For those of you who have followed my rather erratic posts about marriage, you know that my husband and I have been struggling through a really difficult time. During this time, I have absolutely believed that God would swoop down and fix it–fix him, fix me.
While I can’t speak for my husband, because he doesn’t talk about his inner spiritual life, I can say that God did some pretty serious house cleaning in my heart. And that was good, and very needed. It’s been a painful two-year journey.
Nonetheless, after nearly 23 years of marriage, my husband and I have decided to separate. Let me say that I never, ever thought I would be in this position. I’m sure thousands of other women have felt the same. I have a new compassion for divorced women who are single parents. What a scary place to be, to have that sense of a man’s protection taken away, and to know that the primary responsibility of parenting rests completely on your shoulders.
Of course, so many thoughts are running through my mind. How are our girls going to handle this? Will they have to deal with the social stigma? How will this affect them long term? What’s life going to look like as a single parent? How do I get back into the full-time work force? Will my husband and I get back together–and do I even want to get back together? Will I lose his family? And–I’m embarrassed to say this, but–how will I face the neighbors?
Wow. Divorced women, I salute you. You are strong, brave and very courageous.
One of the things I’m learning is that marriages cannot be fixed if both people are not completely submitted to God. So while I was waiting for God to bring about a miracle, it finally became apparent that God would work in other ways–not the ways that I expected. When the realization hit me that my husband was unwavering in his desire to separate, I thought I’d failed God. The words “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16) kept ringing in my ears. This was not God speaking to me–it was just my knowledge of His scripture–and the devil using it against me.
But slowly, I have heard God speaking to me, and His love has come through as a balm to my soul. Instead of “I hate divorce,” I’ve heard words like “I will take care of you” penetrating into my heart. God has given me some wonderful scripture to cling to, most notably Isaiah 41:10:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.
Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I don’t know what the New Year will bring. I know only that my husband is leaving at the end of January. But I know that God is with me and the girls. And we will be fine. It’ll be a grand adventure…packed with many of God’s wonderful surprises.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we’d planned. Or even hoped. Yes, I’m scared, but I’m gaining strength and confidence. And even beginning to look forward to it. Life without conflict could be a good thing.
I’d appreciate your prayers. And even your words of wisdom.