Almost 18 years ago I broke a vow I made before God, “to have and to hold…till death do us part.” Divorce is a horrible thing, and I believe God hates it not just because breaking any vow is sin, but because of the havoc and destruction it wreaks on people who He did not intend to experience such suffering.
However, after counseling failed to produce change, and seriously contemplating-to-the-point-of-actually-planning suicide, I had no faith left that God would help me. In my vulnerable state, and messed-up mind, I believed that I must have offended or failed God in some way so egregious, a failed marriage was just one consequence I would have to suffer.
Owning my failure, and believing the lies, I stoically accepted that God was done with me, and set about salvaging what life I could for myself and the children, who were my only reasons to keep living.
Today I’m free from the prison of lies, and healed from the deep emotional wounds that made me so broken and dysfunctional. I am “…a big cup of wonderful, covered in awesome sauce, with a splash of sassy, and a dash of crazy!” However, I’m also a divorced woman in the church, and that dubious status comes with its own unique set of challenges.
I am often three- or fifth-wheeling it. Most in my inner circle of friends are still married, so except for our all-girl adventures, I’ve had to adjust to being the odd number when we go co-ed. I am very careful to demonstrate my respect for their marriages though. I am rarely, if ever, alone with my friends’ husbands, and if I need help from one of the guys, I ask his wife first.
Not so easy is listening to preaching that implies ‘divorce’ might be the ‘unpardonable sin’ at worst, or the ultimate failure at best. (Please collect your scarlet letter ‘D’ at the door.) I met with one pastor when I was still struggling to believe that God hadn’t rejected or abandoned me. The FIRST thing he said was, “You know you can’t ever get married again while your ex-husband is alive, right?” I barely believed that God loved me, but he thought remarriage was my biggest issue?!
And speaking of remarriage, lately that desire has literally risen from the dead in my heart, and the usual antidote of episodes of Dateline where the husband did it, is not working. I’ve been so busy with kids, work, home, ministry, and letting God fix me, I’ve not even been on a date in 18 years!
Plus, the horror stories! Singles groups that are ‘churchified’ marriage/remarriage marketplaces”, on-line dating that works for one in a hundred…thousand?, the temptation to choose someone who does not share my faith out of sheer desperation. Yikes!
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever…” Psalms 138:8a
Whatever God’s plan for me post-divorce, I know I’m free, forgiven, perfectly loved, and just living the thing.