Episode seven of Unfolding Stories, our uplifting new Christian testimony podcast, is LIVE and available to download from any of your regular major podcast platforms.
This week we hear the story of Laura, a woman for whom religious identity was very confusing until she found her true church home. Shortly after God lead her to this church, it became integral to her life as she navigated divorce and becoming a single parent.
What stands out in this time, though, is how God provided for her family. She recalls several times God’s hand was clearly evident in her life, even when she felt she had little hope.
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Scroll down to read the transcript of Laura’s Unfolding Story.
Divorce and single parenthood are always overwhelming and can shatter our confidence—not only in ourselves, but potentially in our relationship with God, too. Here are some excellent resources we highly recommend for anyone currently going through this, who needs a boost to their confidence and assurance of God’s love and provision as they navigate the unfamiliar:
In When Happily Ever After Shatters, author Susan Birdseye helps readers learn to honor God when there is no hope of restoration, survive abandonment in and out of marriage, glorify God during divorce, walk children gracefully through the crisis as a single parent, please God as a single person again, and truly forgive the one who wronged them.
Going Solo: Hope and Healing for the Single Mom or Dad by Robert Beeson and Robert Noland is another helpful resource. As parents face the difficult reality of a broken home, a sense of being completely overwhelmed can shut down the perspective they need to find restoration. Parents need to know that they can choose to define this season of their lives, instead of becoming defined by circumstances. They can deliberately look toward God and come to a deeper understanding of His true nature, power, and intimate care.
Feeling compelled to share your story with us? Send us your testimony! In 1,000 words or less, tell us what happened to you and how God has changed your life. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing your story, and who knows, maybe yours will be featured in a future series of Unfolding Stories.
Not sure how to tell your testimony? Here are some tips:
Try writing down your story in a way that would make sense to share with others. Keep it short; four or five minutes is great. Remember to always make it personal and keep Jesus at the center of your story—highlight what He has done for you. Describe what your life was like before you placed your faith in Jesus and how you came to trust in Christ. Conclude with what knowing Him has meant for you—the blessing of having your sins forgiven, the assurance of eternal life, and other ways your life or outlook has changed.
Read Laura’s Unfolding Story here:
I grew up in what I believed was a catholic home. My mom went to a catholic school but was punished for being left handed. The nuns would crack her knuckles with a ruler until she wrote with her right hand. My dad was unsure about his faith, but, being German, was brought up in a catholic home as well.
My siblings and I attended the CCD program (a religious education program) at a local Catholic church in Hoffman Estates, just northwest of Chicago, Illinois, though my parents didn’t engage in the church, or attend weekend service. My eldest brother and sister followed through to confirmation whereas my younger brother and I attended but didn’t reach confirmation. God was a part of our lives, but not the center of it.
My home was busy and abrupt during my childhood. My parents worked long hours. My dad worked with his father at his medical instrument business, within the Polygraph division, and my mom worked nights cooking in a restaurant. I’d end up going to work with my mom, bussing tables at a very young age until nightfall, getting home just in time for bed.
As I got older I became active in after school sports year-round. I even went to the state championships in field hockey my freshman year; ‘what an accomplishment’, I thought to myself. As I looked around though, I saw other parents cheering on their children, while mine were not anywhere to be found. Being honest, I didn’t see my parents at any of my games and, naturally, I felt the disappointment every time.
My grandfather sold his business near the end of 1977, and my dad was put out of work. My father was an alcoholic and died of Cirrhosis of the liver within 12 months, December 28th 1978. I graduated high school in June 1980 and went onto college. Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, I left without graduating to take on a full-time job. I’ve been at the same company for 35 years now! I think I have stayed so long because it gives me a sense of stability.
At age 25 I met my husband, the man I loved so dearly, and married in 1985. I had two beautiful daughters whom I desperately wanted to know the Lord. I wanted them to have a foundation in Jesus, and to know they had a safe haven if life were ever in crisis, if they ever had the need to reach out to someone other than their parents I wanted them to have a church family.
They regularly attended a Catholic church in Streamwood, Illinois. They were both baptized and made their communion. Sadly, we left the church just after their communion, due to difficulty keeping the girls engaged there. My husband was always a non-believer and never attended church except for a couple of services here and there. Eventually, I grew distant from, and left the Catholic Church. I reached out to a local non-denominational Christian church shortly after in 2007. I thoroughly enjoyed the worship there and, my husband being a drummer, I thought he may also enjoy the worship, and would finally find his purpose with the Lord. So, I brought my husband and my children to a service with me. My husband did come to one but did not connect with it and so never came again. My daughters began attending, but my youngest tried out for the children’s choir and didn’t make it. She again felt disconnected from the church and stopped coming.
My eldest continued to go to service with me; although she sensed something was wrong. I didn’t tell her my marriage was in trouble. Each week, I felt a twinge in my heart as the services spoke of God’s unconditional love and the uniqueness we all possess. Although we are sinners, we are still loved by the one and only Lord! I’d walk out crying every week. Finally, the gospel was starting to make sense to me.
I was baptized in the church lake in 2010 in my daughter’s presence. I had high hopes of fixing my marriage and knew I needed God to do so. Unfortunately, my prayers were not answered and my marriage of almost 25 years ended in divorce in May 2011.
Full of grief, I found myself searching for answers to many life-long questions. The biggest – how was I going to take care of my daughters? Secondly, my identity- who was I as a person in this society? Along with, ‘why me’? And what was my purpose in life? I was so lost, I hit rock bottom. I was in a season of anxiety and depression. I found myself up late at night, unable to sleep, while digging deep into my guilt and looking for answers. I remember leaning heavily on the thoughtfulness and kindness of close friends, alongside a helpful church workshop called Divorce Recovery.
In winter of 2011 my daughter received a job offer and needed a car. I was able to work out her drop-off and pick-up for a few months, but it was extremely hard to co-ordinate with my own work schedule and we became desperate for another car – but, as a single mom, I had no means to pay for one. God answered our need while at an event shortly after, where a friend and coworker offered me his car for just a $1.00 transfer fee.
My younger child, excelling at soccer, was advised to join a travel team for college visibility. My finances didn’t allow it, but the team made it possible by giving her paid work at the school’s front desk. With the high cost of college, it seemed out of reach for her. But her last two years of high school were filled with courses enabling her to meet college requirements. Normally senior year is a breeze, but she worked hard and ended up taking a soccer scholarship at Drake University. She is doing really well and plans to give back to the community by becoming an occupational therapist.
Reflecting upon my own personal growth, I’ve realized I’m a victim of codependency and have been a life-long people-pleaser; something which likely surfaced during my childhood, through having to deal with a lack of emotional connection from my parents. Being aware of this, asking God for help, and creating boundaries, have helped provide a renewed direction in my life. I periodically take inventory and assess my goals, letting go of destructive habits and relationships.
Through God’s almighty forgiveness, and my own, I’ve healed from my past; allowing for future relationships and focusing on the healthy boundaries I’ve been setting.
Knowing I am a sinner and God still loves me, gives me strength and hope. Heaven is not earned but given as a gift when you have a relationship with Jesus. This has been the greatest gift for me.
Through continued prayer and relationship with God, I have learned that he does listen, his door is always open, and he reveals himself in many different and miraculous ways. I am so grateful for what God has given me- two wonderfully created daughters, food, shelter, family and friends! My continued prayer now is for my daughters to find their own relationship with God.
I worship the Lord daily for his provision and heed his call to utilize my spiritual gifts in service within my church!
Isaiah 43:2-4 says:
“When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.”
I believe my life is a testimony to that very verse. God has always been there, and always been in pursuit of me. He has provided daily, even miraculously at times; and once I finally gave my life over to Him, He has helped me through the deepest of waters, and brought me through to the other side with lessons learned, and a renewed sense of purpose and hope.