how social media saved my marriage and restored my soul

Social Media Saved

Today’s post is written by Brave Writer, Lorretta Stembridge

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I know this is going to sound slightly over the top, but I’m beginning to realize that by the grace of God, social media has helped save my marriage. And maybe…just maybe, it’s helped to save me too.

We hear often how the internet and social media have contributed to the breakdown and destruction of marriages. No doubt about it. This could have been true for me except for the most marvelous phrase in all of Scripture:

“But God”.

I’ve been a Christian since I was 12 years old. Obviously, I didn’t understand all that meant then…or now and I’m still learning.  However, the last 3 years have changed and cemented me in ways only God could have designed.  I now understand a great deal more about my own heart and I understand more about God’s heart as well. He is good.

24 years and 3 kids ago… shoot, I was really just a kid myself– a writer, a poet and 2nd-rate performance artist, full of dreams and creative aspirations. Sadly, I was also full of the fear and dysfunctional behaviors that go along with chronic abandonment and childhood abuse.

I confess that when I met my dear husband he fulfilled my number one (maybe only) qualification for “marriage material”:

he was nice and he didn’t hurt me.

It didn’t matter much that both of us had no clue what we were doing.
It didn’t matter that we had no real family guidance or grounding.
It didn’t matter that we had no plan,

Five months after we met, we were married and on our way…to who knows where. All we knew was to do marriage better than we’d seen our parents do it–how hard could that be?

It also didn’t matter at the time that I’d traded in my personal dreams and goals, exchanging them for the supposed security of that coveted “M.R.S.” degree. Heck, these things would sort themselves out later. Right?

******************

You know, it’s hard to succeed when you wake up every day and go to bed every night slightly terrified you’re doing it all wrong and you can’t ask anyone for help. You’re certain everyone else has it all together and you have to pretend you do too. That was how I felt.

Somewhere, along the way, I’d lost my identity. A gaping, lonely hole was working it’s way into my soul and I didn’t know how to fill it.  Believe me, I tried. Basically, I lived most of my days in fear that sooner or later, someone was going to call my bluff and I knew I didn’t have any real or lasting answers.

***********************

It took the jolt of a sudden and unplanned move to care for my dying mother to reveal that I –in a very real way– was dying too. Dying on the vine. My final shreds of sanity were wearing thin. The very slender hold I had on my identity as Christian, wife, mother…and daughter– was slipping fast. I recall how one day I stood outside as a friend was leaving and all I could say was, “This is not who I really am.”   Trouble was; I no longer knew who that person could be.

I certainly didn’t know where to look.  I just wanted to push “pause”, catch my breath, rearrange the scene a little so I could catch up, sort it out and start again. Not happening.

Little by little, I was beginning to unravel.
But God.

I understand now how necessary this unravelling was. God was up to something bigger than I could see and was also about to step into my mess in ways I could never have known to ask for.

Truthfully,  it got much worse before it got any better.  I just couldn’t find my way through the maze of what God was revealing as my next step in doing life with Him. He was speaking and I know I heard something. In my grief and confusion, the enemy wasted no time in luring me off track with empty words and promises spoken in the midst of my brokenness… words I trusted were shared from God –but were not. I had hit bottom.

I was a wreck.
My marriage was a wreck.
My family was disintegrating.

But God.

You know, God  is in the redemption business and little by little He was buying back every piece of me I had given away over the years.  It got deep. It was intimate. It was a *particular* redemption.  God himself became and then gave me back the key to everything….to me, who I am in Him..to my heart and my soul.

All I had to do was surrender.

**********************

The healing came ever so slowly as I began to write again.

I took a chance on a blog and  began to reach out and discover whole groups of women–and a few men who are serious about the nitty-gritty living of this sometimes, ugly, underbelly life. People who care about God and others and themselves and about BEING the Body of Christ. My faith and hope in the right things was restored in the right ways.

I discovered a community passionate about things worth fighting for and the Reason behind the fight. In arranged marriages yet committed to their spouses and faithful to the cause of Christ. Some struggling transparently with infertility, cancer, ALS, eating disorders, depression or the daily grind of the daily do of family life.

The internet became an altar and these writings became my sacrifice to Him because somewhere out there, somehow, some way some one needs to know there’s hope…needs to know that no matter how far they think they’ve gone,

Home is calling and our caring Father is waiting and is really is
only one step away.

Miracles are the retelling

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So yeah, call it the hyperbole of the century but fact is,  social media saved my marriage and restored my soul…sorta. Saved my sanity, is more like it I guess. All I know is God didn’t let me go, he brought me through to here.

If you’re reading this today and see even a small piece of yourself in my story, I’m inviting you to come on home. He’s got your key too and I’d love to help you open that door.

Let’s be brave, shall we?

*********************

A video editor and media designer by trade and an artsy-funky type by design, Lorretta loves to take the broken, discarded and ignored  and make something lovely. Others call this “folk art”, she calls it redemption. She loves Jesus, her husband & family, cats, and coffee–in that order. Passionate about the underdog, She strives to live every day as God’s big “show and tell”, trusting nothing past, present or future will be wasted in His capable and loving hands. Lorretta writes at Dancing on the Dash http://dancingonthedash.com/

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34 thoughts on “how social media saved my marriage and restored my soul

  1. I love this post. Thank you for your bravery Loretta! There is just something about putting things online through writing to help us realize we are NOT alone in our sometimes ugly messy lives!

    1. Thanks Aprille. As the title of your blog reminds us, “He makes everything beautiful in it’s time.” His time… not ours. His glory, not mine. And then we get to reap the benefits and knowing you out here…wow, no like…that’s one of them. Bless you Sister!

  2. Oh Loretta, I remember being married at 20 and not realizing what massive changes/trials God would bring. But God, would bring my husband to salvation and my husband would be God in skin for me when all of the abandonment and issues that I didn’t think I had popped up and he continued to love me anyway. Imperfectly and we still have our issues but God has never let us go. Thankful for a God who pursues so lovingly.

    1. Yes..OH yes. And the irony for me these days is that I get to participate in a lot of weddings…happy, blissful and so very IGNORANT occasions. I too am thankful for that boundless amazing grace of God…and how even now my husband is learning…willing to learn how to be “God in skin” for me. It’s never too late. Bless you Sister!

  3. I only knew you after you bravely stepped into writing, but I would have grabbed you as a friend long before that. It’s the same story of redemption we have, we just unravel differently. I love watching God love you. Xoxo

    1. I can not even begin to plumb the depths of my gratefulness to God for what he did when He brought your friendship and sisterhood to me. The healing came in waves there–dimensions and facets I’m still learning about and discovering. Yes…it was a “particular” redemption. And I just love you, you know? 🙂

  4. Brava, Lorretta! I’m proud of you for stepping out in faith and sharing your story in this way! This is particularly beautiful: “God himself became and then gave me back the key to everything….to me, who I am in Him..to my heart and my soul.”

    Deb Weaver

    1. Oh the places you will go, if you let Him take you there. One of the amazing moments for me at Allume was the day we did the FreeSet part of the program and there, on the table…remember? Yes; a key. A KEY!!!!! For me, that was a God whisper letting me know I’m on the right path. And then–there’s a Deb in my life. Where did she come from??? God brought her into my circle as a gift and said, “Here.. I think you’ll like this one.” and oh, I DO! Bless you Sister!

  5. “But God.”Two of my most favorite words–not just in scripture but in the whole universe. So grateful for His kind, patient love. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story 🙂

  6. I love you Loretta! I mean it in a way that can only be expressed through tears and appreciation for putting to words the pain, resistance, confusion, abandonment, and *utterly crippling* fear that I have been feeling for a long time now. I am SO thankful for your sharing this beautifully orchestrated fragment of your testimony. I am learning to use the internet as a tool to healing MYSELF rather than to appealing to the confused and distorted anticipations of my “followers.”

    I am absolutely wrecked and will be reading this post everyday from here on out to remind myself “but God.”

    Let’s be Brave!

    1. Jazzy! Well. You know what this does? It makes us “blood sisters” for life. Yup. Washed in the blood. Because I know the same truth you know from our same father:
      “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
      “For your sake we face death all day long;
      we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
      No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

      Bless it!

  7. You had me at….”All I had to do was surrender.”
    I know this.
    I didn’t know what surrender was until I was in it.
    There was no effort in it.
    It just was.
    I fell headfirst into his arms when I was at the end of myself.
    And I have been free ever since.

    the internet saved my life as well, as it has been the one of the spaces where I feel “safe” to share and don’t have to measure up to a set of standards, rules or theology. I am free to be me, as God continues to deepen my roots.

    Thank you for sharing this story. Authentically yours.
    ~Lesley

    1. It seems like we reject the whole idea of surrender for such a long time because it seems as if we are choosing to do nothing…to be helpless…to give up. And we are. Giving in to a bigger and greater power than we ever imagined…it just takes time to get there. Sometimes a lifetime..always in stages… at least that’s what it was for me. Glad to be here Lesley. So glad to be here with you.

  8. Hey there buddy, it is true that we as Christians are members of the church corporate but I believe some pastors over emphasize that to the point that the reality of a “PARTICULAR REDEMPTION” in our lives is sadly not embraced. Thank you for those two precious words.

    1. Welcome Yohann! You are welcome here and I love the perspective you bring to this conversation. Because you are right…there’s a lot of attention given to the over-arching corporate approaches but it’s in these communities of Christians that I’ve tasted and seen that He *is* GOOD. Glad to count you as my brother.

  9. This was such a powerful reminder that God is so gracious and loving.
    “But God” is so powerful, I struggled with letting God heal my broken heart. I felt to far gone, I had felt like I pushed God away with the anger I felt towards Him. But God so patiently, so lovingly, so willingly, saved me, healed me, and gave me back my identity in Christ.
    I hadn’t put words into what God did. But God… I love that! Thank you for that reminder.

  10. Living brave indeed…and free! I love what God did in you and through you, Loretta! I remember the early days of the Better Writer FB group, when so many of us were new to this blogging thing, trying to get our footing, and I have noted often in the last year or so the BEAUTY spilling all over you and through you. It makes me smile, and I am so glad you wrote about it.

    1. Oh yes… those early days were sketchy at best…as you say we were all trying to “find our footing”. It was hard trying to navigate those sometimes murky waters and try to figure out what was really going on out here and why. Then to sort out how to be authentic and true and find those places where such things are welcomed. Your voice was always one that resonated with me in those deeper places. So thanks Mandy..your heart is welcome in my world any ol’ day. ❤

  11. Loved this Lorretta! You are so right that God is in the redemption business. Surrender has been so hard for me at times and yet so liberating, so redeeming. I love that you were brave enough to take a chance on a blog and social media and WRITE your healing. You give me courage to WRITE my healing. I love words. I love to write but I put writing away and buried it. In surrender, I dug it up and here I go. Thank you for sharing your story so that others will be brave enough to share theirs. God bless you!

    1. In the hands of our redeemer…NOTHING is wasted. I’m so glad this has called you “out and up” because there are so many of us out here who need to hear hope and healing. I will pray for you as you begin to take those baby steps. Keep me posted..find me on Facebook! Bless you!

  12. Loretta!
    Yay! I love that you are writing brave. God continues to amaze me. His soveriegnty over all things means He can use them and redeem them and make them beautiful. He surely has done that in you and through you. What a blessing it is to see you living out the freedom He is giving and blessing others and reaching others in His Spirit and love. I was just telling my husband tonight what it is like to “meet” people through the blogging world — because we share our hearts and we get to know one another in the transparent and vulnerable places. You are one of those treasured blessings of my blogging experiences. So glad you wrote this post. I have lived crumpled and broken, as you have — coming to the end of myself and finding Him there in the least expected places and ways. Thank you for your faithful testimony of His real goodness and intimate touch.

    1. Oh my wow. Yes. Writing and living brave is all I can do anymore. I realize it’s not the “tonic” everyone needs but I must trust God to lead me and lead others in the way they need to hear and go. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of obedience. And trust me… I’m really a “fun” gal at heart…but I know what it’s like to have your life all “mucked up” and the only path to true joy is through true repentance and obedience. Then…there’s a lot to celebrate and laugh about! I’m praising Him today that we found one another this way. Heaven is gonna be SO much fun when we all get together! 🙂

  13. This is so beautiful! You are such an inspiration to me to continue on my journey. I am learning more every day what surrender truly means – thanks to writers like you and the entire Live Brave Team. You are a precious gift indeed.

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