When I first separated with my husband, I was angry at him…but mostly at GOD. I took it out on God, yelled at him, told him I still believed he was real–but obviously powerless. I blamed God for “allowing” this mess to happen and couldn’t believe it was all happening to ME. Do you relate? I am sure you blamed God for something at one point.
I stopped going to church, and couldn’t even listen to worship. It was unbearable! At the time, one of the only songs I could listen to was “Good, good father” by Tomlin. For some reason, I could still listen to it.
I had an extremely difficult time celebrating holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years hit me back to back to back. Honestly, I couldn’t get over how poor the timing of everything was. I just wanted to say, “Screw you, all you happy people for being happy!”
But can I tell you how I got free?
- I leaned on friends. When I first discovered everything, I called a very small number of people that I knew I could trust. I still wanted everything to be a secret but I knew I needed help. I didn’t know what to think, do, say, or feel. Even though I had no friends in the state I lived in, I was able to call a friend that I had met at church in another state and she drove through two states that evening to come and get me! I think it was around 2:00AM by the time she arrived! She told me to bring my dog, and I stayed with her for 1 week. She also bought me groceries and was a voice of reason in the midst of confusion. She told me the truth, which was hard to hear regarding my situation. She prayed with me, hugged me, and told me how much I was worth. Throughout the two months my husband and I tried to work things out, she and her husband were such a great support to me. I will always be thankful for them. You never know what great of friends you have unless you ask them for help.
- Did things for me. One of the first things I did, was chop off my long beautiful hair. It sounds silly, but maybe a new “do” can represent your new season of change. Maybe trimming off dead ends will represent cutting off ties, letting go of hurt, being free to be you. It sounds like it is small, but changing your hair can actually feel really good. I started working out, lost weight–started cooking foods I liked even if I was the only one eating. I started thinking about Jen–instead of making everything about my husband. I took a trip to Hawaii, did things I always wanted to do but never got to do during my marriage: I went surfing, went scuba diving, biked up Diamond Head, went running along the beach. I started picking up new hobbies like water color and calligraphy writing. I got a new tattoo. I started dancing again. Yes, LIFE goes on!
- I got my hands on as many books as I could find. Seriously, these books began to make me feel sane. Click here to see the list of books I found. I read The Breakup Bible It started to give me “homework” to move on: buying new bed sheets; redecorating my room to make it my sanctuary; buying a journal and writing; writing down every lie I had thought about myself and countering it with a truth; writing down all the reasons why I separated from my husband and hanging it up somewhere I would look everyday. Please get this book if you want practical ways of moving on!
- Realized that God never promised to make sense. He promises to work things out for good, but that is not the same as making sense. Situations can become good, but the past can still look jumbled and confusing. You know what I realized? God is all powerful, he is all knowing, but he chooses to limit his own power by giving us all free will.
- I got counseling at Bethel Church in Redding. These people are crazy about God, crazy about restoring marriages…and I honestly thought they would give me a magical answer to cure my marriage. But the counselors told me the truth. Marriage takes two people. And after hearing it from a Christian perspective and being told that I only had divorce left because my husband had already decided to walk away from our marriage covenant and wasn’t coming back….I had to face the reality of letting go.
- I realized that “good” things exist without my husband. While counseling, I realized that I associated everything “good” with my husband. And because I lost him, I believed the lie that all “good” went with him too. Can I tell you that it is the Enemy’s plan to keep you frozen in time after a divorce? He doesn’t want you to move on! He doesn’t want you to enjoy yourself! He wants to steal your joy! Don’t let him!
- Broke vows. I realized that I made unhealthy vows to protect myself. Realize what vows you may have made that were spawned out of fear. For example “I will never marry someone who is verbally abusive.” or “I will never marry someone like my dad.” Vows like these often tie us to the very thing we fear. And when we vow out of fear or out of a spirit other than God, we actually are drawn to the very thing we vow against because it is an unhealthy vow. We in essence, make a tie with the thing we vow against. There are ways to break these vows. Love After Marriage has some spiritual tools to break lies, vows, strongholds over your life in the back of the book. (see book page on my website menu.)
- Let go so I can live my life. I realized that I am fighting for my future generation. And if I kept staying in the marriage with my husband and never let go, I would forever be “stuck” on something that is dead and would not live out the destiny and plan that God has for me. I may even miss out on the man that God has for me in the future. It really struck me when the counselor told me I was fighting for my future kids. Because that is what made me think about how my choices determine my future, and my future generation (that will not exist if I don’t let go of my husband).
- I cut off the soul ties. Can I tell you that I ached to see my husband so bad that it almost became a physical ache? I didn’t sleep or eat properly. I was so depressed that I couldn’t handle a job. All I could think of was going to see my husband no matter the cost. And the whole time, he told me not to come, and threatened to “protect his privacy at all costs.” The counselor told me that I would be able to obtain closure without seeing him, and I thought it was impossible, but I was willing to try. You know how I got my closure? By breaking my soulties with him. I stopped connecting my emotions with him. I prayed for God to restore my heart. By the end of the session, I hardly had a desire to see my husband anymore!
- I mailed back the ring. Wow. I cannot describe how painful that was and liberating at the same time. I wrote a note telling him how much I loved him. How much I adored the ring…so much so that I could not sell it. I actually had to give it up because I kept looking at it, sometimes wearing it again wishing that it meant something still. I wrote him a note telling him that I couldn’t keep it because I would still keep wishing the marriage would be restored. I also wrote that if I ever got the ring back, I knew it would be a miracle. I said some really nice things and signed my name. Put a coffee tumbler that I got for his birthday in the box, and shipped the ring set priority mail…not even certified! Ha! I went from one extreme of thinking I had to give him back the ring in person and book a flight and rent a hotel to just popping the ring in a box and hoping nobody stole it from his front porch. I cried going to the post office and I cried coming back. Was it hard? OH YES! So difficult. My heart has felt like it is empty with nothing left to lose sometimes, and sometimes I feel like I have endless tears…but it has gotten better.
- I got legal help. I started calling attorneys to get free consults to learn of my rights and what to do in my situation. Learn your rights. See if there is a self-help center if you are facing divorce. There are many resources out there!
- I got an attorney to help review my documents. See if you can get an attorney just to look over what you have filled out if you are doing this on your own.
- I took a stand and stood up to my husband. I told him that I am not playing games, told him that I learned my legal rights, and he went from being verbally abusive to saying “thank you for your time.” Ladies, we are POWERFUL. And when we learn WHO we are and WHAT we are capable of, there is no stopping us.
- I started admitting how I was doing. At first, I hid away from friends and church because the question of “How are you doing?” was so annoying. I hated having to explain what was going on and honestly, I wasn’t ready. It was so overwhelming and it is the one question people ask you all the time. Most of the time, we say we are good….but I didn’t even want to have to deal with it. Well, I finally came to terms with telling people that I am not ok. And guess what? I have started to have more people pray for me, more women have told me their stories to help support me, and I have started to feel like I can do this because of all the support I have gotten from being vulnerable and transparent. Also, being vulnerable and transparent BREAKS the lie that we have to carry what is happening to us as a secret. It breaks the shame, the pride, and the feeling of embarrassment. WE ARE NOT meant to do this alone!
- I started to go to weekly counseling and have finally started to admit that I was in a very abusive relationship. Having a broken childhood left me with a broken compass. I was unable to recognize I was being abused because I grew up with it in the home–and it was my normal. Though I never wanted to experience it again–I ended up walking right back into it. In fact, I have been told that the controlling aspects and violent outbursts my husband had (though it never directly was hitting me) could have led to something more physical had I stayed longer. I am started to look back and recognize the “red flags” I may have seen early on in our relationship but somehow ignored or missed. I am in the process of learning what true love really looks like in a healthy way. I am trying to learn how to navigate my love map better the next time–and this time, I will be much wiser. The important thing is, I stopped the abuse and walked away from someone who was not treating me the way he should have been treating me. And for that, I am am grateful to myself.
- I am learning to go easy on myself when I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, when I feel lousy about doing anything productive, or when I feel like it is just a really bad day. I am learning that feeling deep sadness, depression, and waves of emotions are all part of the journey of healing–and there is no “instant” cure. I have been learning to tell myself that it is OK to do absolutely nothing on some days…to just lay in bed and let myself feel and grieve. I have been told that grieving a relationship can take about a year. With this fact in mind, I am trying not to push myself too much while I am still crawling through the mud of heartbreak.
- I started this website to help others like me. If this website spoke to you in anyway–SHARE IT!
I don’t know everything. But I do know, that because I was able to get out of a suffocating marriage that would have left me spiritually dead, unsure of myself, and feeling worthless–I am now able to pick my dreams back up and dream bigger. It is because God is there that I am able to get up on my feet and say He is good. Man is fallible. Man is corrupted. But God’s nature never changes…