The great untold story of my divorce on how much it hurts – and not just the spouse who’s left behind but also even the spouse who’s doing the leaving.
2013 was my worst year. It was a year equal to the time my biological mother passed away. Many people who have gone through divorce remember that it feels: it felt like having a piece of you ripped away. It hurt to breathe.
People who haven’t been through a divorce sometimes can’t understand how deep, how searing, and how debilitating the pain is. Try if you want to explain it to them; they probably just won’t get it.
You go through distorted thoughts. You feel like a pinball machine. Your mind is racing, bouncing all over without any direction. What makes it worse is that there is little time for you to correctly process any of it and take the appropriate action to correct it.
Another reason it hurts so much is that most people who are going through divorce are having to deal with so many losses all at the same time. You’re hurting for a broken relationship and at the same time, you’re also hurting over the changes in your life. Sometimes you have to change where you live, how you spend your day, what you can afford to do, how much time you spend with your children and on what schedule, and how you can plan for the future, all while you’re trying to deal with judges and lawyers. And whether we like to admit it or not, there’s still a sense of shame connected with divorce. People who are going through divorce feel like failures.
It doesn’t mean, though, that you’re powerless to do anything to deal with the pain. But what do you do with that kind of pain and shame?
You give it to God. If we trust God, the heat of hardship could drive us deeper into his sustaining grace as He forms something beautiful out of the ashes.
As he did with Adam in the Garden, God took the embers of my shattered heart and created a new purpose.
I have learned that God does hate divorce, but not for the reasons we hear in most churches, “it breaks His law.”
“I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat (Malachi 2:16 MSG)
This situation in Malachi’s day differs from God’s use of metaphor to show how he felt about the disobedience of his people. God’s words, “I hate divorce,” follow an accusation against husbands who chose to do violence to their covenant marriages by divorcing godly wives, leaving them for idol-worshiping younger women. After these unfaithful husbands linked up with pagan women, the men cried out to God because he refused to hear them.
Remember God himself said he divorced Israel (Isaiah 50:1 & Jeremiah 3). Did he hate his actions? In the latter case, God divorced Israel to bring the nation to repentance. It was a love motivated move with the desire for reconciliation at its core. What a contrast to what the men in Malachi’s day were doing!
Divorce is a violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.”
The root reason for why God hated divorce is much more intimate, more affectionate. God knows that divorce deeply wounds and attempts to destroy his precious Beloved. Divorce endeavors to steal, kill, and destroy God’s creation. Divorce tried to assassinate me. That’s why God hates divorce.
When divorce happens, God can use it. He can redeem what was lost. He will make you like new. He does not waste our hurts. “I was reading in 2 Samuel when God chose David and told him he would always have a descendant on the throne of Israel. I was thinking about how totally and completely God chose David, and yet only a few chapters later David would sleep with Bathsheba and have Uriah killed. God wasn’t surprised by that. God chose us knowing everything about us, from beginning to end, and just like David, who repented and remained a man after God’s own heart; we too can repent and know he is there. Jesus died not because we earned it. Jesus died because we couldn’t earn it and he wanted us to be able to have a relationship with him. That’s the beauty of the Gospel, that’s the hope that we get to live in.” This is a promise we get to pursue: God is holding all of us together.” He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together (Colossian 1:17 NLT)
He is so mighty that the sins done to us – and the sins done by us – can be used for his glory, if we let him. And that’s what he did for me. He gave me a passion for the hurting by bringing this verse to life: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come” (Isaiah 61:1-2a, NLT).
For three and half years, I’ve ministered to hurting people through Facebook, Instagram, support groups, and for those who have ears to hear, and desire to have a heart like Christ. For 2017, I am working on a book project: “A Collection of Short Stories and Photography”
I believe in the power of storytelling. Stories of real people and real lives, beautifully broken, each speak of a different journey and a different struggle. But all tell the same story of hope and redemption through having experienced Jesus.
Hope is not found in perfect people with perfect families. It cannot be seen in people who made all the right choices and found all the right answers. It’s found in the brokenness and the mess of real life. Hope is found when you are furthest from it, when you cannot see it or reach out and touch it. Hope is found in the darkness.
You have a story to tell. Each us is a continually unfolding narrative, a hero in a novel no one else can write. And yet so many of us leave our stories untold, our songs unsung. Your story might be the key to the someone else’s prison door.
The My Story project gives you an opportunity to flex your voice, have your story witnessed, see yourself in print, and create a book with your own story with a positive impact to other people who are hurting.
If you’re interested in being one of the storytelling voices in my project, I invite you to connect with me via email, text, or messenger.
My Story, A Collection of Short Stories and Photography