Whose Opinion Am I Listening To?
I know this isn’t your typical love story… sorry.
But hey… Happy Valentine’s Day, anyway.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
When my ex-husband decided I was of no more value to him, he told me to pack it up and leave. Which really wasn’t that hard for me to do, considering that for over fourteen years I had been praying to God to let me leave. I would tell God, “Father, it’s obvious that he does not want me here.” But each time I discussed it with Him, I knew in my heart He did not want me to just go jumping out into the darkness of this life, hoping for something better. So, I stayed.
Many people would confront me and rage at me for not leaving. My husband’s own family stepped away from him because of the way he had treated me, yet I stayed. Most people, especially women of the church, would not accept my commitment to stay because ‘I knew’ God was telling me not to leave. And sadly, they often turned their backs and stomped the so-called dust off their feet of me. They would usually tell me they could not believe God wanted me to stay in an abusive situation like that; that I was in error and indeed not hearing from God.
I wanted to feel isolated, or that I was alone in my mess, yet God would not allow me the privilege of throwing that one-girl pity party. Was I not going to believe Him? That He would never leave me or forsake me? Did I really want to run to – them – instead of Him? Whose voice did I really want to hear from – I had a choice. Thankfully, I turned and listen to Him. That’s always proved the best option for my life.
During this time, I would often think about the Israelites and how they must have felt, crying out for God to rescue them. Four hundred years they waited for Him to set them free. Four hundred years before they would hear His voice [through Moses] saying “Let My people go!” And I knew that if they could survive that long before they received their answer, I could wait it out a few more days.
I knew God loved me and that He was protecting me. My ex-husband never physically hit me. He raised his hand to me once, but then after his brother picked him up off the floor, and after he caught his breath – he decided verbal was as close as he wanted to get to me. I warned him I may not be able to combat him verbally, but if he ever lay a hand on me, everybody in the State of Texas would know about it, and it would not turn out very pretty on his end. So verbal it was for over fourteen years.
I thought surely that since we had been married for so long, things would turn around and our marriage would become the thing God meant it to be. That we would both be in heavenly bliss, serving God together for the rest of our lives. But sadly, that did not happen. My husband and I were on entirely different thought paths. I was believing God for things to change for the better, but all he wanted was the money I brought in to fund his lifestyle. I earned an annual six-digit income, which he banked for over fourteen years. He was living high on the hog, and I was his hog.
After he told me to pack it up, God at that same second spoke to me, “Go now.” I was almost giddy inside. Here I was in the middle of my ex’s rampage, tossed out into the street, no money, no transportation and nowhere to go; but yet I knew that when God spoke that ‘one’ phrase into my spirit, all those things didn’t matter. I had received His permission.
That happened on January 10th, 2011. I moved out the next day. My husband and I divorced in June of that same year. When we divorced, everyone, including his family, advised me not to let him get it all [two houses, property, jet skis, my Harley, a deep-sea cabin cutty, racing boats, and much more]. It entitled me, I deserved, and I had a right to all that was there. Daily I would have someone remind me of what was in store for me. Including spousal support. After weeks of listening to the voices of the people, I knew I had to hear the only viewpoint I longed to know.
I went to the bedroom I was staying in at a friend’s home; standing in the middle of it, I went over the details of all others shared with me and what they thought, then I asked God what He thought. What did He think I should do? He told me they were correct; It entitled me; I had a right, and I deserved all that that kingdom offered. Instantly, I got a glimpse of a mountain just off to my left. As I looked at it, seeing its snow-topped cloud covered view, I knew the value of it. But then in my spirt, I heard God ask, “Do you want what that offers, or what I have to offer?” I immediately turned towards His voice and the mountain I saw instantly vaporized into thin air.
I had made my choice. I wanted what He offered. He made me a promise by saying to me, “Take no thought, for I will tend to you.” I can tell you, I’m still working on my part of that equation, but He has never let me down. His promises are real, and He will not leave me or forsake me just because I’m a goof-ball [well most of the time]. All He expects of me is to keep taking Him at His word and to keep moving forward in all this. Trust Him today and keep believing Him for a better tomorrow. Has it been hard? Yes. Have I stressed? More than once or twice. But no matter, He has always been faithful to His promise.
I don’t know what your situation is, or what you have experienced in this life. If you’re still in a place of captivity, or if you are out on your own and trying to figure out how to make it all work. Know this – we can’t make it on our own. We need God’s guidance in all that we do, from one breath to the next. The voices of this life will throw us off course and keep us in a whirling, stressed out messed up way of life. Learn to trust God. Learn to hear His voice over that of the crowd, and learn how to follow His lead. He will never let you down.
I love how He loves me. He is my true Love. There could be no one greater.
Know that I’m praying for you, my friend.
Be blessed and be encouraged.
Oh Rikki, your obedience took such strength! Would that we all were so faithful. Thank you, thank you for sharing this difficult love story–of your love for God and His for you.
You’re welcome, Rikki
Jeanne, Thank you for your encouraging words.
Thanks for sharing with such transparency. God is faithful. He speaks. He hears and He leads. Your testimony will point others to Him.
Thank you, Beckie.
Thank you for sharing your story. I know your faith in the Lord through such difficulty will bless many.
I am so glad that you found Him again. It was not His desire that you be broken like that. However, He took what the enemy planned for evil in your life and He turned it around to the good. I will be keeping you in my prayers. Keep looking up, our redemption is drawing nigh. Oh, and btw… I actually called my ex after some time and thanked him for doing me the favor. My life is so much more meaningful now, and I have found ‘His’ peace. 🙂
Love you, my friend.
Your faith is inspiring and it isn’t for others to understand because it belongs to and is meant for only you. Reading “Who’s Opinion…” really struck a cord. You wrote your experience and published it on Valentines Day. I was in tears as I finished because Valentines Day is or I should say was, my wedding anniversary. It would have been 15 years. My ex had other plans and we divorced last year. I didn’t have the relationship with God I have now. Oh, I believed, just wasn’t close. Through my brokenness, I found Him again. I do not believe it was His plan to break me but rather someone else’s. What he didn’t count on was that God was going to be there to pick me up. My ex did me a favor and while it still stings, I know that whatever lies ahead is His plan. I may be broken, but I am blessed.