Woman

Dear Divorced Woman…

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I have read what feels like a million blog posts on marriage and I’ve noticed many of them are somewhat disheartening to the divorced woman. It’s not that they mean to be, it’s just that it’s hard to read a “perfect” marriage post when you’ve lived through a very imperfect marriage.

Just think about it, if you were in a marriage that fell apart and you read a post all about how marriage is “supposed” to be written by someone who is still married and has never experienced what you have experienced, how do you think that would make you feel?

Not so good.

What about listening to a series on marriage where the pastor spends the majority of the time talking divorce statistics and telling you it’s your duty to stay married while you’re sitting in the audience in an abusive marriage or a lifeless marriage or you are divorced. How does that make you feel?

It makes you feel pretty bad.

Let’s get real.

Obviously, our feelings are our own and not all of these blog posts or sermons are out to make us feel bad. Let’s be clear about it however, sometimes, it is what it is and it hurts.

And, sometimes, you just need someone to speak directly to you. You need someone who has been there and someone who gets it and someone who is ready to light all those posts on fire. So, here we go…

Dear Divorced Woman,

You are NOT a failure. Period. Yes, your marriage may have fallen apart (possibly more than once) and yes, maybe it became another statistic for someone else to quote but YOU are not a failure. While it might feel like somedays you carry a big “D” around your neck, you do not. Don’t let the enemy chain you up like that, we were not meant for chains. Break free (Gal. 5:1). Even though this thing didn’t turn out the way you thought it would does not mean you weren’t made for something great.

I know you feel judged, I know you feel ashamed but, you have to let it go. Do not spend your life worried about what other people think of you, it just flipping does not matter. Move on. If that means switching churches, do it. If that means moving out of your neighborhood, do it. If that means finding an entirely different group of friends, do it. You do NOT need to be ashamed (Romans 8:1).

You are NOT crazy. I don’t wish divorce upon anyone, I do wish a bit of understanding, however. Some marriages end over abuse, infidelity, addiction and some marriages end because you suddenly realize you might have married a complete psychopath. Yes, that does happen. Sometimes it’s about keeping you and your children safe not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Then, while you think you are fleeing for safety, you realize you are entangled in a web that does not seem to come off. At least it won’t come off until your kids are grown or that’s what we all have to believe. It’s at this point you enlist support from family, church and the few remaining friends you might have.

It’s at this point you try to breathe, think and pay all those legal fees and it’s at this point those “marriage” posts can sting and you start to feel like the crazy one. You’re not losing it, you’re simply trying to keep a lot together. There are plenty of people who cannot handle standing by you during this life altering transition. Listen, if they can’t handle it, let ’em go.  It’s not you, it’s them.

You will recover. It might not feel like it now but, you will. Why? Because God has a plan for you (Jer 29:11), he hasn’t left you, you have not surprised God. He did not fall off the throne at your divorce, he’s right there with you even in the darkest of nights. Many people cry out to God angrily but please remember, God did give us free will. You may have chose the wrong path or your spouse might have chose the wrong path leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces. It’s not easy, it’s not ok but you’re still here.

You are HUMAN. True fact. Who knew? I’m a perfectionist and I struggle with legalism, it’s an easy thing for me, it fits naturally with my personality. I mean, I just can’t be divorced. I signed the True Love Waits card and I wore the purity ring so, divorce just isn’t for me, it’s for those “other” people. But life happened and I was hit square in the face with humanity, I had to make a choice. It was a choice I never thought I would have to face. I had to file and I had to be divorced, perfectionist or not, it was something I had to do. Fallen humanity does hit you from time to time and that brings us to…

Even if it WAS your fault, move on. To the ones reading this that caused the problem, don’t just repent, receive forgiveness and move on. Don’t let sin entangle you any further. Then, be civil and treat the other party with respect. That’s something you don’t see much in divorce, respect isn’t a common currency. If you have repented and taken hold of the forgiveness freely given to you in Christ, move forward, you have been set free. Let also your actions and words reflect the forgiveness you have received and treat one another with respect.

You ARE worthy of love. Just because someone didn’t live up to their side of the bargain doesn’t mean that’s it. You deserve love and you are worthy of such. In fact, bestowed upon you is the highest love there is to give, the love of Christ. If you are worthy of that, you are also worthy of being loved by another human as well. That being said, you are worthy of the RIGHT love. If you are coming from an abusive marriage (mental, physical or whatever) go to therapy, study the signs and do your best to be on the lookout for the red flags. They’re always there when you look back, do your best to pray for discernment and avoid entering into the same situation again.

Many people will find themselves attracted to the same personality type their ex spouse had which may or may not be a good thing. Do not sell yourself short, it is better to be alone than to be with someone who treats you badly and abuses love. That being said…

You are not alone. Hi, my name is Sarah and I am divorced. See? You’re not the only one. I’m not advocating divorce here so please do not misunderstand me however, I am advocating love for those who have gone through divorce. It’s a lonely road and it is filled with shame and bitterness. Divorced people don’t need to feel any worse than they likely already do, divorced people need to feel the love of Christ we preach about, folks. On that note, let me just tell you in case no one has lately…

GOD LOVES YOU. The broken you, the human you, the what-on-earth-did-I-just-do you, all the different forms of you, GOD LOVES YOU. He will take you just as you are and he will heal the hurt, forgive the wrongs and make your paths straight. Which means, you won’t be where you are for long, you will grow, you will heal and you will move forward.

To the divorced woman, you are not a failure, you are not crazy, you will recover, you are human, you are worthy of love and you are not alone.  God loves you, dear one. God loves you when you cry, God hears your broken prayers and meets you in the dark place. You are covered in mercy, grace and forgiveness and even when you feel unworthy, you ARE worthy.

To the divorced woman, it is ok that it didn’t turn out like you thought, life is not a movie. And, there is a marriage bigger than the one here on earth, there is a husband better than any human you will meet and there is hope.  Christ died for you, he died to give you abundant life. Do not let the enemy shame you into living a life less than what Christ died for you to have. Your happiness is not something someone else can do for you, happiness is a choice you make, the choice to let your heart be filled with a deep joy only Christ can give.

To the divorced woman, you are beautiful.

Remember, you can listen to the podcast here.

Dear Divorced Woman

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