1. Divorce is a type of death: It’s the death of something that we thought or hoped would live forever...our marriage. (According to scripture the only death that should occur in marriage is the death of one of the spouses, not the marriage itself.) The difference between the death of a marriage and the death of a person though is, depending on the situation, you might think that it would have been better if the former spouse had just DIED. But instead you have to see them, deal with them about the children, the financial issues that need to be settled, etc. So basically you’re dealing with a dead situation, but with a live person that you may sometimes wish was dead.
2. Time to cry/grieve: Allow yourself to grieve. In the Five Stages of Grief, this first phase is called DENIAL/SHOCK. At first, you may not feel any grief, sadness or regret, and it may cause you to believe that you are unaffected, or like God is “supernaturally carrying you through”. *But this is actually just a part of the process. After that initial phase of denial/shock/euphoria passes you will begin to feel a wide range of emotions. Don’t think that just because you’re the one who left, that you won’t grieve. Grief is a natural response to the death of something. What are you grieving? Loss. Loss of what??? Because you might say that YOU were the one who left and you have no regrets. Even with no regrets there is still a grieving of the loss. Loss of what you hoped for. Loss of what should have happened. Loss of what marriage is supposed to be. Loss of all that you imagined. Loss of the good it was before it went bad. Loss of YOUR marriage because now, you have become a statistic.
However it hits you, let it hit, whether in quiet tears or like a Mack truck. Let it out. Let it hurt. Let it go. This is not the time to try to be brave, or to try to be what you may think bravery looks like. You already are brave. You were either brave enough to make the difficult decision to end something that never should have started, or to walk away from something that was draining the life out of you, or you were brave enough to keep living after being left by the one you thought would always be there for you. Holding back the grief doesn’t make you more spiritual, but makes you more of a ticking time bomb that’s going to go off on the wrong person at the wrong time and in the wrong place. Holding it back causes roots of bitterness to grow from not having dealt with the hurt properly.
3. Pray for healing and choose to forgive: When you feel hurt, pray for healing. When you feel anger or rage, confess forgiveness. To forgive is a CHOICE. It’s the choice you make in response to the COMMAND to forgive. In your flesh you can’t forgive. But the power to succeed is in the command to do. This is basically saying that even if you don’t have the ability to do something, once God asks you to do it, the ability to do it in IN the command to do it. All that is required is your obedience. The ability is not something you can receive by a cloud coming into your room and surrounding you, or some out of body experience. It’s not something anyone else, even God can do for you. But God gives you the grace to forgive. A key to forgiveness is that if you’re waiting for the hurt and anger to stop before you forgive, you’ll never forgive. Depending on your fragile emotions that can change with the wind will keep you in a place of constant pain, anger and bitterness.
4. Embrace your new normal:
a. You may find yourself feeling more isolated than ever. Suddenly it is just you, or you and your little ones, and you may find yourself in a place where you expected more support than what you are receiving. This can come as a surprise and it can really be hurtful, but there are blessings in your isolation waiting to be bestowed upon you.
b. The greatest blessing, I believe is that you can get to know yourself outside of a relationship…outside of being attached to someone who can heavily influence or maybe even control what you do. You need to know who YOU are. Learn the sound of your OWN thoughts inside your OWN head! What do you like or dislike? Narrow it all down to who you really are without any input from another person. For many of us, this is something we failed to do prior to marriage. Shortly after my divorce I began to notice this happening to me. I was mildly surprised the first few times I heard myself think, “I don’t like that”. I had to pause and allow myself to HEAR myself. I heard myself say or think that I didn’t like something ALL BY MYSELF! There was no influence from my husband or anybody at church. It was just me saying, “I don’t’ like that”. It was amazing.
5. Let God talk to you about YOU: Who you are in God is not predicated upon whether or not you have a husband. That is a requirement, stipulation, or restriction we place on ourselves. It does NOT come from God. If you believe that you need a husband in order to be all God has created and ordained you to be, you will put your life on hold, waiting for a man to come along and validate you and give you permission to do what God ordained you to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. Our relationships with God and His assignments on our lives are personal. If it is His Will for you to work with a husband in ministry, you will. But that doesn’t mean your husband has to come and say that it’s okay. God is the one who gives the OK. You need to be walking in your call. Your true mate is in your calling, your assignment. Your mate is in your PURPOSE. If a man can give you your calling, he can take it back from you. If he can give you permission, he can shut you down.
6. Ask God questions about EVERYTHING!: Here are some examples of things to ask Him about. Let Him teach you about what you could have done differently. This is not saying that what happened is your fault, but with any failed test you want to find out what answers you got wrong, because you want to be better prepared for the next test. It may be an issue with your study habits, or maybe you rushed through it, etc. The answer to this question may take you back to who you married to begin with. Why did you marry them? What was your state of mind? What were your thoughts and beliefs about yourself? If you discover negative thoughts or beliefs about yourself, ask Him to help you change those thoughts. He may go back to your childhood and point out to you the very moment your thinking shifted for the negative. What were your expectations going into it? Allow Him to teach you if any of those expectations were unrealistic? Were you expecting your spouse to fill a void that only God can fill? Did you marry someone who was expecting that of you? Ask God about your own behavior during the marriage. A lot of our behavior is shaped by our beliefs and expectations. This is why many are over before they start, doomed from the giddy up. Ask Him about anything you want that has to do with relationships, and what you need to know and understand about yourself, and who you are and who you were created to be. Allow this time for God to help you to get acquainted with yourself and make the necessary adjustments that will help you walk in wholeness.