To the Divorced One and Those Who Love Her {Or Anyone Who’s Just Plain Mad}

Remember when you were younger and a kid on the playground made fun of your sister or brother or best friend? Remember how something fierce rose up in you, and you’d want to KICK THEIR REAR.  Then, later, you’d beat your sister up over sharing shirts or pout to your best friend for ignoring you.

How could this be?

You defend your sister to the DEATH on the playground, but at home, you’d argue and attack.

It sounds silly, but you know it works this way.  I can talk about my sister all I want, but if you say one word about her, I will seriously consider hurting you.

And while it’s not the exact same, it’s mostly how most of us feel about our soon-to-be ex-husbands and/or ex-husbands.

When you disparage him, even if we think or know it’s true, something rises up in us that says…but, you’re wrong.  When you question our decisions regarding him – did we stay too long?  Are we abused doormats? – It upsets us.

man-walking-away

For most of us, we prayed and wept and did our very best.  We loved as we were called to love.  We served and respected.  We attended counseling and conferences.  We talked and tried and toiled.

And, yes, “we took care of him at home, so he didn’t have to go looking.” {Definitely a remark to refrain from, please.}

This is not the story we wanted.  Please, trust us on that one.

Yet, it’s the story we have.  So, to hear you judge and speculate – “if only she would have _____, then he probably would have never______________” – is simply not helpful.

To hear you call the one we loved for many years names  – even if they are well-deserved – is simply not helpful.

Have I been blinded to some realities where my ex is concerned?  Oh, I am sure of that.  I want him to be the man I thought he was {he still is deep down}.  I want him to live out who I KNOW he is in Christ.  So, often, I choose to believe the best when perhaps I should not. I don’t always set the boundaries I know I should.

And, if you’re close to me and you call me out on this stuff?  I listen.  I really do.  Or, at least I try to.

And, if you’re not close to me and you call me out on this stuff?

I want to say to you…did you live with us for 15 years?  Nope. Did you see the man he could be (good and bad)?  Did you see who I could be sometimes?  I have had countless less-than-stellar moments.  We all have.  {Side note:  You have to “earn” the “right” to speak into others’ lives.}

Still, I understand.

If someone you love is hurting because of another – you get angry at the “another.”  We fiercely protect our own – our family, our friends. I really do understand why you are mad, and if it were my sister or brother? I would want to HURT someone.  Truly.

Do I get angry at him just as you do? Yes.  Indeed I do.  A lot.

Just this morning I threw some clothes and broke a few hangers. Earlier in the week, I threw a box of books.  Because I am just mad – mad I am moving, mad I can’t find anything in my new house, and mad this is happening.

Mad!

So, don’t think I am not mad too; I am.  We all are.  Every single one of us who has endured divorce – regardless of fault.  Trust us, there’s lots of mad.

And, I might “think” I want you to jump on my mad bandwagon. The flesh in me wants you to be mad too.  I want you to affirm my anger; remind me why I should be mad. Validate my “rightness” and pain.

I might “think” I want that, but I don’t.  You don’t either.

Why?

Because the spirit in me KNOWS that’s not ok.  Bashing my ex or anyone isn’t who Christ made us to be.  Do we need to be wise where others are concerned?  Do we need boundaries?  Do we need others speaking into our lives in a loving way, helping us to see the forest when we can only see the trees?

Absolutely.

But, as I have talked with so many of you over the past few weeks – divorced, about to be divorced, separated, married but feeling it’s beyond help – I know one thing:

There’s some part of you – and me – that loves those we chose to marry once upon a time. Right?

You might not like him right now, but you love him {sorta}.  And, just like your sister on the playground in 4th grade, your first inclination is to defend or justify.  And to others?  This seems ridiculous.

But, it’s not.

Because Jesus in you is saying…Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12) and as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them (Luke 6:31).

We know deep down that we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.  Romans 3:  22-24 {The Message}

We aren’t really that different – the offended and the offender – we all need Jesus.  All sinners in need of a Savior.

All made in His image.  {Yes, that person that ticks you off? The one that you’ve been hating for weeks or years? He or she is loved by God just as you are.}

Hard isn’t it?  Seems unfair.  How can they hurt you – perhaps they aren’t even sorry – and live a life that looks like roses when yours is closer to rats?

I can’t answer that.  I know God is just and faithful.  I know He sees you and your pain. I know He loves you in indescribable and unfathomable ways.

Somewhere buried under my hurt and brokenness, I know these things are true; I know who God created me to be.  His child, desiring to follow His greatest command:  To love one another.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 1 John 4: 7

I know it’s not easy.  That’s why in our weakness, He is strong. {2 Corinthians 12:9}  You can’t love those who have hurt you without the help of your Creator.  You can’t forgive and move on without Him either.

Perhaps, you’re not ready to hear verses about love and forgiveness.  You’re still just plain mad.

That’s ok, friend.  Most days, such reminders make me cringe.

BUT.

I encourage you to…pray you will…take one small step in the direction of healing today. Whether you’ve been wronged or you’re walking alongside the one who has been wronged and you are mad, mad, mad.

One step.  Toward loving…toward Jesus.

This morning after I broke a few hangers and threw a shirt, I was riding to school with my daughter, trying to simmer and remind myself of the good in my life.   Hannah always plays DJ {ie “plays her jams”} as we drive.  This morning she chose Dwell and Greater.

I will dwell in the shelter of the Most High God,

I will rest in the beauty of Your Presence

Your faithfulness is a shield and my great reward

I will not be afraid, I will trust in the Lord. {Aaron Keyes – Dwell}

The refrain?  Repeated over and over…no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

Oh heavens.  His faithfulness is my reward. I have to trust Him. No weapon will prosper.

And, Greater…

You’re greater, greater

There’s no one like Our God

You alone are worthy…

You have overcome the world,

Took the keys from death and hell… {Elevation Worship – Greater}

He has overcome this world.  And, all its sin and ugliness.

He’s greater, friend.  He really is.  Dwell in Him.

Comments

  1. Dani Collins says:

    All so true 🙂

  2. This is right on for me right now.

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