Grief has a way of being a full-body experience. Suddenly, sleep is scarce, tears begin to flow at the drop of a hat, and the most enjoyable parts of life begin to feel impossible. Divorce was never in the plan for me and when I realized it was going to happen, whether I wanted it or not, grief set in thick. It’s amazing how many thoughts you can have at one time while tears are flowing down your face. Would I ever be happy? Would I lose my community, my friends? How will I tell my mom?
One early morning after giving up on sleeping, I picked up my guitar and started playing. Music has always been the way I let my emotions and thoughts out to God. Being alone with a piano or guitar has always been my safest place. It’s amazing how, through music, God can hear the painful and joyful details of my heart. I started writing the words, “You’re all I have to hold onto, nothing else will do. Even in the chaos, I know I belong to you. You’re all I have to hold onto and you’ll see me through. In uncertainty, I still believe your word is true. You are faithful.” Those lyrics represented a raw conversation between God and myself. As His presence inspired me to write, I was reminded that I wasn’t alone. God was with me. He’d been with me through heartbreak before. He’d been with me through the death of my friend and the death of my grandma. He was there through my highest and lowest points in life. I remembered what His presence felt like and how many times during worship or a time of prayer I would hear His voice. While trying to hold this marriage together by every thread allotted to me, I had missed His voice. In this posture of worship and repentance, my healing began.
So, what did I learn? I began going to counseling and learned about healthy boundaries. I gained tools to help my thoughts to process in a way that would move me forward. Most importantly, I learned about identity. I had placed so much of my identity in my marriage and my job, but that’s not who I was. I believed if my ex-husband didn’t stay, then I must have been a bad wife, a bad friend, a bad Christian, a bad person. I wholeheartedly believed that if I changed how I dressed, how I talked, how I acted, my passions, etc., that I would convince my husband to love me and not leave me.
When those thoughts crept in, I had to work hard to replace them. They were lies that the truth would cripple. So, I turned to the Bible. Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” That was huge for me.
Several Scriptures speak to who we are and how God views us. When I have to replace my thoughts, I replace them with things I know are true from the Bible. That I am adopted as a child of God (Ephesians 1:5), purposely knitted together and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), I am not forsaken (Deuteronomy 31:8), and that I am fully known and fully loved (Psalm 139, 1 John 4:9-11). One of my favorite chapters of Scripture that helped me through my divorce was Romans 8. It reminded me that I didn’t have to hold onto all the things that had happened to me; I didn’t have to be defined by the words spoken to me in anger. I could give them up to God and allow Him to love me. His love changed everything.
Where am I now? God has done more in my life than I ever could have imagined. I’m remarried and have been blessed with a beautiful stepdaughter and baby girl. My husband is my biggest supporter and best friend. I didn’t know this amount of joy could be on the other side of so much pain, but I am so grateful to God that He has given me an opportunity to have a healthier relationship that’s truly centered on Him and Him alone. He is the common ground my family is built on.
Maybe you are going through a season of grief today as you’re reading this. It’s okay to tell God how you feel - the good, bad, ugly, all of it. He hears you, and He is with you. It’s okay to seek professional help, and you should! God created us to live life with community, where we each have different strengths and weaknesses. Now that I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through, I can use that experience to help others who may be struggling, too.
Wife, mom/stepmom, songwriter, music lover, Worship Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church. Aspiring comedian.