZERO compassion…

1) you have NO idea how awful and humbling it is to go through a divorce, and sometimes it is the best choice. Yep. Keep reading.

2) you have NO idea what it feels like to have a SPOUSE commit adultery. The person who promised at the altar to choose you. It completely wrecks your no-divorce world, because everything hurts. Even breathing hurts. Forgiveness is great but it’s hard to forget.

3) you have NO idea what it’s like to feel in danger in your own home. I hear these stories and I get mad at how long it took for someone to stop being a punching bag and get their kids to a safe place. On that note, emotional abuse is also REAL and it can wreck a spouse and children just as violently as physical abuse.

4) you have NO idea what it’s like to have someone choose to leave, and choose a life without you in it. You can’t control that person or their affections.

5) you have NO idea how your words come across. It’s like saying to someone who is widowed “I’ll never be a widow!” It makes you sound like you have 100% of the choice, which you don’t. It’s why prayer and honesty are so important, so so important.

We should refuse to create a culture of fear and discrimination with our words. Instead, speak about the way marriage WILL be, with love and patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Learn from couples who have been married and mirror the relationship you long for. THAT is productive and fosters hope. Don’t feed your fears.

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Nobody goes into a marriage hoping for a divorce, and yet we have SO many. Why? Were they just not good enough? Were they not loving? Did they fail to be enough of a man or enough of a woman? No. They did their best. It takes TWO trying their hardest, dying to self, and that’s rare.

Sometimes people make mistakes. Even the person who chose out of a marriage deserves grace. We read a Bible written mostly by murderers, so clearly God redeems. Over and over and over again, and over.

I care not just because I’ve gone through it, but because I pastor women who are divorced, widows, and single moms. I get their crying phone calls in the night. I hear their fears of the future, of being JUDGED and made to feel INFERIOR to never-married and married women. Real, sweet, stunning, lovely women, with hearts of gold, with bright futures. Fantastic mothers weeping in fear, feeling lonely. All I can do is prophesy the goodness ahead. These will someday remarry the luckiest men, and they won’t be looking for someone to divorce again, believe me.

They’re looking for Jesus, for men who love and reflect Him. They’re looking for wholeness, because they’re whole. Their standards went UP. Haha. UP. Statistics defied. Glory to God.

Divorce IS a word in my vocabulary, but that doesn’t change my worth or the goodness that lies ahead for me.

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I’m getting married at some point in the future, again. I will wear white with no shame, because I have no shame. There’s no shame to be had.

I believe in divorce the same way Jesus did and does. Read your Bibles, get to know Him. He’s a radical, a real radical. A table-flipping radical.

Divorce happened to me, and it most certainly is an option. If you are reading this and you’re not feeling safe in your home, physically or emotionally, get help. If your heart is utterly broken due to adultery and pornography, go to a Christian counselor and work through it. You can call me, too, if you want. Click the tab to contact me. You need to heal and you deserve to process. You deserve more than bottling it up. It isn’t LOVING to bottle it up. Don’t let anyone tell you that.

I pray against the hurtful discrimination of divorcées in the Church. I pray for Godly marriages that truly reflect Christ’s love for the Church, for reconciling of believers, for disciples who speak healing words. I pray against the fear epidemic that divorces cause in the hearts of unmarried people, that they won’t be afraid but will love in action and truth. May the Body of Christ apply His amazing grace to any and all made in His image.

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5 Truths About Womanhood

It’s easy to lose sight of the very good thing that it is to be a woman. Sometimes our attributes get slammed down, and I want to call them up. Here goes my affirmation, encouragement, and sincere reminder that God did say that we are ‘very good’ creations.

1) WE FEEL FEELINGS AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I rebuke the lie that we are an overly-emotional gender. I rebuke the lie that to express feelings is to be dramatic. Feelings are valid. Feelings do not excuse us from the commandment to be loving. You can be both expressive and loving if you are wise with your words. Tenderness of heart is a treasure, and it is good.

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2) WE ARE NURTURERS. I rebuke the lie that motherhood isn’t a job or a gift. The enemy is out to destroy families, and one way to do that is to diminish the beauty of the task of nurturing the next generation. It’s okay to want kids. It’s okay to give them your time. It’s okay to put a career in the back-burner/on hold if that is what you choose. It’s also okay to be a working mom and feel that tug in your heart. That tug means you’re a nurturer, not weak, not a bad mom.

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3) WE ARE MADE TO BE PURSUED. I rebuke the lie that we are not worthy of pursuit. It’s okay for us to ask someone out, to initiate, to be adults, but don’t take over the pursuit. In the last few days, I’ve been asked on dates and it’s shocked me a bit. I had lost confidence that I was made to be pursued because I had become expectant of having to do the work. Align yourself with the truth and faith that you are worthy and the gift of your companion is worth being pursued.

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4) WE ARE INHERENTLY BEAUTIFUL.  I rebuke the lie that beauty is skin-deep or weight-related. Let your love pour out, let the way you love others be beautiful. If you ask me, my grandmother is the most beautiful woman on the planet. It is not for her appearance, although I think her appearance is stunning still, but I can see her inherent loveliness. Train your eyes to see this.

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5) WE CAN FEEL PRETTY OR NOT. I rebuke the lie that you have to feel pretty all the time. There are days we don’t feel pretty (yet we know we are inherently beautiful). One of my favorite things about being a woman is that it’s OKAY to feel icky, cramped, bloated, etc. YET we have these fun days when we are getting ready with the girls, and we feel so pretty. Pajama days don’t define you or make you gross. Remember the good hair days and give yourself some grace, woman, gosh.

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Believe this.
Believe that the Lord made you and loves you.
And He will sustain you, amazing woman of His. 

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

May May May

May is tomorrow. Oh dear Lord.

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Best seasonal meme out there, kids.

April FLEW by. Sometimes it crawled, sometimes it was excruciating, but good Lord, we made it. It’s gonna be MAY!!!

I learned so much this month, yall. I only write because I know you actually read this stuff, and you CARE and you find yourselves nodding along to what God is showing me. Thank you for that.

I already shared about capacity, and that cycle I found myself in. I shared about God breaking me out of my expectations and making me thankful all over again.

There was a 24-hour Burn at Adventures, where we worshiped for 24 hours straight. I was there from about 9 pm til noon the next morning. I have pages and pages of things the Lord was showing me. He had me prophesy over my children, and that was intense. He had me prophesy over ten nations, some of which I have yet to go to… but now I know that I will haha. He showed me that He’s gonna move me and we are leaving some clutter behind, because it’s not needed where I’m going. Hello, light packing. He’s also confirmed a lot about my heart, through various methods. “Sway with me, rest in me” and that’s what I’m doing. It is good good good.

This month, Phylla House did a Psalms Challenge. We read through all 150 Psalms, 5 a day x 30 days. Today, being the last day, I’d like to share a psalm I wrote on a receipt at a coffee shop. Sometimes I like to tie in what an item means to me in the physical realm with the spiritual realm. In this case, it was a receipt. Here’s what He taught me in that…

 

My Receipt Psalm ❤

20140430_121009O Sovereign Father,
You took Your time when
You made my hands.
Small and fragile, tender
things that sin against
You, that hold on with
an iron grip to the lesser,
to the toy steering wheel.
I offer them to You.
Take my hands and open
them toward You. Strengthen

them. Discipline them.
Then, Father, in Your
timing, trust them with
holy blessings. To have
and to hold, to nurture,
to keep safe. I declare
my receipt of Your Holy
Inheritance, the fullness of
the Spirit filling me, Your
abundant life replacing my
death. I dwell in Your house.
I breathe in Your presence, Your
joy. Grace pours down onto my
head, my robe–white. Fulfill your
purposes, Lord. I agree. I receive.

20140430_125055I had a heartsync with the amazing Bri Rene, and let go of even more that was holding me back. I was holding on to judgments, false perceptions, and I believed a part of myself to be incredibly weak, when in actuality, that part of myself is a giant. God sees towering strength where I see weakness. Interesting, huh? I was proven dead wrong. The pessimist that used to indwell my emotions got a big fat slap in the face, and an eviction notice. I was afraid that I wasn’t loved, for whatever reason. I realized that I had more doubt than trust, more fear than courage, more damage than wholeness… or at least that’s what I was agreeing to. False… I am so loved. I am so loved. I am whole, trusting, loving, and bold. I confessed and repented of fear that clouded and hindered good things. I felt a lightness and a freedom of not being burdened with negativity or with the past. The cynic who expected failure and abandonment had to leave. It vacated out, making room for more bold love.

God did some spring cleaning in me.

For my goals update:
Reading: I finished none of the 3 books I am reading. I actually started reading two more. And I bought a new Study Bible, so I may never finish another book again haha. Oh well!

Running: I ran my mileage 🙂 Last night I timed my mile, and sure enough, got it under 8 minutes again, like a sprightly spring chicken. Now I just have to pick a race in May and go for it… trick will be finding one on a weekend I’m off work.

Cooking: I did cook more. I guess that was the goal haha.

Prophecy: My Teo Jasmin puppy journal is uber full of new revelations, so I am very well-pleased with how that went. Also, on that note, I had a word for a complete stranger and it was spot on. She is now my friend.

Encouragement: I changed my mind and started texting words of encouragement. I’ve done over 30, so I think that’s a check!

May Goals::

1) Setting up an editorial calendar for the Phylla House website… that means I get an actual posting schedule going and stick with it.

2) Spend more time in hammocks.

3) No more soda for a month. Oh my gosh that’s hard. I’ll be chugging Pepsi today, which completely negates the point.

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When I prayed for Pepsi in Tanzania, God always answered.

4) Share what I’m hearing/learning on a daily basis.

5) Giving away MORE clothing… I just took 3 bags, but I’m being challenged to give more. If I haven’t worn it in a year, it’s going to the thrift store. I survived with a backpack for a year, so in that… simplify!

What did you learn in April? Do you have 5 goals for May? What is your opinion of hipster kitten?

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Leave Hey Hey a comment right meow.

My First Sermon in America

Having preached in 9 other countries, you’d think America wouldn’t be so intimidating.

Ha.

I prepared for my sermon for hours and hours, way earlier on in the week. I recorded about 2 hours of me just rambling through thoughts, going off into prayer language tangents, coming back to English, points, scriptures, words to look up, passages to break down back to Hebrew… I listened to all that and took notes. Then I did it again. Nearly 2 hours of rambling, this time on track. Telling stories. Making jokes. Revising. Editing. Cutting back. Deciding what was appropriate. Choosing my transitions.

Then I listened to that. And from this, I had my rough draft sermon notes.

Three drafts later, I had my final notes.

I woke up the morning of the sermon, and in my brain, it sounded like my thoughts were in fast forward. It was like I was speaking in my head, but so fast, so so fast. I couldn’t even grasp one sentence. It was like an auction.

“Oh no. No no no no. No. Jesus, help a girl.”

I started getting ready for church, and the brain jumble went away. As I got ready and checked my phone, I was delighted by the messages. “I’m praying for you today and speak peace over you.” “Just wanted to tell you good luck this morning even though I know you don’t need it… Love you.” “Praying for you this morning! I pray his peace is over you and that it is not your words that are spoken but His 🙂 You’re gonna rock it, Helena!” “You’re gonna do so awesome!!” And it went on and on… that’s not even getting into all the sweet Snapchats haha.

Had I not been so focused, I know I would have probably cried over the sweetness and timeliness of that wave of encouragement. I am not alone in this. There’s an army around me.

When I got to the church, I felt confident. Not in myself, or my message, or my eloquence, but confident that the Lord was going to be faithful. He wasn’t going to waste the opportunity, the sacrifice, or the time.

The slides with all the scripture verses were ready. Of course, there were tons of them, and mostly OT. Duh. Hello, fiber. Love it. I wish I could make everyone fall in love with the OT, dry and all. It’s so rich and wild and funny and raw.

My friends started showing up. People who never come to this church, people who came for the first time to try it out, just to see me. In total, we had 91 people in attendance.

So now the picture is painted for you. The music began, the pastor’s video announcement cued me in, and I found myself with a live microphone attached to my cardigan, in front of an American congregation.

As I prayed, I said to the Lord that if He doesn’t move this morning, it would be just like any other morning. If He doesn’t speak through me, I’d just be a girl with a microphone, wasting my breath. But if He chooses to move, and if He speaks, then lives and families could change from here on out.

I gave the message. I didn’t get lost. My transitions, I was told, made sense. In the response in the end, many hands were raised, people vouching that parts of their legacy would end with them, and that new beginnings would start with them. Afterwards, I was approached by a LOT of people. I can’t even tell you how many, because I honestly don’t know. I got hugs and handshakes, and a man put a wad of cash in my hand (he tried to make it all hidden but my reaction ruined it haha), and I held a few hands while tears welled up in the eyes of people saying “that meant a lot to me” and “God showed me something I need to work on, thank you.”

That’s more reward than anything I could ever ask for. To know that the Lord moved, and brought some clarity to new layers of healing that need to take place. We are always healing. We are always being sanctified, purified, refined, and sharpened. Praise the Lord when He can bring to light a new construction zone of the heart. As for a recording, there should be one up soon. When I have the link, I’ll post it. 😉

I had a really sweet woman of God approach me and ask me if I’d be interested in being a resource to adoptive parents, teaching more on legacy and family. She said it really helped her to hear the message, and that other parents going through the process would benefit from that. I was floored, and humbled, and so so excited. I have a huge heart for adoption, and it’d be so amazing to learn more and be more involved with that community. This morning had that divine appointment for me! A new door opened.

doorNow that it’s over, that it’s behind me as a sweet memory, I know that this was training ground. It seemed like the biggest test, the biggest hurdle. Now I see that it was practice. Faith practice. Obedience practice. Am I willing to step in front of a congregation and not explain myself away, not shy away, not hesitate, not talk about ME, but completely yield to what God wants to do? Am I willing to set aside my capabilities, my limitations, my reasoning, and my qualifications, in order to make room for the Lord to push beyond my strength?

I got to practice that this morning. I had to shut off my thoughts and let Him continue to speak. It’s not about me. It’s not about my past, or the people in it. None of that matters. Whatever brokenness I walked through was simply so that a demolition could take place, and a rebuilding could begin. It’s the Lord’s work. I’m His girl. I’ll keep saying yes. I do. I will. He keeps putting speaking engagements in front of me, y’all. I accept. I receive. I don’t want recognition or fame or a spotlight. I just want to tell you what my God has done. I just want to honor my King.

A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

He tells me to rise and shine.