Divorce is the death of a marriage. It is one of the most challenging experiences a couple can encounter. Whether it occurs for one’s safety, sanity or whatever reason, it is devastating for the couple, their extended family, and friends. This devotional will guide you into wholeness and renewal of spirit. There is life after divorce.
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE
Grief is God’s design to bring us to wholeness. We are often told to suck it up, get over it, and move on by people who are uncomfortable with our grief. Even in the worst circumstances, it is human and healthy to mourn the loss of a relationship. Putting on a brave face, burying your sorrow, or overcompensating in other ways, will not allow you to heal. Take the time you need to grieve in a healthy manner, that will allow you to have a loving and trusting relationship in the future.
The Stages of Grief:
Denial – Failure to accept the reality of the divorce.
Anger – As you begin to deal with the reality of your divorce, it is not unusual to experience the emotion of anger. You may show resentment and even confront your spouse if you consider him/her to be responsible for the breakdown of your marriage.
Bargaining – The stage of grief in which you may try to reason with your spouse and negotiate terms to stay together. If you fail, you may return to the anger stage of your grief.
Depression – This stage of grief usually emerges once the individual has arrived at a sense of finality regarding the divorce. Depression shows up after the previous emotions have subsided. The duration varies based on the individual.
Acceptance – Stage five is the beginning of the healing process. It allows you to address the issue of divorce from a place of reality. You are now ready to move forward in your “new normal” and to rebuild your life from that place.
QUESTIONS: Have you allowed yourself to grieve your divorce? Where are you in your grief process: (1) denial, (2) anger, (3) bargaining, (4) depression, or (5) acceptance?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, strip away every pretense and barrier which hinders me from moving forward in the grief process. Make me whole again. Amen.
- Mark 11:25-26
You may have had to forgive your ex-spouse, but you must also forgive yourself. Sometimes, it is harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. It is not unusual to be upset with yourself for the mistakes you made in your marriage. You may be asking, “Why did I not see who my ex was before we married?” Or you ignored the red flags, hoping things would change. Maybe you blame yourself for it all. There are countless reasons why you may need to forgive yourself. However, it is necessary to do so to move forward with your life, knowing you are worthy and deserving of God’s love and forgiveness.
STEPS: (1) Acknowledge you are a flawed human who is entitled to make mistakes. (2) Accept that failures are not weaknesses, but opportunities for growth. (3)Receive God’s forgiveness in your life and extend your forgiveness to your ex-spouse. (4) Allow yourself to be healed from your past.
- Psalm 30
- Proverbs 3
EMBRACE THE NEW YOU
“I’ve lost myself, and I cannot find me. I want to get back to where I was, but I don’t know which way to go. I must continue this journey from where I am. And walk a path that I do not know.” Stephanie Jennings-Stratford (2001)
As you recover from the loss of your old life, you must embrace your new life. Divorce brings many unexpected changes. You may have anticipated losing your house, but did not expect the loss of your friends. Your church family may distance themselves from you. Your family structure and daily routine will change. If you married young, this season may be the first time you are on your own. Your financial situation is likely to be affected. Life as you knew it is over. Take the time you need to debrief and to get reacquainted with the authentic you. Use this time to rediscover and recreate yourself.
While you go through what may well be the most difficult time of your life, know that God is with you, lighting your path and guiding you with His love and compassion. He has promised not to leave or forsake us. Turn to Him when you are feeling uncertain and alone. He will mend your broken heart.
QUESTIONS: What lessons have you learned during the divorce process? What do you want to accomplish in the future? Do you know who you are and what you need?