By Roger S.
Divorce is typically devastating to spouses and any children involved. But, it is not a death sentence. Brighter days lie ahead. After my own divorce, I spent years wondering if the sun would ever shine again, but now I am happier than I have ever been. If you or your children are depressed, angry, hurt, unjustly treated, vilified, financially ruined, abandoned, disillusioned, distrustful, or just plain disappointed, know that “this too shall pass.” Few endured as a prophet who was imprisoned, and God counseled him, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high….”
In the Old Testament Job went through amazing challenges, but his final state was twice as blessed as was his initial life. Not because it just happens regardless of how we react, but because Job remained faithful and conducted himself honorably. This isn’t just a hokey old story of dubious relevance. It is a pattern and a promise that as we remain faithful in spite of extreme hardships, we will emerge better off in the long run.
Every person has his or her agency, or personal freedom to make choices, and often those choices hurt other people horribly. But, each is also free to choose not to let someone else’s choices drag him or her down. You can choose to be happy. Over time your good choices will restore you not only to as good a place as you may have known in the past, but to a much better. But, you can also choose to be defeated. It’s up to you.
The two worst parts of my divorce were the reduced role in my children’s lives, and the virtual prison of seemingly endless legal battles. The most troubling aspects for you may be different. For me it was hard to adjust to just visiting a few days here and there and some phone calls. What I longed for was the continual day to day closeness I had always had with my dear children. It took a couple of years to get through the emotional turmoil, but gradually most of the pieces came back together for me.
The real key for me was to stay close to the Lord and to stay close to church. It would have been so easy to give up on church attendance, prayer, and even long-held standards of Christian living. But I came to find that these actually became my greatest sources of strength and recovery. When my needs were greatest, it would have been foolish to abandon that strength.
Today, 12 years after my divorce began, I am happier than I have ever been. My kids are mostly grown and gone, which would have happened either way. My second marriage is so much better than my first. Frankly, my spouse is so much better than my “practice spouse.” I use this term only because those who have had to survive the spiritual abuse that often accompanies divorce will probably appreciate its use. They will have come to recognize that they have been made free in part by realizing that their former spouse no longer defines or even influences their world. Thank heaven I didn’t give up. As Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”