Happily Ever After

Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce


By Kristin Armstrong

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Kristin began her recovery from divorce to professional cyclist Lance Armstrong with a ring of 3 x 5 note cards. Each one held a hand-selected passage of scripture that helped her cope and survive that stage of her life. Now, in this powerful daily devotional, Kristin offers the same inspiring verses that helped transform her heart and complements them with her own compassionate, personal messages of faith and love.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER is a year long daily devotional designed to help women through one of life’s most difficult times. Each entry contains a Bible verse and personal reflection from Kristin, helping readers maintain an open heart through their pain, confide in God at every stage of grief and despair, and forgiving those who have hurt them because they have been forgiven by God’s grace. As readers continue on their road to recovery, Kristin’s spiritually rejuvenating devotional will bring new hope to each passing day of divorce recovery.


© Copyright 2007 by Kristin Armstrong

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW

INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.


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First eBook Edition: July 2008

ISBN: 978-0-446-54724-6



This month is to be for you the first month,

the first month of your year.


This year will be epic for you—momentous in so many ways. You will see both ends of the spectrum of good days and bad days, and you will learn to treasure the simplicity and grace of middle ground.

As much as it may not feel like your year right now, maintain an open mind. The Lord is already at work behind the scenes, transforming your life and you. He is making you into the woman He had in mind when He created you. Prepare to continually be at a crossroad, as many choices are in front of you. Every day, many times a day, you will make decisions that determine the rest of your story. You can choose healing or resentment, freedom or unforgiveness, love or closure, joy or despair.

Each choice, made faithfully, leads to more choices. Eventually you will be surprised to find yourself healed, whole, and happily living your brand-new life. It's okay if you think that sounds crazy or impossible, because in 2003 I thought the same thing. God loves to laugh at the impossible, and soon enough, you'll be laughing too.



The fruit of righteousness will be peace;

the effect of righteousness

will be quietness and confidence forever.

ISAIAH 32:17

The poet Robert Frost describes in his well-known poem "The Road Not Taken" two roads diverging in the woods and the timeless dilemma of choosing which path to take.

You are at this juncture. You stand on the threshold of a decision with implications of eternal magnitude. The road splits here—choose the path of righteousness and live in the light, or choose the path of rationalization and remain in the dark. It is imperative that you recognize the significance of a clean and complete healing and choose your path accordingly.

This choice not only affects you, but it can also shape the legacy you leave for your children and grandchildren. The path of sour bitterness, crusty resentment, and cold regret breeds generations of despair. The path of righteousness grants generations of peace, quietness, and confidence.

You won't find the right path by default; the choice is deliberate. Which path leads to the kind of life you desire for yourself and those you love? Choose wisely.



We are hard pressed on every side,

but not crushed;

perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned;

struck down, but not destroyed.


"That which does not kill you only makes you stronger."

"God never gives you more than you can bear."

These are some worldly equivalents of the above Scripture from 2 Corinthians. When I first read those verses, I certainly felt pressed, perplexed, persecuted, abandoned, and struck down. I wanted to wallow in those feelings. I was angry at God. I had a very bad case of, "Why me?"

Why not me?

Throughout history, the strongest faith journeys have had seasons of pain and adversity. With Christ as our pinnacle example, we can say with confidence that it is impossible to be of great faith and not endure suffering. Hard times are inescapable. Now, how we react to hard times is indeed another matter. We can look away from God in anger and unbelief, and if we choose to remain this way, be crushed, in despair, abandoned, and destroyed. Or we can look to God, and know beyond our understanding that He is at the core of our testing, and that Jesus alone lights a path to the other side.



Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


Now is not the time to make sense of this mess. You are too tired, your perspective is too limited, and you don't have the strength or the vision to do this on your own. The stronger you are in worldly terms, the more difficult it is to submit in spiritual terms. But really, what choice do you have?

Trust means letting go of your floundering attempts to manipulate people, circumstances, or timing. It is a grand release of control, returning the reins to the only One who knows the way home. Think about it; if you knew what you were doing, would you be here?

Sweetheart, now is the time to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Today. He knows exactly what He's doing and why. He has a beautiful vision for you and your life in the future that you would not understand or believe if it were described to you. Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead, focused on the author of your happy ending.



Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

ISAIAH 40:31

I am a marathon runner. Not particularly fast or talented, but one who loves the metaphor of running. I have experienced the parallels between physical and spiritual endurance, and they were a "Thomas-finger-poke" in the firmament of my faith. The doubter in me needed to touch the pain, to feel the hopelessness of my own weakness, and a marathon was God's workshop for me.

There is a place where our humanity, be it our emotional will or physical strength, simply stops. We come to the end of our personal resources. I have felt this in the midst of my divorce, and at mile 20 of a 26.2 mile marathon distance, I know what it is to come to the end of me.

Precisely then, when I am utterly spent, I call out to God, and His hand reaches for me and carries me to the end of the race. There is simply no other explanation. Isaiah 40:31 is my race day meditation. It will carry you to the finish as well.



The moon will shine like the sun,

and the sunlight will be seven times brighter . . .

when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people.

ISAIAH 30:26

The darkness is intimidating.

I remember feeling afraid, lost, floundering, and very, very small. It was hard for me to be still long enough for my eyes to adjust, so I kept running into walls.

During this bleak time, the only thing I could find to cling to was the Lord's promise of light up ahead. Once I stood still and asked for direction, I moved shakily forward . . . step-by-step . . . into the faint hue of illumination indicative of the great light that still lies ahead of me. Darkness is not only represented in our outward circumstances, it is often found in our own internal gloom, our dismal lack of repentance, or the bleak haze of unforgiveness in our hearts.

God doesn't promise just a flashlight or even a searchlight. He promises a light seven times brighter than the sun! Whatever bright memories of our old lives we cling to, let's drop them and move on into the glorious future shining in the distance.



What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


It seems impossible to imagine right now, from where you are, that this season is temporary. Doesn't it seem your life is defined by these circumstances? That you will feel this way forever? That this is your new reality? Wisdom speaks through God's Word. He is telling us that this pain is temporary, that we will transcend these circumstances, and that this is not the life He has in store for us.

I have often imagined myself wandering around lost in one of those huge mazes made by tall, carefully cut European shrubs. If I just sit down and cry, utterly frustrated by it all, how would I know that the path to exit is just around the next bend in the maze? I cannot see far enough in front of me to know how much farther I have to go. The mere idea of endurance without end is overwhelming to me. The only ultimate perspective is from above! God sees the beginning and the end, and every twist and turn in between.

Don't give in to weakness by dwelling on what you see today. Look through it, as hard as it is, to the vision just beyond your sight.



I am the Lord, who heals you.

EXODUS 15:26

When you are hurting, many people will come out of the woodwork to present you with remedies "sure" to alleviate your pain. There are many choices in the natural world . . . yoga, therapy, acupuncture, exercise, sleeping pills, coping pills, massage, shopping too much, working too much, changes in diet, books, tapes, alcohol, sex. You name it, they will suggest it.

You may try any one or a combination of these so-called solutions. Don't beat yourself up about it if you have, because it's natural to look around for immediate relief. We have been raised in a society based on immediate gratification. If we're experiencing pain, we look for the fastest way to avoid it, and if this isn't possible, we numb it out. We have plenty of methods of avoidance and anesthesia. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, we come to the end of the line with these methods. We build up a tolerance to them and require more, only to grow increasingly frustrated and empty.

It is impossible to avoid pain; you must walk through it or it will wait for you around every corner. And it is impossible to numb pain; you must experience it fully to come cleanly out the other side.

The only suggestion worth heeding is the only path of true healing—Jesus Christ.



[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

PSALM 147:3

Gather up as many pieces of your broken heart as you can find, and take them to the altar. Place them there, at the foot of the cross. Bow and walk away. Resist the temptation to go back to collect the debris and try to place the misshapen fragments back together. Chances are, you'll miss a piece, bleed to death while you try, or attempt to force pieces that didn't fit that way to begin with.

Psalm 147 promises that the Lord will bind our wounds. Imagine Him, tenderly assessing the damage and compassionately wrapping your injuries. He experienced pain; He knows the depth of agony. He alone has the power to remedy your situation, and He promises to heal your broken heart.

I like to imagine His holy hands, radiant and glowing with the full power of creation. I picture those warm hands surrounding my heart, enclosing it completely. I like to think about how He remains in that position, guarding my heart until it is healed properly and fully. He protects me from injury until He declares me ready to love again.

DAY 10


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.


When I first heard this verse, I was a terrified woman. I was weak and wimpy and discouraged. I cried in the shower, at church, and anytime I drove alone.

These words spoke like a spear, aimed directly into my wounded heart. It was the tough love I needed from my heavenly Father. I committed this verse to memory and spoke it aloud at the first sign of fear. I took it as intended, not as a suggestion but as a command. Although I did not see myself as strong or courageous, I pretended I was—or at least that I could be because the Lord promised to be with me.

Soon enough I was no longer pretending. Something fierce and ugly would block my path, and I felt like a warrior, not a coward. So will you. It's not my promise; it's a promise from our Father.

DAY 11


Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.


Much is written in the Bible about the full armor of God—the breastplate, shield, helmet, boots, and sword. The imagery is powerful and mystical. The final sentence of Ephesians 6:13 is a statement that is majestic and stunning, profound and without frill: "and after you have done everything, to stand."

Your part is to dress properly and leave the rest to Him. You don't need to have the last word. You don't need to keep looking over your shoulder. Do what you can and then stand strong. Take God's armor: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. Wrap yourself in these protections . . . and experience God's blessing. Then stand in strength. You can face your trials, discouragements, and challenges when you are clothed in His armor.

Stop! Be still! He will enable you to stand.

DAY 12


The testing of your faith develops perseverance.


Patience is more than waiting for an answer or for the receipt of blessing.

Patience is deeper than struggling with the passage of time.

Patience is the practice of trusting even when we cannot see.

Patience forces us to focus on doing our part, while we wait for God to do His.

Patience pinpoints areas where we must grow in order to receive.

Patience evokes a spirit of humility because we recognize that we are not in charge.

Patience involves seeking the Source instead of the solution.

Patience is maturity revealed.

Patience is the art of waiting, expectantly, joyfully, and quietly, when you have no idea what you are waiting for.

Patience is the ability to stand perfectly still in the vortex of chaos, and be totally content to hang out until further notice simply because you have no intention or desire to move forward without His instruction.

DAY 13


Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.

EXODUS 14:13

Want to know my favorite word from the passage above? Today.

I know I was delivered at Calvary, and I have assurance I will be welcomed into eternity . . . but what comfort, what power, what peace to imagine the deliverance I can receive right here, today.

Whatever you are facing today, from the molehill to the mountain, you can bring it to the Lord. He promises not only to comfort and sustain you, but also to deliver you . . .meaning He promises to carry you safely to the other side.

If you look too far ahead, beyond the immediate steps He has illuminated for you, it is easy to be overwhelmed into a state of inertia and anxiety. The future is just a series of todays, and you have been promised deliverance through each one. With that knowledge, it is powerfully possible to overcome fear.

Stand firm.

DAY 14


Weeping may remain for a night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

PSALM 30:5

Okay, maybe this night seems a little long . . . but hang in there, because this promise is one of my favorites.

God is telling us to hold out, to wait on Him, to weep and let it out, to steady ourselves through the dark of night and look hopefully to a new day.

The new day holds more than an absence of weeping. I remember when I thought a numb day felt good, merely in contrast to a painful one. But God promises not just relief or respite from pain—but rejoicing! Surviving isn't enough, thriving is! The Lord does not carry us through a season of trial so that we will live lives of mediocrity! Why would He bother refining us if He didn't have great plans for us? Weep tonight if you need to, but look through your circumstances and tears to the celebration dawning ahead.

Look to the joy that awaits you in the future, and the daybreak of a new phase of your life.

DAY 15


I will give you a new heart and put a new

spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart

of stone and give you a heart of flesh.


After a weekend that felt like one painful test after another, I called my best friend in tears. I said, "Why won't this end? How strong does God want me to be, anyway? I can't take it anymore!"

Being a godly woman, and knowing me deeply like she does, she replied, "Perhaps it's the other way around, friend. You have been strong enough. God wants your heart to be soft and open."

I hadn't thought of it that way.

In response to heartbreak, betrayal, or shame, it is all too easy to develop a heart of stone. We think this will protect us from any more pain. Yet the problem with stone is that it feels nothing—no pain, but no love either. It is a trap that feels like self-preservation, but it is actually self-destruction.

The Lord wants to give you a heart of flesh. With His love you can emerge from a painful season of loss with a heart that is yielding, porous, and ready to receive the gifts He has waiting for you.

DAY 16


They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.


The greatest upset, the greatest potential danger of this season, is not a legal concern, not a financial concern, not even ultimately the burden we carry for our children . . . but a serious matter of the heart. The only thing more painful, and with longer and more serious ramifications than a broken heart, is a frozen one.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul warns us of the eternal consequences of allowing our hearts to harden. He doesn't paint a pretty picture . . . ignorance, darkness, and separation from God.

A soft heart is not weak or naive. To the contrary, wisdom, experience, and faith make for a strong heart, weathered by compassion and seasoned with mercy. A hardened heart is not protected, it is merely encased in injury, and it is painfully obvious to everyone but you. You may as well go around with a T-shirt that reads "Kick me."

Ask the Lord today to give you and to guard in you a soft heart and a gentle spirit.

DAY 17


...the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.


Perhaps you are becoming more aware of the empty spaces inside you . . . the longing, the ache, the nameless void that we all possess. We live in a frenzy to avoid this ache or in a desperate attempt to fill the space with anything we can get our hands on. We pile things into this internal cavern, not realizing that everything is falling through holes below. Being busy, or distracted, or pretending . . . none of these methods bring any relief.

Pain can be a great clarifier. If you choose, you can own up to the empty spaces. Admit to their existence and to the fact that they are causing you to bleed spiritually. Jesus is the living water. He can pour into your spirit and take up all the empty space within you. No opening is too small for water, even the smallest crack. No cistern is too large, for He is the limitless wellspring of life.

Ask Him to pour His cool, refreshing spiritual water into you. He will cleanse the dust, soothe the ache, and fill the emptiness with the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.

DAY 18


He is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives,

he does not come to the opening of the womb.

HOSEA 13:13

As Christians we have two births, a natural birth and a spiritual birth. One is of the flesh and the next is a birth of faith.

This awakening comes to different people at different times, depending on readiness, maturity, openness, and levels of pride and self-sufficiency. Some people are so pure of faith that this spiritual birth happens in childhood. Others, like me, have to work to get there with a combination of effort and the circumstantial stripping down of layers of independence.

Regardless of how we get to the spiritual labor/delivery room at our appointed time—unlike a natural birth, this time we must be willing to be reborn. We cannot remain in darkness and isolation when the time comes for us to be pushed into the world as a new creation.

DAY 19


See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up;

do you not perceive it?

ISAIAH 43:19

Nature is full of examples of radical change. A snake slithering out of old dull skin, revealing brilliant and defined coloration and shine. A butterfly emerging from time cloistered within the cocoon. The metamorphosis of the tadpole.

We know God created man above all creatures, to reflect His likeness and glory. So we too can expect to experience transformation of equally grand proportion.

Have you allowed others to box you in with their perspectives? Have you followed suit by diminishing your potential with self-imposed limitations? By asking God to define us, and believing only what He says about us, we can make great strides in becoming the godly women we were created to be. Even if you don't feel new yet, you can start doing things in a new way. Change begins in the heart, moves to the mind, and is expressed through action.

It's time to do a new thing. Ask the Lord to provide you a greater vision of yourself. Soon enough, people will perceive the new you.

DAY 20


You do not realize now what I am doing,

but later you will understand.

JOHN 13:7

Our vision now is incomplete . . . like a partial painting on a canvas, lyrics without melody, the corner section of a jigsaw puzzle, an unfinished conversation, or the frayed underside of needlepoint. We see what is missing, what is wrong, what is unexplained. It is impossible to have a master's perspective because we are the medium, not the Master.


On Sale
Apr 8, 2008
Page Count
384 pages

Kristin Armstrong

About the Author

Kristin Armstrong is a mother of three, a runner, a writer, and a speaker. She is the author of Happily Ever After, Strength for the Climb, Work in Progress, Heart of my Heart, and Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run. She is a contributing editor for Runner’s World magazine and writes a monthly column for Tribeza. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parent: Wise Austin, and Glamour. Kristin lives in Austin, Texas and Santa Barbara, California with her family.

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