Fear and Divorce

by Rhonda, February 22, 2022

Divorce has many difficult aspects to it, but one of the worst things I battled was fear.  Shortly after the separation, fear was running rampant through my mind and body on a daily basis.  All of my confidence was wrapped up in my marriage, and when it ended, I felt as if the source of my strength left with it.  Things I never thought twice about began to trouble me.  I didn't know if I could be successful at my job and be a single Mom.  I didn't know how I would keep up the house.  I wondered how the water softener downstairs was supposed to work.  I didn't know if the pain in my heart would ever end.

Every morning, I woke to such anxiety and pain that I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it.  My kids were in pain, too, and sometimes when it was particularly unbearable, we spent nights where the three of us slept in the same room together.  It kept us from being alone with our thoughts too long.  Because, when we were alone, fear made its debut.

My son was terrified someone would break into our house at night, and he asked if he could sleep with a baseball bat in his room.  My daughter's sadness hit worst at nighttime.  She dreaded going to bed, fearful of what would lie ahead.  She was certain she was the cause of our divorce.

When I look back on that time, I am honestly amazed at the ferocity of fear that overcame our home.  It was as if someone unleashed it against the three of us, and it hit us like ocean waves crashing into the seashore.  To be honest, we still have to stay diligent to keep it from taking us under, especially at night. 

At that time, I began a study on David in the old testament.  I have always felt a kinship towards David, as I've long believed he was a fellow redhead.  When I read his desperation in Psalms 142:6-7, I can relate not only to his hair color but to his pain.  

Listen to my cry for I am in desperate need, rescue me from those who pursue me for they are too strong for me.  Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name.  Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

I, too, was desperate and needed rescuing.  I felt imprisoned by my anxiety, and chained by my depression. 

At the time David wrote that verse, he was living in a cave and was literally being pursued by his enemies.  David may have been in a literal cave, but I was in a figurative one.  My sadness and fear had imprisoned me in a way I'd never experienced.  David's cave represented my personal pit.  

The entire time David was in the cave, he still believed God's promises.  I needed to do the same.  There are many promises to us as believers in the Bible, but God spoke one personally to me during this time.  

If you will do as I ask and let all of this go, you will be richly rewarded.

At the time, I didn't completely understand what it meant to let go of the things that were imprisoning me.  God had to show me through a process that involved me following Him slowly to the most painful places of my heart.  

He led me to grief and sadness that were inside of me long before my divorce, and He showed me how He intended to use His powerful healing in my pain.  To get better, He showed me three things I had to focus on:

  • I could no longer have idols before God, even if that idol was my marriage.  I had to stop trying to find a second savior, a substitute, to make myself feel better.  Instead, it was time to believe my real Savior like I'd never believed Him before.
  • I had to let my ex go, truly let him go, and stop trying to manipulate or control the situation to get him back. I had to move forward, one step at a time.
  • I had to learn, and study, how much God loves me.  I don't know that anyone can fully comprehend it, but I had to try.  Otherwise I would try to look for love in other places, and that would only bring me more pain.
I had been through so much, and I was so broken, that I had to move towards obedience in these areas.  More pain was not something I could handle and I was in a place of desperation to get better. There were times I slipped up, for sure.  But, I kept trying.  I kept telling God I would pick myself back up and I would keep moving forward, but I needed Him every step of the way.

There is light on the other side of all of this.  I pray if you're reading this, you can save your marriage.  But, if you can't, I want you to know that God loves you tremendously.  He will heal, and He will bind up your wounds.   

During this time, I was reading a book with my daughter called "His Revolutionary Love" by Lynn Cowell.  There's an exercise in the book where the reader is asked to fill in the blanks:

God has granted me ______________ and _____________ in place of ______________.

I filled this out as "God has granted me peace and a close relationship with Him in place of losing my husband.  

I wrote that statement in my journal and I reread it whenever I need to remind myself that God never subtracts without adding (even though sometimes He requires you to wait on His timing).  

You are not forgotten.  You are not alone.  

You are a daughter of the Most High, and He doesn't forget His daughters.

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