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May 23, 2012

Seeking God in the Wake of Divorce

Facing the unique challenges in the death of a marriage

divorce.jpg
“Weddings have invitations, ceremonies, and receptions. Babies’ births get announcements, showers, and dedications or baptisms. Graduations have announcements, commencements, and open houses. Deaths are marked by obituaries, wakes, and funerals. Divorces, on the other hand, are as life-changing as any of these milestones, and yet they can pass by as non-events to the world at large,” a recently divorced Christian friend “Lori” shared with me.

When her world fell apart, the rest of ours kept moving on.

There’s no funeral for the death of a marriage, no “obituary” in which Lori can publicly acknowledge all the pain she’d privately carried and dealt with for years in a difficult marriage, no “shower” of gifts to restock her home now that half of her possessions have left with her husband.

In a day, Lori’s life was redefined. She moved from wife to single-mom status. And now she’s supposed to just pick up and continue with life in this new, strange normal.

The quiet, yet searingly painful “normalcy” of a divorce is just one of its many challenges.
There are the holidays to navigate. There’s child custody to arrange. The ex-in-law relationships to redefine. The friends who aren’t sure how to act, what to say, or which “side” to pick. There’s also the loneliness. The regret. The bitterness. And the mourning.

“I’ve been surprised by how many things I keep having to mourn the loss of,” another recently divorced friend, “Sarah,” told me. “I’ll be having a great day, when suddenly a thought or a memory pops up and I’m overwhelmed with feelings of extreme loss—loss of my family; loss of a 50th anniversary party, loss of my kids having a dad at home, loss of sitting by my husband’s side at my children’s weddings someday.”

How can someone survive the upheaval of a life? The shattering of dreams? Though a relationship with God certainly doesn’t make it all better or whitewash divorce’s painful realities, it can be a life-giving constant to keep one afloat through the storms. “I can think of no other life experience that has brought me closer to God than my divorce,” Lori explains. “I have never been so completely and utterly dependent on him. He has blessed me and provided for me in more ways than I could have asked or imagined. So many times I would cry out to him in my despair—and he would soothe and comfort me.”

Similarly, for Sarah the darkness of divorce has brought the surprising blessing of a flourishing intimacy with God. “God has somehow turned what was ugly and destructive into something beautiful in my life—my relationship with God has never been stronger than it is now,” Sarah explains. “God has shown me daily that he will never leave me, and that he is protecting me and my kids. He leads me, listens to my whining and questions, and answers my prayers vividly. His faithfulness is truly never-ending.”

No matter where you are in the divorce recovery process—whether you’re raw with fresh pain and the shock of it all, or if you’ve navigated through several years and are moving forward—there are unique challenges you’ll face, and also unique spiritual opportunities. The opportunity to courageously choose forgiveness over bitterness. The opportunity to trust God more deeply and depend on him more than you ever needed to before. The opportunity to be miraculously content in the present and future he has for you, even if it’s different from what you’d envisioned years ago.

If you’re wading through divorce-recovery, like Lori and Sarah, you can cling to God during this time. You can experience him as the true soul-light in your current darkness, and as the ultimate companion who will never leave you or forsake you.

Kelli B. Trujillo is an author and contributing editor for Kyria.com. She and her husband, along with their three children, live in Indianapolis.

Related Tags: divorce, hope, marriage, pain, recovery

Comments

Powerfully written. It reminds me of the 12-yr death of a dream of marriage and children. While I would not wish the heartache and lonliness of those years on my worst enemy, my soul is forever grateful I now experience "life" the way God intended me to experience it--no reserve, complete freedom and hope in Him! I am a new creation post those 12 years; I love Jesus more now than ever before in my life!! He is completely real and close and fun and serious, and set apart. I enjoy Him and His presence in my life so much now. While I don't think at this point in my life I will experience the pain of divorce, I feel like I can relate at a certain level to the process women go through. Thank you for sharing your story with us Keli!!

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined myself
divorced, after 22 yrs of marriage. But, I did. It was the worst experience of my life. But, through it all God remained faithful. No one can comfort and strengthen like the Lord. I am grateful to the Lord for our two wonderful sons and how far He has brought us,
through it all.

Thank you for writing an article that informs those who have never divorced and encourages those who have. You are absolutely right. There is no funeral when a marriage dies. No one brings covered dishes to your divorce. It's an unobserved death to those around you. But God sees and understands the loss. He is closer than a brother, friend or spouse. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death....

many thanks for the article on divorce. I have suffered this recently following over 4 decades of marriage. The day of leaving home was the hardest decision ever I have had to make. Being trapped in an abusive marriage of Narcissism & Delusional Paranoia was truly a means of drawing nearer to God via prayer. It was fear that drove me away of what may happen ; those who have or still do walk this path know what I mean. Love kept me & for this I shall be eternally thankful . Prayer is such a wonderful solace & daily to commit all to Him is where peace lies. Jesus' promises keep & uphold one . We really need NO other , for there is none like Him. Blessings to all who are walking this path...look up & see He is there.

Nice article! Divorce has many, many pros and cons. I personally pay my thanks for this article. Yes, it’s very true, “There’s no funeral when a marriage dies” it really critical to stay with willpower on death of long relation .Person needs lots of courage in this situation, only one who understand and help you to overcome from this pain is “THE GREAT ALMIGHTY”, I can say prayer and time are the greatest ointment or healer, so please don’t loss your faith from God, “He hears all, To the possible good that she does”.
Separazione E Divorzio

This article is an eye opener for me as I'v never given any serious thought to what persons go through when they become divorced. It would nbe good to hear it from a man's point of view. I have committed myself to pray for persons who are going through this painful process whether I know them or not.

Having both a son and daughter who went thru divorce, the article and advice hold true for both men and women. Lots of good men also have wives that are unfaithful and leave. To me, divorce seems a major issue for the church to focus on. More so than many other more politically controversial issues.

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