The entire first year after my divorce, I could barely lift my head off the pillow. It took everything I had to get my kids to school, put together a meal, or feel any sense of hope. I think the statement “Divorce is like open-heart surgery with no anesthetic” is true. Like any surgery, the recovery process is also up to you. You can go right back out, start living recklessly, and be in the hospital again having to go back under the knife, or you can listen to and heed the advice of people who are safe and whom you trust.
I have to admit I went off-roading a few times after my divorce, and believe me, I didn’t like one moment of it. I was longing, searching, looking for a way to fill the hole in my heart, a hole that felt as big as Texas. When I walked around, I felt people could see right through it, as if I were half a person. I have to admit, my mind and heart could not fathom even the possibility of feeling whole again. It just didn’t seem possible at the time.
Unfortunately, you have to walk through the pain to get to the other side. There is no avoiding it.
I remember many times waking up feeling as if my divorce was just a bad dream. None of it was real. It couldn’t be. There was no way my marriage could be over—and yet it was. I didn’t want a divorce, so dealing with the reality was even harder to accept.
My dreams, my hopes, my life, and even my identity were tightly woven within the parameters of my marriage. Divorce was a foreign concept to me. With no divorce in my family and not knowing even one couple who had gone through a divorce, I was totally clueless how to navigate my post-divorce life. I had no role model to look to, no success story of someone who had moved on and her life had turned out okay. I just knew I wasn’t okay, and I had no idea if I ever would be okay again.
Being a positive and optimistic person by nature, this new place of despair and hopelessness was something I didn’t want to be familiar with. I knew self-medicating, running from, or—for lack of a better word—partying to avoid my pain would not help. I had lived that life as a young girl and knew it led to emptiness. But after my divorce I spent a whole year angry at God and felt justified in my anger.
I was angry because I felt that after becoming a Christian I had lived the “right” life. I had done all the “right” things. I was a leader in ministry, dedicated to sharing the Word of God. I had a checklist of all the things I had succeeded at doing. My failed marriage didn’t make sense to me. Was there something I missed?
The Christian journey is not about a walk of performance, a walk without trials or tribulation; it’s about entrusting our lives to Christ no matter what. It took me a year of pressing through my anger, disappointment, fear, and pain to get to the place where I finally was ready to fully surrender my heart to Jesus despite the unmet expectations, the perceived failure, and the loss of my marriage and my dreams. It wasn’t easy, but I finally got there.
In the meantime, during that year, the Lord never left me. He met me in my pain. He pursued me even in my unfaithfulness.
Today, I am free from guilt, shame, agony, and the fear of the bottom falling out once again. I am free because I have come to learn that no matter what happens, no matter how bad life can be, God will never leave me nor forsake me. He has seen me through the most desperate of times, and He will do the same for you.
From THE YOU PLAN: A Christian Woman’s Guide For A Happy, Healthy Life After Divorce. Copyright © 2014 by Michelle Borquez and Connie Wetzell (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) Used by permission.