Divorced But Not Disqualified (Part 2)-Reflections

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How do you cope when your separation looks like it's going to end in divorce?

Do you shut yourself away, become a recluse and hide from the world? I tried that and it didn't really work for me! Instead the answer that I found didn't make much logical sense and the answer didn't come in the way or the shape that I expected.

I invite you to share in my journey and find out what I learnt through this painful time in my life.

I recommend that you read Divorced But Not Disqualified (Part 1) before you continue...

Caravan Hermitage

With my marriage in tatters I moved out and ended up living in a caravan. I had no job, no home and as I said previously I felt like my life was over. In this period I had only my parents for company, and yet even then I could barely stand being around people because I was trying to hold myself together. I got into a routine of swimming, visiting briefly with my Mum for breakfast and then retreating to my caravan to wallow in my sorrow and pray and fast. I was standing for my wife, I was sure that God would repair what was torn apart.

I only left my caravan for food / toilet and occasional TV programmes. Other than that I devoured the Bible and spent a load of time complaining at God and asking why. I spent time questioning if God was even there, and even in charge. Even at this point I could never say that God wasn’t there, I remembered things that I know God did in my life in the past.

I also started reading books about suffering, I listened to sermons from different preachers who have radio ministries like Charles Stanley, James MacDonald and others who gave guidance about why God allowed people to suffer and discovering His purposes for it. I learnt that “Why?” was not a helpful question! God’s grace was large enough to allow me to suffer and refine my faith, because for the first time I was really finding out about my confidence being in God and not in my works.

{xtypo_quote_right}I learnt that "Why?" was not a helpful question!{/xtypo_quote_right}

Power In Praise!

One thing I learned that took me too long to realise was that I should be praising God not just in my circumstances but actually FOR my circumstances. This didn’t make sense to my logical side. I read a couple of books by a man called Merlin Carothers and he explains it like this in his book “Power In Praise”;

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans (Romans 8:28).
Are you surrounded by difficult circumstances right now? Have you been struggling to understand why they have come to you? Then try to accept with your understanding that God does love you and has allowed those circumstances because He knows that He can bring good out of this for you. Praise Him for what He has brought into your life; do it deliberately and with your understanding.”

As I prayed and praised my attitude changed. My circumstances also started to change too, I got a temporary job and then I was able to move out and get my own place. I then got another job, better paid and permanent.

I kept going to church, to any meeting that I could get to at the church I attended, and the depth of my faith was noticed and I was started to be asked to do small things and I started to believe that I was not totally redundant to God.

After about a year I lost my job, but managed to get another fairly quickly, but this meant working 2 Saturdays out of 3. Sundays became the only downtime and it started to get harder to attend the church. About the same time I had realised that my marriage was not going to be reconciled. I also suddenly realised that given the circumstances, my separation had been 18 months with a very drawn out divorce process, I didn’t really want that marriage back. I would have got back together in order to complete the family unit and make it work, but it was no longer my overriding desire. At the same time I had no desire to be single either, I wanted someone to share my life with, and not just sex, but in that special way that you can only really do as marriage partners.

praise

Someone New I Knew

If I thought that I lost a lot of friends when we separated I think I lost even more when I started dating a younger lady who was a mutual friend. We used to be in the same church, she was also married at that time to someone who was in my circle of friends. They had split up about a year before and she was now divorced and emotionally hurt from the events that had led to her decision to ask her husband to leave.

She had been one of the friends who had maintained occasional contact through Facebook. We hadn’t met up since my relationship broke up but she genuinely enquired how I was doing a number of times and I knew that because of her marriage break-up she would understand when I told her how I was feeling.

I prayed so much that God would lead me. Step by step it seemed that this young lady and I were meant to be together. She was beautiful with a huge heart and caring spirit that appealed to me. I felt that this was a right relationship to pursue.

After some time my divorce came through and I was free to look to the future that I felt God was leading me into. We got engaged and later married on a lovely day with a small and very personal celebration!

Given the views that I had grown up in Church how could I possibly consider finding someone else and getting remarried, and if I did would it be OK or would I be a third class citizen in church circles?

Lessons Learnt

What all this has taught me is that God has much more grace for us than we realise. Grace is often described simply as Gods Riches At Christ’s Expense. God’s riches don’t finish at forgiveness, they are not limited to a hope of heaven. They are also for right here, right now, knowing that God loves me and accepts me through His son Jesus no matter what I have done. This doesn’t just go for things that happened before I became a Christian, it’s there for everything that I have done before and since. I don’t have to worry about how other people in church see me. In truth they should see me as someone who is forgiven, loved and blessed by God and I in turn should see them the same way.

I hope that I have learnt and grown through this season of suffering. I know that there are a few things that I have consciously realised;
I have more compassion for those who are going through a hard time. I am someone who is not particularly in touch with my emotions, but I can empathise with people who are in the hard place, because I can almost relive that heart stopping moment and the weeks and months afterwards when the bottom fell out of my world.
The suffering that I went through is nothing compared to what Christ went through for me. This gives me a whole new perspective on the physical agony and the spiritual separation from God as he endured my punishment for sin – and the knowledge that this has bought my forgiveness and my freedom.
That God loves me, three times the Bible tells us that God disciplines those that He loves (Proverbs 3v12, Hebrews 12v6 and Revelation 3v19). Just as I want the best for my kids and have to discipline them in order for them to grow up with the right attitudes, God does the same with me!

If you are hurting right now, perhaps looking for hope that things will improve, then run to Jesus and thank Him that He loves you so much that He is allowing this to happen. Praise Him that He is enough – He already knows you intimately. When your heart feels like it will burst from the pain and life feels pointless then just lift up your voice and, crazy as it sounds, give thanks to God! The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalms 22v3), so what better way to feel the presence of God?

Through this experience I am qualified to speak about God and his amazing grace that He has shown me. Divorce does not need to disqualify. Oh there may be some time for adjustment, there may be hurts that need to be healed. If you have this in your past or in your present don’t let it steal your identity in Christ and your future.

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