Thursday, March 12, 2015

Guest Post: Confessions of a Bottom Feeder


Today I have guest Sallie McDaniel here to share. Welcome, Sallie!

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Psalm 77:1 says, “I cried out to God with my voice–To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me.” Have you ever cried out to God? Crying out is more than uttering perfunctory phrases in prayer for a better job, more income, or material things. To cry out is to lay one’s soul bare before God, to petition God with all of your heart, mind, and strength. It’s the humbling, tearful prayer that summons your last ounce of energy when you have reached rock bottom.

I married at the tender age of 19. After 8 tumultuous years, I relocated to Rock Bottom when I became a single parent. I felt like a trailblazer on a forbidden path, as the first person in my Christian family to become divorced.

In my book, Jesus is My Thesis, I compare the stages of divorce to the “5 Stages of Death” identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in On Death and Dying. Stage 1 is isolation. When you become divorced or widowed, you unwittingly change life categories. If most of your friends are couples, you may still be invited to dinner, but you feel like a third wheel tagging along. Some stop inviting you because they feel pressured to choose between you and your ex-spouse.

Stage 2 is anger. At age 19, I was deceived into thinking a premature marriage between two unequally yoked people could morph into happily ever after. I was angry when I learned God had been right all along. The most important thing a husband and wife can do is to invite a Third Person, Jesus Christ, to be the center of their marriage.

The anger stage ran concurrent with Kubler-Ross’ third stage, bargaining. There were space compromises when my son, a toddler, and I moved into my parents’ empty nest. There were scheduling conflicts between cooking, laundry, and custody arrangements. There were budgeting bargains, as we struggled to adjust to a new standard of living which covered little more than Ramen noodles and a bar of soap.

All of this led me headlong into stage 4, depression. I had to come to the end of myself, my fantasies, my compromises, and my will. At the bottom of that pit, with nowhere to look but up, I cried out to God. I admitted how my wrong decisions affected everyone in my family, and I repented of my youthful folly and willful disobedience.

The following Sunday, "It is Well with My Soul" was the invitation hymn. As I sang along, emotionally moved by the powerful words, God held my hand and carried me over the threshold of stage 5, acceptance. I started a new habit of meeting Him daily for prayer and devotion, and He began to replace loneliness, sadness, and fear with His peace, security, and joy. Life’s most difficult moments can work on our hearts like a spiky meat tenderizer, driving us to our knees in soulful prayer. But, the painful surrender from the bottom of the pit is where God begins to lift burdens and heals heartaches.

~ By Sallie Hite McDaniel

Sallie Hite McDaniel is a Bible study teacher and writer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in biblical studies in 2008. McDaniel and her husband live in the southeastern United States. They have three grown children. These days, Sallie spends her time working on her second book, her first attempt at fiction, when she’s not proofreading for others. Check out her book, Jesus is my Thesis, on Amazon.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart and being transparent with us. You are a blessing.

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  2. Wow, this is moving. It reinforces the need for us to make room for suffering in our lives for therein lies His heart and the joy of His provision in the midst of it. Nothing else can satisfy in the same way.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. I am separated and I think my stages are a little out of order but they are there nonetheless.

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  4. Wow I was so transported into my own history. And again thankful I am no longer there, but your words were so right on and truthful

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    1. Thank you for reading and being here.

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  5. Like you, I was the first in my family to go through a divorce. I'm sure I went through all those stages, but what I remember most is being afraid and ashamed, but God was there, waiting patiently for me to seek Him. You have reminded us that God loves us, no matter what. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. So true! Thank you for your comments!

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