Throwback Thursday {Even If Divorce Makes It Icky}

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.

family beach


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.

family w gansey

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.

fam photo young

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.

fam beach 2

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?

Because truly…

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.

fam wvu

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.

#TBT #Thankful


  1. Stacey Daze says:

    I love and adore this. Truly. Thank you for sharing your beautiful perspective when so many others would not blame you for being hurt still. No one could. You are exampling what I hope to be.

    • Thanks, Stacey…but I am hurt still in so many ways. I don’t trust – I assume everyone will betray me at some point – both unhealthy. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg 😉 To look back with a smile is daily decision too. I am not just ‘over it’ – I will have to make a conscious effort each day to look back and not become bitter. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  2. You are beautiful, inside and out. Love you, and your heart for Jesus.

    • Michelle Wilson says:

      I agree with. Crysta!!!!!! Your children are blessed to call you their Mother….

      • Thanks, Michelle – I love you much – along with the sparkle you add to every room you walk into – it’s a gift to know you!

    • Thanks, Crysta…you’re an excellent example to me…thank you for following Jesus authentically.

  3. Chrissie says:

    Beautiful! What courage, woman! What courage. Praying that His grace would continue to move you and your precious family.

  4. Felicia Thomas says:

    Sarah you are a very talented writer and a very strong woman.

  5. I can’t help but comment, it is like we lived the same lives and I am going through the divorce now. But I am thankful for my children’s ability to tell all their friends throughout grade school, jr high, and high school my parents are still married. I am thankful that it all happened after my oldest was ready to start his adult life. I am thankful that my youngest is off to college. I believe that God knew how I felt about marriage that it was a lifetime commitment and I believe he gave me the strength to endure so I could be that mother to my children that I wanted to be. I could not force my husband to stay could not make things better with him, but I know that was not what I was here for. I hope that there will come a day that I can be comfortable in the same room as the man I spent 21 years with, as I remind myself everyday that he is my children’s father. It doesn’t happen over night but with patience and prayer anything is possible. Thank you for sharing it came at time for me that it was very much needed. God bless you and God bless my friend who shared this.

    • I understand, Trish, your desire for your children to be able to tell their friends “my parents are married” – and it’s a gift for sure. But, my goal was never to do what culture says is best for my kids or me or my husband. My heart was and is to seek Him and follow his plan. For you, His plan was to stay married. For me, it’s not. Marriage IS a LIFETIME commitment, but God’s word does give us one “out” – adultery. So, I believe when the covenant of marriage has been broken or there’s excessive abuse, our Father in Heaven takes care of us…releases us. And, we can never force anyone to stay – and we shouldn’t want to. I don’t want my children growing up in the tension of a couple that isn’t happily married – or joyfully married. That’s even unhealthier than a divorce. I pray that you will heal…but be patient. There’s no hurry and no specific timeline.

  6. Ruth Ann Fisher says:

    God is Good all the time….All the time God is Good!!!! Praying for you and knowing he is at work in you life.

  7. Nanci Bowen says:

    Thank you Sarah, more than you know. I am one of those statistics. The one from the broken marriage. My mother was married 6 times, my adoptive father 5 times. I have never met my biological father. At my age, it is too late. I have been married 49 years. An extremely happy and loving marriage. What makes me happy about your story, is that our daughter just went through a divorce. So much of your story resonated within me, for her. I am going to share this with her. You are such a good servant for the Lord. You write so well. It is my honor to know you. In a year, I have learned so much! Bless you for all that you are and all that you do!

  8. Sarah, we don’t know each other but I have experienced ministry life, betrayal, the striving to stay, the divorce, and the disorientation that comes along with all of it. This post demonstrates so much healing and growth … even if you don’t feel this way in each moment. Keep up the good work of processing and healing. I, too, was so angry that I tried for so long and all that time felt wasted. But that is when the Lord was drawing me close, helping me become more ‘me’ and preparing me for the future. There is a future and a plan and I’m so glad you’re able to glimpse that sometimes. Thank you for sharing. TBT can be tough!

    • Thanks, Missy…Part of me knows that I am moving toward healing. However, I know the ick that still resides in my heart. And, while I often feel the way I described in the post, I can still be set off by ignorance or incompetency. I truly do have to CHOOSE joy most days…to turn my back on what I ‘ve have lost and focus on what I have gained…and will gain as I embark on a ne life:) Please stay in contact…it’s comforting to know someone has experienced this and come out with joy – thanks!

      • The process isn’t linear and straight-forward…emotions dart back and forth and it is an ongoing struggle to focus on the good, trust the Lord, let go, hope, give up, plan, and on it goes.

        For me, the knowledge that I did EVERYTHING I knew to do reminds me that the demise of my marriage wasn’t my idea or plan. When I see my children face the consequences I know that the Lord has taken care of us and will continue to do so. I remind myself that my family was broken long before it was officially divided and that now each one of us is healing. Our family works best this way and God knew that is how it would be. It’s such a complicated paradox!

        I don’t know the details of your story and if you would ever like to share, vent or just question how things could possibly get worse/better, feel free to contact me.

        • Thanks…I will 🙂 And, you’ve almost summarized a follow up post that I am writing…I dont’ ever want anyone to think or feel that healing runs on a timeline, and if she is not where I am, then Jesus doesn’t love her as much as does me or He’d help her too. That kind of thinking is garbage. Healing is different for us all. WE can’t compare stories or pain or healing time. EVER.

  9. You are an amazing writer Sarah. I’m sorry things didn’t work out but I’m so glad that you are able to see all the good that came from the marriage and focus on that now. Sometimes its so hard to understand why things happen but it seems like eventually there ends up being a reason. I wish you and your children the best in your journey of life. God is always with you and you know you can always trust in him. Thanks for sharing your feelings because I’m sure it will help others to get through tough times. ; )

    • Thanks for the encouragement and compliment…they are much appreciated:) And, you’re right…it is hard to understand often, but I know He is always with me.

  10. This is precious and so right!!!! ❤️

  11. Jacqui Ranson says:

    Sarah – you are such an inspiration. There is no such thing as the “perfect couple”. I appreciate your openness and your willingness to share these experiences with us. I feel there are some really valuable lessons to be learned from this. I am so thankful to know such a wonderful and Godly woman. Your children are very lucky to have you my sweet friend. (((Warm hugs)))

    • Thanks, Jacqui. My prayer is for God to always work through me – in the good and the bad – so that others might see or come to know Him 🙂 And, I appreciate (and enjoy!) each picture from Haiti – so awesome the calling you have there! You’re always in my prayers…Love, Sarah

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