Throwback Thursday always makes me smile. If you’re not an Instagram user, each Thursday people post “throwback” pictures from yesteryear. They are sweet and often funny. I used to love flipping through pictures, looking for snapshots of my kiddos when they were crawling or missing a few teeth. Such cuteness.
But, the last few weeks I’ve hated looking for an older picture of them to post for #TBT. Every album holds a reminder of what should have been but isn’t.
My family – all four of us – smiling back at me through the screen. I look at each picture and remember…we really were happy at that time – or we really were miserable that year. I often get stuck, looking at pictures, wondering exactly what went wrong.
What was the turning point? We all know troubled marriages are a slow fade. Couples just don’t wake up one morning, happily married, and look at each other and say, “Let’s get a divorce.”
Something happens. And that “something” comes from somewhere – from some other brokenness laid down long ago. While there seems to be one thing – an affair, a fight, an addiction, a death – that is the “reason” for the divorce, it’s much deeper than that. One has an affair or becomes addicted because of something else.
I lay awake at night…write page after page…analyze moment after moment, searching for that “thing” – the issue. Sadly, I so easily focus on the what and the how of the brokenness, that I forget about the who ruling the brokenness – my Creator.
I also forget the smiles – the happiness - the genuinely joyful moments.
Truly, my marriage should have ended in 2007. And if not then, then 2009 or 2012 should have been the end.
But, I stayed. My husband stayed. We sought counsel and we tried. Most wouldn’t believe all we did to “save” our marriage. From focusing on God individually to seeking him as a couple. Conferences. Retreats. We moved three times. I could go and on.
Finally, we gave up.
And, I was MAD. Mad I had stayed. Mad I had tried. Why in the world would God call me or my husband to “stay” when He knew how this would end?
I stayed in that place for months.
Friends…studying about and for Lent…a Beth Moore Bible study…daily prayer time – all have been helpful in the “moving.”
Then, Throwback Thursday.
I was looking through albums on my Facebook.
What if I decided to remember the “good” in those pictures? The smiles and giggles of my children. The time spent with one another, laughing and loving. The time spent molding my children into God followers.
What if I stopped dwelling on the broken, the what might have beens, the what should have beens, and the what ifs?
What if I chose thankful instead of resentful?
Being married beyond 2007 allowed me to homeschool my children. They had a present mom, who sat with them, conversed with them, and loved on them instead of a mom scrambling to keep up with life on her own.
Yes, they suffered some under the tension. Yes, they now come from a broken home. Yes, their chances of healthy marriages plummeted according to the statistics. Yes, you can find research on all that crap online and in books. And, it’s probably valid.
But, if their momma doesn’t live in the past – especially the past hurt. If she can look up and look back with thankfulness for the story God has written so far. For the good He has worked, provision He has given, and love He has shown…what might that look like? How might that change our present and future?
Thus far the Lord has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)
He has not left me or my family or my husband to sit in brokenness. He is still present. Still sovereign. God continues to love and care for us – even when we can’t feel or see Him.
So, on this Throwback Thursday, I am remembering, “Thus far the Lord has helped me.” And, He will continue. When I look back at past pictures or recall previous years, I won’t analyze them for hurt or how. I won’t ponder the problems or pain.
I will smile. Not in a “pretend all is ok” way, but in a “I am thankful for the good” way.
I am thankful for THAT moment when we all loved. While those moments are gone, many new ones await. God is still doing a good work in our lives. We are still loving and laughing.
Early on in the divorce process, Owen asked me, “Mom, do you believe God still has a plan for all of us?” I said yes, but felt no.
All seemed hopeless.
But, yes, sweet Owen. God still has a plan for ALL of us. He loves ALL of us.
Thus far He has helped us, and He will continue.