Saturday, January 5, 2013
DEATH BY DIVORCE
I am currently reading The Message, by Eugene Peterson and I can’t seem to get past the Beatitudes without sharing some thoughts about current blessings vs future blessings. Every sermon I have ever heard or study I have done on the Beatitudes has been focused on future blessings. Suddenly I am reading them in the present tense as Peterson sees them and teaches them. And suddenly I see what I could not see when I questioned God after my divorce so many years ago. Blessings for today that do not have to wait for tomorrow.
You see, after my divorce, whenever God would nudge me to remember Him, I would scream back at Him, “Okay. I know I am saved and I will see you in Heaven someday, but what about today: What good are you to me NOW, today, in this situation? You did not help me, what good are you to me now?” Pretty blasphemous, right? But God, in His Grace did not condemn me for this. He allowed me to suffer my rebellion and prepared me to be a bright light for Him in another day and time.
Many people say that divorce is like a death in the family. Well, yes, but not like they think. I never felt like I lost my husband to death. I felt like I had died. I lost my husband, my home, my church, my friends, even my city and state and all the reasons I had come to Oregon in the first place. But now I see something I have missed all this time:
You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One (truly) most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you are content with just who you are—no more, no less.
Now that is pretty current, don’t you think? And right to the point for me.
But why would divorce feel like death. Because two together is the dream of even the worst of characters on this earth: i.e. Hugh Hefner, who keeps getting married even though he has total freedom to “dilly-dally” in his chosen world. Losing that sacred position of being one of two is death-like. Suddenly you are not who you should be or wanted to be and you don’t really know who you are anymore. The you that you thought you were, just doesn’t exist anymore. Or so your mind and heart tell you. But God sees you the same and He loves you the same and He does not let you go. And He persists in nudging you toward that realization.
In gratitude for this eye-opener, I share this with you in hope that all of us will be a little more understanding of how truly miserable divorce is for those going through it. Even though we do not “approve” of divorce, it happens. It takes two (actually three) to keep a marriage together and sometimes one or both do not really try to keep their marriage alive and no amount of counseling will keep it together. And no counseling at all will put the stamp of death on it for sure.
As we go forward in this New Year, let’s seek a little more compassion for those whose lives have not turned out to follow the same pattern as our own. Let’s make a little more room in our hearts for those who have made bad choices and need to make better ones. Let’s go out of our way to encourage them in the right direction and support the good decisions they make along the road to healing. May we all be salty-seasoning in their lives and a light on a hill for them to see the way home.
And one more reminder from The Message: Matt 5:22ish – The simple fact is that words kill. (Whether said directly to the person or about them or even thought.)