THE REALITY OF DIVORCE DISCRIMINATION

What is divorce discrimination?

In my opinion, it’s when people who are not divorced (and sometimes even people who ARE divorced) think less of those who have gone through one or more divorces. It hints at instability, at there being something wrong with people.

I’m not gonna lie, divorce is like a big wound. It takes TIME to heal. No excuses, no exceptions. It takes time, but it isn’t a crippling wound. People can function, and feel joy, and carry on. Except sometimes it just hurts, like a wave. It’s alright. Healing doesn’t mean that something is wrong with people, but rather that they got hurt. And they need to work through it, learn who they are again. It’s a big change, and a time to make big changes and reevaluate themselves. Pass through the refining fire, yeah? But here’s where we meet added resistance…

For sure, it’s harder to date. People would approach a guy I dated and ask “do you know she’s DIVORCED?” gasp. Missionaries at that, bless their hearts.  But I know who they are and I bless them in their process.

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It’s harder to be accepted in positions of leadership in the church (I’m looking at you, Southern Baptist church that didn’t hire a family friend because he was divorced). As if a past would hinder God’s work. Saul/Paul much?

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It’s harder in general to feel accepted and not shunned. But this I learned is something we each carry and have the power to drop. I’m rarely shunned now, and when awkward happens I just laugh. They don’t know me like He knows me, and they sure don’t pay my bills haha.

Then I hear the singles say words like this…

DIVORCE IS NOT A WORD IN MY VOCABULARY. (But you just…said….it….so.. it is in your vocabulary, lovey.)

I’M ONLY GETTING MARRIED ONCE. (Only once, as opposed to what, 3 or 4 times? This is a contrast statement about people who remarry.)

I DON’T BELIEVE IN DIVORCE. (Okay, but Jesus does so you have a different belief than Jesus, I still love you though.)

DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. (Oh but it is, not an easy option, but it is an option.)

I hear people saying these things and I wonder inwardly how many times their parents have been divorced. My guess is 2 each?

The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart, and when I hear the bitterness and fear in those statements, I don’t take it personally. They come from fearful people.

I, myself, used to declare with my chin up that I’d NEVER be divorced, but now I stand among the ranks of those statistics, and being on the receiving end of those words makes me realize how sad it was that I opened my mouth and out came the overflow of a heart with two divorced parents, each in their third marriage. But I had NO idea and ZERO compassion…

1) you have NO idea how awful and humbling it is to go through a divorce, and sometimes it is the best choice. Yep. Keep reading.

2) you have NO idea what it feels like to have a SPOUSE commit adultery. The person who promised at the altar to choose you. It completely wrecks your no-divorce world, because everything hurts. Even breathing hurts. Forgiveness is great but it’s hard to forget.

3) you have NO idea what it’s like to feel in danger in your own home. I hear these stories and I get mad at how long it took for someone to stop being a punching bag and get their kids to a safe place. On that note, emotional abuse is also REAL and it can wreck a spouse and children just as violently as physical abuse.

4) you have NO idea what it’s like to have someone choose to leave, and choose a life without you in it. You can’t control that person or their affections.

5) you have NO idea how your words come across. It’s like saying to someone who is widowed “I’ll never be a widow!” It makes you sound like you have 100% of the choice, which you don’t. It’s why prayer and honesty are so important, so so important.

We should refuse to create a culture of fear and discrimination with our words. Instead, speak about the way marriage WILL be, with love and patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Learn from couples who have been married and mirror the relationship you long for. THAT is productive and fosters hope. Don’t feed your fears.

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Nobody goes into a marriage hoping for a divorce, and yet we have SO many. Why? Were they just not good enough? Were they not loving? Did they fail to be enough of a man or enough of a woman? No. They did their best. It takes TWO trying their hardest, dying to self, and that’s rare.

Sometimes people make mistakes. Even the person who chose out of a marriage deserves grace. We read a Bible written mostly by murderers, so clearly God redeems. Over and over and over again, and over.

I care not just because I’ve gone through it, but because I pastor women who are divorced, widows, and single moms. I get their crying phone calls in the night. I hear their fears of the future, of being JUDGED and made to feel INFERIOR to never-married and married women. Real, sweet, stunning, lovely women, with hearts of gold, with bright futures. Fantastic mothers weeping in fear, feeling lonely. All I can do is prophesy the goodness ahead. These will someday remarry the luckiest men, and they won’t be looking for someone to divorce again, believe me.

They’re looking for Jesus, for men who love and reflect Him. They’re looking for wholeness, because they’re whole. Their standards went UP. Haha. UP. Statistics defied. Glory to God.

Divorce IS a word in my vocabulary, but that doesn’t change my worth or the goodness that lies ahead for me.

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I’m getting married at some point in the future, again. I will wear white with no shame, because I have no shame. There’s no shame to be had.

I believe in divorce the same way Jesus did and does. Read your Bibles, get to know Him. He’s a radical, a real radical. A table-flipping radical.

Divorce happened to me, and it most certainly is an option. If you are reading this and you’re not feeling safe in your home, physically or emotionally, get help. If your heart is utterly broken due to adultery and pornography, go to a Christian counselor and work through it. You can call me, too, if you want. Click the tab to contact me. You need to heal and you deserve to process. You deserve more than bottling it up. It isn’t LOVING to bottle it up. Don’t let anyone tell you that.

I pray against the hurtful discrimination of divorcées in the Church. I pray for Godly marriages that truly reflect Christ’s love for the Church, for reconciling of believers, for disciples who speak healing words. I pray against the fear epidemic that divorces cause in the hearts of unmarried people, that they won’t be afraid but will love in action and truth. May the Body of Christ apply His amazing grace to any and all made in His image.

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5 Truths About Womanhood

It’s easy to lose sight of the very good thing that it is to be a woman. Sometimes our attributes get slammed down, and I want to call them up. Here goes my affirmation, encouragement, and sincere reminder that God did say that we are ‘very good’ creations.

1) WE FEEL FEELINGS AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I rebuke the lie that we are an overly-emotional gender. I rebuke the lie that to express feelings is to be dramatic. Feelings are valid. Feelings do not excuse us from the commandment to be loving. You can be both expressive and loving if you are wise with your words. Tenderness of heart is a treasure, and it is good.

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2) WE ARE NURTURERS. I rebuke the lie that motherhood isn’t a job or a gift. The enemy is out to destroy families, and one way to do that is to diminish the beauty of the task of nurturing the next generation. It’s okay to want kids. It’s okay to give them your time. It’s okay to put a career in the back-burner/on hold if that is what you choose. It’s also okay to be a working mom and feel that tug in your heart. That tug means you’re a nurturer, not weak, not a bad mom.

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3) WE ARE MADE TO BE PURSUED. I rebuke the lie that we are not worthy of pursuit. It’s okay for us to ask someone out, to initiate, to be adults, but don’t take over the pursuit. In the last few days, I’ve been asked on dates and it’s shocked me a bit. I had lost confidence that I was made to be pursued because I had become expectant of having to do the work. Align yourself with the truth and faith that you are worthy and the gift of your companion is worth being pursued.

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4) WE ARE INHERENTLY BEAUTIFUL.  I rebuke the lie that beauty is skin-deep or weight-related. Let your love pour out, let the way you love others be beautiful. If you ask me, my grandmother is the most beautiful woman on the planet. It is not for her appearance, although I think her appearance is stunning still, but I can see her inherent loveliness. Train your eyes to see this.

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5) WE CAN FEEL PRETTY OR NOT. I rebuke the lie that you have to feel pretty all the time. There are days we don’t feel pretty (yet we know we are inherently beautiful). One of my favorite things about being a woman is that it’s OKAY to feel icky, cramped, bloated, etc. YET we have these fun days when we are getting ready with the girls, and we feel so pretty. Pajama days don’t define you or make you gross. Remember the good hair days and give yourself some grace, woman, gosh.

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Believe this.
Believe that the Lord made you and loves you.
And He will sustain you, amazing woman of His. 

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

The Weight of Our Choices

Sometimes I wish the Lord was a grand puppeteer, a real tyrant up there, dictating my every move with one of those huge robot all-in-one remote controls that I can never figure out. You know? The kind with the colorful buttons with arrows everywhere and SAT words abbreviated in different languages, possibly also a calculator? Those.

But the thing about the Lord is that He gives us choices.
He trusts us to make choices!

Looking back, I’ve made some stupid choices. I mean, wow. I still am a little bit stunned at how I rationalized some choices and was able to twist them into looking halfway logical.

Really, if you’re stubborn enough, you’re gonna find an excuse to do what it is you actually want to do. You can find a loophole. You can direct your thoughts to the 2% that sounds good and convenient, while ignoring the 98% that’s screaming mistake, hasty, lesser.

I can blame my support systems and heart wounds, and say things like “I didn’t know better” and “I did my best at the time” but it boils down to the truth: my mind was set on rebellion. I did as I pleased, I did what was right in my own eyes. I refused wise counsel. I shut my ears and lalala’d my way through poor choices. I made a recent poor choice, so let me tell you…

A few days ago, I had an off day. Nothing really seemed quite right. I was hungry and went into the kitchen, opened the cabinet, and looked at my groceries. I had just gone to the store, and I had a pretty delish setup going on, no lie. I had bowtie pasta, sauce, potatoes, different soups, I had avocados and tomatoes, cheese… yet I grabbed a can of pork and beans. Kid you not. I heated it up, and I ate freakin pork and beans, yall.

No offense to beans, because beans rock, but seriously???

That’s the kind of thing you heat up as a side dish for a barbecue, not what you would eat as a main meal by itself, all emo and weird.

Then you know what happens after you eat a lot of beans? Yeah. That was fun. I was farting all day, couldn’t stand myself. (yes, yes, I went there, don’t care). I was home alone, so I was in my own little prison, holding myself hostage with freakin tear gas, so help me God.

How often do we do that to ourselves?
(no, not fart ourselves to tears, I mean make poor choices on purpose)

Then we wonder how and why we got ourselves to where we are?

LET’S GO TO THE ROOTS? OKAY!

Finish this sentence:

Sometimes I choose to deprive myself of peace and goodness because… 

…I don’t feel innately deserving, only on special occasions.
…I want to punish myself out of guilt for something that happened in the past.
…I want a challenge to prove something about my worth, because of somebody who has made me feel unworthy.
…I am subconsciously angry at myself, someone else, and/or God. 
…I like to suffer through and control the drama, because it impedes me from dealing with a reality I’m unready to face.

Dear dear darling reader, whoever you are, I can relate with you, but this has to stop.

You were meant for more than being your own worst enemy. 

The weight of your choices is a direct consequence of these behaviors, which are hinging on lies.

WANT TRUTH?

…I don’t feel innately deserving, only on special occasions.
You are deserving. You are deserving because your worth was given to you by God, and it can’t be taken away. Do not deprive yourself. Find accountability in the ways you are struggling with this.

…I want to punish myself out of guilt for something that happened in the past.
You are acquitted. You are free from the guilt, the shame, and the past because of Jesus, and He wants you to have freedom. You are as free as the prodigal son, who came home after having spent all of his inheritance and found himself embraced by his dad and welcomed home. Take a deep breath. Treat yourself kindly. Find accountability in the ways you deal with punishing yourself. You are covered in grace. You need not live like the past is still weighing you down.

…I want a challenge to prove something about my worth, because of somebody who has made me feel unworthy.
If you’re struggling with this, odds are, you aren’t feeling very loved. The thing with challenges is that they are difficult and elusive during the chase, and then they are empty once you have them. You trick yourself into thinking that the challenge itself is your motivation, when really you’re feeding off of the process and the hardship.
Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to recognize it. You have to heal from this. Somebody rocked you to the core and made you feel like less than you are. Face that. Heal. Be. Forgive. Release. Do what you need to do to dispel that wound and not let it affect your choices.
Also, your value does not increase based on someone’s affection for you.
Your value has been set, and it’s high.
God is not ashamed to point to you and say “that one, that incredible one, is made in my image.”
Let the Lord bring you His goodness. Don’t go looking for a person or a challenge to validate you. Let Him love you well.

…I am subconsciously angry at myself, someone else, and/or God. 
It’s okay to be angry. Let it out. Tell the Lord what’s on your mind. He can handle it. Letting anger fester is toxic to you. It can creep into everything you do and poison it. Vent to God and forgive the situation, all parties involved, and yourself. Forgive yourself for not understanding it all yet. Someday you will know fully. Someday you’ll have all the answers, promise.

…I like to suffer through and control the drama, because it impedes me from dealing with a reality I’m unready to face.
This last one is a killer coping mechanism that can wreck a whole lifetime… co-dependence, choosing abusive relationships, choosing one-sided relationships, choosing toxic friendships, and inviting confusion into your life. Yikes. What would a whole day be like without drama? Without communication with that person? Please please confront the anxiety of the thought of not communicating, the anxiety of the thought of silence and stillness. I promise that the real “drama” is the quivering panicking thought of not having attention, or not having tension. Face it. Face that fear. Scream in its face about how awesome God says you are, about how you’re not alone. About how you need to be loved well. About how you know how to love well.  Scream in its face. Tell it to go to hell. Once that fear is gone, you have so much thought space, so much peace. It’s no longer about who is giving you attention. There’s a comfort in stillness. There’s a knowledge of God’s goodness from the depth of your heart, where once that fear was embedded.

Jesus, I pray you bring healing and peace. Teach your sweet ones what goodness is, all over again. Take away the anxiety, the anger, the confusion. Take away the desire to let their hearts wander, to seek attention or affirmation from people or projects. Then they will make good decisions, no longer bound up in rebellion. Then they will choose well for themselves, not the bumpy back roads but the highways you have for them. Show them how well-loved they are by a Savior who is not a puppeteer but who TRUSTS THEM and enables them to make good decisions without fear or lies. In your name I pray. Amen.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
{Psalm 51:10-12}