This is a continuation of a new series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. I sent out the call for stories that answered either ‘what is one lesson God has taught you?’ or ‘what is one way God has healed you?’ through their hard marriages, their separations, their divorces, their single mothering seasons, their forays into dating post-divorce, or even their remarriages. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.
Divorce (as it was taught to me) is sinful, shameful, is characteristic of giving up, and is [nearly] always preventable.
And then it happened to me.
I will not go into all the messy details. Suffice it to say our marriage was a roller coaster ride that ended in my learning of his affair that had been going on for five of the six years we were married. I had caught him cheating two other times during our marriage. Both times, I stayed and forgave and worked on it; we even had a baby during that time. He never stayed away from the other woman/women for long, though.
There were two ways to handle this horrific tale that was now my reality: the first consisted of days spent lying on the couch, drinking wine, throwing myself into a new relationship – anything to mask the pain. The second consisted of clinging to Jesus. I chose the latter.
In the beginning, I did not sleep well. I would lie awake in bed from about 4:00 am on. I decided to spend that time with God. God gave me so many gracious, sweet epiphanies and affirmations during those wee morning hours spent in prayer, scripture, and journaling.
I’m not going to gloss over things; this has been hell. I am a single mom of a two year old. I work full time. I do everything alone. I had to let die the dreams I’d held dear since age 16. However, God has given me grace unimaginable. Somehow I’ve been able to get up every day and go to work. I’ve been able to pay bills and take care of my daughter. There’s no reason I should be able to do those things. This should have destroyed me. But God has carried me through every gut-wrenching moment.
One thing God has taught me is that He truly gives beauty for ashes, as Isaiah 61 tells us. There is so much ugliness involved in divorce. The reason God hates divorce is because it is so painful and damaging. Even though I’ve lived in this muck and mire, God can still use me. I am certain God is not done in my situation.
Maybe my ex-husband will be saved as a result of his brokenness over losing his family. Maybe I will be able to raise my daughter to be a strong Christian woman who finds her worth in Christ instead of in a man or in a marriage. Maybe I will be able to help another woman going through divorce or single motherhood. God has given me hope, and I know from experience He truly restores the most shattered of hearts.
I have learned through this that I am a Child of God. I’ve always known I am, but I haven’t understood what that really means. It’s a Christianese term that loses its meaning at times. God has shown me through this that I am more than someone’s wife; I am more than the success (or lack thereof) of my marriage. I am His first and foremost. He’s got me.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/elisabethkleinfisher.
If in a difficult marriage:
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom:
Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store