What I Most Want You to Know - Life After Divorce
I became a divorce statistic 10 years ago this November. I married right out of college to someone I thought was Mr. Right. I prayed about the decision, went to several premarital counselors, did all that I knew to do at the time.
Twenty five years later, that marriage ended up in divorce, and I had to rebuild my life. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 25 years with no appreciable job skills. I went for career counseling to assist me in making the decision about what to do with my life and was told, “You have a very unusual personality—don’t go work in an office—you wouldn’t like it and you wouldn’t be good at it! You’re going to have to figure out your own path.” I truly did not have enough sense to figure it out—fortunately the Lord just put me where I needed to be.
I went back to school and earned a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Each step of the way, He has guided me to where I needed to be, and I wouldn’t take anything for what I’ve learned on this (still-ongoing) journey. I love my life and what I do, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I hadn’t been propelled into it by divorce.
Here are some things I learned along the way:
Divorce is not the unpardonable sin—it’s just something that happens to you. Though I do believe that God intends for families to be intact, the primary means of educating children about Him and His ways, He is not rendered helpless by people’s sinful decisions. He can still achieve His purposes in your life, and in your children’s.
Divorce should not change your view of who you are. It should let you know just exactly who that is. Some of what and who we thought we are is built on facades and false belief systems. Divorce is as good a time as any for that to be torn down.
Divorce is an opportunity to learn about yourself…take it. To not take advantage of it is to keep yourself small-minded and scared.
Divorce is hard on kids. They deal with it better if their parents deal with it honestly.
Divorce is a great opportunity to find out your partner doesn’t define you. God defines you—get in line with Him and agree with Him about who you are. If you don’t get that, you may pursue another wrong relationship to try to fill the gaps left by your spouse’s leaving.
Judgment doesn’t help—whether it’s toward your spouse or yourself. It keeps us bound up in unforgiveness and does not make space for grace. It hardens you and keeps you from experiencing life to the fullest.
Get help! There are Divorce Care groups all around. It really puts life in perspective to see that there are others who are going through what you are, many in worse circumstances than yours. If that isn’t enough, seek out counseling.
And, if it’s been a number of years since you divorced and you are just now figuring out that you did all the wrong things, well get help now. It’s never too late.