I sit here writing to you as a 35-year-old divorcee and as someone who at exactly this time last year had fallen to the floor sobbing uncontrollably to Jesus in a broken mess. Empty handed and with literally nothing left, I could not see the grace and love that God had for me. It was the worst and darkest period of my life.
A dreamy bride at 27, I jumped into marriage. Filled with false expectations from the world, I was disillusioned and rushed into it not knowing the person I was marrying. When walking down the aisle on a rainy California day, divorce was the furthest thing from my mind and dreams of happiness, love and children brimmed in my heart. However, dreams are not reality, and without going into detail, my marriage ended last year after 6 years.
No one can tell you how a divorce will affect you unless you’ve gone through it yourself. The repercussions of divorce bring all sorts of feelings and one that struck me hard was guilt. Guilt that I couldn’t keep going, guilt that I wasn’t strong enough and guilt that above all as a Christian, I could not be a failure in marriage. Steadily, guilt took me to where the enemy wanted me to go, which was as far away from God as he could take me. I heard things, like ‘You failed’, ‘How could God love a divorcee?’ ‘No quality Christian man will want you now, you’re damaged’. I felt undeserving of love. It is in that guilt I found myself last year at 34 living in a foreign country, alone for the first time in my life, with no family and having lost 3 babies in my womb. I was crushed and disillusioned. Because of the guilt and loss, I spent my summer living it up and seeking validation from the world instead of God.
It wasn’t until I cried out to God a few months later when I realized I was hitting rock bottom, that Grace took me back to where I needed to be – in the loving arms of the Savior. I fell to the floor again one night praying and crying out to my Father. ‘’I can’t do this anymore, please take me back to your heart’’. In one week God answered my cry. Christian friends that I had not talked to in over a year called me and asked me to meet with them. People I didn’t even know contacted me and said they had been praying for me and I was being supported in a women’s prayer group, which I am now privileged to be a part of.
What was to me my biggest life failure, God redeemed at the cross. Talking to a friend last week, I said, “I have so much baggage, no one wants to carry that.” And she so graciously reminded me that it is not baggage that I carried but life experience. God was using the pain of my brokenness in a process of refinement to be more like Him. Now I at 35 I am starting life over, but I have hope in Jesus and in a new life. He took all my broken pieces and so gently and lovingly put them back together again to fulfill His purpose in my life and He will so lovingly will do the same for you.
In the darkest times of divorce, hope springs when our faith is at our lowest. Grace arises when we have nothing left to give, and God’s redemption accomplishes what we cannot see or can do in our own strength. If you are living through divorce, there is hope, and I am living proof. If there is one thing I have learned it is that we are all broken, but to be open in our brokenness we must be brave enough to be vulnerable because when we show our weakness we show the very heart of why we need Jesus in our lives.
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Alicia Mckenzie – www.refininghope.com