Seven years ago I found myself single again — divorced — with my dreams shattered. I fought hard to stay hopeful, to believe that God still had good plans for me. But most of the time I felt sidelined from God’s best, destined to live out His “plan B.” Could my life ever become abundant and fulfilling? It’s not like divorce was just part of my pre-Christian past, something that made my testimony seem more “impressive.” It’s a dark chapter of my Christian journey.
I didn’t avoid church like some of my divorced friends. Sunday after Sunday, I’d take my two young boys with me. People were gracious and accepting. No one spoke judgmentally and there weren’t any questioning glances that I noticed. People didn’t pry, which I was really thankful for. After all, it’s not like you can tell your story fairly and honestly when the conversation was small talk just seconds ago. But it still felt like I had a scarlet “D” pinned to my chest, especially around other Christians.
My mind was my own worst enemy: you’ve blown it, missed your chance. You’re DIVORCED. I’d hear those tapes play over and over in my head. When I was showering or half-asleep, my mind would drift over and press repeat on my playlist of hurts and regrets.
In my twenties I was an avid dreamer. I was going to be a pastor and preach amazing sermons that would strike the heart. I was going to write songs that churches would sing, make a CD, teach and lead—change lives. I’ll admit, some of that was driven by a need for self-importance, but still, in those days my heart was alive with wonder. I anticipated a life of adventure, living out God’s call on my life.
But as I stumbled along through the aftermath of divorce, I stopped dreaming. I guess that’s not who I am anymore. I can’t do any of that.
It’s taken me years (and several counseling sessions), but I’m learning to live freely and abundantly. I began to realize that I’d been limiting God through my self-flagellation. I was grossly underestimating the freedom He wanted to give me.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17a
We are not our sins. We’re called new creations. I am not destined to walk around with my head held low in shame just because some people think that’s humility. Jesus doesn’t label me “Divorced.” He calls me “Beloved,” “Son,” “Child.” My scarlet “D” and all the labels you wear were pinned on Jesus when He died for our shortcomings. I’m now wrapped securely in His robe of righteousness, and you are too!
“The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17b
I’m learning to dream again. My life looks a lot different than what I envisioned in my twenties. I’ve had to rethink what my calling looks like. But it’s turning out better than I could have ever planned. God has erected a new and better building amidst the rubble.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Today, I’m not a pastor, but I work at a ministry that’s a great fit for who I am. I get to disciple and encourage people online as part of a team that gathers and tells engaging stories of hope. We’re seeing thousands of lives changed by the good news of Jesus. I haven't made a worship album (though maybe one day I will). I finished a folk-rock/country album for those who might not necessarily feel comfortable in church.
My lyrics reflect my journey into abundance:
They say life happens when you’re busy making other plans.
I’d say it’s when my plans derail, that I really start to live.
Every dream that dies is born in a newer skin.
Every detour on the road is the journey that we’re in.
A dissonant chord right out of the blue,
When my story’s told becomes my hallelujah.
HAVE A LISTEN.
Our loving God takes great delight in weaving new adventures out of broken dreams. Your scars can become a platform for fruitful ministry. Giving Jesus everything means we’re free to let go of the regrets we’ve been hoarding. There’s a standing invitation from Jesus, “Let me come and wash your feet, no matter where they’ve been. I want to show you how to dream again.”