Stacy Hord, was crowned Mrs. Missouri 1997 and later co-hosted a popular Christian morning talk radio show, “Rod and Stacy in the Mornings”. Her talents developed into journalism and writing in the following years. A single mother of three boys, Stacy attends James River Assembly, a mega-church of over 12,000 and has served in the Divorce Recovery Program, Living Free ministry for life controlling issues, prison program and other ministries. She is a keynote speaker and is passionate about overcoming the stigmas, hopelessness and depression associated with those who have experienced relationship failures. Her unique way of unveiling God’s heart of grace and restoration to those that are hurting will challenge any reader to seek God for a new vision for their future.
After my husband and I had separated almost a year earlier, I did what so many newly single people do. I drank and I partied and I had boyfriends and I experimented. The party crowd was more than happy to accept me as one of their own and I had plenty of friends to help me celebrate my new status as a single woman.
When the divorce was final, I pursued my "activities" with even more intensity and vengeance. Oh, it was fun at first, but somewhere along the lines the fun subtly turned into a meaningless existence without purpose. I hadn't noticed at first, but these lonely car rides home were becoming excruciating.There was no fruit in this kind of life and the emptiness seemed to hit the hardest on the drive home. It was like I was returning home from being nowhere - just a black vortex of shallow conversation, empty relationships, and nothingness. As if I had got all dressed up to go sit in a dark hole all night and then drove home. My mind was also becoming dark and I was constantly preoccupied with concerns about my love life which was struggling horribly.
Although I was a Christian who had attended church all my life and had raised my own kids in church, I'd had no recent contact with God. My prayers had dwindled down to occasional pleas for him not to send me to hell because of the way I was living.I just didn't feel like praying anymore. I couldn't think of any words to say and I was dry, without emotions. Plus, I was hiding from God. If I didn't pray, I didn't have to account for my behavior.
But that night, I was heartsick, torn, depressed and without hope. I had hit "bottom", and "bottom" was a long way down in a deep, dark pit! There was only one person who could reach deep enough into that pit to raise me out, and that person would come to get me out without asking a question. I just needed to say his name.
I couldn't say or even form a whole prayer. I was too dry and raw. But I knew that there was so much power in just saying his name, it would be enough. He would know why I was saying it and he would respond in the same way as if Mother Teresa had said it. I knew in my heart he would hear. I just knew.
I opened my mouth and I softy whispered, "Jesus." I said it again, "Jesus", all the while I was driving down the highway in my car. I started to say it louder, over and over, "Jesus", all the way home. That's all I said that night, and that's all he needed.
A few days later I went to church. It was still a challenge for me to be around what I considered church hypocrits but I staggered through it. After the service, I walked out to my car to wait for my sons to get out of their teen service. As I sat in my car, I saw the mother of one of the church teens walking across the parking lot, heading directly for me. "Oh puh-lease!" I thought. “I don't feel like talking to anyone right now. I’m sure she’s coming to tell me how much she has “missed me” lately and her words to me will no doubt be filled with churchy “fluff” and syrupy, sweet talk. I grudgingly rolled down the window and put on my best fake smile. "Hi, how are you?" I warily chirped.
She stood outside my car, said a few pleasantries and then softly said. "Are you okay?"
"I think I am, thanks for asking." I was still hiding out emotionally from everyone.
Undeterred, she continued. She had a mission and needed to tell me something. She began, "The other night, I woke up in the middle of the night, around 2 or 3 in the morning, and you were on my mind. I just started praying for you. I didn't know what was going on; I just knew I needed to pray. Is everything okay with you?"
I teared up slightly and responded in low tones as my sons approached the car, "I appreciate your prayers. Please keep praying." That's all I said to her and then she left.
As my sons and I headed home, I began to make the connection. A few nights earlier, on that lonely drive home from partying, I had felt the need to cry out to God. All I said was the name "Jesus". I couldn't form a complete prayer, so he called on someone else to finish that prayer for me.And, as it turned out, she wasn't the only one he had been calling on to pray for me. My best friend of 15 years had been crying out to God on my behalf for several months and so had others who loved me. The ice was melting off of my heart. I was feeling hope again. God really cared. He cared enough to wake someone up in the middle of the night to pray for me!
The change didn’t come overnight but it came with a steady pace. My heart began to thaw towards God and church and before long I was finding myself at home again within a loving fellowship of Christian friends. My church welcomed me back with open arms and I felt like a child again, eager to learn and grow in Christ. I couldn’t wait for church services and my Bible reading was exciting again.
After several months of prayer, I had an ever increasing feeling that I needed to take a “time out” from dating. Even for just a short while. God wanted to show me a new vision for my life and he needed my undivided attention. Not only that, my children needed and deserved my attention. I had no more arguments left. I had made a lot of mistakes and it was clear that my way just wasn't cutting it. I agreed with God that I would do it his way.
I made a commitment not to date for six months. The new adventure started almost immediately and a literal miracle of healing starting changing me to the very core of my soul. God's supernatural power began helping me in many ways.
A couple of weeks into my new commitment I received a call from a man that I had dated several months earlier and had recently moved back to town. He was one of those guys that could still make me weak with longing as he was very attractive and loads of fun. Never mind that he wasn't a Christian, none of the guys I had dated during that time were, even though I knew better.
As I reached for my phone the caller ID was unmistakable, but instead of my heart leaping for joy I was mildly annoyed. His charming voice began a string of verses about how much he had missed me and wanted to see me. I mentally yawned.I politely told him that I wasn't interested in seeing anyone, hoped that he was doing well and thanked him for calling. His reply was worth a hundred dollars! "You're saying you don't want to see me?"
I honestly did not want to see him. Something had changed in me. I was home alone and I was okay with it. I just wanted to curl up in bed and watch a good movie.I spoke to him for no longer than a minute – just enough time to convince him that I had no more interest in him. After I hung up the phone I sat down to ponder what had just happened. I had just turned down a date with someone that only months earlier had had a powerful hold on me! I said out loud, “This HAS to be God!" It felt good.
A few days later I nonchalantly mentioned to my sons that I had no more interest in dating and would be focusing all my time on them and their activities. I'm not sure they bought it at first, but within a few weeks it was becoming apparent to them that they were the only men in my lives.If someone posed the question of my dating status, I made sure that my kids were within earshot to hear me say that I was just enjoying the company of my sons too much and didn't want to miss a second of being with them.
My heart was changing. I wasn't wondering what my friends were all out doing on the weekends.I didn't care. And God was good to turn the hearts of my sons toward me. There were times that my boys and I piled on my bed to watch TV together, laughing and teasing each other till our stomachs hurt. I thought in my heart, "There is no date that can compare to this!"
I've seen my sons’ confidence grow since I made the decision to do this God's way. There's a stability and security in their life that Mom's not going anywhere and God is in control. God has miraculously erased their memories of how I was before and imprinted on their hearts a picture of a mother who is totally in love with Jesus.
After a few months without dating my thinking progressively changed. My mind was being renewed. God revealed areas in my own life that had contributed to the downfall of my relationships. Areas that I would have remained blind to if I hadn't allowed him time to teach me. He taught me how to retrain my thinking about life, men, and marriage and showed me how to distinguish healthy from unhealthy relationships. Most importantly he showed me how my connection to him would dictate whether I would be fruitful in future relationships. I had to be anchored in his love before I could go love another. God then began to show me his vision for my life.It was greater than I could have ever dreamed of. I was starting to like his way.
It's been almost seven years now since I made that decision and although I only meant to hold off dating for just a year, after seven years, God just recently opened the door for me to date again. So then, do I hope to be re-married some day? Absolutely! I’m counting on it.That’s part of the new vision!
Zechariah 9:12 says, "Come back to the place of safety oh prisoners of hope. For every one of your woe's I will give you two blessings!"
For every mistake we've made in the past, every hurt we've ever had, every bad relationship, he wants to restore twice over to us blessings and hope. That's MORE than we had before. He wants to give us a new life with a better relationship than we’ve ever known. The key is to get alone with him and give him some time to give you that revelation. Everyone needs their own personal revelation from God and when we get it, our faith just blossoms. It’s easy to believe it because we heard it from God ourselves.
If you've just come out of a divorce, separation or long relationship and are thinking the answer to your pain is to go find another relationship, I beg you to reconsider. Please take some time and seek God.He will give you new vision for your life and I PROMISE, It will be greater than you even imagined. Trust him.