Divorce was one of those things that was never going to happen to me…like NEVER in a million years. And if someone had told me that I would be on my own as a single mum for 10 years, I would have said…no way, not a chance, not going to happen!
This was not meant to be my story.
I met my husband when I was 22 while we were both working for the same church. I had purposefully not dated and had “waited for the right one”, played by the rules and ticked all the boxes, naively thinking that this would somehow guarantee me a blessed, happy, life-long marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way regret any of the choices I made, but my faith was in my own goodness (which was actually self-righteousness!) not in God’s goodness…which I was soon to experience in so many ways.
After six years of marriage and two beautiful boys, my husband had met someone else and would ultimately leave me for her. When it all came to light, our marriage was over almost immediately. In the months leading up to this, there were signs. I knew deep down something was very wrong and that our marriage was in grave trouble. I didn’t know what was happening but I just remember desperately praying, “GOD YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS!!” I never would have imagined He would instead allow it to finish.
I remember sitting in church alone, feeling heartbroken and confused, and felt God tell me that our marriage would soon be over…NO.GOD.NO!!! My heart knew it to be true but my head couldn’t accept or even imagine it. I was filled with shame and fear…a failed marriage…how could I face people?! The thought of our beautiful children, only 2 years and 6 months old, not growing up in a whole family, not having their dad walk through the door at night or being there for every milestone was the most devastating part of all. Every ideal about marriage and family I’d held so dearly was crumbling away.
It was just a few weeks later I found “that text” and our marriage was suddenly over. Yet through all the pain, hurt and confusion was an underlying peace and calm I could not explain. What at first seemed like my worst nightmare come true became the beginning of a journey from brokenness to wholeness and in trusting God like I’d never had to before.
A Path of Peace…
When my marriage ended, I felt like my world had been turned upside down. Everything was so uncertain, emotions were incredibly raw, and insecurities were at an all-time high…it was a little fight or flight…and it could have gone either way. Yet, in those early moments and days, amongst the shock and devastation, I felt a definite sense that God was calling me to walk the narrow path…a path of peace…which meant taking the high road and doing the right thing before God, even when I didn’t want to.
By choosing to obey and walk that path of peace, I saw God do incredible things for me and my boys and bring the best out of a not so good situation. I was able to navigate a peaceful and amicable relationship with my ex-husband which we still have today and I’m so grateful for. If I’d gone up against him, wanting to make him pay and get my vengeance, it could have been a very different story and very ugly for all involved. God’s ways are so much higher and better than ours!
Keep your Heart Right…
I also knew that, regardless of what had happened, I needed to keep my heart right. I had to fully forgive my husband. As a Christian who’d grown up in a loving home and in church my whole life hearing many a word about forgiveness…I couldn’t really pretend I didn’t know any better! As much as I would have liked to have justified and indulged myself in feeling angry and vindictive out of my pain and brokenness, here’s what I quickly realised – if I was going to call myself a Christian…I had to act like one! If I wanted God to make me whole and bless my life, then I had no choice but to forgive.
When we intentionally forgive the person who hurt us, we’re allowing God to bring the best out in us and keep our hearts and lives flowing with goodness, grace and blessing. Likewise, when we don’t forgive, we will find bitterness, resentment and vengefulness taking hold of our heart and then flowing into and toxifying our lives.
Through my divorce and the years to follow I would pray and bless my ex-husband and his partner. It’s actually really hard to hold a grudge against people that you’re praying for and asking God to bless because God literally changes your heart towards them. Trust me, there were some days I may have prayed a blessing through gritted teeth haha! But seriously, doing this totally kept my heart on track.
It’s been quite a journey and through it all I’ve seen the goodness, faithful, kindness, protection, provision and favour of God over myself and my boys time and time again. Yes, there’s been plenty of hard times but through it all God has always been with us. I am now re-married after 10 years on my own and have been blessed with a loving (gorgeous!), godly husband and 3 more amazing kids. But the journey doesn’t end there as happily ever after…re-marriage and blending a family is a whole new level of trials and navigating through challenges – fun and games!
I pray you’ll be encouraged by my story and know that in God there is ALWAYS hope, no matter what comes our way. God promises us Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a future and a hope for us…and He is always true to His Word.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
~ Psalm 40:1-3
Jewels & Pearls
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