Significance begins with the moment you put two and two together. Mine began with a Chemical Engineer father who was raised during The Great Depression. He fought hard to achieve his education; from living in a barn, to picking and drying tobacco to working in a pea factory canning peas to have enough money to go to college. He graduated at a young age, skipping grades, with honors from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Now, having a father with struggles in his past, including losing his father to the Great Influenza in 1918, which killed 40-50 million people worldwide, while my grandmother was 7 months pregnant with him, gave him a certain perspective on life. Add to that tragedy, my father lost his older brother in WWII during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945.
As my gender dictated, I was determined to avoid advanced education. My father thought it was best that I marry and have a family…and so, I did. At 20, I took vows. At 23, I had a daughter. At 24, I had a son. At 25, I was on my own. My husband was involved in a relationship outside our marriage with a child on the way. At that moment, I became a single parent.
I took a job as an assistant file clerk. I had no education to speak of, but I had put my husband through his double Masters Degree in Molecular Chemistry and Biochemistry, assisting in his research and writing his thesis. But, none of that mattered now. I had two children to raise on my own with no assistance.
This was the making of me. I didn’t see it at the time, but I was confused and broken. I remember getting up at 5:15 every morning to get ready for work, wake my babies, feed them, and get them dressed for childcare. By the grace of God, my babies were placed in good, Christian homes. Thank you, Jesus!
I remember getting to my office after dropping both babies off at separate places as my youngest was still in diapers and couldn’t be with his sister. I made it a point to be at work 15 minutes before I needed to be at my desk so that I could go to the ladies’ room, cry my heart out having left my babies, dry my swollen eyes, and put on the mascara that would carry me through the day.
Fast forward. My soon-to-be former husband (“Wasband” I call him, says it all, doesn’t it?) and I were in ministry to young couples at our church. Even as I was, my church was the first place I reached out to. As the weeks passed, I decided to approach them regarding establishing a ministry for single parents. I laid out a plan and went before the Board of Elders. I thought my church was loving and accepting. I didn’t expect their response.
After the Board’s consideration, my loving church got back to me with their response. With unanimous resound, my plan of a small group for single parents was voted down. They then presented me with a letter of release of membership. I felt the devastation of abandonment. First, abandoned by my husband, then by church. Their reasoning? They believed because God despises divorce, there was no room to minister to needs of the divorced.
Crushed by the end of my marriage, the responsibility of raising two babies, the dismissal from my church home, working full-time to provide money and a safe and loving environment for my children, I began my journey into the Wilderness.