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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Beginnings (05/31/04)

TITLE: Toward a New Beginning
By Ann Marie Lindenmeyer


Her new home was much smaller than what she was used to. One difference she really enjoyed was the woods and tall trees along the back of her home. The birds would chirp their early morning songs and the leaves rustled when the wind blew. She sat in the still quietness of the early morning and pondered over the past few months. Time had flown by through all the chaos that had surrounded her life on a daily basis. She couldn't quite recall everything now, there was just too much that had happened. She had made it through a difficult time in her life and there was still more to face ahead of her. She believed and hoped the worst was over.

Now it was time to start a new beginning. Her new life was waiting for her to jump right in and renew her spirit that she had lost. She still had faith that God led her out of the situation she had been involved in, a marriage that had always been controlling. It was so different out on her own, but she felt free. She hadn't realized how much of her own self she had given up. No wonder God had led her into an opposite direction, she thought.

The closer she had come to God over the past year, the more He seemed to point her away from her stifling marriage. She had been so confused because she thought divorce was not the Christian thing to do. She realized that He knew if she stayed she could never truly be herself, the way He had created her. She looked back now and saw how all the pieces fit together. It was perfectly orchestrated by Him, just as He had planned. She had the faith that this was the right thing. Every time she had prayed over the past months, He answered her quickly and surprisingly, and it was not always what she had expected.

She sat that morning listening to the birds and felt the peacefulness of her new place. She no longer felt the overwhelming stress in her home like the old home once harbored. It helped keep her mind and body at ease. She praised God for the wonderful guidance He had given her. It had taken her some time to find her way, but He finally did help her get to the point she was at right now.

There were many decisions to make, but she had time to make them at her own pace. She had lost her spirit, her hope, and herself, for so long. There were so many things to begin again and she was ready to embark upon them. It was her time now to think for herself, feel for herself, and make the decisions that lied ahead with the guidance from her one true Master. With Him, she knew all things were possible.

She drew in a deep breath to feel once again the peace and comfort surrounding her now. She said a quick prayer and got up to face the day ahead. He was by her side through it all and she knew He always would be.

Copyright 2004, Ann Marie 'Ree' Brown.

Member Comments
Member Date
Dian Moore06/07/04
This is very well written though I'm bothered by the contents. Does controlling mean this woman was abused physically; or a victim of infidelity? God HATES divorce and only allowed it, reluctantly, for very limited reasons. Jesus's answer regarding divorce was the same. Maybe if you could point out how God truly led her out of the marriage (reasons, was husband a non-believer, biblical examples) I would be able to be convinced. As the article stands, I am troubled that the woman may have been hearing answers from someone other than God. More details are necessary to convince me that the separation was God's answer.
Sylvia Spielman06/07/04
I enjoyed this article for several reasons. There is a gentle flow from one thought to another giving the reader the sense of peace described. I do not think it was necessary to give all the details of what this woman went through to understand she had been buried in some form of abuse (mental, physical, emotional). You kept to the Challenge theme without getting bogged down in unnecessary details about the past. Well written.
Linda Miller06/07/04
Hi Ann - I have to agree with E. Dian on this one. While reading the whole article I was waiting for you to tell us what your husband had done that God would want you to leave him. It is not a Biblical premise for the woman to leave her husband for any reason except infidelity or physical abuse. God hates divorce and He would not guide someone to leave their marriage except for the reasons above. But it was indeed a well-written article. Keep on writing!
Gary Sims06/07/04
Ann Marie Ė God does work in mysterious ways and we can never know for sure what His plan is or where it will lead. Where Dian and Linda are probably right in some sense on Godís view on the sanctity of marriage, we canít paint the broad brush strokes of righteousness on any situation. That is not our job as Christians. Your woman did the right things; she prayed. It is all we can do. He will then lay out the truth for us to follow. And His plan will be revealed only to the one involved in the situation who is on her knees. No one outside should judge. We are not in a place to know.

I speak passionately on this because it was anti-divorce sentiment that drove my mother away from the church in 1954. She has never and will never step back into Godís house. Her decision was life-saving for herself and her two boys, but no one else knew what was really going on or where it might lead.

Christians being judgmental about the steps other people take in their lives drives more people from God than anything else. We must rely on and trust that God is in control. When we personally are involved and we have rubbed our knees raw from prayer, we then need to look for His truth. We will recognize it because truth always gives glory to God. I sense from your story that the woman is now free to worship and follow God as she has never before been allowed to do.

I am sorry this is so long winded. Your article is awesome and gets my vote. Continue to give God the glory. - Gary
Marie B. Corso06/07/04
All I could think of as I read your piece was that God loves us to have peace in our home. You have found it. I hope your future will bring great joy to you.
Deborah Porter 06/07/04
Ree, I enjoyed the flow and feel of peace in your story. That was well done. It was very easy for the reader to feel that this lady had found rest.

I must admit to finding myself somewhere between Gary's comments and those of the first two readers. I think that because this is coming from a Christian perspective, it would be good to actually give some indication of what the problem with the marriage had been and, if it is a fictional account, to really bring out the fact that it was extremely abusive. Otherwise I think stories like this may hit a wall with regards to publishing in Christian circles. One of those times when a bit more information would make all the difference.

Beautifully written though and definitely spot on for the theme. With love, Deb
Mary Elder-Criss06/08/04
I am in the same place as Deb. Your article was very well written, and did include the fact that this decision was only made after much prayer on the woman's behalf, yet I too feel that some indication of what abuse she was living through to receive God's blessing to divorce must be given in order for this to be accepted by a publisher. I did receive a wonderful sense of God's peace in the woman's soul, but still I worried over it sending the wrong message about Him blessing divorce. Maybe just expound on it a little more, so these questions are answered. Blessings! Mary
Ann Marie Lindenmeyer06/08/04
I just wanted to comment on some of the reviews of my article:

This is a personal story and something as a Christian that was a huge struggle. I faced many years of verbal and emotional abuse that more recently, my daughters became targets for this abuse also. Though the physical abuse was not what I consider violent, restraining a person by force and using physical intimidation as a means to control is still physical abuse (I don't wish to get into details). It was a difficult decision as a Christian to make but my prayers are what guided me.

One Psalm I refer to for guidance is Psalm 51 so that I can work on forgiveness for myself and of my husband for sins we've committed. I also enjoy Psalm 91 as a comfort. In the verse from Malachi "I hate divorce, says the Lord,...and I hate a man's covering himself with violence." (Malachi 2:16). When I made the decision, I felt both paths to take were against what God wanted and planned for me as noted in the verse in Malachi, 1) To live with an abusive relationship in which I was a slave to my husband's control, rather than serving my Master OR 2) Divorce.

I prayed often for answers. Years were spent working on this relationship rather than divorce as an easy way out. Through the bad, my relationship and faith in God has strengthened. I have utmost faith that I followed God's will after prayerful consideration. I have been abused and only have faced a further intensity of it during the divorce proceedings.

Thank you for the reviews and comments, they are appreciated.

Lana Fletcher06/08/04
I agree that God's answers are often so different from what we expect Him to say. I think it's because we expect Him to say what others are saying. But He is God and looking from a totally different perspective. We can't believe He would be so understanding.
Corinne Smelker 06/08/04
Just this morning I was thinking about you, and prayed for you, and then tonight I read this article.

I am glad you made the decision you did; as much as God hates divorce, He also hates abuse, especially directed to little ones.

This is another story jostling for my vote because of the strength of the content and the flow of thoughts.
L.M. Lee06/09/04
Unfortunately, I can so relate to this story!

And it was so hard...the one place I thought I would receive help and comfort was the one place that banished, judged and attacked me.

I am very much anti-divorce. I hate it! I've lived through it and I know what awful pain it brings to a family.

But I've also lived on the other side and I know about all the pain.

I can remember two weeks after my marriage ended, feeling just like this...thankful I wasn't living in fear any longer...but fearful of the new beginning. And just like in this article, I can recite miracle, after miracle, after miracle how God provided a car, a house, a job, a daycare...everything I needed to survive in 48 hours...it was truly miraculous!
Annette Agnello06/10/04
My first job after collage was at a shelter for abused women. You canít imagine what happens. I was drawn to the relationship with God and his answers to her questions. I felt like some of it was me, like the move to a smaller home, or the peace of her new surroundings. I had been care-taker for my father when he was dying of cancer, and had to move into a smaller place after he died. That place was full of noise and bad neighbors. From there I married Mario and ended up in a quiet peaceful place. And though my marriage is very good I could still relate to >> She hadn't realized how much of her own self she had given up. You give up things in any relationship.
Patricia Ouellette06/13/04
Anne-Marie I commend you on tackling such a contraversial topic.

I can identify with the charactor in your story. I have to agree though that you need to be clear in your categorisation of controlling.

As a divorcee from a violently abusive marriage, who struggled between Christian teachings and morality, as well as the need to save my daughter and myself from that violent environment, I know how important it is to be clear in the reasons for the separation.

Control is something that can be tempered with loving understanding. Over coming violent tendencies takes a very strong character and if the abuser doesn't know God then the battle is often manifested.

Great job and again I commend you.

Blessings in His name