I married the man of my dreams. He was cute, funny, kind. We held the same views on marriage, both being from divorced families. Work it out; no matter what. He was the man I wanted to grow old with; holding hands in rocking chairs on the front porch.
The first year we were married, a dream of his did not come true. And, I don’t know…he changed. Fell back into old habits from his past that left me reeling with confusion. This also began my journey of hope.
Our married years were tumultuous, to be certain. It was a roller coaster that just never seemed to end. But, I still had hope. I knew that God could make everything our marriage was meant to be if we let Him. We both had our weakness and struggles, but somewhere along the way, we just decided to bury them, instead of talking and loving and healing.
Then, after 12 years of marriage, he left. No warning. Just wasn’t happy anymore. Didn’t love me like a husband should love a wife. Walked away from Christ. Walked away from everything good in his life and ran toward the darkness. And this, strangely enough, gave me continued hope.
Over the last four years, I have prayed like a crazy woman for his return to Christ. I have prayed for our family to be restored. I have spent countless nights, humanly unnumbered tears…I have begged, pleaded, screamed, cried, cursed, prayed…I can honestly say, I have done it all. Because I had hope.
Recently, he announce his return to his faith in Christ. My elation at this news brought a flood of tears of joy like no other. Hope!
But, I still struggle. I found out through a Facebook post that someone else had to show me. There was a one liner, where he admitted darkness led him away from his wife and daughter, and ultimately led to our divorce. No face to face communication. No face to face apology. And honestly? I always believed if he returned to Christ, he would return to his wife and child. We would be a family again. That God could take the old and make it new again. He openly admitted that darkness led him away, but instead of the light bringing him back to us, he had already moved on to a third girlfriend since he left. When I shared with him, in an email (it’s the only way we communicate) my dreams, he coldly and matter of factly told me he was was disappointed I couldn’t be happy he had returned to his faith, just because I did’t get my way. What?? My mind was reeling. He can never understand how I have loved and prayed for him all the years he was living in darkness. I have been cursed, mocked, jeered for knowing less about my religion than he did…but, I pressed on. I knew it was the darkness. He accused me of reaching out to his last girlfriend and his current one out of cruelty. Again…what?? I introduced myself to his new girlfriend and thanked her for being kind to my daughter, His name was never mentioned. I reached out to his exgirlfriend, because I knew she loved him, and I knew she was hurting. I know that sounds crazy, and maybe it is…I have realized not everyone wants your comfort, especially when, as a changed man, I believed he had told her the truth…not having a clue he had kept the new girlfriend a secret. HUGE lesson.
So…I struggle with hope. My hope he would return to Christ and return to his family has been halfway shattered. I realize in my wise mind that Jesus is my true Hope, that I should always fix my eyes on the eternal…but I am human, too. I live in the present, as well. So, even knowing these truths, it doesn’t make the pain of the present less real.
I try to find the lesson and the hope in the pain. The lessons I have learned thusfar are 1) to pray for God’s will to be done. His will is always best and will not leave me aching and disappointed, in the long term. 2) It is okay to grieve, even when the world tells me it isn’t…that I should be “over it.” God knows my heart, knows the heart I have for my husband (ex), and the heart I have for my family. He understands my grief and just holds me; He doesn’t tell me to to get over it and move on. He knows His timing is best, and I have to completely grieve to completely heal. According to leading Christian counselors, it takes one to two years to heal for every year you were married, so it appears I have a ways to go. 3) I will never regret not moving on to one relationship after another to dodge the grief. I know I will be healthier and happier to travel through the pain, instead of going around it. The pain is where I have found Jesus to be most present. 4) No matter how I feel, God is still in control. He is still working His perfect plan for me.
If any readers are struggling with the pain of divorce, I would love to hear from you. God wants us to bring comfort to one another. If sharing my experience can help anyone else feel less alone, less isolated in their grief, then I know mine has a purpose.
Faith, struggling Hope, and Love. It’s where I am today.