sweet restoration

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When you are in the middle of pain, it is tempting to believe that you will never again know joy… That you will never again know wholeness or peace or any semblance of contentment.

When you are in the middle of pain, it is often impossible to see beyond the hurt.

I knew that kind of pain, that kind of sadness…for a long time. Hope left, literally, in August of 2011. (One of the interesting byproducts of being married to someone named Hope is that – when she leaves – there is both a literal and figurative loss of hope.) The sadness had begun to settle into my life months before that, however. There was an overlay of discontent that infused each day with heaviness. I didn’t completely perceive it for quite a while, but I felt it with ever-increasing clarity.

I’m sure I went through all of the typical stages of grief as I came to terms with the loss of my marriage. I worked for a year at holding on to some semblance of belief that my wife would change her heart and decide to return to our home…to our marriage…to me.

And then, I accepted reality. Even that was a process. I decided that I didn’t want to live in sadness and despair any longer. I made a decision to put myself out there…to try and go on a date or two. It was a very difficult decision for someone who had spent a year feeling rejected and undesirable, but it seemed like a better choice than allowing myself to become lost in a continued downward spiral.

As I write this post, I am sitting in a very different place than I was two years ago or one year ago or, even, a few months ago. I feel like a man who has been reborn…renewed…restored. I feel a greater sense of who God designed me to be and what He might use me for. I feel more enduring peace and joy than I have know in a long while, and a genuine excitement about what the future might hold.

Even more than that, I feel the newness of love and expectation. I praise God that He carried me so closely through devastation and that He has brought His promise in to my life. I feel unworthy, but delighted.

The words of Proverbs 13:12 ring so true in my life these days…

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope left. My heart was sick. But now, miraculously, my longing has been fulfilled and I feel like I am living under the outstretched branches of the tree of life.
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