It may not feel like it today, but you will survive this. And you will do so much more than survive. You will thrive.
You may be surprised by what’s happening right now, but God isn’t. It’s going to take a little time, but just like a climbing plane goes through turbulent clouds and then flies into beautiful clear sky, He is going to lead you out of darkness and into sunshine.
Sometimes God removes people from your life. Sometimes God shows you to take steps to remove people from your life. Listen and remove them.
I assumed God was disappointed in me, even though I had “biblical grounds” for getting divorced. God supports marriage and hates when marriages don’t work out. But what’s also truth is that there is nothing we can do to lose His love. He loves us. He also knows things we don’t, and sometimes I wonder if perhaps the revelations of truth that land us in these positions to divorce are an act of His mercy and protection, for us and/or for our children.
When divorce happens because someone was wronged, everyone in your life but family will at some point have to choose a side. It‘s a harsh truth, but people who want to remain friends with both of you are not your friend. They are actually not a friend to anyone. Cut those ties as soon as you can. Focus all your energy on people you love who love you, and you will find very quickly that your life has significantly less drama.
Well-meaning people will say to forgive, and they are right. But that’s only a part of the guidance they should give. First, understand forgiveness takes time and some distance. Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Second, you need to forgive for you, so you have freedom – not because others deserve it. They don’t, actually. Third, you can forgive and never speak to that person again, and you can forgive and never trust that person again. Forgiveness is the result of who you are, while trust is the result of what others have earned.
Your values are your values are your values. This is true for you and everyone else. Our actions reveal who we are and what’s in our heart, and any time we start to reference circumstances or we say things like yes we did that, but we’ve entered the land of excuses and lack of accountability. People who live in that land are liars, whether it be to self or others.
Your ex is going to say things about you and about what happened that are not true. Who cares. You bought into who they were and their narratives for a long time, so it stands to reason that others will find their stories believable. The people listening are not your people.
It’s OK to ask for help with the stuff you’ve never done. You haven’t needed to know about those things until now, so you’re not “behind” or dumb. And people who care about you are happy to tell you or show you or help you. I never in a million years would have imagined that I would fix a toilet, a dishwasher, a dryer, and the garage door just by following instructions on youtube videos. When you tackle these things, you are going to feel like the guy skiing in that old peppermint patty commercial, empowered and strong like never before.
Practice thankfulness purposefully. I put two notes in my phone and for a very long time I read them each day, sometimes multiple times. One was all the things about marriage I was not going to miss – this list was mean and funny. One was all the big things I had to be thankful for. You will have to commit to being thankful on purpose. It will not feel natural in this time.
The master closet – ALL OF THE CLOSETS! – are yours and yours alone. It is glorious.
Some of the women in your life will grow to resent you and maybe even hate you. Those feelings are all about them and their situations and their insecurities, and not about you at all. And some of the women in your life will have husbands or boyfriends or partners who are going to be uncomfortable around you now. You are living breathing confirmation that a woman can be fine on her own, and perhaps even more than fine. You are now a threat to their narratives.
Your healing and your ability to really move forward is tied to your children’s healing, because you are a good parent.
Your children are going to be frustrated that you allowed this to happen. And even though they don’t always blame you and they understand what happened, they are going to take out the vast majority of their anger on you. This is because you are the safe and secure one. Therapists and doctors and teachers and helpers will tell you that you should know by this that they can trust you and that you’re a good parent. You will logically know and believe that’s true, but the unfairness of it is still going to really piss you off sometimes. When this happens, it’s venting to a friend who will say nothing or rant with you that makes this better.
When people ask you if you’re dating, most often they ask because of a deep-rooted belief that we must be paired to be happy. First, lots of unpaired people have lives they love and would not change. Second, you can maybe make yourself feel better but you cannot actually heal these specific wounds in another relationship. It is OK to tell someone you’re not “there” yet, either because you like your life as it is now or because you’re still healing. People who are healthy and who actually want the best for you totally get it.
Getting divorced sucks, for the adults and the children. Being divorced brings peace and freedom for you. You’ll do things only your way. When things go wrong or right, only you are responsible. In-the-moment decisions are all on you, and they are all yours to make. It’s scary and it’s exhilarating. A couple years ago now I came across this quote and it is so true: Everything has changed and yet I am more me than I have ever been. Own it. Do what makes you happy. Be who makes you happy.
Read romance novels. Watch romcoms. Go to weddings. Listen to and sing along to love songs. Celebrate the anniversaries and relationships of your friends and family. You believe in love, even though you’re a little jaded about it right now. You know how I know? Your filing for divorce means you know that the relationship you were in did not have the kind of love that you know exists and of which you are worthy.
Maybe steer clear of Investigation Discovery for a while.
You know how we say children become who we tell them they are – if we speak down to them they’ll be down on themselves, but if we pump them up they will be confident? The same is true of you and me, even though we’re adults. You deserve to be happy. You are God’s beloved child. He delights in you, even when you don’t have it all together. He is not disappointed in you even one little bit. You are beautiful and smart and witty and accomplished and caring and giving and a fierce protector and a wonderful Mom and a supportive friend.
This is a chance you hadn’t expected to rethink everything and to not have to compromise on anything. Take the time to think. Think on the small things and think on the big things. And think big. Think outside of your comfort zone. Think brave.
I love you, Brave Girl. You got this. XOXOXO