I’m Getting a Divorce {Guest Post}

I don’t talk much about Matt’s affair anymore. After my heart shattered, I didn’t know how I would ever eat, laugh, or even love again without a stabbing pain through the pieces of me, but then the gashes slowly turned into silver scars, and the wounds began to feel more like a dream gone wrong, instead of my life. I guess time and healing has a way relieving you from the pain, and the desire to talk about it all the time.

 

When I began to share my story to the world wide web here on The Wounded Dove, it was part for my healing and part to give hope, to connect with someone — anyone — who’s heart had been shattered like mine.

 

That’s when I received an email from Abby, who like so many who’ve emailed me, bled her shattered heart to me, and I did my best to hold her tight with a virtual hug, and tell her, “You’re gonna make it through this, just like I made it through.”

 

Then, one year later, I received an email from Abby, and she had made it through, and even though her love story ended very differently than mine, I discovered a strong woman who loved until the end, found Love, and hope for a life full of happiness, and my heart exploded into a million rose pedals, and I remember why I started this.

 

I now share Abby, and her story with you now. Enjoy!

 

I'm Getting A Divorce -- Abby {Guest Post}
… … …
Charity!
I was thinking of you because I’m reflecting on the past year. A year ago today was the day I initially contacted you.
In the last year, God has healed me, helped me forgive, given me a new job and a new home with new friends and new relationships.
Last month, we signed divorce papers. Something I never thought in a million years I would do. I actually wrote a bit of an article on it. If you care to read…here’s the link: {See below}
As we were saying goodbye, he actually affirmed my character through the whole thing and said, ‘Despite my doubts and judgements about being ‘Christian’, you acted as thought I hope any Christian would act.’
So that…made it ALL worth it. If he saw Christ, that’s all that matters. Since those papers have been signed, I can’t even explain the release of it all! It is no longer this identity hanging over my head…no longer something I think about when I wake up in the morning…or at all for that matter.
In the last year, I have also crossed paths/built relationship with at least 5 other women walking the same path. Some who’s marriages are being restored, some walking through divorce, and one actually is the one who had the affair. That caught me off guard, but became a whole new territory God took me through. I actually referred her to your blog and she said it was exactly what was needed.
Anyways, I just wanted to write you back again from ‘the other side’. God is SO good. I have lived through my worst fear…I have survived…and I’ve thrived. God is calling me into women’s ministry somehow, and my job is actually ending at the end of August. So, I’m excited to see where he takes me and what He’s stirring up.
Thank you for being a part of my journey and allowing me to just freak out with you, even though we’ve never met. Thank you for being a voice of hope to so many women.
-Abby
… … …

I’m Getting a Divorce

by Abby Lynn

This isn’t about who’s fault it was – who is in the right or the wrong – justifying the title of this post. This is about giving you, the reader, an open door into my soul on this topic.

 

Let me start by painting who I am. I am the biggest cheerleader for marriage you will find. I am a wedding planner – enthralled by the celebration of love and commitment between two people for a lifetime. To me, it was one of the greatest things about our world – marriage…strong, good marriage. This also translated to me being extremely judgemental anytime I’d hear of an ex-spouse, whether in passing or in direct conversation. I would always, instantly think, ‘That’s so sad that you just couldn’t try harder – you just couldn’t make it work – you gave up.’ 

 

Well, let me tell you something. Now, instead of eavesdropping on other conversations where I hear the nasty word, it’s into a mirror. All of the times my heart broke hearing ‘divorce’ in conversations, every time I assumed they didn’t work hard enough, each bitter person I came into contact with that I snuffed at – now has a spotlight shining directly onto it. I am now that person causing someone to have those assumptions, those judgements. If, I’m honest, it breaks me. 

 

To think someone assumes I don’t value marriage – to think my heart’s state might be questioned – to think someone might be thinking, ‘she gave up…’ I can’t even go there…

 

I want to be careful not to turn this post around, because, frankly, that would be very easy. Bitterness is constantly knocking at my door. I’ve let it in a few times, but refuse to let it stay once I catch how quickly it could root itself. But what hurts me the most, is to think someone might think I gave up. 

 

If you had let me choose the course my life would go, I would have stayed in my comfy little life hiding behind my purpose as a wife. Unfortunately, that was all a fasad. My world was broken and messy. I lost myself in an identity that went completely south. I’ll admit it, I married for the wrong reasons. <insert friends trying to pull me back off this cliff of admitting my piece in it>. Listen, I am not excusing what happened – again – this post isn’t about that. However, in hindsight, as many of us know, you see 20/20, and let me tell you, I made mistakes. I thought that, if I could just get married, move out, have my own house, etc., my life could get started. I could be my own person instead of just living in shadows. I thought I would have purpose in that…which isn’t necessarily untruth, but I couldn’t see any further than that. This is a dangerous place to be, my friends.

 

This, led to my realization that the ‘stuff’ – the house, husband, security, dog – didn’t actually fulfill me. What I chalked it up to – feeling unloved. However, I also had placed expectations on this life, and everyone involved, to make me feel as though I had a purpose, as though my life mattered – filling that void. Those are big shoes to fill for anyone – and ones that actually can’t ever be filled by another human. Things in my marriage started to unravel. It was agony for this fairytale-believing, marriage-loving wedding planner. 

 

It wasn’t until I started going to a women’s bible study where my eyes were opened to see how wrong I was, even though I was also being wronged, and how deep, heavy and yucky my sin was. I saw my pile of crap for what it actually was. It was in normal every day stuff – namely ATTITUDE. Towards my God and towards my husband. It stemmed from not feeling like I had a purpose – not feeling like I mattered alone. I had impossible expectations of being fulfilled and found myself constantly disappointed. This would push any person further away from you. Again, I am making no excuses – Men, love your wives to the best of your ability. Even when you don’t feel you’re measuring up. That’s something God will teach her in time, but your job is simply to love.

 

But women, hear me. Your job is first to trust, love and find yourself in Christ, and second, to respect your husbands. Husbands – give her a reason to respect you (here’s a tip: priorities…ah – see? The bitterness…can just sneak in unexpectedly)! 

 

Once I saw my sin, I started allowing the Lord to work on me, in me and through me. I started learning hard lesson after hard lesson and, let me tell you, they hurt. The stretching, scraping, breaking and bending that the Spirit took me through…actually, let’s change that – IS taking me through…is one of the worst, but most fascinating and rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. Through that, I came to the realization of surrender. The knowledge that this life wasn’t about me having the perfect marriage, the perfect prosperous, western Christian life. This life is about Him, His Kingdom and His glory. Let me just clarify, this isn’t a magic realization potion that takes the hurt and pain away. If anything, it makes it worse. I’m just being honest. However, the sweet sweet release once surrender is reached, is unparalleled. The best way I can describe it is the biggest exhale/sigh ever. And once you’ve done that, you feel a thousand pounds lighter with the realization that you can’t control it anyways, God is good, He’s got you, and you can trust Him.

 

Now – how do I do this without pointing fingers…let me just give it a shot:

 

I tried. I tried hard. I gave more of myself than I even knew I had to give. A lot of the time I’d shake my head trying to figure out how I managed to feel lonelier than ever. Nights spent sobbing, exhausted to a point that felt near death. I’m not trying to be dramatic. I can’t quite explain the darkness of the season. The questions, the anxiety, the fear. Grief was a daily experience but I didn’t quite understand that yet. I’m proud of my efforts, my prayers, my sacrifice – but I know none of it would have happened if Jesus hadn’t sustained me the whole way through. Still, despite all this, things fell apart bad. I still tried and I went to battle in prayer. A problem? Prayer came WAY too late. Probably about 10 years too late. *Sidenote: If you aren’t praying for your spouse – present or future – START.*

 

One day, the Lord took me on a specific journey. He showed me who I was, as Abby, alone. He showed me that He had a plan for me. A glorious future – and it didn’t matter what the past looked like. He asked me to be free to walk in that future. But I was holding on. Why? Because it was my comfort zone – my plan – my identity. Then, suddenly, I realized I didn’t have to go back to that fear, emptiness, loneliness, grief. That it didn’t have to be my identity. My plan wasn’t working, but He had one far better and just needed me to reach this whole new level of surrender.

 

Well – I did. I surrendered. That surrender came with incredible relief. My burden was lifted and I was freed. He released me to move forward into His plan, and yes, by this, I mean divorce. Some of you may get up in arms here, but frankly, this was my journey with the Lord and He spoke to me. Him and I spent the time together in the lowest of lows – the pit. Him and I grieved together and He knows me the best. I fully believe that God loves marriage. In this situation, He loves it enough to allow me to experience it to His fullest, and the fact that I hadn’t, wasn’t good enough for him. He had better. That may mean a marriage as He intended, it may mean I never marry again. Regardless, my life is purposed for His Kingdom and I’m pretty excited to walk every day with Him and see how the story unfolds.

 

The date is nearing when I will officially be divorced. No one, except those who have walked/are walking through it, can quite understand the emotions you go through. It’s heartbreaking, relieving, dreaded, anticipated, freeing, heavy, isolating, uniting, private, public, embarrassing, liberating, shaming, strengthening, sad, happy, wrecking and rebuilding all at the same time.

 

I heard someone once use the following analogy for marriage – where two flesh become one: use elmer’s glue on two pieces of tissue paper. Stick them together and let it dry. Now try pulling them apart. There is no way to separate the two without leaving behind and taking pieces of the other. Unfortunately, I am one of these pieces of tissue paper. However, because of God’s grace, I am whole. Although a little bruised, He has rescued and restored me. I’m more ‘Abby’ than I’ve ever been. I am more sure of who I am in Christ and the plans and purposes He has for me. I have no idea what they are, but frankly, I don’t care. I know they are good and I’m content to follow one step at a time until one day i look up and say, ‘oh I get it!’. I’ve already had a few of those moments and I am SO grateful. 

 

I am still the biggest marriage cheerleader you will find. However, now when I overhear conversations or perhaps, I start them and that opens the door to someone else’s admission, my heart now breaks in a new way. There is no longer any judgement, just concern and open ears to hear of the pain and brokenness they must have endured to get to that point – and often – excitement over their future.

 

If anything, I’m more concerned for the complacent marriages that people just let sit idle. Let me toot my own horn here – but if the Lord could give me the strength to do what I did in my situation, you can work at least that hard to overcome complacency. Don’t be lazy, friends. It’s so not worth it. Maybe there is still some judgement issues I need to work on…I’ll get started on that…

 

I am not proud over the title of this article. I am, however, proud of my journey where I’ve been able to acknowledge my ignorance over divorce, see firsthand God’s strength in my weakness, and hear more clearly than ever His song over me filled with promises and hope. January 1, 2015, one of the most difficult days on this journey, He gave me Isaiah 43:19. He is making and has made all things new…He has brought beauty from ashes…and this is only the beginning. 

 

I'm Getting A Divorce -- Abby {Guest Post}

If you’d like to contact Abby, you can find her here:

Twitter & Instagram: @trulyabby_

15 Comments

  • 2 years ago

    I loved reading this Abby, thanks for being brave enough to share. 🙂

    • Abby
      2 years ago

      Thank you so much Jamie! That means a lot.

  • Marilyn Wendland
    2 years ago

    First of all, thank you for sharing your journey and for allowing your pain to be a place where others can find safety and hope. Today I pray ” Let what we suffer teach us to be merciful; let our sins teach us to forgive”. You are a treasured possession Abby, one in whom God delights. I recently read that God loves us so much He doesn’t have time to be disappointed in us. His eyes are constantly beholding us, His longing is to dance cheek to cheek.

    • Abby
      2 years ago

      I love that Auntie Marilyn. Thank you! That just happens to be my vision…Jesus and I dancing cheek to cheek.

  • 2 years ago

    God bless you for your transparency and encouragement in sharing HOPE for the many women who have suffered this journey too. As heartbreaking as it is to read your story of divorce, I find myself full of excitement for what you gained. The deep faith in Christ is surely your renewal of spirit and I LOVE that your transformation is freeing yourself to SOAR on His wings.

    NO one can judge. This is your walk, with the only One who slathers you with the grace we ALL soak in and so desperately need!

    • Abby
      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Christine. It means a lot.

  • Krista
    2 years ago

    Abby, I loved reading what you wrote. I am going through a very painful divorce that keeps getting worse as I speak. I’ve been married for 13 years and in those years I have realized that I completely lost who and what I was. I have fallen so low but have found and heard God calling my name. To surrender control has been the hardest thing for me but I have realized that the more I tried to be in control I was in fact losing all control. I have learned to pray for my soon to be ex spouse, even though there are days I don’t want to. I often think he doesn’t deserve it but to think like that would be saying I don’t deserve to have someone praying for me either. I am already broken in many pieces but am leaving it up to God to piece me back together as he sees fit. I still have a way to go before this divorce is over but after reading your article I look forward to my future, a little trepidation does apply though. I hope through me that my children can see Christ and learn the strength he alone gives each of us, we have only to turn to him. Please keep writing. And may God continue to bless you.

    • Abby
      1 year ago

      Oh Krista. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for the pain you are enduring, but I do know that in that, God is with you. A few things that were instrumental in my healing:

      This sermon by Christa Black – I actually watched this a few days after my husband left me and it completely changed the way I grieved: https://youtu.be/DaeabrT5KUw

      The second thing is the encouragement I received about forgiveness from a mentor of mine. Essentially, she showed me that Forgiveness isn’t be ‘okay’ with what happened. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t grieve or don’t get angry. In fact, my pastor just this last weekend did an incredible message on it. If you want, you can listen to it here: http://gtvictoria.com/media/2016-04-24-week-4-forgive-and-forget

      Just today my verse was 2 Corinthians 12:10 ‘…For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

      Bless you babe. He’s got you.
      ps- stay tuned – I might continue the ‘writing’ thing

  • 2 years ago

    Hi Abby & Charity,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m a single mom of 5 boys whose husband left suddenly during the surprise pregnancy of our last little guy for a woman he reconnected with on Facebook. The journey to healing is full of bumps and bruises, but scars make you stronger and the patterns they leave behind are make you more interesting.

    There are so many valuable things in this piece, from the unexpected bitterness which sometimes catches us of guard to the mistakes I made getting married which sound very much like yours Abby. What made me want to jump up and cheer was the part about complacency in Marriage! I am a big fan of Marriage and believe God has plans greater than our own. It is only through my divorce journey that I humbled myself enough to be powerful in God’s strength. His plans a SOOOOOOOO much greater than or something aren’t they. (Notice that’s not a question lol)

    Thank you for sharing Abby. This is a beautiful piece from a beautiful woman.

    God Bless…

    PS Charity, I just saw you’ve been published on Huffington Post! YOU GO GIRL!!! WOOHOO – #HappyDANCE!!

    • 2 years ago

      Thank you so much! I find it so interesting how people can have such different outcomes to their love stories, but we all come to the same conclusion. Isn’t that amazing? Love always wins. 🙂 And, yes, #happydance!

  • 2 years ago

    Darn those autocorrect typos! 😉

    • Abby
      1 year ago

      Strahlen! Your words brought me joy despite the heartbreaking circumstances. Thank you for taking the time to write! My own spirit leaped when you reminded me of the burden I have over complacency.

      I pray for strength today and bright hope for tomorrow. He’s got you and your story is beautiful!

  • Jill C.
    1 year ago

    This was an amazing article for me to read. Almost as if…she heard my heart. Talking about the drudgery & it becoming her identity sounds so familiar and haunting. Thanks for posting it Charity and thank you Abby for sharing your life lessons about leaning on God, learning through him, and loving yourself enough for it all to begin.

    • Abby
      1 year ago

      Thank you for reading Jill! Heart Connections are my ‘why’. Glad it spoke to you.

  • 1 year ago

    Wow, what an amazing and beautifully written post on your experience with your divorce. I love how you have taken complete ownership of the situation. I acknowledge you for your openness and vulnerability. Surrendering is never easy, but you did it with such grace. Thank you for sharing this.

Leave A Comment