Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines divorce as “the action of an instance of legally dissolving a marriage.” Over the past few decades, divorce has climbed into most facets of our lives, whether we want to experience it or not. A friend, a family member, a co-worker, or through our own experience, divorce impacts the majority of Christians today, including myself.
Different phrases came to my heart as God reminded me of all I had journeyed through during my divorce. Death seemed to rise and bubble over at the core of my emotions. Divorce is a loss of everything you once knew. I felt, at times, like a widow; alone, abandoned, desperate, and depressed. Woman, as I walk you through my own divorce and healing process, my prayer is you are giving this situation over to the Lord and asking Him to heal your heart. I pray this blesses you in your own journey through recovery.
There are many reasons for divorce: adultery, abuse, abandonment, addiction, a hard heart, boredom, lust, same sex issues, finances, children, occult, disease, and sickness, to name a few. Some claim to have fallen out of love, married to young, and are no longer compatible. Many say they do not want to be married anymore, so the “amicable” divorce ensues.
Divorce is mentioned in the Bible. The Old Testament books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, 1 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi record God’s Word pertaining to separation. New Testament Scriptures concerning divorce are written in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians. In God’s wisdom and instinctual understanding of His children and the human spirit, the Lord included divorce in His Word for the hearts of those who experience it. He provided Scriptures to reconcile, restore, and rebuild those left behind from division.
Your marriage might be over and that chapter closed, but your life is not. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steak, kill, and destroy, but I have came so that they may have and enjoy life, and that they may have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows.” Your new journey is just beginning and my prayer is you walk with God through it all. “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
Whether you’ve been divorced minutes, years or are in the process of division, emotions will begin to take root; the feelings, you may experience, such as failure or worthlessness, need to be addressed and laid at the cross in prayer. You are in a grieving process. The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is perfectly normal to feel the emotions you are experiencing. I would encourage you to not suppress these reactions, but cry out to the Lord. I have seen these sentiments come out of women in different ways later on in life: cancer, tumors, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases. You will have to allow yourself time to process your reactions, but permit God to heal them.
Your stages of grief may not happen in the order mentioned above; my emotions surfaced in different ways. I stayed in denial and depression for a long time, followed quickly by bargaining, then acceptance. I experienced anger as the final stage during recovery. Scriptures the Lord put on my heart to pray and confess over my mind and spirit during each phase were as follows:
Denial is the refusal to satisfy a request or desire, to admit the truth or reality of something, or refusal to acknowledge a person or thing. I was in complete denial, shock, and numbness. Your body and might even shut down temporarily to protect your heart. If this stage persists for a longer period of time, please consult a physician or talk with a pastor. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure from antagonism or rage. Woman, it is natural to feel anger. But, you must watch yourselves and not become so embittered, enraged, and vengeful during the process as to hinder your relationship with God. Ephesians 4:26 clearly reads, “Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”
Bargaining is attempting to make an agreement between parties settling what each gives or receives in a transition between the two or what course of action each pursue in respect to the other. This is one phase I can look back on and feel ashamed. I am so grateful God never listened to my requests regarding the divorce. Be careful what and how you pray; if at all possible, be still and quiet. Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Depression is a state of feeling sad, a mood disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty thinking and concentrating, having feelings of dejection or hopelessness. This phase left me in a terrible state. I quickly lost weight, had no appetite, and desired sleep all of the time. Sadness is normal during this stage, but depression can lead to more serious issues. Suicidal thoughts or dangerous mental aggression can harm your healing process and inhibit God from working. If these thoughts linger for too long and you cannot function or sleep, seek guidance form a trusted doctor. Psalm 61:1 reads, “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Acceptance is the act or state of being accepted, accepting, or acceptable. This phase was extremely difficult for me to allow in my heart. I cried everyday for a whole year, but it was such a cleansing process with necessary tears. This period gave me a sense of peace, allowing God to provide healing and a closeness where I could not find it before. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
During your stages of grief and navigating through this progression, you may realize, divorce affects every area of your life. The following are 12 areas, in which, divorce touched my life. Please take each one into considered prayer with the attached Scripture. These are in no particular order, but are suggestions for you to journal and take to the Lord in prayer:
Physically you may find yourself gaining or losing weight from over eating or loss of appetite, being tempted or pursued by men, and tormented by hormones. I experienced these situations, but I encourage you to take care of yourself during this time by eating as well as you can. Take vitamins, supplements, and drink plenty of water. Exercise and try to get plenty of good sleep. 1 Corinthians reads, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Spiritually, I was devastated. I doubted God, was angry with Him, and lost my sense of trust. These were temporary feelings, which actually drew me closer to the Lord. You might feel the same as I did, drawing peace from God, or maybe even starting a fresh, new relationship with Him. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
Financially, I was a mess. Left with debt and now having to work after six years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was beyond overwhelmed and extremely unprepared. Everything had to be in my name and I was responsible for it all. You might have to switch banks or create a brand new account. I would encourage you to try and pay off as much debt as you can. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your body and flesh and strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions; and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:5-10)
Socially I felt awkward and out of place. I was out of sorts for a long while. It felt weird to be around my married friends, single friends, and single moms. Questions of where do I fit in at church plagued my mind. Sitting alone in the seats felt unnatural, but I want to encourage you. Truly, all you need is a couple of close, trusted friend to pray with and God will lead you where you need to be. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name I am there in the midst of them.”
Mentally, my thoughts were out of control. I believed the lies the enemy fed me; watch your thoughts carefully. If they do not match up with the Word of God, then they are not from Jesus Christ. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but might in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Psychologically, I felt as if I was going crazy. I believed I was to blame for everything wrong in the marriage. I was going though tremendous pressures, my heart felt heavy most of the time. Others may play terrible mind games as well through manipulation, deception, and fear. I would exhort you to pay attention to what God says, not your flesh, nor the world, and definitely not the enemy. James 1:19-20 reads, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of God does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Personally, I made the ultimate mistake of wrapping my whole self-worth in my marriage. When my divorce happened, I was left with no identity of my own. I felt no longer valued; I was lost for a period time. Thankfully God’s Word tells you exactly how much you mean to Him and who are you in Christ. Do not ever let anyone determine who you are, only God has the right, for He created you. “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
Emotionally, I was a wreck. I cried every day for many, many months. I experienced pain, hopelessness, frustration, confusion, and heartache. The emotions washed over me daily. The only comfort I felt was reading God’s Word. I would read Psalms and Proverbs continuously. Those Scriptures were my saving grace. To this day during my quiet time with God, I read Scriptures from both books. As a cautionary measure, do not trust your emotions. They are deceiving and can lead you astray from God’s Word and Truth. Proverbs 4:20-24 says, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all your flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.”
Legally, I hired an attorney and followed a divorce decree. You may have to do the same. You will probably visit the courthouse more than you would like, make dozens of phone calls to your attorney regarding what you can and cannot do. If there are children involved, you will learn to divide time evenly; a whole new lifestyle will develop. Sadly, it will be the new normal until the youngest is eighteen. “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and the magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12)
Relationally, I became, somewhat, closer to my family because I desperately needed their help. Y ou may find yourselves in the same situation or estranged from people. Your relationship will change with your in-laws and extended families. Be prepared for lines drawn in the sand and individuals to choose sides. In most cases, there may need to be boundaries provided, as trust has been broken. Romans 12:18 encourages, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Morally, you will be challenged. Hold onto your integrity; keep good morals, values, standards, and beliefs. They will serve you well when tested. Do not feel the need to defend yourself if your character is called into question. God will open hearts at the right time and individual parties will eventually see the Truth through the lies. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Statistically, you will have a new title; Miss or Ms., considered single, separated, or divorced, and possibly a new or maiden last name change. I kept my married last name because of my children. If I ever remarry, I will change my last name again. One title that will never change is mommy. 2 Corinthians 5:21 strengthens our spirits saying, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Other helpful advise I can share, gleaned from the Word of God or other Christian women is: ask for help, find a support system, seek financial help or apply for it, attend Christian and/or professional counseling, register/enroll for a Divorce Care class, find a reputable and affordable attorney, get plugged into your church, and seek a good handy-man for household repairs. These simple suggestions were life changing for me.
I would encourage you to deepen your prayer life. Find more time to spend with God, early in the morning before you start your day. During prayer, I found myself asking God for help and healing. I confessed any sins or mistakes I had made during the marriage. I asked God for forgiveness and to show me how to forgive my spouse. I began to pray for my ex-husband, his relationship with the children, and his own walk with the Lord.
I fasted and confessed Scriptures out loud throughout the day. I thanked God for every need He provided and sought Him for everything I needed. I listened to worship songs, praise music, and opened my heart to any way I could glorify Jesus. Finally, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me embrace a new life, a fresh start, and reconciliation if He so desired.
If you are considering divorce, I would implore you to take every thought captive unto the obedience of God, pray and confess Scriptures over your marriage. Jesus Christ holds the keys to your future, for divorce affects everyone around you. Before you make any decision, please pray with me as the Lord has laid these Scriptures on my heart to confess out loud and profess over your marriage.
Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There,
Your Word says, “Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
I desire to walk carefully for I know the heart is deceitful above all things, and it is extremely sick, who can understand it fully and know it’s secret motives (Jeremiah 17:9) I truly want everything I do to be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us] (1 Corinthians 16:14) I know if we close to you, then you will come close to us washing and purifying our hearts (James 4:8)
lift my marriage to you and this separation or divorce. Your Word says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” (Proverbs 18:21)
I desire to confess Scripture over my heart, my walk as a wife, this marriage, and if going through a separation, this divorce. I know I have your fruits, “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)
I know you can give me peace and a new fresh vision for my future. I desire a new heart for your Word says, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my ordinances and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Help me to think on reconciliation, godly thoughts over my marriage, divorce, or reconciliation, “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” (Philippians 4:8)
Father, if the divorce is finalized, or I am in the process, help me wait on your perfect will and timing through all things. Help me to never be rude, disrespectful, harm or hurtful, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
Thank you for godly women and counselors you place in my life; thank you for always providing and protecting, especially the children, my health, my mind, and my heart. I praise you for your goodness. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I pray.