It has been just short of two years since my divorce. For the first year and a half, thinking about entering into a new relationship has had no appeal. Instead, I lived with an intentional guarded heart as I poured my time and energy into my children and in the quiet moments, gleaning over all that had previously transpired. It was a precious season of healing and blessings in spite of the many court dates, the attorney fees, the forced bravery and the utter unbelievable craziness that had unfolded. However, within this defining journey, came the realization of how very distracted my mind had been throughout the longevity of my marriage, by the way, which never served me nor my children well. I could easily say this became an idol in my life, an all consuming thief of my emotional energy and time. I was overly occupied with fighting for my marriage and for my husband. This is not a bad thing…for a season. However, being on this side of that battle shows me that I was fighting a war I would never win without losing myself in the process. I am not talking about the lose-yourself-like-Jesus-sacrificial way but the lose-yourself-like-your-heart-doesn’t-matter kind of way. Yet, I was determined. Many of my days consisted of feeling overwhelmed and anxious about doing all I could to keep my family together while dealing with my own personal brokenness and pain. I had learned to wear the mask well and hide my messy self behind my stubborn faith and relentless hope that things would get better. However, I know in my heart that my preoccupation with my, then husband, and his issues is what occupied a huge space in my thoughts and with my actions.
It is interesting and yet, sad to me how we can learn to live with brokenness and weeping wounds, for YEARS for the sake of marriage, children, reputation, and what you think is the “biblical” way for those who claim to follow Jesus. The pain is always there no matter how hard you try to pray it away. However, God is so faithful! He is right there with you in the middle of your mess. He is so very gracious to His daughters whose only desire was to grow up, get married, have children and live their happily ever after. Am I the only one? I don’t think so! Maybe you are reading this right now, and you can relate. I can tell you, my God never left me. His sweet presence enabled me to rise, if only my head at times, from the pit that had become so familiar in a twisted yet comfortable way and I am utterly thankful! He saw every gut wrenching tear and I am wholly confident that He even divinely protected my heart from things that I still to this day, do not know a thing about. AND, I am okay with not knowing. I know enough. Exposing lies and secrets became my dreaded challenge time and time again. However, the uncovering of hurtful things never got easier, never.
My prayers for my, then husband, and our marriage were not answered the way I, and so many others had prayed and hoped, and I am okay with that now, too. He had his issues and I had mine. We were both broken, just broken differently. By God’s undeserved and extravagant grace, He rescued me. The lie that I had held close for so long was gently and unashamedly exposed. To let go of my marriage was not, by no means, giving up on God NOR my faith. It was quite the opposite. Trusting that my God had brought me through only to lead me out took MORE bravery and MORE courage and challenged my faith way beyond what this girl could ever muster. Instead of gaining a healthy marriage, I gained something so much more than I even have words to express. I gained Christ. Yes, I know… I was His daughter throughout but I have undeniably experienced a deeper level of his amazing grace, his presence, his love, his strength, his faithfulness, and his blessings like I had never experienced before. All this in the midst of my broken, unpredictable and unintended journey. That to me, is worth SO much more than answered prayers. What I have experienced is something that no earthly relationship can ever compare to, at least that’s my broken girl story, for now.
I am not shameful of who I was all those years, at least not now. I have worked through the shame that tried to attach itself to me in my brokenness. You see, I know I tried. I tried REALLY hard to be the best wife I could be and the best mom I could be. I endeavored to do everything I could to fix us, to fix him (this is NOT recommended, you can only fix yourself), to make it better, to hide the hurt and to survive. I was not at all perfect nor was I a “holier than thou” kind of wife. I had my sins, my struggles, and my shattered heart that wanted control so that I would not get hurt, again. I have realized that is what fueled my selfish stubbornness, at times. I own it. AND I have released it, forgiven by my Father whose extravagant love for me overshadows the broken girl that I have been. If not for the grace of God, where would I be?
Subsequently, the first year following my divorce I found freedom. Freedom to be the mom I had always longed to be buried beneath the insecurities, the confirmed suspicions and a wounded heart. My kids captured my complete attention. They are who I built my life around. Them and Jesus. We needed each other. They needed to know by my priorities that they had someone in their corner. Someone that they could depend on. Someone who would love them, invest in them, and love them unconditionally. And I needed to know that I could do this single mom thing with the Lord up girding me, day in and day out. Life as we knew it had forever changed; new home, new school, new job, new friends, and only the three of us. And yet, our faith was our constant companion. Our God never changes even when we feel ripped to shreds in the confines of the crazy and the messy. Even when our heads were bent low attempting to escape the new labels and scary statistics that the world threw at us. By the way, have you seen them lately? Well, don’t seek them out if you are a divorced parent….your kids don’t stand a chance from what I have read. BUT GOD is all I can say to that!!! HE IS BIGGER!!! Amen?
Since then, we have pushed through, we have stood together, strong though broken. We have experienced God’s sweetest blessings through the relentless support of family, faithful friends, church family and Pastors. We have proven that life can go on after such brokenness and that we can even laugh, smile, and enjoy our space again. The beauty of God in our midst is the light that has invited confident hope in the darkest places of our hearts. It has not been easy. I will not candy coat any of it. There has been more hard stuff and more brokenness to walk through that caught me blind sided. That. is. life. My “word” for 2017 was surrender and that is exactly what I had to do time and time again. Hitting the carpet in abandoned surrender was truly my survival arsenal. AND yet, again, God has been so faithful. HE has been our Anchor that has held us steady through the most horrific storms. I am abundantly thankful!
A new season is within reach! I am looking forward to the future God has for me and for my children with expectancy and anticipation and maybe, just maybe I will find love again and if not, that’s okay, too! My God is faithful! My God is enough! I am one blessed girl that has learned that trusting God does not always mean our marriages will be saved or our journey will look like what we had desired or even prayed for.
What about you? Has your life taken you on an unintended journey? Have there been gut-wrenching prayers that seemed to go unnoticed and unanswered? Sweet sister, God has heard every single one! You and I can be fully confident that our loving and gracious Father is creating beauty from our ashes, purpose from our pain and preparing us for our eternal ever after! So be it, Lord!