“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

At the tender age of 22 I said I do to a man that I believed was my soul mate. We dated for a year-and-a-half before we made vows to love one another no matter what and I was so relieved to know someone wanted to be with me.

We had a good life laid out in front of us. My husband began a business with a friend and it soon became a great source of income. We bought a house, cars, and things to fill up our time.

Looking back I can clearly see how we relied on our own ambitions and decisions rather than having a deep meaningful relationship with the God.

About 18 months after we got married I became pregnant with our first child. The pregnancy was nothing like I expected and for almost 9 months I was physically sick.

While I was battling all-day sickness my husband began using drugs and I was naive enough to not notice the subtle signs.

A few months after our son was born Jeremy admitted to using drugs and stealing to support his habit.

Have you ever been told something and literally felt the room spin around you?

I could not believe what I was hearing. My heart broke and I did not understand how this happened.

We were good people.

Both of us were raised in homes where we were taught right from wrong.

We attended church every Sunday.

My husband was kind to everyone.

He had a great job, lots of friends, and a wife who loved him.

And we had a new child.

We went bankrupt that summer and I was so ashamed. There I was a new mother with a husband who sufferend from a terrible drug addiction.

Jeremy and I separated for a time but then decided to try and make our marriage work. I was not ready to give up on him.

Over the next four years we moved quite a bit and our family grew. I believed Jeremy was sober and knew he could change with my help.

We attended church, made new friends and it seemed our marriage was working. I kept telling myself the voice inside me needed to quit overreacting but the voice kept whispering something was wrong.

In February 2009 my husband lost his job and I was 32 weeks pregnant with our third child.

We had lived in San Antonio for a year and had no family close. Six weeks after the job loss I gave birth and two weeks after that we moved back to Tennessee to live with my mom.

It wasn’t long before things started disappearing from the house and the suspicions grew. My mom came to me with concerns and I didn’t want to hear it. I did not want to believe Jeremy was using again.

But it was true.

After being in Tennessee for two months my husband went missing and became homeless. The only thing I knew to do was hold on to my faith.

My relationship with God began to change and since the summer my ex-husband left I can see all the things the Lord has done in our lives.

He gave me a mother that took care of us for three years.

I was able to attend graduate school and get a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.

God surrounded me with friends who genuinely loved my children.

I attended a church that spoke truth to me.

God gave me another chance at love with my second husband.

He gifted our family was a fresh start, a new job for Bryan and a new place to live. This past year Bryan was able to adopt my three children from my first marriage. And we were blessed with baby Anna who completes our family.

No matter what situation you face, God is good. The valley can be dark and desolate, feeling like hell on earth. But through those trials we learn grace, resilience, strength, joy, redemption and love.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10


Wife to engineer, mom to 4 little monkeys, lover of words, encourager of women, redeemed by a Grace-giving God. Sarah is a stay-at-home mama and holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She blogs over at


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Holly Barrett

The path of life
Tall in your presence {SSMT}