Monday, April 27, 2015

Let it go - shame

All year I have avoided homeschool meetings.  Divorce isn’t supposed to happen in homeschool families.  We are supposed to be the solid foundation, the families most committed to – well, the family.  I guess I have prided myself on being part of that.  Now I find myself out of sync with that group, and I don’t like it.  I feel enormous shame in it.

But this past week some things have occurred to me.
Is this shame for something I did?  Was it my decision, my choice that led to this divorce?  No.  The shame I feel is due to my soon-to-be ex’s decisions and his actions.  It wasn’t my choice or my action, and it isn’t my shame.  Period.  It is time to let that go. 

Was I a perfect wife?  No, of course not.
Did I try to work through our problems?  Yes.  He refused, for years.
Did I decide to stay in the marriage?  Yes.
Did have an affair?  No.
Did I offer reconciliation?  Yes.
Did I choose divorce?  No.  Never.

So I confessed my own sin, including my pride, and let it go.  I acknowledged that my life is what it is, God is still in control, and He has blessed me greatly. 
And suddenly, I was free. 

Free to enjoy God’s blessings in the midst of this desert, this wilderness wandering, this exile.  
I went to the last homeschool meeting, and the thing I have avoided all year became a source of great encouragement.  I was reminded that I am not alone out here in the marriage desert.  Even in the homeschool group there are other hurting women, wounded warriors, and we can walk together, encouraging and supporting each other.  And we are not looked down on as inferior Christians by God or by mature Believers.  I was the one blaming myself.  My ex was blaming me, Satan the accuser was blaming me, but God was not and is not blaming me.

God, the Healer, lifts my head, heals my wounds, provides for me in the desert, leads me from grace to grace out of exile into the Promised Land.  Will I embrace this path or will I grumble like the Israelites did?
Thank you Jesus.

I will trust You as You hang on to me – to the end.

©Rebecca A Givens, 4/12/15

I feel the need to add a postscript to this.  I have some very dear divorced friends who have had a different experience.  Their ex-husbands put on a show of godliness, or if they were caught in sin a show repentance, to the outside world, often over several years.  But as sincere as these men looked on the surface, there was nothing but darkness on the inside.  People have no idea the hell these women and their children were going through at home.  The emotional manipulation and bondage is devastating, but there is no outward mark to show to the outside world.  It is even hard to understand it themselves because the manipulation is so subtle, the guilt and blame and shame so accepted by the victim.  So they faked being ok, while their husbands faked being good and even godly.  When they finally admitted their situation was truly abusive and found the courage to leave, these women were judged by their own church families and the Christian community in general.  This is doubly devastating, and I don’t know how they manage.  I am so thankful for my church family who have supported me, so thankful that I did not have to deal with a divorce like this.  A human being can only manage so much, and while God does call us to forgive and love the sinner, sometimes even to put our lives at risk for the proclamation of the gospel, that is not what staying in a physically or emotionally abusive marriage is.  Allowing that abuse to continue is not loving the sinner, it is not forgiving the sinner, it is abuse and bondage.  Don’t think these women’s problems are like your own imperfect marriage and they are just giving up.  If you have never endured emotional abuse you have no idea what these families are going through.  Pray.  Pray for wisdom.  Pray for families and marriages that are hurting.  Sometimes there is no good solution.
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