The end. That sounds so final. When we are finishing a good book or coming to an end of a great tv series, we tend to feel a hole from the ending. There is no longer a way to connect with these characters that have become such a big part of our lives. We no longer know how they are doing and sometimes we even miss them.
When we come to an end of a marriage, there is a much bigger hole and a real grief that crushes the world as we know it.
In the midst of my divorce I remember sitting on my couch late one night, just staring at the fireplace at 1 in the morning. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was too tired to get up and go to bed. So I stared at this stone fireplace memorizing the muted brown and tan tones that had just a touch of sparkle in them. There was a tiny crack just above the mantle that ruined the perfection of the stones but was comforting to me in some way. As I looked at that crack I could see some kind of shadow in it. I continued to watch it and in time a tiny little grey mouse snuck out and scaled down the fireplace. I was too tired to move or even be startled so I just continued watching it move across the floor into the kitchen where He found a place between the floor and the cupboard to visit. (While I did nothing that night, I did set traps the next day.)
The end of my marriage left me shattered and drowning in the quicksand of guilt and shame. I had chosen to move into this world of unknowns and chaos and had dragged my kids into it as well. This night as I watched the mouse, I was mired in a fog of shame that told me I was not worthy of love from God or anyone else. That night I put my Bible away and didn’t open it for a long time.
Guilt and shame are heavy burdens that keep us from God. I was weighed down to the point that I didn’t even seek Him at this time because I didn’t feel that I had anything to offer, living in the shadows of holiness. As with most things in life we learn to move on and don’t even notice those weights that are crushing our souls
anymore. . . until we do.
I was just living my life, had remarried and my husband and I had found a church home when the guilt and shame came crashing back into my life. My Bible was back and in use again. Everything seemed fine until one day during church I felt that heaviness in my heart that overwhelmed me to tears. At the end of the service I went to the alter and tried to pray but couldn’t. It was if the there was this wall between me and God that was too tall for me to get over.
I carried on as if everything was normal but every Sunday that heaviness grew and an emptiness came that I knew was from missing God. A wonderful lady from my church reached out to me during this time because I had been on her heart. I went to her house for tea and we talked for over an hour. Her words were overflowing with grace and love that soothed my soul, breaking that wall of shame and guilt that stood in front of me. She prayed over me and it was like a dam burst and all of those burdens just poured out of me and rushed downstream into a deep river moving away so fast that it could no longer touch me.
There are always so many facets to a divorce. I felt like the villain of this story for many years because of my decision to get divorced. Through my discussion earlier in the day with my friend, I learned that I carried a lot of baggage from events going clear back to my high school days. One particular event also left me shamed and full of guilt through no fault of my own, but still touched deep into the core of my life without me even realizing it. While that event had nothing to do with the divorce, those two occurrences intersected deep in my soul and somehow blew up the beautiful bridge I used to communicate with my Savior.
That night as I joyfully prayed to my Father, I promised that I wasn’t going to waste anymore energy being a villain nor would I waste anymore energy being a victim, I was just going to bask in the glory of being redeemed by a mighty Savior who loves me so much he died for me.
For me, the divorce was the pinnacle of my shame. For you it might be something entirely different. But whatever the burden is that you are carrying I can promise you this, you have a Savior who is waiting with open arms to carry you through this storm. He loves you and He died to carry this for you. Reach out to Him and bask in the redemption He has to offer you!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-6