I have gone through a divorce. I was married by 23 and divorced by 25. If I could pinpoint the exact moment where my life changed, it would be this one. When I pulled out of the driveway of the home I had made with my husband, I thought my whole world was going to crumble into a million pieces. I was broken. I was lost. I was scared. But most of all, I felt like I was the biggest failure on the face of the Earth. I mean after all, somehow I had managed to single-handedly cause the man who had vowed to love me, to fall out of love with me. If he couldn’t love me, then who would. However, it wasn’t until after lots of prayer and deep soul searching that I realized this was quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Yes, you read that correctly…. Going through a divorce was the best thing that happened to me. This is not me saying divorce is the best option because trust me, if I could have made my marriage work, I would have. BUT God had a plan and He knew what He was doing.
Sometimes, we go through trials so we can turn over our plans in exchange for His plans. Sometimes, we become so weak and fragile from the pain of unplanned bumps in the road that we have to rely on His strength to make it through. After all, His plans are better and His strength is more powerful.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6
You may be thinking that I am crazy, but for those of you asking how a divorce could have possibly changed my life for the better, well, here’s how. The divorce caused me to see my life in a different light. It caused me to see the things I needed to change and because of that, it has been one of the best things to happen to me. The lessons I learned going through this, will be ones that I will always hold tight to. I have been strengthened and transformed by God through this phase of my life and He has revealed things to me about myself that I would have never seen otherwise. While I learned so many different things, here are the top 3 lessons I learned from getting a divorce:
1.) Before my divorce, I suffered from anxiety. I let worry and fear totally consume me to the point of it affecting my marriage. It wasn’t until the divorce was underway that I began to see just how detrimental this was to my marriage. As much as I hate to say this, if I had to give a root cause to the demise of my relationship, I would say it was this. Because of all the anxiety issues I had, it caused me to come off as this completely selfish person. Because of it, I had to do things MY way. Looking back, this is not the type of wife my ex-husband deserved. It’s not the type any man deserves. While it has not been easy, the divorce caused me to evaluate my issues of anxiety and face them head-on. I was at a point where I was so weak with fear, that the only thing I knew left to do was to call on my Gracious Lord and Savior. And guess what? Once I allowed Him to heal me from the inside out, He has broken my chains of fear. He has set me free from the weight of worry. Do I still struggle? Absolutely, but if there were no divorce, I would have never seen just how harmful worrying is to not just me, but my relationships, as well.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of all God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6-7
2.) One of my biggest downfalls as a wife was a lack of respect. I didn’t know what it meant to respect my husband. This is embarrassing for me to admit but I felt that if I didn’t receive respect from him, why should I give it? Not only was respect an issue but the concept of submission was one I just couldn’t grasp, either. It wasn’t until after I moved back to Georgia that this hit me square in the forehead. Men desire to feel respected and by not meeting that need for my ex-husband, I’m sure I made him feel inferior. Husbands are supposed to be superior. They are supposed to take care of and provide for their families. By not respecting him at all times, no matter what, I slowly began to belittle him and his desire and yearning for respect. Now, I am learning more and more what exactly it means to be submissive and more respectful
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” —Ephesians 5:22-23
3.) While this could fall into my anxious tendencies, the third thing God has revealed to me was my inability to just let things go. Things from before our marriage ate away at me. I also couldn’t just let go and enjoy the moment. There was always a “what if” in the back of my brain shaving away bits of my marriage. While being so consumed by things or issues I should have let go of, I lost the ability to just be. Because of this, I became a nagging, controlling wife who didn’t enjoy life and became consumed with things from the past. I needed to learn how to just let go and let God. While this has not been easy and it is still something I am working at, I have found just how peaceful life can be by letting go and letting God.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” —Isaiah 43:18-19
While the realization that at 25 my life has not turned out at all how I planned has been very difficult, I can rest in the truth that God has a plan for me that far exceeds the plans I have for myself. Even though I am not happily married and don’t have beautiful babies on the way, I am very grateful for the lessons that going through a divorce has taught me. I am thankful for the storm because out of it, there has been redemption, restoration and healing.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” —Jeremiah 29:11-13
A final note from Kayla on affliction: