As I sit here typing this in my warm living room, heated by a slow-burning logs in the fireplace, I'm surrounded by my children — and my ex-husband.
While some people might consider this a source of holiday angst, I find myself feeling nothing but gratitude for reconciliation: God's reconciliation, that is.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
After a long and arduous mental and emotional battle, my ex-husband and I decided to divorce earlier this year. I previously wrote about both our marital and personal trials, which included dire health issues, a miscarriage, and other even more sensitive aspects of a 15-year relationship. In 2018, I wrote about being thankful for grief, and for God's grace.
"[T]his year, that's just what I'm thankful for: grief and pain — and God's unending grace, which is always the cushion at the bottom of the fall," 2018's Sarah wrote. "Some people say there's no better a place to start than from the bottom, because there, you have a firm foundation from which to push off and propel yourself upward."
"What better a foundation from which to rebuild could there be than God?" I reasoned.
Year over year, while many, many things have changed, that pinpoint of gratitude has remained the same: God's grace.
Divorce changes a lot. There's more space in my home, I attend my children's events as a single mother, and now I have more perspective on things like financial planning and home repairs.
My income has gone down, and there's coupled up friends who call me less, but my relationship with my children has only grown and strengthened. My ex-husband and I began looking at one another as people rather than semi-permanent fixtures, and though the state says our marriage is over, our friendship is just beginning.
We're fully dedicated to something even greater than us, our egos, or our feelings: Raising our children together — but separately — by living on God's grace on a daily basis.
I realize that not everyone is blessed with such affable relations with their former spouses. But for the sake of family, there's always hope.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Previous years, my mantra was courtesy of Disney's "Finding Nemo," when Dory, a fish, says, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
This year, however, things are different. I don't need to just keep swimming after all. Because of God's grace and promise of being a new creation day in and day out, I can rest and rely on Him to sustain me through the buffeting waves of any storm.
These days, it's different. These days, I can just float.
Modest Mouse - Float On (Lyrics) www.youtube.com