The Divorce

by Rhonda, September 24, 2022

This week is the week of filing paperwork around my divorce.  We've been separated for three years, so I guess you could say this is a long time coming.  I have decided not to disclose all of the details around the reasons for our divorce.  We have kids, and they love their Dad, so no amount of ranting will ever excuse hurting my kids.  But, like any divorce, it has been tremendously painful.

Even though I won't disclose all of the details, I absolutely will tell my story and what God has done for me through it.  I have been married for over twenty years.  I met my ex-husband when I was nineteen years old.  There's times I really don't recall much of my life before I got married.  And, I was okay with that. 

I had my life planned out from a young age, and my plans came together pretty nicely.  I had the husband.  After a lot of struggle, we ended up adopting two wonderful children.  I had a good job, a retirement plan, and a map of the traveling I wanted to accomplish over the next twenty years.  I was proud of our life, and I was excited for the future.

I did not plan to be a divorced Mom of two teenagers.  It wasn't on the map.

But, I can tell you with all of my heart, I have never known my savior like I did when I was in the darkest moments of realizing my dreams were shattering into a million pieces.  The first nights we slept in this house, just the three of us, I honestly didn't know if my physical body could handle the pain.  I felt like such a failure.  I felt like such a disappointment to God, and I could not see how He could ever be proud of a daughter like me, who couldn't even keep her marriage together.

I worried about my kids until I was sick.  The pain was unreal for them, too, and honestly I think more of my pain was for them rather than myself.  I worried we had ruined them for the rest of their lives.  I worried they would never get past this.  I worried they would be angry with me, and I would lose them forever.  I was in a state of so much pain and so much worry, I felt at times as if I were losing my mind.

Two months after my ex-husband moved out, my 16-tear old son was on an operating table having a brain tumor removed.  I have never been so turned upside down.  All of a sudden, the divorce seemed like small potatoes.

So, this useless, worthless feeling daughter got on her knees like never before. Never had I needed Jesus so much on a day to day basis.  Never had I needed Him to give me enough strength just to get out of bed, just to keep going.  I felt so worthless, and since I was such a failure, I felt like I deserved all of the misery brought onto our family.  The pain and anxiety were what I deserved for being such an embarrassment.  My son's cancer was further proof of our lives falling apart, and this Mom failed not just her family, but even worse, her son who now had a recurrence of cancer.  

I asked Jesus, do you see anything in me at all anymore?  I have failed a child with cancer and caused him even more pain.  I have failed You.  I can't see anything good anymore.   How could you ever love me?  I will never be the person I used to be when I was married.  How will I ever glorify you again?  Do you even think I'm worth this life anymore?  

To my absolute shock, He whispered to my heart that He was proud of me.

I didn't believe Him.  So, I asked him again.  Over and over.

The answer was always the same.  I am proud of you.  You are my daughter.  I don't love you because of your marital status.  I love you because you are mine. You can rely on my strength to get you through this. 

I couldn't fathom or understand a savior who was so gentle.  After being in such a tumultuous situation for so long with horrible things said to me, why would Jesus be so kind?  I was waiting for the condemnation, the correction, and the reminders of what I did wrong.  But, it never came.  

I remember when my son came out of his brain surgery, which lasted hours and hours.  As he was in recovery, before he even opened his eyes, he whispered through his dry lips, "Mom," and he raised his hand up.  Let me tell you, this Mama has never run across a room so fast to hold her baby's hand.  I laced my fingers through his, avoiding all of the IV lines, and he squeezed my hand.  

It was then, and only then, that I realized I didn't truly know the heart of my savior.  I didn't know Him like I thought I did.  All of my Bible studies hadn't prepared me for the absolute love and kindness He showed me in my worst moments.  The son I felt like I'd failed still wanted me, even when he didn't fully know where he was or what was happening.  

I couldn't hear God's encouragement enough.  I asked Him to tell me He loved me again and again, because I just couldn't get it to sink in.  Every time He whispered how much He loved me to my heart, I cried so hard that I didn't think I had any tears left.  I had never been loved like this in my entire life.  Never.  In the midst of so much strife, Jesus showed me what it felt like to be loved instead of condemned.  He showed me that my identity wasn't in my marriage, my ability to provide for my family, or even in my ability to be a good Mom.  My identity was that I was His daughter, a prized possession of the one true King.

The weeks after surgery were so challenging but God's words got me through it.  My son's pain was intense and I am still haunted by the night I was so exhausted from being up with him that I fell asleep and awoke to him crawling on the floor, vomiting, because I missed the window for giving him his pain medication.  I slept through the alarm that I had set and we were up for hours getting the pain under control again.

I wanted to fall apart when that happened.  The next day, my father announced to me that he was going to be sleeping at my house until my son was better.  At the time, I felt like a failure again because I couldn't even take care of my own kids.  But, once again, God remained faithful and at my worst moments, he sent my Dad to help shoulder the load.  God gave me the strength to keep going, to nurse my son back to health, and bit by bit, as he healed my son He also healed my heart.  

Over the next few years, He continued to whisper his same message to my heart.  I love you.  I am proud of you.  I will take care of you.  I love your children.  Your confidence can come from Me.  I will pick you up, I will restore you.

It has taken all of this time for me to have the strength to file paperwork, even though my ex-husband hasn't lived here for three years.  It has taken three years of Jesus putting me back together, of rebuilding me from the ground up, and teaching me His heart is a heart of love and devotion to his daughter.

I don't deserve such a wonderful savior.

But, I don't know what I would do without Him.  He pulled me out of the biggest wreck I could imagine.  My worst nightmares came true, and I lived to tell about it.  I am living proof that our God is bigger than our circumstances, bigger than any pit life throws us into.  He can pull us out of the worst situation, dust us off, and rebuild us!  He will heal us!  He makes all things new, and that includes our broken hearts that are shattered into a million pieces.

He is my redeemer, my deliverer.  I will never be able to praise His name enough, because I know what I was, and I know what He has done for me.  His love has transformed me. 

And to top it off, my son has been cancer free for nearly three years. 

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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