Saturday, September 7, 2013

Divorce and Recovery

My world tilted on its' axis two years ago, again. It's been a long road to recovery, and I know that Christ has covered me every step along my journey. I have never felt more on God's path for my life than I do today. I don't recognize my life, but I feel the presence of God in every direction that He sends me.

Divorce is the death of relationship. I had already suffered through that death once and truly believed that it would never happen again in my life. I swore that it never would. The first time, i not only lost the relationship and friendship with my ex but I felt like I lost my entire life in my home town. The healing was tough all around: our families, friends, kids, neighbors, students, etc. When you live in a small town, everyone is involved in your life to a certain extent and often feel the obligation to take sides. It's not unconditional love at its best when you have divorce in the mix. Divorce is hard on everyone in the impacted community.

People also make a lot of judgements and continue to do so. It has been hard and hurtful. Skip to two years ago, and my "perfect marriage" crashed and burned. I was devastated and had to go through the small town involvement again. Good or bad, the community is involved and can wrap around you and love you (which praise God I experienced) or spend a lot of time digging into the "why" and making judgments. Judgments are a waste of time and energy and are sins.

Grief is heavy and overwhelming. Everyone loses something. Someone loses their home, their stuff, access to their kids, maybe the church they attend, community involvement, and maybe even as simple as a favorite pet. Reputations are damaged regardless of the situation because everyone believes their own truths and makes up what they don't know; the bottom line is that you feel like you wear the scarlet "D" on your forehead.

Your perception is your truth, and for some people when they don't like the truth they become experts at creating their own and then manipulating those around them to buy into it. It's very sad. There is nothing easy about it and especially not when dealing with manipulators.

Hurt and pain usually translate at some point into anger. Forgiveness is so hard to find when your heart has broken and especially when your children are involved and then add the community piece. There are tons of books out there, but your process is uniquely yours when you suffer a trauma, especially a public one.

Trauma takes many shapes and forms, but the bottom line is that you have to allow yourself to feel what you feel. Don't let pressure from other people curb your right to grieve even if the choice was yours to separate.  It's the death of a family unit. Grieve it. Then, pray for healing and the removal of the trauma so that you can heal. Guilt may be warranted initially, but then you have to seek forgiveness.

Christ forgives you, right what you can right, and forgive yourself so you can move on. Just because you are divorced doesn't mean that God can't use you. He uses obese, liars, righteous pharisees, hoarders, greedy, selfish, needy, paranoid and fearful, lazy, judgmental, poor, rich, etc. None are perfect no not one. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (That means me and you.)

I question myself all the time about the choices that I have made. Regardless of my opinions of people, I know that children need both of their parents to be stable and feel that unconditional love necessary to function as actualized people. Look at Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. I keep myself in check in not getting my personal needs met by my kids (that need to be needed and keeping them needing me is very dangerous for their mental health).

I wanted my kids to feel loved and empowered to be who they are and where they want to be as long as it was aligned with God's will for their lives. I did not want my children caught up in drama, especially drama constructed by other people. They know that I love them. I am here and will get their backs in a heart beat when needed.

Not that we didn't force the kids to step out in life and take some chances when they were scared to put themselves out in the world, but I worked hard at letting them know that no matter what their performance looked like that I loved them. Same with the divorce, no matter how angry, hurt, resentful, or sad they were, I loved them. We would get through it together with honesty and realness; if we had drama then we addressed it with honesty and truth. Keep it real but get a grip quickly.

Working with parents in the public school system, I see a lot of them who "helicopter" at the least sign of distress from their kids and swoop in to rescue with zero accountability for the child, ignore their kids because they are so caught up in their own work or drama or illness, get angry at the least inconvenience to them and their schedule, demand the school handle school things at school and don't want to be impacted at home, and then there are those rational people who you can just tell are real and reasonable and want to work with us to grow an independent critical thinking child into a responsible citizen. No judgment towards any parents because at some point, I have been each of those definitions depending on my own struggles.

Trauma adds another dimension though. When you have a trauma in your world, your thinking goes total frontal lobe and all of that adrenaline shuts down your high functioning memory and capacity to learn with any real value. If you are suffering a trauma and find yourself not bringing your "A" game to the table, imagine what your kids are feeling. We were in shut down mode around my house for about 3 months. It was ugly. I'm not proud that I shut down and closed into my own pain.

Something that I have learned about community is that honesty is the best policy. Concealing things leads to destruction. To build a loving community, you have to recognize that none are perfect, be honest about how you feel, seek clarification before you assume a negative intent, and be cognizant of the choices that impact the children.

My church family literally circled around our camp and provided that safety and support that we needed. They were amazing at just loving us through the storm without judgment or pressure to not grieve. They stepped in to help me be the mom that I was struggling so hard to be through my grief.

Selfishness has long lasting impacts, and I am no saint. When my kids would argue, I would always ask them who they love more. "You love yourself or your sister more?" Most arguments were because one of them was loving themselves more than anyone else. Is it not true in a marriage?  I have blogged about my own selfishness and still struggle with forgiving the selfishness on both parts that led to my marriage's death.

I think about all of the arguments that I have been involved in in the past. Most were not philosophical differences. Most were one of us basically saying, "I love me more than I love you and will do whatever I want." Which is saying, "I love me more than you and will not change my behavior for you."

Then, you have trauma, hurt, pain, resentment over years, grief, etc. It's pretty much the opposite of Ephesians 5. I am so guilty of just accepting the selfishness and not battling for what I knew was right. The peacekeeper in me is just as guilty in all of it by literally negotiating about sin.

Where does the healing begin? For me, it began with forgiveness after the grief. I took a lot of punches for blogging and posting on Facebook, but I felt like it was better for me to control my own PR by publishing truths for me rather than allowing other people to make things up. God knows my heart, too.

I wanted God to use my grief and my failed relationships to help other people. I don't think that I ever  published anything condemning about my ex, though. I just published facts of what I was feeling or what I was fighting from the world (like creditors).  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know that I never published what caused my divorce ultimately.

We are complicated beings. I am a mom, girlfriend, principal of an elementary school, survivor from way back, sister, daughter, and friend. More than anything though, I am a child of God who is here to serve. I don't want to cause trauma, drama, or any hurt. That's not my heart, but I want to be real about who I am and what I believe. I want to work with children, parents, staff, and the community to raise our kids.

I have seen the amazing from people in the last 2 years, and I am so excited about where God has positioned me. Everything in this life is to bring us closer to God and serve as part of our ministry to others. I work hard at being Kingdom minded, but it is a work and not something that comes easily. On top of that, most people completely disagree with my mind set. Not everyone is called.

Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them..."
John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, "Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments."

Family, community, all people. Jesus loved everyone. He died for everyone, and He is the only path to God. He didn't have to die more for me because my sin requires more of him. He died the same for us all. We have scriptures to mold our behavior into Christlikeness. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love each other. That means forgiving and being selfless. So hard, but so necessary to heal from the traumas we each face. Love God, Love each other, spread the gospel.

Life is tough in His trenches at times, but He will never leave us nor forsake us. I am so blessed to be on the other side of the big "D". It may be permanently tattooed in my history, but Jesus covers the rest.  That "D" on my forehead is gone. It's been washed away. I'm not going to allow anyone to put it back. I am, also, so thankful for the family, friends, church, and community who have loved me through it all.

The enemy doesn't have the authority in my life to rub any sins in my face. I am redeemed, and if you have accepted the grace from Christ then so are you. Have a blessed day, and I am praying for every reader's complete healing from trauma. May no cell in your body remember the pain, hurt, trauma, tears, burdens, etc. I pray you have peace and direction. If you aren't recovering from any trauma, find someone to show the love of Christ to through unconditional love. No judgments, just love.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Disclaimer- My personal views are a part of my core values and do not necessarily in any way represent the views of the school district that employs me. I respect separation of church and state do not preach at school but simply display the love of Christ in me without referencing where my values come from in the school arena.

1 comment:

  1. I love your honesty and sincerely!! I truly believe that God places people in our lives for a purpose, it's not sheer chance. I wonder daily what I'm to learn from you and you from me......I look forward to our growth as individuals in the next chapters of our lives :0) Crystal