Saturday, September 20, 2014

On Being Divorced -- part 1

This blog post has been knocking around in my head for some time. I have finally committed to getting it down on paper – er, the blogoshere. My hope is that by sharing my experience and what I have learned I may be able to help someone else still in the throes of divorce and dealing with the after shocks of living divorced. Stay tuned for subsequent posts in this series.

It's not him (or her). It's You.

We've all heard the statement “It's not you, it's me” when dating. Or we've said these words to someone else. Some of us even heard these words when divorce was thrust upon us. It's a ridiculous statement designed to try and make the offended person feel less offended. The fact is, it's a crappy statement regardless of motivation.

However, when it comes to God, there is a twist on the statement that is infallibly true: It's not him (or her), it's you that God wants to change. Well, God may want to change him (or her) too, but that part of it is not your concern right now – or perhaps ever. For months during my separation I would hear a sermon, a song, an appropriate meme on FB and would think, “If only M--- were here to hear this! He needs this!” I just knew that if my former husband had heard those same words, then his life would be changed and he'd realize what a horrible mistake he was making, repent and reconcile with me and the kids.

Um. No. Not so much.

Even if he'd heard those words, it wasn't going to happen. Not for our family anyway. But I was the one sitting in that pew listening to the sermon. I was the one driving while hearing the song on the radio, not my former husband. So I was the intended audience. God was trying to get a hold of my heart. I was the one who had to learn that lesson, be encouraged, exhorted or challenged. Wishing he was there only made me more frustrated. So, I had to re-frame my thinking. Focus on what God was trying to tell me and forget (for the time being) about M---. I was never really responsible for him anyway.

It's you that God wants to change, refine, beautify and bring Himself glory. His desire for your former spouse is to experience the same, but you (and I) cannot be concerned with that. We need to be too busy working on ourselves to worry about the other half of the former marriage. 

I used to think that getting divorced was about my former spouse and how he had betrayed me, but that gave him way too much power over my life.  For the short term and in the long run. It also didn't give God enough credit. Yes, there is hurt, betrayal, anger, denial, yelling, crying – the works. And yes, those things need to be worked through. I am not minimizing that aspect of divorce. I am merely suggesting that there is a greater frame of reference that needs to be kept in mind. And that is that for some reason, God has allowed this, don't give this experience permission to be wasted. Nothing happens to us without first passing through God's hand. His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). The Palm of the One who holds us and from which no man can pluck us (John 10:28).

Those are tremendous words of encouragement.

Instead of viewing your divorce as a negative milestone in the timeline of your life, view it instead as a memorial stone of how God worked a miracle in your life (Remember how the Israelites pulled stones from the midst of the Jordan river after wandering in the wilderness for 40 yrs?  God told them it was to be a memorial so when their children asked about the stones, they could recount the miracles God had shown them).  We both know that getting through a divorce and becoming better for it IS indeed a miracle.  Not everyone who goes through divorce comes out better for it -- some just get bitter.  It's tough not growing bitter.  I couldn't do it on my own.  I needed the Creator's hand guiding and when I couldn't see His hand, I needed to trust His heart.  Trusting is a miracle in and of itself sometimes.

What man intends for evil, dear one, God means for good. It may sound like a hollow platitude to someone in the throes of agony, but take it from one who determinedly dug her fingernails into that Heavenly Hand and clung to it for dear life. God, hating divorce, has still allowed this and he intends it for your good. It's up to you to receive it or reject it.

I can assure you, receiving His good for yourself is far, far greater of a way to live than the alternative.

I can barely believe I am actually able to say this, but I am counting the outcome of my divorce as joy,

{for part two, please click here}

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