You know how big experiences in your life can be forever tied to a date on the calendar, especially those traumatic ones you’d rather not be reminded of year after year? January 21st is that date for me. That was the day in 2010 when my husband told me, “I don’t believe in God anymore, and I don’t want to be married anymore.” Those 14 words changed my life.
I never thought divorce would be a part of my story— never in a million years. And yet, there I was at 23-years-old, trying desperately to make sense of my reality.
He brought both of us— His two broken, sinful children— back to Himself and, ultimately, redeemed our marriage. We didn’t deserve it. And we’ll keep telling people about it until our last breaths.
It’s a much longer story, but for now, I want to speak to those of you who feel stuck or are hoping for your own redemption story. Here are three things I wished I’d known during that season of my life.
1. It is not up to you to bring your spouse back
I know this feels so counter-intuitive to everything your heart is saying, but just hear me out:
I tried so hard to control and make order of the chaos around me, yet it just kept slipping through my fingers. It didn’t matter what I said or what I did—I couldn’t change his mind.
I couldn’t fix anything and I felt utterly alone. When I finally reached the end of myself, I realized that God was there in the pit with me, waiting to carry the burden for me. To relieve me of the responsibility of fixing it. I had to let go of the illusion of control and let Him have it. I chose to place my husband’s heart in the hands of the One who loved him even more than I did.
As scary as that was, it was the most freeing thing I have ever done. My role was simply to draw closer to Him, love my husband like Jesus does, and trust that God was in control— no matter what the outcome may be.
2. You are not in this alone
Going through a separation from your spouse can be brutally isolating. Maybe you’re afraid to let others in on what’s happening for fear of judgment. Maybe you’re not interested in unsolicited, unwelcome advice. Maybe you feel just plain embarrassed for being in this situation to begin with.
I know I sure did.
Even if you don’t have many people you can trust to help you carry this burden, there is One who desires to carry it for you.
God sees you. He hears you. He is for you.
Did you know that He even grieves with you? God isn’t passive— he’s not a cold, distant, unapproachable being who has more important things to be concerned with than your troubles. He is a loving Father who cares for you deeply, who actively wants to have a relationship with You, and who gave His only Son to die for you.
Isn’t that incredible?
As daunting as the mountain felt as I was staring up at it from my painful position down in the valley, He was with me every step of the way back up.
I know it’s so hard to fathom when you’re in that valley, but you will make it through this and be able to look back and see His faithfulness through it all. You’re not alone. He is with you.
3. God will not waste your pain
It just felt pointless. All of my dreams about the future were gone, and I felt so foolish. That pain didn’t go away quickly, but the promises that God spoke to me through His Word over and over again were such a balm to my soul.
The one that I clung to the most was from James 1. James explains that this trial would not be wasted, but God would use it to refine and purify me if I let it (James 1:2-4). Like Romans 8:28 says, He would actually use it for my good! That’s a hard thing to believe when you’re in the midst of it. And while I would never want to go through that pain again, I also wouldn’t trade what God did in my heart during that season for anything.
That dark season of loss and separation showed me God’s heart for me in a way I’d never known. It also taught me the beauty and freedom that comes from rooting my identity in Christ, not in being a good wife.
He will give you what you need
You want to know my favorite part of all of this? God is going to use your story in the lives of those around you.
I’m a private introvert— the last thing I imagined doing was using music as a very public platform to tell the story of what God did during that season of my life. Yet, here we are— reconciled and remarried after divorce— writing songs and telling our story to folks all around the world to give hope to those who need it.
Now, can God still use you even if you don’t get the ending you’re desperate for? If your story hasn’t been tied up with a pretty bow?
Absolutely— in more ways than you can imagine. Who better to help those who are hurting than those who have suffered and understand that pain?
So friend, press on knowing that the God of the universe loves you more than you could ever fathom. He will give you what you need to do what He’s calling you to do as you navigate this season.
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?