Your heart is fluttering because you’ve been waiting for 20+ years for this big day. The excitement of spending your life with someone you love and who you thought God had assigned to you and ONLY you. A myriad of feelings are going through you while standing at the altar; relief, anticipation, anxiousness, excitement, and the list goes on. The pastor says “now you may kiss the bride”. You close your eyes and silently praise God for finally bringing your soul mate. At least that’s what you thought…….
Fast forward 23 years later, and the pastor’s words at the altar announcing part of the scripture of Mark 10:8 (NIV) that says “and the two will become one flesh”, was but a fleeting thought to my now husband. The “two will become one” is LITERALLY what happened.
After having been through a divorce after 23 years, having 3 beautiful children, serving as a minister at a church, and thinking that what he thought was a good marriage, years ago, my husband was left as a victim of someone else’s mistake for another man. You may be wondering how can someone leave their spouse for someone else after being married for over 20 years. Well, that’s the same question my husband asked God over and over and over again. He even questioned God on why this was happening to him because everything that he had worked so hard for, such as his kids, and wife back then over a span of 23 years, was now being literally taken away because of someone else’s selfish decision. Have you been there?
For those who have been the victim of divorce or have been the one your spouse walked away from, I pray this message encourages and inspires you. I pray your heart becomes open to truly hearing the message behind the message, and if you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you already, that you choose THIS day to do so. That’s exactly what my husband had to do.
Although it was not easy and took years to truthfully forgive his ex-wife and the offender, (her now new husband), my husband can proudly say that God had removed the permanent stain from his heart that he thought was going to last forever. His heart may be stained because of the divorce situation, however, the situation did not leave a permanent stain, allowing him to be hindered from moving on in life to walk in the calling God has for him.
One could never imagine the pain, brokenness, embarrassment, anger, and hurt that a person deals with when experiencing the tragedy of divorce and its aftermath. The negative effects that it can have on one’s confidence, children, both spouses, family, and even friendships, are major challenges that one deals with when determining the direction their life will take after the divorce.
There are various seasons that my husband went through during and after the divorce, which I’m grateful to now be able to share with you. After having a heart to heart talk with my husband, here are four seasons of the aftermath of divorce that you should be aware of and not run away from.
Season # 1: This season is equivalent to winter. Just like winter, there are no leaves or an array of colors on the trees. Everything my husband had built for his family slowly started being stripped away from him, similar to the barrenness of winter on a cold day; his car, house, job, children, and friends who he trusted became distant. The feeling that one has been hit with a major winter storm and that you have no control of it, and feeling mentally distraught, are the experiences one may have during this season right after a divorce. In my husband’s distress, liken until the children of Israel, “in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them (2 Chronicles 15:4). My husband felt as though all he could do was turn to the lord because he knew this was where his true help would come from. Have you been there?
Season # 2: The second season is spring. A season when new growth happens and new flowers begin to grow again. As my husband continued in his commitment to the Word and prayer, as demonstrated in the winter season, things begin to change. He began to take on a new mindset. For many people, experiencing mental anguish may be common in this season and based on my husband’s personal experience, if not careful, this can be a lonely season, just like winter.
Through counseling from my husband’s spiritual mom, he was recommended to dig into the Word because that’s where he was going to get His strength from and a new sense of hope. Spring season can also be a season of restoration, which is like a time of new growth. Just like when the children of Israel were “in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:4).
This is a divine testament of how the doubts, fears, questions, and insecurities that my husband had initially faced in the early stages of his divorce, were starting to slowly drift away.
Season # 3: Getting your mojo back. This season is like summer because it had been a while since my husband’s initial divorce, and with God’s help, he had begun to grow more in tune with hearing God’s voice and direction for his life. Just like summer, this season after divorce starts to look more promising. One will start to see the more positive side of life, which is similar to birds chirping outside and sounding as if they are singing.
The pain and devastation of what took place becomes less and less painful because God revealed to my husband that he was the one who choose his ex-wife, and not Him. Let me repeat this again! God told my husband that he was the one who chose his ex-wife, NOT God. This Word from the lord was a major wake up call for my husband. For those of you who have experienced this season, know that God has a purpose for your life and “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 – NIV).
Season #4: Stepping into the autumn season. The last, but not least of the seasons is autumn. If you’ve ever been through a tragic situation whether it was personally, relationally, in your job, business, family, etc., many emotions can surface during autumn or fall season. This was a season of internal change for my husband, which entailed letting any bitterness, and anger go, as well as material things, such as giving up his house to his ex-wife and kids, so they could live comfortably, moving back home with his dad, and giving up certain financial possessions that were obtained when he was married.
Just like the leaves fall off the trees in autumn, this is a time when one has to come to the realization that the divorce took place, and although it was unfair, one has to allow God to totally transform their mindset. This is exactly what my husband did during this time. God removed old leaves per say, to accommodate new growth and to prepare him for his future wife (me). The scripture that is befitting for this season is Romans 12:2, which says “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV).
I’m grateful to share this testimony from my husband’s experience because many people have experienced divorce. It is a topic that in many christian environments is uncomfortable to talk about, so I pray this real life example encourages, inspires, and empowers you to live out your full purpose that God has for you despite what took place in your marriage.
Romans 8:28 (KJV), “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
Remember, that the past doesn’t equal your future!