It hurts when things don’t go according to plan. Think back to a time in your life when you believed everything was possible. You were convinced your cape and mask was all you needed to leap from the roof. A toy crown on your head was all you needed to feel like a princess; ready and waiting for your prince charming to sweep you off your feet. It was a happy time. No one could have convinced you these things were not possible. And then life happens.
Not only did you not become an astronaut but you also went through a painful divorce – a pain you never anticipated or prepared for. Humans are creatures of certainty. We like it when we can map things out in our head and those things happen as we planned. We don’t like disappointment. No matter how many times we hear that it is a part of life and can actually make us better; we never make room for it.
Divorce is one of the toughest disappointments to bear. In a sense, it’s like a death – a form of loss. Something that began promising happiness, fails to deliver. People ask you questions – what happened?, who’s to blame?- this only heightens the pain of the entire situation.
There are times when divorce is the result of specific, definable circumstances such as abuse or infidelity. Most times, however, the answers are not as clear. Any attempt to find them serve no purpose at all except to make everyone involved feel worse.
Another unavoidable consequence of divorce is the strong condemnation it carries within religious circles. Who can escape the judging eyes and conspiracy theories of those looking from the outside. ‘They weren’t strong enough. Why can’t they stick it out like the older generation?’
The Christian community has, unfortunately, done very well at criminalizing people who chose divorce. They are no longer fit to be ‘good examples’ for young people and are ceremoniously asked to step down from ‘ministry’. The optics of divorce are not what a lot of churches are willing to handle.
If you have experienced or are currently going through a divorce, the most important thing to recognize is that there is still hope. I am talking here about hope for life and a better future. Regardless of what people may say, God loves you. You were never supposed to live your life to please people but rather to please your father in heaven. I am yet to meet a father who wants their child to live in misery.
There’s a lot that could still be said here but one scripture makes clear how great God’s love is; a fitting one with which to end this post: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:31-39). The word ‘nothing’ means just that – nothing, including divorce.
To be clear, this isn’t an attempt to oversimplify a tough and life-altering experience. There’s much more to the process of rebuilding one’s life than the quoting of a Bible verse. So, think of this passage of scripture, not as a quick-fix or ‘positive confession’, but as a single building block among many others, in the journey of starting again.