Tag Archives: divorce

An Open Letter to Those Who Find Themselves Getting Divorced But Don’t Want To

Dear Almost Divorced,

I’m sorry. If no one else says that to you let me be the first. In fact, pretend I am hugging you tight and saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. *tears* And yes, I would be crying along with you. In fact, I’m crying just thinking about you. Yes, you. I’m crying with you because I know the journey ahead. I’ve been there and I know all the grief crashing down on you. It’s dark and heavy and your heart literally hurts. A broken heart? Yes, it’s true. But keep in mind that you are not alone.

Unfortunately, you have found yourself in this spot because of the decisions of the one you love(d). Most likely you still love him/her. Someone who stepped out of the marriage covenant and decided to walk away. Or possibly you were the one to file for a divorce… not because you wanted to, but because to step out of the dance was the only way to stop encouraging unhealthy behavior. Extremely hard decision, I know. But remember, this is his/her “stuff”, not yours, although I’m sure it feels extremely personal… it’s not. You are not in this position because you somehow failed at being a wife or a husband. You are in this position because of something far out of your control. In fact, you probably tried to control it but it can’t be controlled. Again, it’s not about you. That’s not to say you didn’t do things you wish you hadn’t or said some things you wish you could take back. You’re human. You were surviving the best you knew how, even if some of it wasn’t the healthiest of choices.

Please know that God has not forgotten you. You are the apple of his eye. He adores you – married, single or divorced. I promise. And the enemy will try to make you think you’re stupid for believing in your marriage. It’s a LIE and tell him to SHUT IT. You’ll have to tell him that LOTS because he’ll use every single insecurity to try and destroy you. So memorize some powerful scripture and use it when those thoughts come. Write them on your bathroom mirror, on the reminders on your phone, in the car, on the frig or anywhere else you look every day. They will be your life-line.

You also need to know that your friends and family will most likely not know how to handle the fact that divorce is in your future. There may be awkward messages filled with cliches sent via email, FB, twitter or in person. But here’s the deal. They love you or they wouldn’t risk saying anything. Some things they say may make you mad. It’s OK. Again, they love you. Some things will not be helpful and may even hurt you. It’s OK to tell them what you need and to draw boundaries. Don’t know what a boundary is? Read a few books from Henry Cloud and John Townsend and they’ll point you in the direction of getting some.

You will soon discover who your friends truly are – whether they be family or not. The ones that let you say what you need to say as often as you need to say them are the ones you need. Don’t hold back talking to them. Getting all those thoughts and feelings out really will help you. You will say things that you never thought you’d say. It’s OK. You will think things you never thought you’d think. That’s OK, too. Join a Divorce Recovery or Divorce Care support group. You will not only learn valuable, helpful information, you will also meet some people who will know exactly how you feel. But for heaven’s sake, don’t date! Don’t throw yourself right into a new relationship to try and avoid the feelings of divorcing. You need to get emotionally healthy on your own before having someone in your life. If you don’t get anything else from this, get that.

Divorce is not fair. Nothing about it is fair. In fact, put that word out of your vocabulary for awhile. It will only haunt you. Financially, physically, mentally… none of it is fair.

If you have kids, bless your heart. Having kids in the mix makes everything all the more difficult. Whatever you do, do not put them in the middle of any of it. They will already feel in the middle so do your best to put your game face on when they are around. Laugh with them. Play with them. Try to keep as many things the same as possible for them. Never say anything bad about the other parent in front of them. Never. Be a grown-up and be mature. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll EVER do. Trust me. Your kids will probably blame you. But whatever you do, do not tell them the WHY of what happened. They are too young to understand. If they happen to know due to circumstances beyond your control, then do your best not to discuss details with them. This is not about you. This is not about your ex spouse. This is about the health of your children.

Forgive as quickly as you possibly can. You will go through all the grieving emotions… just like a death. Actually, it is a death but worse. (Well, that’s just my opinion.) Worse, because you will see the other person so there’s never really any closure. But forgiveness will keep you from becoming bitter. You don’t want to be the one 15 years from now STILL talking negatively about your ex-spouse. That is not healthy for you. That is not healthy for those you love. Ask God to help you get to a place of forgiveness. I promise he’ll help you because he’s the one that commands us to forgive.  So do the hard work it takes. It will be painful but oh so worth it. *hugs*

Do not publicly bash your soon-to-be ex. No matter what he/she did, it only makes you look crazy and sad. Hang on to your dignity and refrain from saying negative things in public. You will have friends you can be honest with, but FaceBook and Twitter are not counselors and saying negative things publicly will not make you feel better.

Divorce is not a one-time thing. You don’t get divorced and suddenly the sun shines, the flowers bloom and someone plays a harp while you dance through a meadow with a big, happy smile on your face. Divorce hurts more than once.  It hurts every.single.day. Unfortunately, it will continue to hurt because you loved with all your heart and gave it all you had. You risked it all. There’s nothing wrong with that. Good for you for taking that risk so don’t close off your heart thinking you can somehow protect yourself.

But the good news is this… God can redeem ANYTHING. He can give you a renewed sense of your place on the earth. He is doing things “in the background” that you cannot see but I promise it is for your ultimate good. For his ultimate glory. Hang on to knowing he adores you. He has a plan for you.

You will get stronger with each day. The first year will all be a blur so make sure you ask your friends for help. That first year is just too hard to go it alone. Keep a journal of every time you see God providing for you. Take it out and read it on your bad days. You’ll need the reminder. And remember to be kind to yourself. Do something nice for yourself every week. This will help you survive.

Hang in there, sweet friend. Divorce is the end of a marriage but NOT the end of your life. You are AMAZING and God will do abundantly MORE than you ask. You will become stronger than you ever thought possible and do things you never realized you could do. Find new hobbies, meet new people, connect with a church, and serve others. Believe it or not, serving others is actually the way out of all the darkness you probably feel right now.

Love from one who’s walking in front of you,

Sheila

PS Goodness that was LONG. If something here helped you then make sure to thank God for that. He woke me up at 3am to write this JUST FOR YOU. He loves you THAT MUCH.

Three Years

Three years. Just typing that brings me to tears. Three years ago today (1-22) I thought my life was over and in a way it was. The life that I knew anyway. It was devastating and haunting and the most painful thing I’ve ever suffered on earth thus far. Everything was dark and lonely and sad. I could not see anything but pain and my mind only went to dark places that I didn’t seem to be able to control. I could not hear anything but loss and grief. The sounds that came out of me are not sounds I ever want to hear again. Sounds of intense emotion and horror. Everywhere I went I felt like a neon sign – like everyone was starring at me… wondering. Wondering what I was doing, what I was thinking, how was I managing, etc. The stares were the worst. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Seriously.

Three years. It’s amazing what God has brought about in those three years. He has blessed me with true friendships. Friendships that stood the fire. Those that allowed me to grieve and didn’t judge. New friendships that were born in adversity. Cherished friends who know me deeply and love me anyway. Oh how I love these people. People that God put in my path just when I needed them. They were the reason my children were fed and loved because Lord knows I could not do that for them. Family that supported me and held me and let me love in spite of the hurt. And still does. And continue to accept me with my hair color changes 😉 A job that I love. Working with people who inspire me and stretch me and make me laugh. Vacations and trips that romanced my adventurer’s heart. Destinations with my kids so they could see God’s beauty. So I could be reminded that there really was still beauty. All blessings from a Heavenly Father that did not forget me or my children.

Three years. It’s exciting, really. Exciting to think about the next three years and all that those years may bring. Whether blessing or loss, I know that my Father will be at my side. He walked with me through some very dark places and kept me from getting lost. In fact, He knew exactly where we were going all along. A place of contentment, peace, and joy that alluded me for years.

Three years.

Five Minute Friday: Grasp

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Grasp…

It almost seems insane that it took me about twelve years to grasp the idea that my church family loved me. I know. Crazy. The thing is… I was married to an awesome man. He was outgoing and funny and crazy talented. Crazy talented as in he could play just about any instrument and sing any song… by ear. He taught himself piano and dulcimer. Who does that? As it happens he was our church’s worship pastor. I knew everyone loved him… how could they not? We were founding members of the church and we weren’t even married at that point.

From day one I knew “we” were loved. “We” became officially a “we” a few years into the new church venture and although it was challenging hard we loved it. The church grew and our family grew.

Fast forward a decade or so and I found myself alone with three small kids and no job. Well, I was cleaning houses so I had enough for groceries and a few bills but not nearly enough for the mortgage. Panic attacks came more frequent and the once simple tasks of daily life became tortuous. “We” were not divorced, only separated, with hopes that everything would work out. Our pastor was amazing during this time. He walked along side us and counseled us through a dark time in our marriage. Actually, the whole church did. It was pretty amazing.

One day I got a phone call from our pastor. He told me that the church had decided to pay for our expenses for a month. What??? Seriously??? ALL of them? Wow, I was literally speechless but managed a small thank you and hung up. I cried for hours. Literally. Once I pulled myself together I called our pastor’s wife to say thank you in a way that would somehow equal the generous gift. I remember saying, “Thank you so much for loving my husband so much that you would do this for us.” Her reply? Wait for it.

Wait for it….

“Sheila, we did that because we love YOU.” *tears* It had never occurred to me that I was loved. I knew “we” were, but alone? That was different. I was not “the life of the party”.  I was not the one that led worship or had any great talents (or so I thought at the time) to share. My role was “wife” of the worship pastor. That’s it. My identity was all wrapped up in that alone.

That moment was defining for me and I still get choked up if I tell it in person because it literally changed my life from that point on. It changed how I saw our church. It became my church.

And I needed to grasp that before the next three years happened because it would become “mine” in more ways than one.