Encourage me…

Those words have some heavy, life changing impact on me.

During my teen years, like many teenagers, I slipped deep into depression. I didn’t want to be in school forever. I didn’t want a career. I didn’t want what other kids wanted from life. I wanted to be a wife and a mom. I wasn’t set too firmly on the whose wife I wanted to be concept, but I did want the white dress and babies following not to far behind. It wasn’t happening. I suffered through school getting straight A’s on tests and messing up on the homework and other requirements, because (quite honestly) I didn’t care. I managed to get into college and found the man of my dreams, I thought… And settled for college. The man of my dreams had other dreams.

I drifted through college, work, and those next few years suffering every obstacle known to woman for messing up my dreams, then I met my first husband. My parents loved him. My sister thought he had possibilities. My friends adored him. I married him. Less than seven weeks into the marriage I knew why he hadn’t impressed me. I was pregnant. The divorce took five years and a toll on my life. The abuse of that first seven weeks lives on in me almost daily. I feel it every time I take a step. I see the damage, each time I look in the mirror.

My daughter is magnificent. She’s been a treasure for her whole life.

“Encourage Me” was the title of a book I was given way back in those early days after I left. While my tummy grew with the life inside, I needed encouragement. I needed to lean on my faith. My church tossed me out. I was pregnant, divorcing, and alone. My family had other issues. They were there for me, but not like I needed. How could they be, they weren’t the father of my child.

Encourage me… became my vivid plea to God. I knew He was there, looking down on me, listening. I knew He was. I had faith. I needed encouragement. I went back to college, worked full time, raised my baby girl alone. Life was okay, not good, but I survived.

I met a local man who appeared to love me and my daughter. I was beaten down, but he said he loved me, and I believed him. I tried to make the marriage that followed work. But, again, I’d failed. Whether it was God’s voice I wasn’t listening to or something else, regardless of the cause of failure, I failed. Three kids and several years later, my marriage was over. When he walked out of my life, abandonment was complete. He didn’t see me or the kids for several months, then years. Life crept on…

Again, I prayed for encouragement.

Through the years, I’d begun to see God’s encouragement as something different than I’d expected back there in high school. I began to recognize His encouragement in different ways. One of those ways was when I wrote, I’d see understanding, comprehension and peace in my writing. I recognized God’s hand in my work. The Source was feeding my soul and I knew it came from God. I knew God provided my gift of words.

Encouragement came in forms I didn’t fully understand to begin with, but as I lived life, I began to understand where His encouragement was coming from, and more importantly, where it was taking me. I gave God the lead in my life and allowed Him to take me down the paths that I’d dared not tread. A career, happiness, my children, and ultimately a home in the town I loved came together and I knew God had guided me there.

Encourage me… God’s courage works miracles!