Mary Jean – Being Courageous

I’m Mary and I grew up here in Liberty, MO, but God brought me back after living in Dallas, TX & Edmond, OK.  I am married to Matt Neuenswander and we have an incredible blended family with five children, son and daughter-in-laws and six grandkids. I have a home-based business with Arbonne that I worked full-time from 2004-2008 and continue to work very part-time. I love dancing, being with people, having parties, decorating, doing make overs, arranging flowers, and helping people succeed.  I also help in women’s ministry and Younglife Lead team.

My most challenging time occurred when my first marriage of 18 years ended in divorce. In addition to my marriage, I lost my family as I knew it, as well as half of the time with my children due to custody.  God showed up through the church body, family, and friends. My small group leader encouraged me to read Psalm 18:6-19 during the most anguishing times.

In addition to reading my Bible, I reached out to our church pastors and they met and prayed with me. Women in the church would meet with me and pray. I received Christian counseling and more prayer. My children were 13, 11, and 9 and their youth pastor, youth group leaders, and older boys in the youth reached out to minister to my boys. My daughter’s Sunday school teachers and Truth Seekers leaders loved on her as well as family and people in the church.

I honestly have no idea where I would be right now if I had not had God’s strength. He used my children to help me even have the desire to live at times. The feeling of abandonment was so strong that it was very difficult to even see a flicker of light at the top of the pit I was down in. I had to rely on the Holy Spirit to pray for me.

Romans 8:26  — Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

God showed me that I had placed my ex-husband on a pedestal. I made him more important than my Savior. Rather then seeking Godly counsel and going to Christian counseling, I spent years trying to fix certain issues in the marriage with things of the world.  Through the pain of the divorce I came to the realization that I did not deserve anything. In fact, what I did deserve was Hell, yet because of God’s grace He sent His son to save me and give me eternal life. I had lived the first part of my life with a foot in both worlds and was being tossed back and forth by the waves…God’s will one day and mine another. I was cherry picking the pieces of the Bible that suited me and ignoring the parts I did not want to follow.  That horrible struggle changed my relationship with the Lord for the better.

I desire to be fully His.  It’s not easy.

Romans 3:23 — We all fall short of the glory of God.

The struggle also taught me about forgiveness and grace. Rather than blame and bitterness, I realized I was partially responsible for the loss of my first marriage. Through the struggle, God brought my children closer to the Him as well. My kids each have their own personal relationship with God. I knew that my actions would affect them more than anything. I chose to attempt to be like Christ through the divorce and relationship with their Dad. Oh, believe me I have failed BIGTIME, but I tried and continue to daily. I want to be forgiven of my sins so that meant I needed to forgive. This is what the Lord’s Prayer tells us in God’s word.

Matthew 6:9-15 — This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


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