When I was going through my divorce I thought my life was coming to an end. I was devastated, heartbroken, humiliated, confused, and felt totally hopeless. The grief and the anger consumed me. I prayed; waiting anxiously for answers.
Although family and friends were compassionate and gave comfort, I didn’t think anyone really understood what I was going through or what I felt. I was new in town and had been shopping for a church home. It was spring and BelPres was on my list to attend and it wound up being the answer to one of my prayers. “Divorce Recovery Workshop” the sign read. I inquired and signed up, not sure if I really would attend. I didn’t want anyone to see the big “D” I was carrying. Then I thought, “No one knows me here; if it turns out to be a bad experience, I don’t have to go back.”
Well, let me tell you, BEST THING I EVER DID for myself! I wasn’t alone. There was a group of hurting people just like myself – each supporting and comforting other group members emotionally and spiritually. We were all in different places in our lives, separations, and divorces. All learning from one another what each phase might be like and how life does go on no matter where we are at the time.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Divorce is hard, but it’s easier when you have others who have been there and can help guide you. There is no magic formula to get through it. Although we want to, healing can’t be rushed. You need to grieve and take time in each stage to deal realistically with divorce. Losing your spouse, your old life, and the dreams you had for it are traumatizing. My faith helped give me patience and strength. I have always had faith, but during the mourning of the loss of my marriage, my faith became stronger and I was more eager to spend time with God. He listened and gave me peace and perseverance. Prayer was, and still is, the most important part of my journey. I have a daily date with the Lord to sit with him each morning before the day starts and then again when the day ends. I can hear him throughout the day, reminding me of his love. Sometimes it’s a soft voice, intuition, or even a situation. Taking that quality time with him gives me more peace during the rest of the day rather than the frazzled chaos that sometimes develops when he is waiting for me. He is always right there with me – ready to listen and guide me. I started looking for the good in life rather than feeling sorry for myself. I became happier and felt so much better. I was grateful for increased blessings rather than feeling bitter over the ones lost. I was actually growing from my divorce and was finding hope for the future, knowing God had something better for me. He has already brought me through many trials that I would never have imagined I could endure.
Because of my own experience and healing, I am able to guide others now. It helps to understand that there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Healing is a process we must allow ourselves to move through, not around. Rushing to get through will most likely lead to more pain and grief. I thought I could plow through this process on the fast track because I was strong, or so I thought, and didn’t want others to know otherwise. We need to remember it’s all in God’s timing. He will build us up for his purpose; trust in him. It’s not always easy, but once you start seeing all the little blessings he is showering on you, your hope will build on that, and bigger blessings come. I am proof of recovery and a witness to hope. I am an example of the healing and restoration that can occur after the breakup of a marriage. Divorce recovery is about discovering hope and experiencing healing one day at a time. In guiding others I have seen that no two journeys are alike. No matter how hard it is to get there, with God at the center of it all, divorce recovery is the road to healing. It provides support, guidance, friendships, peace, encouragement, and hope. It helps you discover what it means to let God lead your life and to learn what there is to be hopeful about: Hopeful for new relationships, new dreams, a life of joy and happiness. When we walk by faith we will never lose hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
My life is definitely a lot different now than it was seven years ago. The road was bumpy, but the journey was worth it. Looking back I can see all the times and places God was working on me; when I was listening and when I was not; when I responded and when I ignored his calling. But he stayed with me the whole time waiting for me to realize he is always there and isn’t going to leave. Sometimes during blurry tears, I didn’t want to see anything but hopelessness. I know now that that was part of the grieving process. I am thankful for family and friends who came alongside me to ride on that bumpy road and especially grateful for our Lord and savior for navigating through the storm. The sun shines now and the road is smooth. I’m hopeful that I can endure whatever will come up around the bend.
By the way, what I said at the beginning is not true. A divorce is the end of a marriage, not the end of life. It’s actually the beginning of a new chapter in your life. We need to be patient and trust that our own journey will lead to long-lasting recovery.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20