Friday, January 17, 2014

A Letter to the Separated


I'll only be crossposting here a few more times, 
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womanalonewaves



Dear Divorcing Woman,

I'm sorry to be writing these words to you. You probably feel alone right now, but you're not. You just joined an invisible sisterhood that's bigger than you ever imagined. The abandoned, the abused, the serially cheated upon: we're everywhere. Rather than dwell on how depressing that is, just be assured that we get you, and we'll have your back without demanding any explanations. We don't hold you responsible for your husband's choices. We know that, contrary to popular Christian teaching, one person cannot hold a marriage together by sheer force of will.

Here's the good news: your divorce will make you stronger than you ever thought you could be. This is boot camp for your soul, and your strength will snowball. Every day, for a while, you will have to get up and do an assortment of things you really don't want to do. Call a lawyer, reassure your kids when you don't have much to reassure them of, deal with a broken car or major appliance, keep it together in the face of thoughtless, ignorant comments, move big heavy items alone... all while you want to lay down on the kitchen floor and just stare at the ceiling for an hour because your grief is too deep even for tears. But you'll press on, because you don't have a choice. And as the days turn into months and even years, you'll become less and less intimidated by life. When you're faced with something unpleasant, you'll look back at all the other unpleasant things you've done, survived, overcome. Those things didn't kill you. Neither will this.

When you get a chance, go ahead and have those kitchen-floor moments. At first your grief will be so overwhelming that you'll be desperate for some relief. But don't get hooked on painkillers (literally or figuratively). To stay fully alive, you have to walk through this valley. Really through it. There's no healthy way around or over it. There's no quick fix (which is almost impossible to accept in this fix-it world) - you just have to keep living one day at a time. It never goes away completely, but it gets so much better. I promise. Remember that God hates this more than you do. He's on the kitchen floor with you.

Embrace your freedom to be. Your thoughts, passions, and time are no longer secondary to someone else's. Enjoy the things you love that your ex disdained, or that you didn't have time for when he was in your life. Cook (or don't cook) whatever you want for dinner. Read an entire book. Drive out to a field just to look at the stars. Drink in the peace of knowing exactly what's going on in your home, of being in the driver's seat of your finances and your future. It's all on you now, and that can be scary, but it's also pretty awesome because you know you can trust yourself.

More than likely, you won't be single forever (unless you really want to be, which is okay too). You'll eventually meet a man who truly sees your value and won't cringe away from your scars. Despite the evidence to the contrary, there are still a lot of good men in this world who have their priorities straight. And if you remain unacknowledged - if your ex's opinion continues to stand as man's last word on your worthiness - maybe it's because God wants all the credit for His work in you. Maybe He doesn't want to share it with a white knight. He doesn't want any doubt that you and He are accomplishing this, alone, together. I don't know why, but that's the only comfort I've found.

This is the end, but it's also the beginning. Whether you wanted it or not, you have something not everyone gets - a second chance. You can do this, and we'll be cheering you on the whole way.

Love, Brenda

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