Divorced…10 Years Later (What You Have to Look Forward to)

I am sure you won’t be shocked to hear that I never planned to be divorced, but I didn’t. Yet, it didn’t just happen. A lot happened, a lot went wrong, a lot failed before my 14-year relationship/9-year marriage finally took its last breath.

If you have been divorced you might understand some of what I felt after my divorce:

  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of paying the bills
  • Fear of parenting alone without daily losing my Jesus and my mind
  • Loneliness
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Failure
  • Anger, even rage
  • Loss
  • Grief
  • Doubt
  • Wondering if I would marry again (or even if there are decent humans out there)
  • And the list goes on…

If you are new to divorce, and hurting desperately, please know that the pain will slowly but surely be replaced with hope and even joy, if you allow yourself time and room to heal. But don’t try to go through it alone; get counseling, join divorce recovery and get active in your church.

But I am not here to tell you how to get better, not in this post at least. I am here to simply impart a little hope for you. Ten years ago I was very broken and depressed, feeling hopeless and scared to death. But God has pulled me through those dark times and I want to tell you what I have learned over time:

  • Divorce sucks-You already knew that right? Well if you are thinking about doing it, be sure, because it is the hardest thing I have ever done. Its consequences never fully go away but we learn to cope, grow and even conquer.
  • Divorce doesn’t define me-You’re divorced? Ok. But that’s not WHO you are! You are a child of God, set just beneath the angels, crowned with honor and glory. (Hebrews 2:7) Don’t let divorce become your identity.
  • My emotions don’t control me-If we are not careful, we can worship our emotions; yes, our emotions can become our idol. While we cannot ignore feelings of depression or grief, or try to deal with them alone, we cannot put them on a pedestal, allowing them to rule our hearts and minds. We must be willing to heal.
  • Dating after divorce was weird-The more desperately you desire to date, the less ready you are for it. It’s a weird irony. If you can’t stand being alone, push through the loneliness. Dating during this time will most likely lead to bad relationships and terrible decisions.
  • Divorce was freeing-But not in the way that you might think. You might be excited to get to do what you want and go where you want without explaining your whereabouts to anyone. But divorce, handled well can free you up to be the person that God had always planned for you to be. Was your spouse tight with money? Now is your chance to celebrate your generous spirit. Did you always want to be a writer, a skydiver, or missionary? Now is your chance to do something that serves your gifts and God at the same time. The only thing holding you back is how you see yourself.
  • I am not who he said I am-We often define ourselves by our most significant relationship. Not dissing my ex here, because that is not what this post is about, but he viewed me much differently than how I see myself and vastly differently than how I want to be. Old definitions of yourself, and outdated expectations can be put aside. It’s time to find your identity in Christ and to shed the labels that are not healthy, not helpful and do not serve you and His Kingdom gloriously.
  • I love my life-Some of my fears came true. I was super broke, I lost my job, I had unhealthy relationships, my water was shut off, I ate too much ramen, I lost my cool with the kids, I felt lonely, embarrassed and helpless. But none of that was my fate.

I have turned out to be a really good mom, who in the long run, gets the big stuff right. My faith is insurmountable; it has never been stronger. I like myself more than ever: I feel more comfortable with who I am then ever before. I take more risks, have more fun and give myself more grace. I only eat ramen when I feel like it, my water runs, and I have a wonderful husband of almost 5 years.

I don’t know what happiness looks like to you when you close your eyes and dream about it. I don’t know what God has planned for your life. I can’t promise a full array of rainbows and butterflies everyday, and I can promise you that your life will never be perfect. But I can assure you that there is hope after divorce.

I am living it.

And loving it.

Praise GOD.

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