I thought I knew a few things about God, life, myself and relationships pre-divorce… ha!! Needless to say, I knew so very little. It is interesting how going through the wilderness seasons can be so full of difficulties and yet it is during those times that we learn and grow the most.
Just a warning, this is a long post. I am breaking the “blogger’s 101 rules for success”…but I am okay with that! Believe me, there is more I could write on this subject so there may be a part 2 at a later time.
Please understand that journaling is heart therapy for me and because I am choosing to live #fearless in 2018, I am sharing! Everyone’s journey through divorce is different so not everyone will be able to relate to everything that I mention. However, just maybe there is at least one nugget that may help you in your own life if you find yourself in this place. If divorce is not a part of your story, maybe this will help you in understanding some of the thoughts and struggles that divorce brings to the heart and mind of someone you may love and care about.
The following is the result of things said to me, things I had to learn the hard way, things that God showed me, things that helped me, things that I struggled with and things that I felt needed to be said. New things will be added later as I am still on this journey. Please don’t judge me or anyone else who is walking down this road. Nobody approaches their wedding day thinking or wanting this to be a part of their story! It is so messy, so hard, and so crazy difficult!
First of all, you CAN be divorced AND love Jesus! You CAN have God’s favor and blessing over your life unlike what some may have told you! You are NOT a heathen. You have not been ousted from God’s grace and love. Yes, I had to say it! Now we can move on…ha!
Divorce is life-changing not life-ending! Your marriage may have died but you are still here! Believe Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11. The Word of God STILL applies to you! God’s promises for you have not changed!
Letting go of your toxic marriage is NOT giving up on God NOR your faith. There are times when it takes MORE faith and courage to let go than to hang on. KNOW the difference. I believed that lie for way longer than I care to admit to. Our Father God is so gracious toward His broken daughters!
There are many losses that divorce demands. The loss of your dreams, your family unit, some friends, your extended family, your “wife” and “Mrs.” status, your plans of growing old together, celebrating 50 years together, sharing grand-babies together and on and on. It is good heart therapy to make a list of your losses and take time to grieve over each one. It is a process. Embrace this season and the pain you are feeling. Don’t deny it or try to hide it so that you can get THROUGH it!
Need some joy? Let God use you in the midst of your own brokenness! Yep, it is possible! Sister, you have NOT been put on a shelf! You are not deemed unusable for the Kingdom of God. That is a lie from the enemy! I understand that you may need to take a break from some ministry commitments for a season, and understandably so. However, being overly self-absorbed for a lengthy period of time is not at all beneficial. Take some time to reach out or simply make yourself available to encourage a hurting sister. Not only will it bring you joy to do so, but it might just help with your own healing!
You will be judged. That’s okay! Not everyone will understand because not everyone knows the details of your story…AND not everyone needs to know. The Lord will reveal truth in His timing to those who need to know, the rest… let go!
Guard your heart! You are vulnerable! Give yourself time to heal. Give your kids time to heal. Do NOT rush into another relationship! Make peace with who you are and embrace your singleness. Wait until you can confidently say and know that you are going to be okay with or without being in another relationship. Ask your Godly mentors and friends if they think you are ready to date. USE wisdom! Don’t be needy thinking you HAVE to have another man in your life…sister, you don’t! Under these circumstances, desperation invites devastation! Seek God’s will for YOU!! HE knows what you need! Deal with your stuff…your mess, as much as possible so that you are not a target for another toxic person to come along and bring MORE messiness to your life. Remember, your choices effect all those in your sphere of influence, especially your children….choose wisely!
The big “D” label it feels you are wearing on your forehead does not exist. You are not an outcast as though you have the plague. Hold your head up! You are the beloved daughter of God Almighty! Walk like it, talk like it, and act like it!
Find your tribe! You will need prayer warriors who will go to battle for you and your kids on a consistent basis. You will need those surrounding you who will speak God’s truths to you to combat the lies that the enemy wants you to believe. You will need mentors, counselors and/or pastors who will come along side of you giving you encouragement and much needed support, wisdom and even rebuke. This is so very important! Seek them out! Pray about who God wants to use in your life that will have your best interest at heart along with Godly wisdom. There will be days when you will be in a brain fog, numb, and unable to even pray, but these precious God-sent people will fill in the gaps and lock shields in prayer on your behalf. DO not for one second underestimate the power of your inner circle and those who you are allowing to speak into your life!
The enemy is your accuser, not God! You are a child of God. Your marital status does NOT define you, only God does!
Do NOT use your kids to hurt or get back at your ex. Do NOT try to get them on your “side” by slandering and speaking negatively about your ex! Do NOT post degrading and ugly things on social media about your ex! Your children don’t miss a thing! They are watching! They are listening! Let God be your defender. Let God reveal truth. Do NOT bring more messiness to their broken hearts by taking part in this type of yuck! Love your kids MORE than yourself and your need for revenge! (Leave the revenge part in God’s hands! Take the high road always! Read and study Psalm 37) Look out for their best interests! Keeping your mouth shut is the best policy. If they ask questions, speak truth as God leads but stick with the facts. Don’t bring your emotions into it. This is not easy but the most beneficial and God honoring, heart-protecting thing you can do.
Some relationship dynamics will change. Don’t be upset with the friends who do not send you invites any longer. Show grace. After all, it’s awkward. Things ARE different. Just maybe they do not know what to do with you so they just don’t invite you. They don’t want to hurt your feelings when all the couples show up and then there is you. Maybe they think they are protecting you. Again, show grace, live in grace, and do NOT let offense take root in your heart. You have enough messiness to deal with, don’t add to it! God knows the close circle of friends that you need surrounding you. Be thankful for them and don’t get bogged down with those who are choosing to love you at a distance, it’s okay!
Live. One. Day. At. A. Time. Seriously, I HAD to live this way on my darkest days. I could not fathom my tomorrows and how things were going to turn out with all the craziness that never seemed to end. Friend, God will give you grace for THIS day. AND when tomorrow comes He will give you sufficient grace for THAT day. He tells us to NOT worry about tomorrow. Be obedient to His word. Trust Him with ALL of your heart. AND at the end of the day do it all again the next day! HE is faithful!
There are times when you will want to hide from the world and go into seclusion. This is okay in small amounts but if you find yourself in a pity party in which you can’t seem to find the exit door, force yourself to reach out to a friend or mentor. You were not created to live life without community. Recognize that caving into seclusion is a tactic by the enemy to destroy you. Don’t let him. YOU have a choice to make….choose wisely and don’t ignore that text from a friend or that phone call. It just may be God’s life line and blessing towards you…receive it!
If your ex is toxic (and maybe even if he is not), cut off all ties except for what is absolutely necessary (due to children). Looking at his posts on social media will keep you bound and hold you back from moving forward. I did this. I looked. I watched. I checked it often. AND guess what? It was NOT at all beneficial to me or my healing, it was just the opposite. I ugly cried, I battled with the “that’s not fair” scenarios, I got angry, I had to forgive over and over again, I lived in fear. I wanted to defend myself (thankfully, I didn’t! Always choose the high road!!!)….it broke me time and time again. Everyone kept telling me to stop but I found it so difficult to do. Thankfully, God’s mercy saw to it that it was stopped by His intervention and I am SO thankful! Guess what it did for me? FREEDOM! That’s right! Wow! I did not even realize how very much it was affecting me until it was stopped. I walked a little more upright without that heavy burden of accusations and negativity that I was allowing to keep me bound. I moved forward in ways that I hadn’t before. It may be hard to do but once you break that need to “see” and “know” you will find freedom that is so lovely, I promise! LET it go!!! Just do it already!
It’s okay to not be okay! You will experience some of the same emotions as if someone you loved had died. You may be sad, angry, depressed, lonely, and downright heartbroken… you are normal! You are grieving the death of your marriage. It’s a process. You are not crazy! AND just when you think you have got your footing, it starts all over again. That just means you loved deeply and there is no fault in that! Jesus’ promise to you is that He is with you…He is close to you in your brokenness! You are NOT alone! Psalm 27:18 declares it!
This could very well be the time that you have to be braver than you have ever been! You may have to stand up for what you believe is right! Let God empower your backbone! Fight for righteousness, fight for what’s in the best interest of your kids, speak the truth and don’t cower in the face of opposition. You will be surprised at the inner strength and courage Gods give you….it’s a beautiful thing, really! “Jesus makes me brave” became the words I spoke over myself SO many times! AND He DID it! I did things I felt so incapable of doing because of Jesus in me! He is the difference maker AND game changer in any and all things that we will face in this life! We are blessed! If God is for you, who can be against you? Romans 8:31
Just to re-emphasize…..You may have lost your partner in life but recognize that you are not alone, not ever. God is your partner, He will help you and fill in the gaps. He will help you as a single mom, as well! It’s you and Jesus and He will not fail you!
A few final thoughts…
Friend, you are going to be okay! Jesus came for broken girls just like you and me. His Word tells us that He came to bind up the broken-hearted (Isaiah 61:3). He is the God of new beginnings and fresh starts. He forgives, heals, redeems and makes new!! I understand that this is not the life you had planned. It stinks. It hurts. It’s devastating. However, this is NOT the end of your story! There are chapters still to be written! The Lord’s GOOD plans for you are STILL good and have not changed just because your marital status changed. What you are going through right now is only for a season. It will not always be this hard or hurt this deeply! I promise! I understand that may be difficult to imagine right now. However, I am confident that you will look back one day and be amazed at what you gleaned and the beauty that emerged from this time of broken holy dependence upon God…..from one broken sister to another, that is TRUTH, my friend! Our God is faithful, Believe it!