Healing, Promises and Hope For Those Divorced- And A Heart Check for Christians
Kerrville Daily Times Article
I love hearing from my readers on what touches their hearts, and how God is working in their live. I write every other Friday for the faith section, and two weeks ago, I wrote on promises for widows. After that article, I had a high school friend email me and ask for a specific article to address her needs. It broke my heart as I read her email. Below is a portion of the email that was sent from a wonderful member of our community.
“I loved your article in today’s paper. I don’t always get a chance to read all of your articles, but when I do, you always speak to my heart. I would like to ask if one of your articles would speak to the wife who was abandoned by her husband and forced to face the judgment of being divorced. Not all couples who divorce do so of their own free will, as the state of Texas only requires one person to file and the other the suffer that choice. When I got married, it was until death departed us, but another man was permitted to come along and proclaim us no longer married. Since that day, I have fallen under great judgement by others, and felt totally alone. No one notices me, sees my loneliness, knows my pain or feels I may need help. I know I have not walked alone, as my strength has grown in God, and He has been my only friend, my husband. I did not choose divorce — I was left to suffer the consequences of divorce. I stayed and raised my children alone, I work in my community and I am charitable in my community, I am judged in my community. Please consider an article that focuses on the wife who was abandoned and the promise God has for her. I also am grateful for those that have supported me through my divorce and the days after and realize the blessings I have received.”
As I thought about her request, nothing came to mind, but I did ask God to give me something if that was what He wanted me to write about. I always pray about what to write as I only want Him to use me however he wants.
Tuesday of this week, I returned a phone call to an acquaintance and friend from out of town. We had not visited in several years, but as I listened to all of the things that had transpired in the last several years of her life, again my heart felt deep compassion for this woman. Her words were similar to the woman’s that I quoted above.
She and her husband were once very active in their local church, had a number of children they homeschooled and our families had gone to church together. I was shocked at the events that had transpired. There had been some traumatic things, illness and loss that shook this Christian family. She too found herself with the divorce label.
When I asked about her church and if she was getting support from them, she too told me of how she was not viewed the same after becoming a divorced woman.
“I feel like I have a disease, or I am a leper now. I don’t feel valued like I once did when I was married.”
She went on to say that at a time she needed loving arms around her by the church, too felt much judgement. Let me add, this woman is a mighty woman of God, and I felt sick that she had been misunderstood and hadn’t felt loved and valued. I am passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and it makes me mad when people devalue one another. I listened, affirmed her and prayed for restoration.
The next day, I got a text from coworker that I worked with several years ago. He, too, mentioned that he had recently gotten a divorce and how difficult things were for him and his children. He, too, had been married a long time and didn’t want the divorce.
Three contacts in one week made me step out on the water to find hope for those whose hearts have been shattered by divorce. I have not been divorced, so I do not speak from experience, but I do know from dealing with many people that have been divorced, a broken heart is a common denominator. Many divorced people I know have stated they feel abandoned emotionally by their mate as well as physically. That is a big blow from the person that has promised to love and cherish you as well as a huge life change. I reflected on encounters I had in the past with divorcees and could see a deficit in my own heart.
I read in Isaiah that God has some promises for those who have suffered from a broken heart and abandonment. Isaiah 60:15 says, “Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.” (NIV) When we turn to God for our help, no situation is too big for him to redeem. God sees the injustices suffered and is committed to walking with us to a better place.
Isaiah 60:20 says, “... the Lord will be your everlasting light and your days of sorrow will end.” (NIV) That is a good promise that we can take to the bank! God will lead us through the dark days when the pain of life stings. He promises, when we look to him that our sorrow will end. Yeah, God! He is good!
Isaiah 61 is full of promises and that would take me a whole article to address. There is much I could say, but I will only highlight a few scriptures. I love to speak about this passage, as it is one of my favorites. God proclaims that he will bind up the brokenhearted, comfort those that mourn the loss of someone they love and give us beauty instead of ashes. He also promises in this passage that he will make us strong and take away the shame. You must read this passage for yourself.
Isaiah 62:3 and 4 encourages those of us who have been abandoned by death or divorce that we are still of great value to society and the Lord.
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted or name your land Desolate ... for the Lord takes delight in you.” (NIV)
Divorced friends, God delights in you. You, too, have a special place in his heart and it broke his heart too when you were forsaken. Bad things happen to good people.
I reflected on encounters I had had in the past with divorcees and could see a deficit in my own heart. I should have been more sensitive to their needs. My own experiences as a widow have changed my heart, and that is the good that has come from my personal suffering.
I don’t think people intend to harm those that have experienced divorce, we can just can get wrapped up in our own world and become callused and insensitive to those needing our love and encouragement. Judgement or exclusion wears out the heart. This adds insult to a heart that is already wounded and trying to heal. Building a new life while your heart is aching is not an easy task. It takes a lot of energy. I know that personally.
We live in days of grace not judgment. God will judge each of us one day, but until then, our job is to extend grace and love to those around us. Love never fails, so why don’t we make sure we are people that major in love? I want to look like love everywhere I go. How about you? Do you need to examine your heart, too? Do you need to wrap your arms around divorcee instead of wondering what they must have done wrong? It’s something to think about. Love never fails.