The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia welcomed me to a ladies’ retreat where I had been the main speaker the year before. The pastor’s wife was a dear friend, and the ladies of her church were quite precious to me as well. Only this year, I was not their special speaker. I came as a newly divorced thirty-something with gaping wounds and a heart of despair. I was finally free from a toxic union where addiction, abuse, and a bachelor’s lifestyle had sabotaged any semblance of the marriage I had hoped for. I was left, however, with a broken spirit, two devastated little girls, and the wreckage of my ministry.

I felt equal parts comfort and pain as the event commenced. The familiar surroundings and warm greetings from my sisters held me close, but my thoughts were distant. I thought of the years that I had struggled within the marriage. I thought of my precious, grieving daughters and wrestled with the pain I had caused them. I hurt them by leaving their father but also by keeping them there as long as I had. I thought of the vibrant ladies’ ministry I had forfeited at my home church and the speaking engagements that came to a screeching halt.

I was suffering from a massive identity crisis, and my sense of worth had been badly damaged by feelings of failure. I had failed as the wife who thought she could “fix” the broken man. I had failed as the mother who wanted to make things work for the sake of the kids. And I had failed as the woman of God who thought she could hold it all together in pursuit of God’s calling on my life.

At the end of one of our sessions, the altar call was given. Endless tears soaked my vintage handkerchief as I wept over the bitter ruins of my life. My heart felt as though it had been ripped open; my innermost consciousness was left exposed and vulnerable. The ache was excruciating, but the embrace of my sisters felt like a warm blanket wrapped around my trembling body as we prayed together. I cried out to God in desperation, and His tender presence filled the room in a way more tangible than I had ever felt before.

One of the sweet sisters enveloped me in her arms and prayed for me. The prophetic, life-giving words she spoke over me at that moment remain emblazoned on my heart to this day. “Right now, all you can see is the pile of broken shards of glass that lay before you: the shattered pieces of your life, your family, and your ministry. But God will take those pieces and shape them into the intricate design of a beautiful stained-glass window. His light will shine through you, revealing a beauty beyond what you have ever imagined. You will be His masterpiece.” Those words reached into the darkest places inside my heart and ignited hope within me that all was not lost. Even in my broken state, I was not useless to the Master.

Solomon describes, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, ESV). The word I received from God that day was indeed a very rich treasure, just as this verse of Scripture describes. I clung sedulously to His promise and the sacred imagery of the stained-glass window. It fueled my journey with hope and ministered strength to me in the months and years to come. Even in the seasons where I could scarcely lift my eyes to search the horizon for coming happiness, that prophetic word carried me through.

Oh, how vital it is that we be sensitive to the voice of God so that the gifts of the Spirit can be in operation in our midst! How essential it is that we act boldly when He moves upon our hearts. We must never stop speaking words of life to our weary sisters in their time of need. A single voice of encouragement is like a gleaming torch in the darkest night. We must light our sisters’ way.

I am now married to a precious man of God who had also suffered the tragedy of divorce. Like me, he found himself starting over, with custody of his two daughters, longing to rebuild. He, too, clung to the promises of God, believing that the Lord would bring some good from all the destruction they had suffered. A mutual friend introduced Jeff and me, and God began a beautiful redemptive work in our lives. I never cease to revel in the love and the support we lavish on each other and the beauty of our lives together.

Serving the Lord wholeheartedly, alongside a godly partner is among the greatest joys that I have ever known. Many scars remain from the trauma of divorce, and blending a family comes with its share of trials, but what we share is precious beyond description. God specializes in taking broken things and refashioning them into something beautiful. Just as my dear sister prophesied, God has not only taken my broken pieces, but Jeff’s as well, and those of our four girls, and He is gently piecing them into the glorious stained-glass window that He promised.

We are never beyond hope when our shattered lives are entrusted to the hands of the Master.


This article was originally printed in Reflections magazine UPCI.



    A very encouraging devotional. Thank you.