Someone needs this reassurance and challenge today. Sometimes I write something, not knowing specifically why. Sometimes I think the “for whom” is a general audience with multiple applications. Today’s post is different. I don’t know who needs to hear what follows, but I am confident it needs to be said to someone.
I recently read a social media post that revealed an acquaintance’s divorce with the spouse she would no longer live with. It’s rare, but it happens. It made me think how important it is to point to hope. This isn’t just about divorce, but because I know so many people struggling in marriages, in the process of divorce, or in the aftermath of a divorce, maneuvering many changes and relationships and healing, I feel it’s important to say: There is a way to do a divorce with even though every divorce is, at its core, a divorce from. I want to give hope to those facing divorce right now, or perhaps not knowing they will face it soon. There is hope.
Even if reconciliation doesn’t happen, there is hope within the divorce process. It can be a very ugly process. It is always a difficult process. (Some might argue with me, but even among people I know who have been glad the divorce happened, they would not identify it as easy.) In many cases, it feels like navigating unpredictable waters blindfolded in a leaky boat.
Many of you know my journey, or at least, glimpses into it. My divorce certainly wasn’t easy. Despite being blindsided by it, I tried different approaches to make it civil and manageable and was consistently met with an odd mixture of apathy and argumentation. You can’t control how the other person behaves in divorce; many would say something similar is true within a marriage—the difference being, in a healthy marriage, there is trust. Despite my experiences, I still contend there is hope for those facing divorce.
I did my best to stay focused on God, and because of that, as much as the divorce was from another person it was with God every step of the way. It’s the same motivation with which I tell people the risk of love is worth the hard work and potential hurt that might result. I don’t disbelieve in love because of the hurt someone caused in my life. That was a person’s choice. It wasn’t the fault of love. What God intends, people break. They distort. They twist with their own struggles.
Why bring this up? Because I see the hurt. I see what it’s doing to people, not just the two people who were married but their families and friends and the circles they move into beyond that relationship. Is there growth, too? Of course! As with any other situation, that growth requires humility and honesty. Without it, people involved float through with limited perspective in order to make the world seem beautiful. Blinders will do that. Taking off those blinders and looking around seems too overwhelming.
Living with the blinders isn’t realistic. A horse can’t do it as he races down the track, but we’re not racing through life in one lane and one finish line in sight. Even the racehorse doesn’t live that way. The blinders come off to experience the world. Focus can be good, but we can’t live with tunnel vision.
Hope helps us see the possibilities but also keeps it in a broader context of reality. Hope isn’t insurance things will go our way; hope is assurance God is trustworthy, and because of him, we will be prepared for whatever way things go. Those who know me well know I tried. I did my best to honor God even when someone else was creating every distraction and discouragement. I had to put healthy boundaries in place. And my intention every step of the way was to honor God even when making those tough decisions.
You have tough decisions, too. But when we do so with God, while not easy, it is good. That is a deeply abiding peace I have despite any storm. Whatever you are facing today, know you can choose to face with with God.