Archive | June, 2017

The Valley

24 Jun

There are many things that happen when you face divorce and every person and situation is different. This is my perspective, divorce from a final discovery of betrayal.

Divorce has grief stages no matter what the reasons for the divorce are or who initiated it.

The initial devastation of discovering another affair was truly it’s own stage. It isn’t listed in the 5 stages, but it was very real to me! It is the numb, just got hit by a train, can’t believe it, how can I do this, I can’t breathe stage. The please stop talking and saying things stage and the I can’t even begin to eat as to swallow anything is impossible stage.

Even though I knew I had had enough of the lies and women, even as he asked me to reconsider, even though I knew I had to say “no more”, I died a little at the thought. But.. It was time to let go. And then, I simply fell apart. This will be an added thing you need to forgive.

I want to say that God was on my mind in that, but I simply went white noise. He was in it, He was all over it, covering me, bringing people to me,bringing me through it, but I don’t really remember much of those first days or weeks.  There was always something, but this was different, this cut deeply and to the core. This severed it all. The lies were too many and too good. And you need to forgive this too.

Divorce is so painful, so terrible. Every single thing changes. All that you become used to; the rituals, your comfort things, your plans, the phone calls, the end of the day conversations. Everything stops.. Almost everything familiar to you changes. It is truly something you must mourn. Unlike a death, you have to see this person. Worse yet, them, the two of them.

Two months in to this, I had a project, a large event that I had been working on for months. When it was over, and such a great success, I no longer had him waiting to hear all about it. It broke me in half. I had no one to go home to, to share it with. Another layer of sorrow, of broken promises and dreams and then you forgive.

There is so much to process and grieve in the change and end of all that becomes familiar. Truly, divorce is a grieving experience that needs to be acknowledged. The end of commitment, he broke the covenant he made with God and with you. It is the end of all you invested. It can be really hard to see where any of that investment went. My final truth is this, trust God with that. Our prayers never die. They are counted forever. He holds them along with our tears.

When you divorce, you lose a family. I embraced and loved his father, caring for him several days a month. I had fallen in love with his sweet daughter. That too becomes a closed door, something that was. You feel the hurt of silence, then you place it back with God to heal and you forgive.

You grieve the hopes, and everything you looked forward to. Cancelling trips, plans and having to realize all that you looked forward to, your future together, is over. The hopes and dreams died a sudden death. You then forgive this too.

Hitting the last straw of betrayals, because the betrayals were so many, the deceit, it didn’t make the hurt of it any less. I think the hardest part of a third party, is the cheater doesn’t really deal with the ending. They are running to the beginning. There is a fine line to watch when you are the one left to hurt. You have to be so careful of the landmines of comparison, “they are happy, and not alone”.

You have to be careful to not allow that to impede your progress of processing the pain of the loss. It is so important to realize, when there is adultery, that we absolutely haven’t and cannot do anything to deserve that. That truly is our partner’s sin and flaw, not ours. Just stay present in your own journey through grief. Again…forgiveness is key.

Rejoice in the moments when you find yourself laughing again. Enjoy that! When those thoughts of being alone overwhelm you while they are happy, know that your happiness will be from within. It will be fraught from the depths of healing and true growth when you fully embrace your pain. Give your sorrow, jealousy and displaced wishes straight to God to bind up. Share that with a trusted friend. Pray together. We have to almost eulogize those memories. And then you forgive.

Each tear, each moment of raw anger, each time you recall another lie or how they hurt you; feel it, and then forgive it. These are all healthy. Let those feelings come, truly feel it, learn from it, forgive them or yourself or both, and then give it to God.

Working through the emotions as they come is so important. The disturbed sleep patterns, the emotions that one minute are peaceful, the next you almost can’t breathe it hurts so much, to breaking down the minute you are alone in your car or worse, in the store. The anger and frustration over small things; Feel them and then surrender them. Breathe in the Holy Spirit and exhale the spent, raw emotion.

Surround yourself with good friends; Friends that let you feel safe and allow you to process your feelings.They pick up the phone when you call just to make sure you are okay. They empathize and don’t belittle you for feeling something, nor do they tell you what you need to do. The emotions can be a bit chaotic as they come and go so quickly, that begins to smooth out over time. Be proactively protective of your journey. If someone tells you how to feel or how to process or shuts you down, walk away. This is not healthy for you. Simply seek to bear with them, be patient and then, yes, forgive them.

Be kind to yourself. Be your own friend. God is with you, you aren’t alone. Know that you are grieving, and it requires you to work through your emotions.
The 5 stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When a sudden ending happens, like my situation, an affair, you also have to add PTSD type grief which, is the white noise initial reaction..

Symptoms of grief include: Disbelief, confusion, sense of guilt, anger, depression, sadness and denial, loss of appetite, nausea, apathy, decreased energy, lethargy, agitation, crying, sighing, emptiness, heaviness, lump in your throat, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dry mouth, dizziness, rashes, restlessness. Sleep disturbances, insomnia or sudden awakening, absent-minded behavior, searching, social withdrawal, dreams and nightmares. I experienced every single one except a rash.

Lean into your faith, don’t pressure yourself to “let it go”. Divorce hurts! Regardless of whether it was planned, whether you initiated it or you were dumped, you must walk through the process. The chaotic, full range of all the stages all at once or several times a day. You process, learn, forgive, and grow.

Don’t pretend you’re okay, don’t hide your feelings, don’t try to be strong. Cry when you need to cry and call friends when you struggle. My best friend has walked me through many emotional moments. Healing comes when you face them head on, feel them and walk or crawl through them. Keep talking, keep crying, keep ranting, keep reading scripture, keep giving it to God;  just keep moving through it. One day you breathe a little easier, one day you realize you don’t think about them as often or what you hoped for, as often.

God has much to say to the brokenhearted. He loves us always but He is especially gentle with our broken places. He collects our tears in a jar. He comes in closer, holds us tighter, carries our hearts more carefully. Grief has such a beauty in it, but it is so raw and so painful, it is a beauty none of us really want to ever journey.

What I have come to understand is that it is far more about the dreams and the hopes than it is ever was about the person. Coming to terms of what is truth rather than what you thought was truth. Yes. Forgive them, and mourn the end. Divorce is a death of a relationship. You owe it to yourself to heal your broken heart.. Fully, and without judgement.

Most of all, remember, this is not a surprise to God. He still has you, He still holds your future. He is still beside you, and He longs for you to lean in, trust Him with all of this. He has many more journeys planned for us. This love story never ends.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”

Psalm 147:3  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. “

 

 

 

 

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Take Heart

19 Jun

There is a line in the movie “The Shack” that I really liked.  “Papa” is explaining what grace and trust look like when evil harms us; In those circumstances that we are collateral damage when someone’s free will results in grave sin.  “I am not asking you to excuse what he did. I am asking you to trust me to do what’s right and to know what’s best.”  He means inspite of what we see.  Forgive and trust God in all circumstances.

He knows our storms. He knows our sin and He knows the sins done against us. He is beside us, faithful, even when we can’t feel Him.

Faith is like a muscle. In our good times, our faith may not be getting a work out. Our gratitude may be strong, our worship may be strong but our faith truly is only tested in our trials.  Endurance is for the long term. Is faith really faith when the minute it gets painful, we fall apart?

Romans 5:3 tells us that our trials, through persevering, strengthens our character and builds us up in Hope.

He knows our circumstances and he knows our relationships. He knows where we are overwhelmed by the storms, uncertain how to navigate our way through. In Matthew 14:27 he says to Peter “Take heart; It is I. Do not be afraid”.   It is the middle of a storm, and the seas are raging, the disciples see the impossible, Jesus on the water. Peter, though he only had a small amount of faith, and probably a good dose of fear in that moment, was willing to trust and get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water: Jesus said “Come”.

Faith like that, faith that says “ok Lord, I am overwhelmed by the storms of my life right now, I long for answers that don’t come quickly.  I struggle to let go of the resolutions I planned for the outcomes you have planned. Lord, hold your hand out to me, help me find my way safely, and I will step out in faith”

How confident we can be friends, that He is there in the storms. In him we can find our peace, our hope, our courage. We can cry out “Father, our little faith can let us step out of our terror, even in the midst of storm, and walk on the water with you. You ask us to trust you, to take courage in you, in your presence, even when we don’t feel you near. You help us walk on the water in the storm.”

It is then that we find what cannot be found anywhere else. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Calm that belies the storms. Hope that even if it isn’t what WE planned, we know it will lead us to the exact place to bless us and to bless other’s with.

Lord you are just that amazing and good. Us of little faith, seek you and find you when we seek you with all of our hearts. Imperfect, scared to death, hurting and lacking in grace and mercy for other’s and for ourselves. We find perfect peace in all of that, the storms that this world brings.

Thank you, Father, for never letting me drown in this storm. Thank you for giving me the courage of Peter to step out in faith I don’t always feel!

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 4:7