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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Faith & Family Affected My Experience

In my Family of Origin (FOO), I perceived that divorce was not considered an option.  It was wrong.  It was frowned upon, it was sad, it was failure.  I don't know if I knew there was any reason for which a divorce would be a proper course of action.  Our family life centered around church and within the conservative surroundings of the church twenty-five years ago when I was growing up and forming life concepts, divorce was quite uncommon in our circles.

My faith is based on the Bible and I learned that "God hates divorce" and that husbands and wives are to love as Christ (unfailing) and be submissive to one another.  Because my spouse said that he held these concepts to be tuth, too, I mistakenly believed we were operating on the same levels of trust, respect and protection of our relationship. 

I did everything I knew to do in order to protect and nurture our little family.  My world view was that our family was always better if it remained intact.  I thought my role was to always support my husband, regardless of his actions.  I didn't realize that the most loving thing a wife can do is to sometimes say, "No - this isn't going to be part of our life, our marriage, our home."  I've learned much and my naive trust is likely gone forever.  But make no mistake, I still believe the best outcome is when spouses to remain together, working through our failings to become healthier, stronger and mutually supportive.  This is when God gets the most glory.

I can't put it succinctly how this experience has opened my eyes to the broader scope of Scripture and God's character.  I know he speaks to me and he will to each woman faced with the challenge of how to respond to a difficult spouse.  Much of what I write is formed out of this new learning. 

Yes, God hates divorce.  He also hates abuse, betrayal, lies, pain.  But we have all been guilty of such things and He loves people.  He loves the person who inflicts pain and He loves the wounded.  Being in a vulnerable position automatically draws God onto your team and He will direct and make your path clear, if you learn to listen.  Sometimes, God chooses the very thing you never wanted, thought you couldn't survive to deliver and empower you. 

I remember the day when I heard God say to me,

"Choose Me.  You have depended on him [my spouse] for your future, your emotional and financial well-being.  You made him your God.  You have seen and witnessed what your life will be like with him as your God.  But choose Me - trust Me for your security, your future, your children's future.  It's more of him and what you've always had, or take the deliverance I'm offering and let me write a new story of your life." 

I chose Him.  It wasn't easy to lay down the story I had authored, even in my naive faith.  It still isn't easy when there are not clear answers and a predictable outcome all tied up with a happy bow.  I know there are great trials yet to be faced.  Every morning, I wake up in freedom.  There is hope and possibility before me daily and God has provided for all my needs ... even when it seemed impossible.  One day, shortly after the court documents were filed and I was weary and drained, I won this bracelet which has engraved, "With God all things are possible. I know it was a gift straight from Him to me.  I remind myself that He gives me the gift of Himself and His word daily.  Don't you forget that either.

Remember: If you're facing a tough marriage that seems hopeless, there is help and you are not alone.  My therapist was a critical part of my support system, I learned much through my time with her.  My spiritual leadership played a role in helping me to understand when and how I was acting in line with our Lord.  There is no need to rush decision-making or get lost investigating or obsessing over the things that have happened.  Work on yourself, take care of yourself.  God will make your path clear in His time and when you are ready.  I never want to come across as one who 'promotes' divorce nor do I believe it is a solution...in many ways you are trading one set of problems for another.  Please know that when two people are actively seeking to remain together and God mixes in His cohesive blessing that marriage is the most beautiful demonstraton of grace.