Divorce {I Am Just Sad/Mad Today}

I see the all-too-familiar message pop up on Facebook messenger. At first, I don’t look, but I can see the preview on my home screen: “I know it’s been awhile since we talked. I hope you are well. I see you and your kids on Facebook and have a favor to ask of you. I have a friend that has just divorced her husband…”

It’s right above…”Hey there Sarah!  I have a lady that I met with a few weeks ago…she has just filed for divorce and needs some support.”

I don’t open the previewed message because I’m at the pool, and I can’t open these messages in public.  Each time I read one, my heart aches and my spirit screams NO NO NO.  And while I am honored to be asked and trusted with another’s heart…I never dreamed of one day being the gal who was known for walking people through divorce. NO ONE wants to be that girl.

Yet, this who I am and where I am.  One who knows the moment when you realize…we aren’t going to make it this time. And my 10,000 prayers to God about saving this marriage evidently fell in the “nope” category. I can’t even begin to describe the level of rejection. The devastation. And it doesn’t matter whose “fault” it is – because after a few years you realize that the fault might not be evenly distributed but you both are culpable – the realization that the commitment to God and one another is being terminated in a sterile courtroom is gut wrenching.

The roles, the labels, the identities – all of it seems erased with one pound of the gavel and two scribbled signatures.

Yesterday at 10:00 am I muster the courage to open the latest plea on behalf of a well-loved friend.

And I begin to pray. For her. For me. For the friend. For my role – if any. God, how can I take what you’ve taught me and love this woman well? And if I can’t for reasons I can’t see, then nudge my no.

Through a series of events, I end up calling a friend who is also a pastor. As we talk, he says….in the past two weeks, I’ve had seven calls about infidelity and/or divorce.

SEVEN.  IN TWO WEEKS.  IN THE CHURCH.

As the pastor-friend and I talk, another friend texts, have you seen Lysa’s blog? This is an odd text. So, I open the link and glance down to read a few lines of an all-too-familiar story…

Infidelity. Divorce.

I want to scream. And cry.  Even as I type these words, tears bounce on my keyboard. I am SO MAD!

How can this happen to Lysa? I KNOW she loves Jesus. I’ve been in her presence many times. How can this happen to the sweet lady at Panera who teared up as she told me how she fears being buried all alone? How can this happen to the amazing momma and grandma who wanted so badly to be married? How can this happen to a humble and gentle spirited friend who is the most faithful woman I know?

How can this happen to me? How can this happen to you?

I don’t have any answers to how or why (except Satan). We can make a list of your transgressions and mine. We can make a list of our spouse’s sins too. We can trace childhoods gone wrong, addictions taking hold, and decisions made poorly.

All day long we can call ourselves victims (and some most certainly are).

All of these things are important. All of them help us to understand, heal, and move on.

And I am in favor of more marriage courses and retreats. I don’t want to see one more couple severed. One more family sharing weekends and every other Thursday.

divorce

But at the end of the day…Jesus.

For those who are still married, I’ve been to marriage courses and counseling. I forgave and God restored (for a season). And after collecting tons of marriage data and how-to (all good info), I know one thing: more Jesus wins every time. I know that sounds so very easy coming from my lips and so very hard for your heart, hands, and feet. I get it. Oh, how I know. But, please. Please. Please. Seek Him together. Jesus is the  “happy” in your ever after. And while there are no guarantees, you can never go wrong with more of Him.

For those who are divorced, I know you feel lost in the church. It’s awkward, huh? My pastor friend said yesterday…sometimes weekly church attendance becomes more painful than helpful. Do you know about that? Find a church that loves you well and loves others well – even if the divorcees are the elephant in the room (not a ‘true’ single, but not married). And when the pastor starts talking marriage, don’t leave or recoil, pray. You don’t want another human sitting in your shoes, right?

Crumbling marriages have existed since antiquity. I know this is NOTHING NEW under the sun. But it feels new. It feels like it’s everywhere.

And I wish I had a good word for you. A solution. A call to action. Anything. I can’t tell you how much I want to organize a march or a nonprofit or whatever to stop this madness – a place where you and I can be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith (Romans 1:12)  And who knows…I might:)

But for today, I can offer you, Jesus. In the midst of this heartbreaking news. In the midst of the division of property and custody. In the midst of the loneliness and heartache. In the uncertainty and the suffering. In the rebuilding and the reliving…

He will never leave you nor forsake you – even if it feels like He has. Trust Him. He hasn’t. (Deuteronomy 31: 6-8; Hebrews 13:5)

Circumstances change with the wind, but Jesus was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 1:8)

Trust Him. Send me the Facebook message. We can and will walk this out together, friend, for HE IS FAITHFUL. You are not “too much” or “too much drama.” You are hurting and flailing. Together, we will cast our cares on Him every moment of every day because we know: He loves us.

 

Comments

  1. Divorce is the best thing that happened for me and ultimately my kids. Has it been easy?! Heck no! But after a few years of healing I think we are all in a better place. It’s different for everyone and not something anyone wants to endure!

    • Isn’t it great to look back and see how far God has brought you? I love seeing my kiddos flourish despite my failings and their dad’s failings. God is good!

  2. Well said. It’s not a subject you can neatly wrap with a bow. I too got the email about Lysa’s blog, and I couldn’t believe it either. Makes me sad to see the enemy wreak havoc in the lives of good Christian men and women.

    • Thanks, Beth. It seemed almost surreal to me. But, there’s no bow to make this look any prettier. We simply can keep loving and seeking Him. Loving others.

  3. Thank you my sweet Sister. As I read this I am shedding tears of sadness, hurt and anger!! I am one of those people!! I read about Lysa and that makes my heart hurt. What is wrong with people? So many questions, never any answers!! I love you my friend!!

    • You’re so welcome, friend. I am reminded that we are all sinners who fall short – every single day. Sometimes I want to add – but some people are falling shorter than I am;) But. I know that’s not the heart of Jesus. At all. So, we live our lives leaning into Him and his grace. Loving others and building His kingdom. And I know that’s who you are and how you will approach this season, friend! Much love!

  4. I can’t quit mourning and grieving and reliving and praying and crying about this – again.

    • I think of all the times we’ve sat in a room with her. Listened to her hopes, dreams, and fears. I think of last year when she almost died. The way she took the time to talk with me in the hallway. The way she patiently answers hours of questions – and with great wisdom. Such an amazing lady. I hate it for ANYONE, but it especially made me sad for her.

  5. Susan Best says:

    Your words, the heart you reveal to us is a blessing! I have noticed Satan going for marriages and families with a vengeance only his battle is not his victory that belongs to Jesus. Jesus is the savior. He is the one and only who will never forsake us, daughters and children of the one true King!
    I have been divorced 14 years. My ex husband sees his children 2/3 times a year, forsaking his visitation and paying next to no child support. Infidelity and addiction along with bi polar depression played its part but we were not equally yoked either. I wasn’t able to deepen my relationship with Jesus while married to him-bullied and berated. I was able to have my children baptized, lucid moments of his and miracle from Father.
    I continue to pray for us, God’s church, to guide us, strengthen us, and to help us love each other ❤️

    • Thanks for much for these words of wisdom and kindness, Susan! It’s so true…Satan is seeking whom he may devour and sinful humans often make it easier for Him (sadly). Thanks for being an example after 14 years and sharing your story. We need to know there’s hope for us and for our kiddos.

  6. Thank you for putting words to my thoughts again Sarah. I’ve never felt so rejected in my life. I still find myself wanting him to think I’m doing a good job with his daughter and I get nothing. I pray that God makes me see that I am enough without his approval and that some day I will find someone who loves me for me.

    • Julia, I pray you one day feel deeply that you are enough. That in Him, you do not need your ex’s approval or love. I struggle with this too. I still bend over backward to not inconvenience or both my kiddos’ dad. I am still asking God if that’s kindness or pride. Just keep doing the next right thing, loving and raising your daughter to know she’s a daughter of the KING!:)

  7. Sarah, thank you for being you. For putting yourself out there and shedding some light on yourself and on this issue. My heart breaks for you and for every woman who has lived that terrible nightmare. But I don’t want to put my hands over my ears and pretend it isn’t so. I don’t want to judge from afar. Lord, spare us! I want to know what you and others who have walked your steps are going through so I can pray for you with understanding. I want to be a better friend. So again, thank you for this!

    • Megan – I think this is the best possible response…when I was married, I often looked at divorced women with silent judgment. I wasn’t even aware of it most of the time. I simply thought..more praying, more Jesus and less selfishness – then they’d still be married. If you’d have been a better wife, then blah blah blah. And while some there are morsels of truth in these thoughts, they are not even a smidgen of the entire story. So, I love that you’re holding tight to your marriage while trying to understand your divorced friends and love them well. You might be surprised how much your own marriage is protected in your understanding of how it can so easily break.

  8. My heart is so sad that this is a too-familiar story.

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