Life Interrupted: Beauty from Ashes

The end came quickly without warning or premeditation, though it wasn’t until much later that I realized it was the end.

Several things happened at once. His angry words tore at me. His hands reached out and roughly shoved me. The kitchen counter stopped me from falling. And then I heard my young son leave the protection of his room and walk towards us. Horrified that he might see what his dad was doing to me, I grabbed the phone with shaking hands and dialed 911.

From the outside it appeared that our lives were pretty good. We had a nice house. Nice cars. We took great vacations…almost yearly trips to Mexico for scuba diving, a recent visit to Paris and Barcelona, a vacation cabin in Wyoming. Our kids were good looking, good in school, and involved in various sports. Granted, there were challenges. Our oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 11. Our younger son was born after five long years of infertility and various interventions and treatment. But as far as anyone could see we had a great life.

But things went on behind closed doors that no one suspected. My kids and I lived on edge, waiting for the next angry outburst. I shielded my boys the best I could, especially when there was violence. Punched walls. Thrown dishes. Broken doors. I tried to keep them out of the way when his anger erupted. Tried to appease him. Silently begged our oldest son to appease him, too.

Many nights I cried out to God. “Please. Help me. Change him. What am I supposed to do? I don’t know what to do.”

But after this night, there were immediate actions I needed to take. I insisted he leave our home. Get into counseling. Stop drinking alcohol. But the long-term questions remained.

Buffeted by fear and anxiety, I desperately turned to God. “Help me. Save me. Tell me what to do.” Talk about life interrupted. I had asked for none of this. I tried desperately to stay married in spite of the emotional and verbal abuse that regularly erupted from my husband.

Sometimes life interrupted comes in big devastating ways. In the end of a marriage. In a cancer diagnosis. In the loss of a child or spouse or friend.

Life interrupted and brought me to my knees. And on my knees I cried out to God. His words were gentle and loving. “You are the daughter of the King.” His hands reached out to hold me through my darkest nights.

“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

Through this interruption, I discovered God’s grace is sufficient. His promises are true. He will light my path, protect me from my enemies, and bring me to a place of safety.

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; so he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 17:28-30

Life interrupted and God met me in my greatest moment of defeat. He spoke to me. Through his word. Through sermons at church. Through encouragement from friends. And he gave me hope.

“The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” Psalm 103:6

Sometimes God restores a marriage. And sometimes he doesn’t. In our weakness and defeat, in the hard places, God’s provision and protection are strong. And if we allow him, he gives our interrupted life, our place of suffering, purpose and perspective.

I filed for divorce. And God filled me with an incredible, supernatural peace. Like nothing I have felt before. I knew in that moment God was with me. Guiding me, helping me, leading me, and calling me to share my stories and what God has done for me.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18

My story, my life interrupted, is God bringing purpose out of pain.

“He has sent me to…comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:2-3



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8 Responses to Life Interrupted: Beauty from Ashes

  1. kipandshila says:

    Wow, what an amazing story. I love your honesty. I also love the scripture versus you quoted here. I’m inspired by your courage and look forward to hearing about your purpose that was brought out of your pain. God Bless You!

  2. Oh boy. You hit home with me. I was married to my abuser for 17 years, had my younger 3 children with him (I have 4 total, my oldest was 3 when we married). My youngest child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 3 years old (2004). My now ex-husband, whipped me with a belt, choked me, threw me across the room, threw heavy objects at me. My face was broken in 2005, fingers broken twice, a rib broken. I survived cervical cancer during that time, stage 2A before the hysterectomy (in 2004). When I told him I wanted a divorce in 2011, he threw me out on the street like garbage. People thought we had it so great. Huge house, I was a stay at home mother all my childrens lives, we used to vacation too…had 3 cars, our kids were always well dressed, and his reputation in town was, strangely to me, awesome. I was a nobody, nobody knew me because he never allowed me to speak or be seen in public. He won everything in the divorce, got full custody, ruined my career as a teacher just as it was about to begin, and he gloats around now, playing the martyr “single dad”, alienates the children from me and brainwashes them. I have so many reasons why I should questions Gods timing, His plan for my children and me. But I love my God. I know He loves me more though. I spent over a year grieving the loss of my children, they were my entire life for half my life. They are 20, 17, 14 and 12 now. I pray God will protect them always, and I’m waiting for them to grow up and get out from under their fathers influence, so we can all start the healing process. I wish I had known you before now. Wow.

    • Charlotte Hammer says:

      Carolyn, I am so sorry circumstances went so badly for you. I want to encourage you to trust God in this. God promises that he is with us through the wilderness, in the fire, when the waves are crashing around us. He is with you. I will pray for you. And I pray God returns your children to you.

  3. Monica says:

    How awesome! What an incredible story from an incredibly brave woman! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Charlotte, God certainly is bringing purpose out of pain. I could feel that purpose in the telling of your story and I know that others who have experienced pain like yours will find great encouragement from your words. Thank you for sharing so openly about your experience. You’re absolutely right – sometimes our life interrupted stories come in devastating ways but then the love and grace of our God sweep over us and slowly we are able to see the good that is born of those pains. Blessings to you!

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