In Joshua 24, Joshua is speaking to all the tribes of Israel and he tells them in verse 15 that they have a choice to make. They can go their own direction or they can follow God. Joshua makes his choice clear and states “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
After my divorce was final I knew I had a choice to make. I could continue to do life my way or I could turn to God and finally follow the path He had for me.
I chose to declare that as for me and my children, we will serve the LORD. This declaration set in motion many changes in my life and our home. Part of this process is learning to rest, recenter and renew.
Trauma is exhausting but in Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
While in the chaos I was unable to see how exhausted we all were and how that was affecting us negatively. I cut out most extracurricular activities and made being at home a priority.
Being at home gave our bodies time to rest and heal. Over time, with God’s guidance, we have been able to add activities back into our schedule but we still value and prioritize time at home.
Trauma can also lead to isolation within a family. While still married, my oldest daughter and I attended a family weekend at an addiction rehabilitation facility.
During a process group we were asked to draw a picture of our family from our point of view. She drew each family member on a separate corner of the paper and placed walls between us. She was right, we were isolated and alone in our own home.
Being home more gave me the necessary time to be intentional which allowed me to reconnect with the girls.
Some simple ways to connect is to use Faith Talk cards to start conversations and family Bible studies. I intentionally spend one-on-one time with each daughter as well. A few fun ideas that work for us are to play outside, go to the park and plan camping trips.
Prior to my divorce, addiction consumed all parts of my life and family. Everything centered around the addict and the addiction.
In Corinthians 14:33 Paul says “God is not a God disorder but of peace.” Once I placed God in His rightful place and allowed Him to be the center of my life this allowed home to become a safe, stable, and peaceful place.
Being at church consistently and often is an easy way to create a weekly routine. The girls quickly learned that if there is something going on at church, we will be there. Church gives me a place where I have friends in the same stage of life and a community to do life with.
On a daily basis it can be easy for my focus to wander off Him and I have found a few ways to help bring Him back to the center.
I listen to a Christian radio station in the car to worship as we drive. I place Bible verses strategically around the house where I see them often and meditate on them. I started a practice of gratitude that often saves me from unhealthy thoughts taking over.
It goes like this some days, “Thank you Lord for this dirty dish. Thank you that it is dirty because I was able to provide dinner for my family. Thank you for the job that provided the paycheck that paid for the dinner. Thank you for providing me with a dishwasher!”
Reading also helps refocus the direction of my thoughts and keep my eyes on Him. I love to read the Bible, Biblical fiction and Bible studies.
In Ezekiel 36:26-27 the Lord says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
I desperately desire a new heart, new spirit and the ability to follow His decrees. The Lord is the only thing that truly renews me. He is always faithful to lead us in the direction of healing.
The girls and I have all found healing in counseling. Over the years God has placed different counselors in our lives for specific purposes at just the right time. Counseling has helped us process the past, our feelings and the pain. We work on ourselves which makes our family stronger and healthier.
Through counseling, process groups and the book Boundaries I have found freedom in setting healthy, God led boundaries for myself and our family. I have consistently prayed that God would give the girls healthy male role models in their life.
Through each season of life God has graciously given each of them godly role models. They have shown up as teachers at school, life group leaders, Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, friend’s parents and other members of the church.
One of the greatest blessings of God renewing my life has been serving. Having the opportunity to serve and bless others has been life changing. I especially enjoy watching the girls develop a servant’s heart.
I have not done this right all the time. I mess up more than I’d like to admit. Through it all He gently reminds me this is a process of learning to rest in Him, keeping Him at the center of all I do and continually allowing Him to renew my heart and spirit.
By Tava Dalton