It’s Not “Supposed” to Be This Way..

I write a lot about the difficulties of divorce. So many get them without considering the consequences. Some know full well and some are clueless. As a child of it and an adult who went through it, I want to clue some of you in.

Some sign in tears gasping for breath and some easily and nonchalantly sign papers. Some spend their retirement fighting for custody and some need a push accepting the inevitable. Some hire detectives and some throw parties. Some wake up and some shut down. Because people grieve differently and some don’t grieve at all, they are each different.

No matter what, it’s an epidemic that needs attention. Divorce causes confusion about how marriage was intended from the beginning and not only the pain of separation for the one left behind, but separation from our children. It’s not supposed to be this way…

Divorce is a life event never to be celebrated in my book. It has caused me so much pain over my lifetime, that it must be my calling. It hurts my heart for every child and adult that encounters it. It’s not supposed to be this way…

My prayer is that these articles comfort those who have been or are going through similar situations and that they warn others. That couples think twice, three times, four times, that they do the work needed, that they consider their examples, that they communicate, and get healthy…together. Because families are torn apart and it’s not supposed to be this way.

That they don’t just stay together for the kids. And never, if it’s abusive or unfaithful without repentance, but to show kids and others what marriage is “supposed” to be. Not easy, but strong. A union of two sinners who have to learn to forgive and how to be forgiven. A testimony to grace.

Once we “get over” the separation of the person we vowed that we never would (whole other article), the separation from our children is brutal.

I’m about to embark on my first month away from my girls and my heart just aches. One week away at camp pales in comparison to a month away. It’s not supposed to be this way..

I know divorced moms do this all the time. I also know it’s hard for them all. I know some travel, some rest, some work more, and some just sulk. I plan to do all of the above. I need to….

The ache in my heart reminds me that Jesus can feel it too. It reminds me of how it was the separation from His Father on the cross that killed him. It wasn’t the physical pain, it was THAT pain that He cried out over. “Father, why have you forsaken Me?”

Sin separates us from our Father. He took on ALL of our sin so that we would never feel the separation that He did. This separation needed to happen in order for us to never be separated again.  And, it killed Him. He knows the pain. It broke his heart. And, still does.

Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIRV)

Do you know that this “JOY” He looked forward to as He was beaten, nailed to a cross, and separated from His Father for absolutely nothing He did Himself was being with us forever! That outcome was worth all the pain He endured. Oh, how He yearns for that day too. He must after what He was willing to do in order for it to happen.

Even though I was the one who filed for divorce, I’ve always stood by the fact that it wasn’t my choice. I was the only one to show up to court. My dad went with me. He walked me down both aisles. I know his heart was breaking too. He’d already been through his own painful divorce. The man who paid for our wedding was now paying for our divorce and propping me up because he knew it needed to happen. It’s not supposed to be this way.

I also get the pain that dads feel separated from their kids. I get it. I’m married to one who misses his. While mine will be gone, we’re happy to have his kids for a month. But, we both know that they have a mama who will be missing them too. We both agree that it’s not supposed to be this way. Kids shouldn’t have to pick or miss the other parents. We didn’t bring them into the world to share them. Neither of us.

We both KNOW why God hates divorce.

Whether it’s camp, college, custody, distance, or death, may the Lord comfort us in our separation and may it be a blatant reminder of how much He hates separation too. Enough to die for it. May He fill in the gaps as only He can.

Last night all I wanted to do was spend time with my girls. They were both caught up with their friends and games. They don’t understand. But, my husband (who does) sent them to spend time with me. He knows the hurt and that time is always ticking….He knows because his time ticks too.

Next month, I’ll lean on him and the people God sends who will listen, care, and accompany me. And, may all of you other separated parents do the same.

Because, it’s not supposed to be this way…..And, because of the separation Jesus endured, one sweet day it won’t be.

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Truth in Tears

man tears

“Crying doesn’t indicate you’re weak. Since birth, it’s been a sign that you’re ALIVE”. I ran across this quote yesterday and it got me thinking. There is immense joy in the delivery room when babies let out their first cries. Not only does it mean they are alive, but more than likely healthy. It’s such a relieving and beautiful moment!

My heart is heavy for those of us who have been taught that it’s best to stuff our emotions and just “get it together”. If you’re like me, there is a lot more pain in holding back the tears than just letting them flow. It’s in trying to suppress our feelings, that the real damage is done and the most pain is endured. Telling ourselves we don’t or shouldn’t hurt, when we clearly do, doesn’t help the healing process. While we may need to think twice before acting on emotion alone, feeling it is extremely healthy and the best way to process it. I believe that’s why we feel such relief after a good cry. Something about letting the tears come helps our hearts to heal.

For the men who were told that “real men don’t cry”, your naysayers must have missed the scripture that clearly says Jesus wept. John 11:35. Jesus cried even when He already knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He cried out of compassion for his friends. He cried because of overwhelming grief. He cried because He was human. I love that He wept and displayed this emotion. Jesus is the manliest of all men and He wept……for us. Then, He moved forward, overcame, and brought tears of pure joy by raising his friend back to life!

I believe I can safely speak for most women when I say that when we see a man cry with sincerity and for good reason (especially one we love), we view it as an enormous strength. Whatever you are allowing the tears to flow for means a great deal to you and allowing us to see them speaks volumes to those who love you. We want to know that you are capable of that much emotion and secure enough to let us witness it. If it matters to you, it matters to us. Our hearts naturally go out to sincere love, joy, and grief in the form of tears because we know they are real. We all long to be real.

On a personal note, I never saw my husband shed a tear as our marriage unravelled. I’m not saying he didn’t. I’m just saying I never saw it. I was surprised and greatly moved when he cried during our wedding vows, I saw tears when our first daughter was born, and at the loss of our dog. But, I never saw him cry over the loss of our marriage or me. He had shut down emotionally. Moved on already…..Matter of fact, as tears rolled down my face explaining to our daughter together on our back porch that the split was happening, he told me to “get it together or go inside.” This brought more tears.

I share that very personal information as a reminder to us all. Don’t shut down on what matters. Don’t shut down on what should matter. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come alive and active in our hearts. Ask Him to break our heart for what breaks His. Our families are worth shedding blood, sweat, and tears over. Our families are gifts from God. He pays close attention to how we treat each other as His children. We are all worth tears because we were worth His.

I cry when I feel overwhelmed with God’s love for me. I cried when I was rebaptized. I’ll catch myself crying at church when certain songs penetrate straight to my heart. I’ve cried tears of love just watching my children sleep, I’ve cried over loss of love, and I’ve cried tears of joy over new friendships. Each time it reminds me that I’m alive and I’m grateful to have loved so much that it overflows. I also believe that Godly sorrow, true repentance, the enormity of grace, feeling truly forgiven, and feeling the warmth of God’s true love can and will bring the toughest of us to tears. He alone is worthy. Jesus cried tears of blood in anguish and determination to do His Father’s will. Raw emotion. Raw love.

The next time your brain or upbringing tells you to “pull it together” or “be strong” by holding back tears of joy, love, or sadness remind yourself that Jesus also wept. He created us to produce tears for a reason and I believe it is to help us heal and deal. To cry is proof we are alive and that we love. Let the truth run down your cheeks and may He hold you close, comfort, and continue to bless you. You are loved!