About 5 years ago I wrote the following blog post about divorce. The response was overwhelming, to say the least. The nastiness a few attacked me with was a shocker to an unseasoned writer. But the love and support from the majority was humbling. I am an imperfect person striving to be who Christ desires me to be. And, since this blog post in 2012, I am stronger, braver, and detached from negative comments when I speak my truth. I figure the attacker is fighting some kind of spiritual warfare and all I can do is pray for them.
Divorced . . . But It Doesn't Define Me
Divorced once, what a shame. Divorced twice, well . . . not something I want to reveal to the world. Alas, the fact remains I am divorced twice. I am not proud of this and wish it wasn't a reality. In fact, I used to cringe when people asked about my marital status. I don't cringe anymore. As a matter of fact, if the situation merits, I divulge this little tidbit up front. Within the first 5 minutes of meeting Jay and finding out he was Catholic, I leaned over and told him he should know my situation and asked if it mattered to him. He responded by saying, "Is this the same Bonnie from the two previous marriages or a better version of Bonnie who has learned lessons and taken time for some spiritual healing?" Wow, huh? The thing is, divorce doesn't define who I am, just my journey. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for the lessons I've learned about myself through the divorces. A few days ago Jay shared with me someone told him to look at exes as teachers, not enemies. I love this because after all is said and done, God is affectionately supplying necessary circumstances which will lead us to Him and our reliance on His graces to become whole again. Some of us have harder heads than others requiring desperate measures on His part. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to see the Light.
Today's Gospel (Matthew 19:3-12) is read in almost every Christian wedding ceremony. If only everyone listening took it to heart, divorce would be less common:
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?" He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate." They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
The following quote from Anne a lay apostle’s book Climbing the Mountain gave me (and continues to give me) immense comfort going through my last divorce when I struggled with feeling like a failure:
“Who can turn away from the love of Christ? Jesus loves with such acceptance. Living in unity with Jesus is like having the most perfect friend. He will never judge us harshly. Jesus sees our motives and understands that often we fail as the result of the wounds that have been inflicted on us. A treasured friend is this way and helps us to deal with our mistakes charitably because the close friend has been with us in our past and views us as a whole, made up of a lifetime of experiences. A treasured friend can usually guess what we will do in a given situation and this is the same with Jesus. Jesus allows us to be tried and He allows us to fail, often so that we will learn.”
Divorcing or divorced lay apostles, you can survive the aftermath of detachment from your marriage. And, with a lot of prayer, become stronger, healthier, and happier. Divorce is a two-way street. Take a good hard look at what worked and what didn't work. When you discover the part you played in the demise, no matter how big or small, write it down. Pray about it. Do a lot of spiritual reading. Work on creating a better version of yourself. We are all destined to fail once in a while. Thank God He is kind and merciful!
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to fail. I know I had to experience the things I have in order to grow closer to You and find Jay.