Saturday, February 15, 2014
My Love Story
My love story is different than some...One day, the true love of my life walked out the door for the last time. It was one of the most painful and devastating times imaginable, but I knew I had to keep going, and it was only by the grace of God that I did. I started Ruby Wives Ministry, and it was growing by leaps and bounds. I had no idea that during my own heart shattering crisis, God would make something good come out of my ashes. My humbled and naive idea of helping other hurting women who were silently struggling in their marriages while dealing with separation or divorce, would turn into something bigger than I could ever plan. It was really stepping out onto the water for me, because I didn't even know how to make a Facebook page at the time. I was crying in a crumpled heap on my pile of laundry when I heard His almost audible voice whisper to my heart: "I want you to take these women with you on this journey."
Two and a half years later, thousands of women and even men have become faithful readers of our pages that offer simple prayers, wisdom, and encouragement for spouses. God allowed my brokenness and reflection of the mistakes I made as a wife to become wisdom gems to share with others. Through transparently shared struggles about my own journey of healing, our readers responded openly and thanked me because they could relate. My tears became their comfort, because they felt they were not alone. My surrendered weakness to God became my new-found strength as well as theirs, because they were dealing with similar circumstances. Then came the newly wed brides, the happily married wives...women of different circumstances and statuses, broken or abandoned...they all became fans. I realized that as I was learning and gleaning wisdom and sharing it with wives, a positive growth and change was happening. It was contagious. Praise God! It was all His beautiful plan unfolding before me. Letters poured in from around the world with reports of marriages being restored and women being encouraged. My heart has been so overabundantly blessed, and even though things haven't turned out the way I thought they would, or the way I wanted them to, God revealed to me that He has always had a plan, and that He knew what was best for me. He built a full time ministry out of my broken mess and ashes, and He built a new dream in me. Beauty had come.
One thing I have learned through this beautiful, crazy and amazing journey, is that we all have one thing in common: a broken heart is a broken heart. Pain is pain. Marriage troubles are the same everywhere, no matter who you are or where you are from. The internet is a way to reach women in all parts of the world. Barriers are broken by it. I have had countless pastors' wives who were hurting in silence because their spouse was having an affair, struggling with addictions, etc., write to me for advice and prayers. They felt safe reaching out for help online.
Through this process, I finally came to a certain place of healing and surrender in my heart, I saw that God had an even bigger plan, and that I was not to look backward anymore. I found that my love story isn't over, it's being rediscovered and revised by the One who created love in the first place. Thus, A Modern Day Ruth was born. God revealed that the "Ruth" of this generation is primarily the woman who has been abandoned, divorced because of circumstances beyond her control, or has experienced abuse and neglect. The Modern Day Ruth is a woman who has experienced a devastation or even spiritual and emotional "death." Her husband has died to her and the family, and has walked away.
We live in a society where if it isn't easy or if it needs fixing, we will just go get a "new one" and people end up discarded as if they're replaceable things. It's so sad. Our world would be a happier and better place if people valued and honored marriages and families. What's worse is that the very place where women like us should find refuge comfort and support -the church- often judges, condemns, and turns its head away from these women. Many times I, myself, have felt that the Christian family I thought would be there for me, looked at me like I was the woman with the scarlet letter, as though I was someone who slept around. I was surprised to find that this is the perception some people have of single moms. That was definitely not the case for me, and even if it was, what would Jesus do? He never condemned the woman at the well, nor did he throw a stone at the woman who supposedly was caught in the act of adultery. I see the story of the woman at the well as tragic. She must have had her heart severely broken several times. She must have been abandoned, rejected, lied to, used, and promised false forevers... I often wish I could go back in time and hug that woman in the Bible and tell her I love her and that she's going to be alright, but Jesus did it for me.
Now, as I walk this role of A Modern Day Ruth and as a leader of women, I continue to reach out to as many as possible, to remind each one that her love story doesn't just end in heartache and tears, and that her life isn't going to be just struggle and pain. I know she faces tear-stained pillow nights and wrestles with ongoing loneliness. She wakes up to difficult days of surviving while trying to take care of her children...the family her husband left behind. Though Ruth was a widow, she ended up having her season of heartache turn to a lifetime of joy, and the promise of a lasting legacy. I am many times reminded of the words that are engraved upon my heart, and I have clung to them often: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Everyone has a love story. Sometimes that love story doesn't turn out the way you wish it would have. Maybe you're fighting for your love story right now to continue -fighting to keep your marriage alive, or your fairy tale dream may already have been shattered or ended in disappointment. Mine is that God took my messed up, abandoned, and broken heart and held me. He cradled me in the midst of my sheer agony and emotional turmoil. He didn't save my marriage, but He saved me. He gave me purpose and He took each piece of my heart and mended me, making me stronger and better than before. I have come to know that in Him I do have my happy ever after, and my love story with Him is still beautifully unfolding. Written by Jenny Williams Copyright 2014