Reconciliation After Divorce

SCAN0541 bOnly God could heal my broken heart and restore my life, my marriage, and my family.

Steve and I were married 28 years when we decided to separate and eventually divorce.

We both made mistakes, and I grew more and more disheartened. My 50th birthday hit me like a ton of bricks, sending me spiraling deeply into depression. Studies have shown that women who were abused in their youth are at higher risk for depression leading up to and during menopause, and I had been physically abused throughout my childhood and teenage years.

Back then, all I could do was numb the pain. God delivered me from a world of drugs and dark despair at the age of 20 when I turned my life over to Him. I learned to forgive my parents, but I believe I still had lingering bitterness which I brought into my marriage.

Bitterness is a poison-tipped arrow piercing your own heart. It eats you alive from the inside out, even causing sickness and disease in the body. I believe I was projecting past hurt and bitterness onto my husband, and my health – mentally, physically and emotionally – declined. According to Hebrews 12:15, a root of bitterness springing up will cause trouble and defile many. When you’re bitter, everyone around you is impacted negatively, and in my case, it tore apart our marriage and family.

While separated and divorced, I discovered the grass was not greener on the other side, but brown and brittle. I was still depressed and filled with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep for weeks and months, feeling like I was losing my mind. I had lost self-confidence, and was filled with fear, which does indeed have torment (1 John 4:18). I still read my Bible and prayed, but felt like I was hanging on by a thread. I clung to God’s promise in Psalms 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” I knew He would heal my broken heart … but how long would it take? I had seen countless miracles of healing and deliverance in my life, and I knew He would deliver me yet again.

In the summer of 2014, a friend texted me a link to a teaching and healing ministry. I clicked on it and listened with voracious hunger. The old proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” came to life as I began to devour teachings every possible waking moment, flooding my mind with the light of God’s Word. I was coming to life again, as God restored my soul.

Bitterness

The miracle came unexpectedly. I started listening to a family series which turned out to be about marriage – something I wanted nothing to do with. In the middle of a teaching, God gave me revelation. In a moment of time, He showed me how destructive my divorce was – to my life, to Steve’s, to our marriage, our family, our extended families, our church, and even our local community. He showed me the things for which I had so much difficulty forgiving Steve were just mistakes he made … and they were forgivable.

In that moment, I genuinely forgave Steve, and God healed my broken heart. When God showed me the plank in my own eye (Matthew 7:3), I couldn’t even see the speck in Steve’s. I was filled with remorse and repentance for what I had done. When God gives repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), He also gives you an action to take, like “first be reconciled to your brother” in Matthew 5:24. I was suddenly filled with a sense of urgency to call Steve, tell him I repented, and ask his forgiveness. We hadn’t spoken for months, but I called and asked to have lunch with him.

We met the next day, and I explained what God showed me. I told him I repented and asked if he would forgive me. He said, “Yes.” When we got up to leave, something blurted out of my mouth which I hadn’t planned at all, “If you ever want to consider reconciliation, let me know.” We both stood there in silent shock at what I had said. He answered, “I’ll need to think about it.”

A few weeks later, Steve called and said he’d be willing to start dating again. We proceeded cautiously, with the help of a Christian counselor, learning to communicate openly with each other. The following spring we were married in the mountains of northeast Alabama, the setting of our first honeymoon over 31 years earlier.

We are now communicating on a deeper level than we ever thought possible, and have come to realize we are soul mates and best friends. It’s as if God helped us hit the “reset” button, with all things new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Is our marriage perfect? Well, if you bring two flawed people together, a perfect marriage it does not make. However, we can both attest our marriage is better than it ever was. Picture a triangle, with two imperfect people at each bottom corner, moving upward each side toward a perfect God. As each of them draws closer to God, they become more Christ-like, and draw closer to one another.

I now keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day. I have found this is a great key to happiness, eliminating any sense of victimhood or entitlement. I was once bitter and unthankful, blaming others for my discontent, but now understand I am the only one who can determine my own happiness – by remaining thankful. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ …” (2 Corinthians 2:14).Steve Judy wedding family

Reprinted from Go! Magazine Fall 2017

 

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2 Responses to “Reconciliation After Divorce”

  1. kinchafoonie Says:

    Great story and even greater real life outcome. So glad to hear good news – You are a fine lady and you deserve to be happy. I know the joy of being married to my best friend – I was for 44 and a half years before I lost her but she is with me every day.

    ” A marriage journey is a pleasant ride, From beginning to the end, If the one you love and travel with, Is also your best friend.”

    Thanks for sharing,

    *** ****** * * * *

  2. Judy A Dexter Says:

    Beautiful story of what

    god can do in a Marriage !My Husband and I had a very close situation.I found Sobriety through AA. The first 2 years were very difficult. Not that I wanted to drink again that was settled when I made the phone call to AA. What I struggled with was with my emotions and I would have to relate a situation to my Sponsor and see how she reacted to it before I could tell if I had handled it correctly. Crazy situation to be in when you are 39 years old. I had been in a abusive situation all of my life. At home Dad had controlled the home with his anger. I was scapegoated and beaten while my Sister was not. I married a man who did the same thing to me. So I had no referance to what normal was.. In AA I found a God who was loving and cared for every detail of my life. I wanted to know him better and signed up for a class on how to read the bible.. As my understanding grew I began to see the damage that was being done to my 2 boys and tried to ask my Husband to go thru some marriage counceling his Answer was ” If that is what it will take you will never see our next anniversary ! ” So I filled for divorce.. It was the last thing I wanted but things were getting worse not better. We were apart for 15 months..One day he had come to the house to pick up the Boy’s for a visit. He was telling me I had no idea what I was like when I was drinking. I asked him what he thought I had been doing for the time I put into Sobriety ? He thought I had been talking about him. I told him talking about him wouldn’t have done anything to help me stay sober and invited him to come to a church where I was telling MY Story Friday of that week. To my suprize he showed up.He never said a word to me but my Sponsors Husband talked to him. Later he began to stay longer when he had reason to be at the house. Little by little he said things about what he might have done wrong. He said he would like to date me again.I told him we had been married without God and I would rather be single than to ever be in a bad marriage without God. He accepted that..We did get back together but he struggled constantly. It seemed he would be doing well for several months and then would be engulfed in depression. He tried anti-depressants to no avail. There were times he would refuse to come to a little fellowship we had in our home every Sunday.. It was so hard on all of us having fellowship knowing he was down at the end of the hall with his door closed.There were good and bad times.We developed a hobby to have something fun to do together so we began Antiquing. He was away from work and I was out of the house. We always had lunch out before and after antiquing. Those were always happy times. Our leadership for our fellowship walked out on us. Several people left and the last remaining couple was transfered out of state. I was amazed to hear him say ” If no one comes we will still have fellowship on Sundays. Later our DIL said she wanted to come with our son and have fellowship with us and we began again to have the 4 of us to get together.. I found on line an artist who was selling her prints from a painting she had done of the Man who had taught us the Word of God and from that time we became good friends.She invited us to join her Ministry. What a relief not to be without leadership. She talked to me about something called inner healing…..amazing ! I got rid of so many lies that had been way down in my subconcious for years. I wish my Husband could have availed himself of it. He did it once and got wonderful results but wouldn’t try again. I wish I could tell you our story has a happy ending but Bob had leukemia and Parkinson’s disease and something called Lewy Body Dementia. It caused him to see people and animals that were not there. He passed away on Feb. 9th. of this year. It will be a Happy Ending when Christ returns and gathers his Brothers and Sisters. I look forward to that every day.

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