Limbo Living - Elisabeth Klein
Question (from Facebook community): “{I am} waiting…until I am healed, until he chooses recovery, and the big one – until God releases me from the marriage or tells me to keep it together. I just want to move on one way or another, I want to grieve it if it needs be done, or rebuild if it needs to be rebuilt. I don’t feel like I can hope for anything at this point. How do you deal with the limbo?” 

From my wedding date to asking for help the final time was sixteen-and-a-half years. That means I lived in difficult marriage limbo for sixteen-and-a-half years. It wasn’t limbo in that I had hoped or thought a divorce would one day come. It was limbo in that I didn’t know if our relationship would ever evolve, change or heal beyond the arguing and deception I found myself in almost constantly. I had no idea if healing would ever come, even though I prayed for it continually. All of this was limbo. 

Then from the point of going to my church leadership in utter desperation, knowing it was my last shot, and asking for help to the point of being released by my church leadership to legally separate was fifteen months. It was another three months until I found out I was being counter-sued for divorce. And another eleven months after that until my divorce was final. All of this was limbo. 

So how do we deal with it, this not knowing what’s coming?  

Grieve what you can. Yes, it is harder to grieve while death is still going on around you, but you can grieve what is in front of you. Anything that isn’t what you thought it would be needs to be grieved. Just the fact that you’re in this position, you have losses that you can see before you. Talk through them with someone. Make sure you’re working from a place of reality and not a place of denial. Use this in-between time to process the losses so far, which will in turn prepare you to handle whatever path is just up ahead. 

Heal what you can.Again, yep, it’s harder to heal while still in the war. But look at this time as being sent to the hospital mid-battle to be treated and to mend. Whichever path is coming – reconciliation or divorce – will require a strength that you do not have in this tender place. So shore up your reserves now. Soak in Scripture now. Ask for intercessory prayer now. Start exercising now. Get into a counselor or a recovery group now. Avail yourself to every ounce of healing you can while you wait. 

Enjoy what you can. Life does not wait for us to get through a hard time. Commit right now to do something you enjoy every single day, even in your lowest moments. Take a walk while fall leaves are scattering to the ground. Read a novel with a cup of coffee next to a fire. Meet a friend for lunch. Go window-shopping at that cute little town you keep meaning to drive to. Life is a gift and it’s precious, even in the middle of all the hard and sharp edges. You can’t afford to wait for things to die down to start living your life. 

Remember that all of life is a waiting season. Though our situations may be unique – not knowing if our marriage is going to make it or not – the fact that we’re waiting on a circumstance to change is as old as time. Live now. Walk with Jesus now. Do the next right thing now. 

Remember that God is sovereign. Oh, sweet girl, he’s got this. He not only sees you now, because he’s above time, he sees how this is all going to wrap up. And between now and then, he’s there, with you, every moment, getting you through it in his higher-ways power. Rest in that. 

Hope in God alone, not in your circumstances.  There is not one verse in the Bible that says that God will make our lives turn out the way we want him to — trust me, I’ve looked.  And there are no verses that tell us to hope in something turning out a certain way. We are instructed time and again, though, to hope in who God is.  We need to fix our eyes on what is unseen — God — not on what is seen — our crazy lives 

Limbo sucks. (Pardon my French.) There’s no getting around it. No one likes not knowing what’s coming, but if you think about it, that’s all of us, every day for our entire lives, anyway. So, do what you can. Make wise choices today. Love your children the best ways you know how. Take care of yourself. And lean on Jesus. He’ll hold you through the limbo and whatever is just around the bend.

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.