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Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember, the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.
Not many people in my “online world” know that I’ve been through a divorce. It’s something I tend to gloss over in conversations unless it’s relevant. There’s a stigma attached to being divorced. Especially as a Christian. Going through a divorce was my biggest fear entering into my marriage. My parents divorced when I was very young. It was an ugly, volatile divorce full of police reports and abuse charges. I knew I never, ever wanted to go through that.
Everything about my marriage happened fast. I met him in October and by the end of December, I was married. The first time we met, I could hear God whisper “That one”. I tried to resist, I just met him. I was only 21. I must not have heard God correctly. Then, the whispers got louder and louder. I stopped trying to fight it and gave into God’s plan. I began to get excited. Imagine the stories we could tell our grandchildren. How, after a few weeks of dating, we were engaged. He was perfect, so I thought. He was the youth pastor of a local church and both of his parents were in the ministry. So, obviously, I would be safe from my fear of divorce.
I was wrong. Everything changed immediately after the wedding. He started to change into a person I didn’t recognize, one I didn’t like. The violence began immediately. There was no honeymoon period. It went bad, very fast.
There were just so many differences between the two of us. He didn’t like some of the music or movies I did. And he approached it like I was a child. It was demeaning and not how a husband should speak to a wife. I know that now. I was unable to be a doormat and spoke my mind. We were both very stubborn people. The more he pushed for me to change (and I do realize that there were many changes I needed to make in hindsight), the more I pulled and vice versa. He turned to his parents and I turned to anything I could.
I am not a big drinker. I enjoy an occasional glass of wine with my dinner and that’s about it. But, that could have been very different had I continued on the path I was then. Instead of turning to God with my problems, I turned to alcohol. I was angry with God. How could he have put me into a situation like that? I married one of his people. So, where was he when I was shoved, literally, against the wall?
One night, I came home after a night at the bar with my sister and a few friends. He flipped. After slapping me, I hit him back. The next morning, his father called me to tell me I needed to file for divorce because I hit his son. After telling him it was in defense, I was told I deserved it. I realized then that my in-laws were never going to find fault in their son.
You would have thought I would’ve left then right? I didn’t. I couldn’t. How could I put myself through the very thing I feared? I honestly thought it was better to put up with the abuse. Meanwhile, he was leaving the church. The church threw him a going away party. Later that night, I got home to find him and his parents moving his stuff out. He was leaving me.
I was shattered. The very thing I vowed to never go through was happening to me. Then, I got really angry. At him, at his parents, and at God. Those next days would have set me on a short path to alcoholism if it wasn’t for one miracle.
I found out I was pregnant. God has interesting timing sometimes. After finding this out, we briefly reconciled. His parents were very instrumental in dissolving our marriage. They got involved in matters that they had no business in. At their demands, my (now) ex-husband decided to leave again and move 14 hours away to live with them.
I didn’t really process my emotions about my marriage throughout my pregnancy. I was just entering my second trimester when he left for good and had experienced complications already with the pregnancy. For the next few months, I focused on my pregnancy and couponing. (Yes, that was my therapy.)
I found my way back to God after giving birth to my daughter. But, I never did understand. Why did my marriage fall apart? Why didn’t my daughter have an involved father in her life? Why was I repeating the mistakes I swore I wouldn’t?
I didn’t hear from my ex again until my daughter was five months old. He saw her for 15 minutes. Since then, he visits her once or twice a year.
It wasn’t until recently when reading What Women Fear by Angie Smith (great book…go buy it if you struggle with fear.) that I truly got it. She gave an example about a person going into a job, one that they were sure they heard God telling them to go for. And, it not working out. That is exactly what I felt like after my marriage dissolved. I felt angry, betrayed and confused. I knew that I heard God correctly when he brought my ex-husband into my life. There was no mistaking God’s hand in it all. So, why did it fail? Why didn’t God bring resolution to my marriage?
Angie says it much better than I could.
“So, maybe the success wasn’t in the job working out the way they anticipated, but rather in actions that continue to obey despite the fear.”
I obeyed God when he told me to marry my ex. The marriage did not work out the way I anticipated. At all. But, I can see now his hand in it all. Not long after giving birth, I learned that I would have a hard time conceiving again. I was told it was a good thing I had her young. If not, I may never have had a child.
I have a beautiful child that is a blessing every day that I wouldn’t have if not for that marriage. I have more compassion to women in the situation I was in and plan to use my gifts to help in some capacity.
The whirlwind romance, marriage and divorce broke me. Shattered me. Pushed me to rock bottom. Then, God used it all to rebuild me. To draw me closer to him. I honestly don’t know if I would have the same relationship with him today if not for the brokenness of the past.
Coming face to face with one of my greatest fears has made me stronger. Stronger in my Faith. A stronger mother. Stronger in my courage.