One year ago today I answered the phone and was informed that I was now legally divorced.
I answered the phone as a woman who had been married for 22 years (the 28th of May would have been 23) and a few seconds later, hung up the phone a woman who was divorced.
I never imagined I would be divorced. I’m sure there were were several times I envisioned not being married and a few times I thought I could probably hide his body well 😉 but I did not want this divorce. I tried with everything I had to keep it from happening. (- don’t mistake not wanting the divorce to mean without fault. You don’t spend 23 years with someone and not rack up a whole lot of faults and failures.) But ready or not, I was divorced.
I’ve shared several times, that these last several years have been brutal. And oh my goodness they have been brutal. I’m sure that I will continue to experience hard times, hard seasons and hard years. But I wanted to share some thoughts and lessons learned throughout these last several years…
* I don’t have to know HOW He makes all things good, I just need to know that He does.
* I’ve found something to smile, even laugh, about even on my worst days.
* There is nothing in the world that compares to having people in your life who help you do that ☝️.
* And while I know it can always be worse, that does absolutely nothing to help the pain I’m experiencing.
* Being gossiped about hurts. There’s a difference between concerned friends discussing what is happening in my life and people talking to anyone who will listen because they “got the scoop.” There were multiple days I had to remind myself that I belong to the Most High God, repeatedly, because hearing gossip about yourself makes you question your value and worth. I definitely have a new perspective on why God dislikes gossip so much.
* As followers of Christ we say some really hurtful things. Having been someone who has said them, I know most people mean no harm. But that doesn’t remove the hurt. I think we want to help, in some way, so we say things we’ve heard said before. Really all anyone really needs from us is for their pain to recognized. To be heard. To not be alone. For their pain to be important enough for you to hear it. That’s it. Just hear it.
* Pain is uncomfortable. It makes other people uncomfortable. Which is a contributing factor to above and to friends distancing themselves. Especially prolonged pain. Especially, prolonged, written all over your face, pain. And while I wish it wasn’t that way, I do understand it. Most days I’ve been clueless as to what to do with all this pain. I can’t expect others to know what to do with it either. The days I’ve felt the deepest love and belonging are the days friends let me weep. Deep, broken heart, shattered life, weeping. They just sat there in the miserable uncomfortable pain filled place and let me freely weep. I didn’t have to try to juggle the burden of them being uncomfortable with my pain. They took responsibility for their uncomfortableness, offered no words of wisdom, no suggestions to fix me, no Christianese to guilt me into accepting and managing my pain better. A dear friend of mine called it crawling into the pit with me. I’ve been absurdly blessed with friends who do this so well.
* The Holy Spirit is active, really really active. I think we fail to give Him credit. I cannot even begin to count the number of ways I’ve been shown and reminded of the Father’s love for me through people. Some friends, some acquaintances, some random people…all who said or did something that only the Lord and I knew the significance. When you feel the urge, nudge or that really random, what if I look like a weirdo for doing this, idea pops in your mind…do it. Not one single time have I thought someone was a weirdo when they were saying or doing something that the Lord used to speak to my heart. Absolute worst case scenario, you do look like a weirdo, which we all do at times and makes for the best stories and laughter. (See above)
* We survive. Even when we don’t think we will. Even when there’s a whole lot of days we don’t want to get out of bed. We survive those things, that prior to experiencing, we thought we could never survive.
* Pain makes us stronger. Not because we’ve learned to silently endure, not because we’ve toughened up, not because we refuse to function or because we tell every breathing person our sorrows…but because we learn to walk in that place of broken peace. Because we refuse to give up or give in. Because we learn that somedays you weep and somedays you laugh until your side hurts. And somedays you do both. Stronger because we learn that tears are not weak. Stronger because we discover that the bravest thing you can do is show your pain and risk all the things happening (see all the above). Stronger because pain weeds out the spectators and draws in those people who will battle with and for you. Pain makes us stronger because it forces us to realize what strength really is…its the people who experience pain, grief, disappointment, rejection, suffering, betrayal, sadness and sorrow and choose to keep loving, choose to shed tears, choose to be open, choose to trust, choose to rejoice, choose to laugh, choose to worship and give God all the honor and glory for what He has done and what He will continue to do. It takes certain unmeasureable strength to experience and feel all the things and inform the enemy that he may win some battles and he may wreak some havoc but he will not cause you to be cold, hard hearted, afraid, and closed off.
I’m learning and discovering daily what it means to live with strength and purpose with vulnerability in this place of broken peace. I thank my Heavenly Father continually, that I don’t ever have to do it alone…even divorced.
Looking through my Timehop today and saw that I had shared this verse three years ago today. God definitely prepares us for all the days to come, even if we don’t realize it…