Divorce (Written 26 Mar 2021)
Suffering - Mar 29, 2021 Author: Jeanette Green

Divorce (Written 26 Mar 2021)

When I was in my late twenties, I attended a community church where I got to know modern worship music and then thoroughly fell in love with worshiping God through singing.
A couple of times we sang the song, ‘Blessed be your name’, by Matt Redman.
I loved the song, and each time, at the top of my lungs, sang with, “You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, blessed be Your name.” Time and again, after singing this song, I felt a stirring in my heart, and I wondered – did I really mean what I sang?

Life was good. I was rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed in love with Jesus. And I’ve met someone. June 2006 I got married to a tall, dark-haired, and handsome young man, which I then thought was the love of my life.

Six months into our marriage though, I discovered that he watched pornography. I know - many men do. But I had been deeply hurt by the influence of pornography, before, and have explicitly asked him if he watched porn before we got married. He promised me that he did not, and I believed him.
Besides that he did appear to have a porn addiction, the fact that he lied to me, was what really threatened to shipwreck our relationship. I wanted out. However, our pastor counseled me to forgive the man. I felt that even if the man might not have been physically unfaithful to me, he had been unfaithful to me in his mind, and so I had full right to divorce him. Yet I could not bring myself to do so.
Instead, I prayed, “Lord God. I cannot trust my husband. But I can trust You. Father, please bring out the truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
And I pushed the thought of his porn problem into my subconscious and stayed married to the man.
Our life together was a tough one. We accumulated more and more credit card debt, in my name. I changed from a cheery young woman, into an angry, faultfinding wife. He changed from my charming companion, into a withdrawn television addict. Communication and intimacy were shattered. Although the foundation of our relationship already was crumbling, still we continued to build dream castles on top of it.

Then April 2008, the man attended a Christian camp. A week after he returned from the camp, he said that we must talk. I had no idea my life was about to fall apart. We sat in the cozy lounge of our garden cottage, across from each other. He averted his eyes, and words I was not prepared for at all, stumbled out of his mouth. He had been unfaithful to me. My heart was in shreds. But more, I was in a severe spiritual battle. Because the man came clean in the hopes of finding forgiveness and starting afresh with me. Could I forgive him?
That night I didn’t sleep a wink. Sob after sob ripped through me. And in the very dark hours of the early morning, I got up from the couch, lifted trembling arms to the sky, and between my sobs, sang, “My heart will choose to say, blessed be your name…”

Living in the same house with the man that ripped my heart out, caused severe anxiety for me. And so, for weeks, I didn’t sleep. Which in turn resulted in me having a massive (tonic-clonic) seizure. In and out of consciousness I drifted, as he rushed me to hospital, that night. I came to in casualties, with my mom bent over my bed.

After that episode, I asked the man for a six-month separation. I could not think, could not heal, with him living in the same house.
He moved out. I started therapy at a Christian counselor. Most of all, I searched for God’s wisdom on what I should do.
I had many dreams. At the time, I had little experience with hearing God speak to me in my dreams. But He is the giver, and also the interpreter of dreams. The message that came through clear for me, is that I had a choice, and this time I knew what I would be getting myself into. Could I stand before God, before witnesses, and renew my vows to the man, knowing what his weakness was. Could I do that, knowing that no matter how hard he tried to conquer his problem, bad times would come, and he may fall? Could I, knowing that, again say, yes? Before God?

After a few months of deep searching, I was certain. I could not do it.  I also knew that even if the man was sincere in wanting to change, I was the wrongest kind of person to walk the journey with him. Because I have weaknesses too. Already I could see myself always wondering what he was up to. He could perhaps truly be a changed man and walking a straight road, and because of my unbelief and doubt be pulled back down. Fall again.

The moment I had certainty, I called him. He came, and I told him. It was over. We had to get a divorce.
I gave him my forgiveness, hoped the best for him, but I could not stay married to him.

We had only been married for two and a half years when our divorce went through. I cannot imagine what absolute trauma couples who had been married for decades and then get a divorce, experience.
Because even after such a relatively short period of being married, and even though we did not have kids together, it was sheer hell.

God does say in the bible that man and woman become one flesh. And if I did not understand that fact so much when we were married, divorce brought it home to me. Because I literally felt the fibers of my whole being tear. I had no clue who I was, or how to continue with my life.
However, God did know His plans for my life. And faithfully He carried me through those very dark days of my life.

Why did God take so long to answer my prayer to bring out the truth?
In the first few months after my divorce, I had mixed feelings towards God. I was completely dependent on Him. And I was grateful - that He finally brought the truth out, that I didn’t have kids with my ex-husband, and that we hadn’t been married, longer. But I also felt that a year and a half of my life had been stolen from me. Why did God wait so long to reveal the truth to me?

God didn’t tell me why I had to wait, but He showed me the state of my own heart. And I came to the conclusion that if God had shown me the truth earlier on in our marriage, my relationship with God might not have survived. And I, instead of with God’s help, healing of the pain of divorce and continuing forward in his perfect will for my life, might have done yet another thing that I would later regret.

What about my ex-husband. Was he not also a child of God?
I didn’t see my ex-husband again, or spoke to him, after the divorce. And so I can’t answer this question. But I do pray that God granted my ex-husband healing. I hope that God, faithful to his promise, will make all things work together for the good of those who love Him, and are called together for his purpose.

I have forgiven my ex-husband. Still, sometimes things happen, that trigger those painful memories. In those moments, only by God’s grace am I able to again choose to forgive.

Conclusion
Divorce had been part of my story. This is my story, and by no means am I saying that divorce is a good choice, or the only choice, if there had been unfaithfulness in marriage. I know of couples who had been through the deep waters of unfaithfulness, yet by the grace of God, stayed married. Despite enduring the agony of having to rebuild after unfaithfulness, they ended up reaping rock-solid marriages.

Whatever your story, what is important is that you ground every chapter of it in God. If you are facing difficult decisions, take the time, and seek God’s wisdom, before you act. Because you are the one living your life, and you must live with the consequences of your actions. God’s grace is enough, his forgiveness and healing are available to you. Turn to Him! Even if you are angry, and hurt, and feel like blaming Him. Because He remains God, and King, no matter how you feel about Him. Let his Word guide your steps when you are walking in darkness and don’t know how to go forward. Above all else, seek to live in peace with God, and by seeking his forgiveness, and repenting, keep your conscience clear. By God’s grace, you can. And his peace will guard your heart and mind, in every decision you make.

Prayer
Father God, out of the agony I experienced as a result of my own divorce, I now pray: send your ministering angels to help any of your children whose marriages are falling apart. For those already in the process of getting divorced, or that are recently divorced, I thank You for your assurance in your Word, that You are close to the broken-hearted. Father, cloak them in blankets of your love and carry them through the difficult, painful days. Show them who they are, in You. Provide them everything they need to build a new life, and let new hope arise. Father, please protect them while they are vulnerable to fall into new relationships for the wrong reasons. Instead, fill the void in their hearts with Your love, and if it is Your will, at the right time, lead them into godly relationships, sanctioned by You. Father, if You deem it necessary, guide them to places where they can receive counseling to heal from the pain of divorce. Send them all the practical support they need, through family, friends, strangers even. Comfort them! And shield them from depression, physical illness caused by the stress, spirit of suicide.

For kids caught in the cross-fire of divorce – send special intervention from your throne, Father. Embrace them with your love, help them know they are loved. Carry them through each day, and help them find their strength in You, as they must adjust to their forever changed lives.

Father God, there are of your children who are on the brink, but who are not yet in process of divorce.
By the miracle-working power that rose Christ from the death, intervene, oh God, and restore what seems impossible to mend. 

Heal hearts, grant forgiveness, help us change and become the new creations You declare us to be. Pour grace into the marriages of your children. Bind husbands and wives together with your unbreakable third cord of love. Work in children’s hearts to be obedient and supportive of their parents. 

Give us the grace, to submit to You, oh God. And then come and love our spouses and our children, through us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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