This past 2018 brought with it a lot of changes for myself, but supporting several friends walking through divorce and ugliness occupied my heart more than anything else.
God hates divorce, this is clear. If you have ever walked through it yourself, you understand why; it’s hard and robs us of peace, tears apart families and friends, and keeps us temporarily paralyzed from doing much of anything for the kingdom.
Divorce consumes everything in its path.
As much as it destroys, the majority of the loss is largely in the hands of the parties separating. Whether you initiated the process or not, both parties have an obligation to own their part, honor what was, and be responsible and respectful of the other. Especially if there are children in the middle.
My first marriage ended when I was 29. We had two small children and it was absolutely not my decision that my marriage would end. The depression and overwhelming pain of rejection was at times more than I thought I could bear. As he moved on socially and I spent months in isolation with my babies, it seemed an insurmountable pain to overcome. My waistline shrunk from a size 5 to a 1 and it was truly the need to feed and care for my children that allowed me to get up every morning. Or at least to wake up.
I never dishonored their dad, though. Certainly I was often angry, and certainly we have disagreed, but it was important to me that our children have a good relationship with their father – he was still a vital part of their lives, even if not of mine. I often felt he didn’t pull his weight or follow through on his word, but I had also learned that that who he was at the time. To be surprised or allow it to consume me all over again did nothing to help us build something stable for our kids, or, to allow my heart to heal.
While some disagreed with my position on this, as I have watched my two older children become well-adjusted adults who have always maintained a good relationship with their dad, I am so blessed to know that the seeds of peace that I sometimes painfully and often begrudgingly sowed, have now brought about beautiful fruit for my kiddoes.
It’s not easy to set boundaries and reestablish roles. It takes time and diligence, which again speaks to the detriment of divorce when it comes to our personal goals and spiritual effectiveness. The alternative, however, is that bitterness and pettiness reaps an unrelenting (and recurring) wave of grief – shattering hearts and rippling into all our other relationships as well.
We are, in the end, all still in community with one another.
I would implore you today to support a couple going through a divorce. Not in the way a Kardashian might, but practically help to carry the load, speak life to the situation, don’t add the kerosene of hatred and jump on the it’s-all-his-fault bandwagon, but encourage healthy parameters, gracious speech, and some perhaps some common decency.
We are all truly, in this ugly together.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age… Titus 2:11-12
…and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. – 1 Thessalonians 5:13
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… – Galatians 5:22
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. … – Galatians 6:1-3
He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. – Proverbs 22:8