A lot of women ask me how they can come to grips with a story they don’t want. If you are wondering how to accept your marriage is over, hopefully this post will provide some encouragement.
How to Accept Your Marriage is Over
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball when we’re least expecting it.
I want to tell you a story- a story of redemption. It was not the redemption story I planned for my life, though.
Before I start, I want you to know I’m living facing forward now, not backward. I’m on the edge of a brand new story that God continues to write, and I am grateful. So with that, let me tell you my redemption story.
My marriage has come to an end.
It was like a knife in the back the first few weeks, especially after years of offering support while he tried to rebuild his life after addictions. But, God has been gently walking me forward these past few years, graciously preparing me to lead my kids through this difficult time.
When Is Divorce the Right Answer?
Many things came together to confirm that it was time to file for divorce, and there were biblical grounds for that decision.
While this definitely marks the end of something important in my life, it’s also been a time of renewal, of new beginnings, of rebirth – and that is what I want to focus on.
So many wonder how they’ll go on if their spouse leaves them. I’m here to tell you that you can do this with great peace in your heart.
There is certainly a grieving process and a time of uncertainty. As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, though, He provides peace, and guides and heals our hearts in ways we cannot expect.
I struggled with when to tell my children about the divorce. Due to the nature of the situation, I needed to be able to provide them with some sort of closure, so one morning, when God set it on my heart, I summoned all my courage and told them. That was the most painful moment in nineteen years of parenting. It was excruciating. But as the next weeks unfolded, I saw the wisdom in God’s timing.
When to Leave Your Marriage
Backtracking a bit…on the morning of Tuesday, April 30, I woke up and sat bolt upright. Now, I’m a morning person, but waking up that day, in that manner, was different than any other morning. My very first thought was, “I want to live!”
I had been living in survival mode, and once again, God was guiding me to a time of revival for my own heart.
That day – April 30th – changed everything for me. It was a Tuesday, which had been a significant day each week, during the previous few years. It was a gift to recognize that even something that small was orchestrated so sweetly – like everything came full circle.
The divorce paperwork was submitted long before April 30th, but for two full months now, I have had good days. No, every day was not perfect, but my eyes were opened to just how much emotional weight I was carrying before. It was as if all that extra emotional weight fell off on that Tuesday morning.
Find Joy After Divorce
Joy is something we can experience, no matter how bleak a day may be. Happiness is often dependent on our situation, but joy is more of a heart attitude.
I lived in a protective mode for such a long time that I had sort of closed off my heart to a lot, including joy sometimes.
Beginning on April 30th, though, I began to purposely determine that I would have joy. I started to journal again – listing just 3 things I was thankful for each day. After just a few days, I could feel how my heart was changing, growing, feeling joyful consistently, not just happy.
I started to invest time in myself, just with simple things like taking a few minutes to appreciate the sunshine, or turning up the volume on a favorite song. On the recommendation of several friends, I started to attend DivorceCare meetings. These have been so soothing to my spirit as I realize that all the feelings of the past few years are completely normal. However, going through the lessons each week, I’m finding how much my heart has healed, and how much I’ve stepped into the newness of the life ahead of me.
Finding Peace After Divorce
Just the other day, I put on a necklace and remembered some of my favorite pieces of jewelry. They were a set of rings, hand-stamped with words that were important to me the past few years: hope, redemption, mercy, and grace. I wore those rings to symbolize what I had hoped for my marriage. However, the restoration of a marriage is always based on the choice of both spouses, and you can’t force a spouse to make the choice for restoration, even if that’s what you want.
I stopped wearing those rings because they had been attached to the part of my life where I was hoping for a restored marriage. As I stood thinking about them, I decided they symbolize everything new in my life now, too, and I put them on. The feeling of peace, knowing that God has a wonderful plan as I look ahead and walk forward, was almost overwhelming.
Ending a Long Marriage
There is no easy way to face the ending of a long marriage. The hurt and pain are real, but they do subside. God is full of grace and mercy, providing hope for our hearts. We may have a certain idea of what we expect the redemption to be, but let me share something I’m finding:
When we leave the redemption to the Lord, His plans are even more beautiful than we can imagine!
That’s a promise, from my heart to yours – from one who has walked the long road, made her own plans, and then watched them fall apart.
But, friend, come close and listen with your heart:
God’s plans for you – and for me – are good. He is in the process of creating something beautiful from something that was ruined. The Bible is full of stories of God’s redemption, stories beyond human possibility. That is who He is. He sees the scars, the hurt, the wounds, and He steps in, full of grace and mercy, and does His redemptive work in our lives.
If you find yourself walking the road toward divorce, you’re going to make it. I promise. It may not be what you want, but God can make something beautiful out of all this mess. Sometimes it takes the perspective of time and distance from the situation, but God is faithful in all of this, and He will guide you, just as He has guided me.
If you are moving forward after a traumatic experience in your marriage, be sure to check out this course I’ve created. It’s been instrumental in my own healing, and I pray it will be for you as well.
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