The big ‘D’
No, not the latest big deal energy saving offer… but yes, a big deal for a Christian. Divorce. This is an account of my journey, what I learned and how God is still continuing to work within me today.
Let me first begin with this: divorce can be an incredibly lonely and confusing period of time as you separate from your closest worldly companion and navigate the tricky waters of financial disclosure, consent orders and child maintenance. As you begin to picture how your life will now function, it’s easy to think you’re alone: be reassured, you are not.
Look through the latest statistics, check the bloggers on Mumsnet or the support groups on Facebook and be comforted that you are not the only one and that your story is like theirs.
However, what is unique to you is your personal journey, and how you choose to manage it. You can take control and responsibility for your own behaviour in situations where someone else may be behaving out of character or hurtfully.
This, for me, is where God came in. I found three key ways to keep God in control during this challenging time: prayer, leaning on Him and finding forgiveness.
Firstly, I can honestly say that I prayed my way through the divorce process, as did my friend and prayer partner - she even prayed during mediation or lawyer's meetings! This was alongside praying for reconciliation - hoping for the best possible outcome of staying together, but also having to prepare for the worst and engage in the process.
Prayer allowed me to face what is an incredibly tough process emotionally. I was able to take comfort in the fact that only God can see the bigger picture.
As Christians, we have the amazing opportunity to have God as our guide and can choose to lean more into faith and ultimately into a closer relationship with God. The harder things are, and the less we can see a resolution for ourselves, the more God invites us to put every anxiety into His hands.
As only God understands our hearts and our hurts intimately, only He can heal those places perfectly. So if we invite Him to join us every day, in every decision, through every pile of paperwork, in every mediation or lawyer’s meeting, we can hand the whole process; the stress, the anxiety and the outcome to Him. If we trust that decisions have been prayed over, with prayer for justice and God’s will for all parties, we can begin to let go of any negative feelings as we go through the process.
Divorce so often leaves everyone scathed. Guilt and regret can follow when all the papers have been signed and new lives begun…But this isn’t the only outcome when we put Jesus at the centre.
Finally, comes forgiveness. In any situation, it’s hard to be honest and look at our own culpability and responsibility, but as a marriage is a partnership, both parties could be responsible for the good and the bad times. If you’re going through this process, perhaps take time to consider if you need to take responsibility for misunderstandings, unkindness, lack of love and acknowledge it to yourself, to God and if possible by an apology to your ex-partner. This way God will be able to FREE you through forgiveness and healing.
I have learnt that by bringing God into both the practical work and the personal pain, you can be confident that your decisions are being made with His guidance. Try not to revisit decisions as time goes by – remind yourself that God was with you and He knows your needs for today, and tomorrow.
For me, including God in every aspect of my divorce has since allowed me to stay outwardly calm with my partner and I think that’s helped my children to have a really good relationship with their Dad – helping them to be as emotionally stable as possible – whilst also making sure that he feels welcome in their home.
For whatever tough situation you may be currently facing, by fully inviting God to guide us with His wisdom and justice, you will also experience His amazing grace that enables GOOD things to come out of dark places.