Four little words altered the course of my life forever. “Sara, I’ve messed up.” And it was in the next few moments my now ex-husband revealed devastating news, which at the time, I was certain would end my life. There was no getting around it. The damage had been done. Families were ripped apart. My storybook marriage and life came crashing down. And I found myself in control of absolutely nothing.
I cried out to the Lord BEGGING Him to save my marriage. I wanted my life back. I wanted to wake up the next day with everything back to normal. There was NO WAY I could face my family and friends with this news.
For weeks on end, I remember lying flat on my face HEAVING tears and blaming God. I completely lost count of the times I asked Him WHY?! He saw this coming and could have prevented it! Why did He allow it? Why did He break my heart? Why couldn’t He just make everything right again?!
That was July 2009, and after fighting the good fight, in November 2011 my marriage was over. The twenty eight month long nightmare….finished. Never in my life have I felt such an immense peace that passes understanding. The Lord graciously washed me in mercy as I walked out of my attorney’s office.
Healing was slow. For a long while, I harbored much anger and resentment. It took YEARS for me to truly forgive. I can’t put my finger on exactly when it happened, but at some point, I had a life changing revelation.
“How many people get a do over? Get a completely different chance to set the course of their life!?” And then I realized. I. AM. NEW! I. GET. A. DO-OVER!
Everything I had envisioned for my old life was done. Unfulfilled. It was time to begin dreaming a new dream. And this dream included just me and the Lord. In that season, I got closer to Jesus than ever before in my life. I read HUNDREDS of books. I sought out like-minded women and mentors who breathed life and Godly wisdom into me. I began investing in myself. I went to Guatemala on a mission trip with a bunch of strangers (and have since been back 5 times). And I started going home to Louisiana to visit my parents every chance I could get.
Fast forward to February 2014. At this point, I feel like I can honestly say I was healed. Nearly five years had passed since that fateful day four words shattered my heart into a million little pieces. The Lord worked a miracle only He is capable of working. And it was at this point I audibly heard Him call me home to Louisiana.
I argued again. “Lord, why? I’m blissfully happy here in Texas. My life is FINALLY normal again. I have an amazing church, job and community and I live near the beach for cryin’ out loud!!!”
And His response? “Sara, I know you love these things. But think how much more you love your parents and how much more they love you!”
And just like that, the journey home to Louisiana was set in motion. While it would take an additional two years to finally move, I felt the Lord’s hand in every step of my journey.
During Christmas 2014 while I was visiting with my family, I came across a completely broken down, dilapidated cottage. Immediately, I felt the draw and knew it was supposed to be my home. However, it wasn’t for sale and convincing the owners (who had owned it for 90 years) to sell, proved extremely challenging. But, I remained pleasantly persistent with them for 22 months and finally closed on the cottage in September 2016.
Over the course of the next year, I restored my beautiful 1926 Louisiana cottage. As the layers of filth, dirt and clutter were peeled away, raw shiplap, amazing hardwood floors and unique architectural details were revealed.And slowly, just like my life, this little cottage was yanked back from total loss and beauty from ashes was personified. Click To Tweet
Since becoming single, I’ve been witness to the Lord’s faithfulness like never before and I’ve watched Him pay me back double for my trouble, just like He did for Job.I’ve been able to rewrite my story and dream new dreams. Click To Tweet
I’ve shared the cottage restoration journey on social media and the outpouring of kindness has been remarkable. Hundreds of people have reached out to share how my story has touched their lives and brought them hope! My cottage has been shared online by Better Homes and Gardens, Cottages and Bungalows, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, American Farmhouse Style Magazine and countless others!
So those little four words that ruined my life? Let me rephrase that. Those little four words GAVE me life and set me on a journey to discover exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20 KJV).
Thank You, Jesus, for redemption. Thank You for bottling my tears and Your amazing grace. I know I can trust You to bring good out of the most devastating situations. I can’t wait to see what You have in store for me! Lead me along the path that brings You the greatest honor and glory. I’m grateful on top of grateful for Your loving kindness.
God has redemption in store for your hurts and heartache. But sometimes that healing takes time, and we must lean on God every step of the way. Is there healing that God is trying to bring into your life? Is there forgiveness that you need to give and heartache you need to leave at the Cross? Today, ask God if there is a wound you are holding onto, and let Him guide you into a place of freedom, abundance and healing.
Sara McDaniel BioBorn and raised in Springhill, Louisiana, and later living in Arkansas, Utah and Texas. Sara recently returned to Louisiana and restored a 1926 historic home. A senior educational consultant by day, Sara blogs, reads and dabbles in real estate investing at night. On her popular blog, SimplySara.com, Sara shares her journey of grace, forgiveness, faith and hope. Sara also blogs at SimplySouthernCottage.com to document the renovation of her historic home. Sara’s heartbeat is building community while serving others. She never turns down a good cup of coffee, an opportunity to get outdoors or the ability to help others meet Jesus.