I’ve never been a person who minded change too much. Moving to new places, finding new hobbies, changing the furniture around and painting the walls a new color have never been a problem. Even looking for a new Church in those times when we moved wasn’t a bother to me, I like meeting people. New scenery is always welcome and new places to explore is a favorite of mine.
I’ve found some changes I don’t like. In fact, these are changes I hate. That’s a strong word, I know. But I do hate some changes. When a change entails people leaving your life, I hate that. I guess if these people were people I didn’t like or people who were mean to me, that wouldn’t be so bad. The changes I’ve experienced in the last 4 years though – have been about people I love, leaving.
Yes, I’m talking about the “D” word. Divorce. One of our children has been divorced twice. I got to know one of the spouses well. I loved that person. Deeply. And I had just started to know the other and loved that person.
Most of us can love so very easily. Especially women, we ladies have that ability most of the time. I mean really LOVE. Head over heels, concerned about their life, wanting to spend time with them – loved them. So when those loved ones leave, its devastating. That probably sounds selfish, what about my child who was also bereft? I know my child was heartsick.
I had to act strong for my child. Inside I felt like I was dying. So much so, that I commented to my husband, “I feel like I may actually die from this.” I felt physical symptoms of depression and trauma. My chest felt heavy and I had trouble breathing. I cried every day. My head hurt constantly. It felt as if someone had died. Someone had died. The person who was born when two became one. And I grieved over this just like someone I loved had died.
I didn’t once think, “What will people say?” I didn’t care. I only knew that life was changed and I hated it. My grandchildren felt it too. Though they are young and resilient, I saw them acting out in ways they didn’t even understand. My child suffered – I suffered along, mostly silent, with my child.
I had to really get serious with God asking Him to help me because I really did not want to die. I wanted to know why I was feeling like this. It wasn’t my marriage in shambles but I saw how my child was being affected. My grown child cried on my shoulder. My child worried and stressed and doubted God and nearly became sick. I did become sick. My other children didn’t understand. They probably thought I was overly emotional. Maybe I was but I was the only way I knew to be.
I realized that divorce is a hateful thing and God is truthful when He says, “”I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.”
Divorce does violence to families. It did violence to me and mine and I can attest to that. I felt ravaged, beat up, wounded by divorce. I cried out to God all day and through the night. I cried out for Him to save the marriage, then when it was obvious it would not be saved, I cried out to Him to help my child and grandchildren through this. I prayed for the ex-spouse, too. I cried out to Him to help me, to help us all. I felt like our family was out of control. I was so deeply bereft that I could only cry out for help. Over time, He did help me. He taught me about Himself, about people. He showed me how desperately we all need Him. He comforted me. He showed me that we were not out of control, that He was in control, even in the middle of this horrible mess.
Then the second divorce happened.
I hadn’t known this second spouse as long. This time I was sad, heavy feeling. I didn’t want to go down that road again and I didn’t. I miss this person and I miss what our family could have been. Its only because I wasn’t as invested in this person as I was the first that it didn’t devastate me. But my heart toward my child broke again and I was spending time day and night praying, trying to understand.
I don’t understand. And I may never.
But there is one constant in my life. God is with me. He is near by and helping me and even if my child doesn’t know it yet, He is helping all of us. He has answered every cry I have made with His presence, with strength and with relief. He has changed me and how I see people. He has made me more forgiving, more aware of my own sin, more grateful.
I understand a little more now what it means to have God with you through trials. Looking back on the past 4 years I really thought I died, but I didn’t. He didn’t take away the divorce but He got down into our messy lives with us and kept us all from drowning.