Life was a struggle from day one of being a single parent to a two-year-old son but I had the help of my parents, which was nice. My mother kept my son four days a week, free of charge, while I worked and he went to the babysitter once a week. I could not have made it if I had to pay for daycare, mortgage payment, car note and utilities on what I made plus $75.00 a week in child support. Getting the child support was a struggle from the beginning, I usually had to call hi or go by his apartment to pick it up every week...which was very frustrating, to say the least. In addition, having to see him every week, he never seemed to be completely out of my life. I know that you would think that because we had a son together that he would never be out of our lives, but that is not entirely true either. He lived on the opposite in of town....less than 5 miles and yet, he hardly ever came by to see his son, get his son to come spend the night, call to see how his son was doing and did not take advantage of his every other weekend visitation rights. Now, you have to understand that I usually drove right by his apartment on the way home or to pick up my son at my mother's house...so I saw the "party" that went on during the week nights and every weekend. His apartment was the local hangout for all his buddies and vast majority of the females (of age and those who were not) in town. Yet, he could not find the time to come see his only child.
The first two years, it did not seem to bother me as much as it did the last two years except for the fact that he like to flaunted the other women in his life including the one he had an affair with while he was married to me, in my face frequently. We agreed that he would not take our son anywhere with them...the younger one and her older sister (formerly, my best friend) and I would not take my son with me and a guy. I kept my end of the agreement but he did not and took our son to the zoo with both of them. I guess, I should have been happy that he was spending time with our son, however, he did not go anywhere with me and his son when we were married...so it did not set well with me.
I dated a guy from Texas that a friend fixed me up with for about nine months but the long distance relationship just did not work for me...so I was alone again. I did not have a social life because all I had time to do was....go to work, come straight home, pick up my son, fix dinner, play with him, clean house, do yard work, get baths and go to bed to start all over the next day. Since my ex-husband did not take advantage of his weekend visits, there was no down time for me then either. The lack of personal free time when I was not working or taking care of my son, no social life outside of co-workers and a toddler...the stress, anxiety and depression began to set in during the second year.
It was on April 13, 1989, my son's 3rd birthday, my daddy had surgery and found out that he had lymphoma. They began treatments immediately but nothing seems to be effective. You would have to know that my daddy was my life....I love my mother dearly, but my daddy was my best friend. I was daddy's little girl, the last of four children and the only one who looked just like him. I loved my daddy with all my heart. I began to pray and pray that God would heal my daddy but on August 4, 1989, my daddy died...a short four short months later. I have never felt so alone, hurt, angry and just plan lost. What was I going to do without my daddy? I was 27 years old and I still needed my daddy desperately. My world began to crumble down around me. I really believed that God would heal my daddy but He chose not to on earth. I was devastated and was afraid for many, many years to believe in healing again. My world had been turned upside down again.
I began to have panic attacks and depression plus the rage began to dwell in me. I was full of anger every time I saw any one of the three of them (my ex-husband, my "then former" best friend and her younger sister). For the first time in my life....I felt so much hate for another human being. I prayed all kind of evil things on him...not as much the girls but mostly on him. I wanted him to feel the same pain that I felt. I felt like I did not have any way to vent all my anger and frustrations...no where to turn. I continued to pray but nothing seemed to help at that point. I never stopped going to church, loving God, serving God, paying my tithes, praying and believing He could turn things around but I just did not know when He would feel the time was right...I was not sure that I could hold on if it took much longer either.
By this time, it was October 20, 1989...my 28th birthday....Happy "Stinking" Birthday to me! My wonderful pastor and his wife, who were dear friends and neighbors of mine, gave me a birthday card that year. Inside, Bro. Bob wrote..."Jennifer, God has impressed on me and Debi to tell you that He (God) said to tell you that this will be the best year of your life." Ok....maybe things are going to get better.
During those last two years, from early 1988 to early 1990, I had two dates. Both guys seemed like perfect gentlemen, very kind, respectful and fun to be around. Our first dates were normal....went out to eat, talked and seemed to enjoy each other's company. The second date was another story, all they wanted was to have sex and when I told them "no"...the date seemed to suddenly get cut short and I was taken home. They both said "I'll call you later" but you know what....I never heard from them again. I found out shortly after the second guy's date...that he was actually married. Needless to say, I did track him down and gave him a "small" piece of my mind. Did I regret saying "no"...absolutely not. Was I depressed at my social life? You better believe it. All I could see was my ex-husband on the other end of town living it up with all his female friends, my two lousy dates, being a full-time mom and he was foot loose and fancy free. The resentment and bitterness were just about all I could stand by this time.
I have to say that I was extremely miserable in my life. I was working full-time and raising a toddler by myself...then mix all the other emotions in on top of that and I was a walking time bomb. During this entire time from the divorce until now, God had still been so good to me regardless of my lack of self control (emotions & thoughts), maybe lack of faith and trust in His perfect will and timing. Financially, on paper, there was absolutely no way that I could make ends meet but there was always enough. I never missed a bill, was never late paying a bill, never borrowed a single penny from anyone, paid my tithes and managed to put a small amount in savings. I had bills just like anyone else...I had a mortgage payment, car payment, car insurance, utilities and medical bills...but God was always faithful.
Philippians 4:19. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
I am not saying that during this time that I did not have a loving relationship with my son because I did. We were a team...we were all each other had. Where he went...I went, where I went...he went or he was with my mother. We were always together. We managed to go on one vacation with my mom to Florida but the luxury items were unaffordable so we did things that were inexpensive, free but fun. I always made sure that he knew where I was and when I was coming back. There was enough insecurity in his life with his father or lack of a father, I wanted to make sure he could always count on his mom to be there for him, keep him safe and to love him unconditionally.
God began to deal with me around the first of August 1990 about my anger. He dealt with me for a couple of weeks regarding letting it go, giving it all to Him and let Him deal with those who had wronged me. I began to quote over and over...what seemed like a million times a day...anytime I felt the anger rise to a boiling point....
Romans 12:19 Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I will repay them.
Now, had I released all my anger toward the others to Him ? No, but it was a start. At the end of those two weeks, I knew that I had to let it all go, lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there if He was ever going to be able to bless me. That very Sunday, August 19, 1990, Bro. Bob had intended on preaching on something else but felt the Lord direct him to preach of anger and releasing it. I fully believe that God knew I was at a critical point in my life and he changed the sermon...if not just for me...to at least include me. I cried all through the service and I was the first one at the altar that Sunday...the third Sunday in August. I can honestly say that I never picked that anger up ever again toward them from that day forward..on that subject. I’m not saying that he never made me angry again, however, I did not let it control me again. I had to submit to the Will of the Father and let Him restore me.
Ephesians 4:26,27 (26)In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold. (NIV)
Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (NIV)
Following the service, I was talking to both Bro. Bob and Debi after they had finished praying for me. I asked them both if they remembered the birthday card they had given me the previous October and what it said. They both quickly said "yes" and they remembered exactly what they wrote in it. I was crying when I told him that I believe that God told them that...but this has been the worst year of my life and God had a two months and 1 day to turn things around...if not, it had been the worst year in 28 years...not the best. They assured me that God was more than able.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (NIV)
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)
After that Sunday, I told God that I would be content with my life as a single parent, if that is what he wanted me to do. I had been praying for a couple of years that God would send me a good-looking Christian, family man who would love my son the same as he loved me and would be financially stable. There is nothing wrong with being specific in telling God what you want. Even though, my friends laughed at me and told me it was a tall order even for God these days. But, regardless, finally for the first time, I felt that precious peace that passes all understanding. My physical mind could not fully understand but I had a peace in my spirit. I was finally free...free from the anger, depression and no longer worried about whether I would find another husband or not. Whatever God wanted me to do...I would do.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus. (KJV)
Philippians 4:11-12 (11) I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, (12) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (NIV)
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)
In September 1990, my daddy had been gone a year, my emotions had been all over the place but I finally felt completely content with my life. Well, you know, God has a sense of humor at times...especially after your finally repent and submit to Him. It was like He said "ok, Jennifer...now that I have your full attention, the commitment to let me be Lord of your life and you are finally content with the life that I have given you....I'M GOING TO SHAKE IT UP A BIT! Some good friends of mine set up a "date" after church on September 2, 1990 with a handsome, Christian man, who was a father of 2 beautiful girls who he loved very much and he was financially stable...oh, did I mention his name was Roger W?
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with who is no variableness neither shadow of turning. (KJV)
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