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Divorced Not Destroyed: Learning to Live and Love Beyond Marriage
Although divorce can be destructive, you are not destroyed. God hasn’t left you. He is present with you in the hard times of your life.
Welcome to the 77th issue of The Aim and Soar Life, a weekly newsletter about faith, personal growth, and lifestyle that provides actionable, relatable, and biblically rooted content to help you live abundantly and GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
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Blessings on YOU. HAPPY SEPTEMBER! The theme for the month is All Things New. (I will be back to our usual Sunday night schedule this Sunday, September 10th)😍
I recently had a therapy client who felt broken and confused after a divorce. I know from first-hand experience that divorce can be one of the most destructive and violent acts to occur in a family because it not only affects the couple who is dissolving their marriage, but also their children (if they have any) their families, and their friends. Most often, there are no “winners” at the end of a marriage. Everyone suffers.
Divorce is a rough reality to navigate. Not only do you have to deal with your own internal emotional struggles, anger, and disappointment, but you also must deal with the emotions of your ex-life partner, children, extended family, and friends.
Sometimes family and friends go into tip-toe mode, not quite knowing how to handle when two people they love call it quits. Often, they are careful not to choose sides in order to avoid permanently damaging friendships or relationships that have been over the years. Then other times, family members and friends do choose sides, which can make life after divorcing a seemingly never-ending headache.
If divorce is a part of your present season of life, this post is for you.
Although divorce can be destructive, you are not destroyed. God hasn’t left you. He is present with you in the hard times of your life. He’s still with you in the seasons you wish you didn’t have to walk through.
The truth is, you may be alone in terms of not being with your life partner anymore, but you are never without God.
As the children of Israel dealt with facing their enemies when they crossed over the Jordan River, God reminded them in Deuteronomy 31:6, that He Himself was with them.
Divorce is an enemy that sometimes robs you of your mental health, peace, and self-worth. God is with you as you face that enemy.
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJV
Lord, Where Are You?
First, know that God has not forgotten you.
It can feel quite lonely being newly single again. I remember one of the hardest things for me all those years ago was the holidays.
My son’s father would always pick him up to spend the day with him on Christmas. That was our agreement. My son spent Christmas Eve with me, then spent Christmas Day with his dad and his dad’s family.
I cried all day. Yup. For several years straight, I cried. I was broken. Everything I had ever dreamed of since I was a little girl had been hammered to death by the dissolution of my marriage, and every Christmas was a reminder that my life would never be the same again.
But even through all those years of tears and sadness, God didn’t forget me. He sent people to check in on me, invite me to dinner, and show love to me as I pushed forward into my new life.
I learned over the years to embrace the peace of solitude, practice self-care, get rejuvenated, and take much-needed parenting breaks on Christmas instead of spending my day moping around.
Your Heart Will Heal
Divorce is painful, I know, but your heart will heal. No matter what the reason was for your divorce, you will heal.
In the moments when it seems like the pain won’t go away, know that it won’t last. And in the meantime, know it’s also okay to cry, to be angry, to be disappointed, and feel all those emotions that well up inside you. Go ahead and cry.
God is listening.
Whatever part you played in the divorce, whether you identify as the victim or the initiator, tell God.
If you offended your partner in some way throughout your marriage and divorce, ask for his/her forgiveness and ask God for His forgiveness.
Receive God’s love.
Yes, God hates divorce. But he LOVES YOU.😍 (That’s cause for a hallelujah right there.)
Take this time to be alone with God. Sit in His presence. Renew your relationship with Him by inviting Him into your quiet time.
Pray to Him and listen for His voice in your spirit.
Sometimes my prayer was just a desperate cry out, “Daddy!”
That may be yours too. It’s okay. He can hear the words you don’t speak aloud but are screaming in your heart.
Ask Him for healing and wholeness. It may take a while, but it will come. You will get stronger emotionally and will start to feel whole again.
Remember to love on someone else who may be on the same journey as you. Healing comes to us when we comfort one another just like God comforts us.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any [a]trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians: 3-4, NKJV
Love On You
This is a perfect time to rediscover yourself and find your purpose in this season. God doesn’t waste our experiences, not even our tragedies.
Use this time as an opportunity to serve others. Filling your life with meaningful activities is a good way to develop new skills and expand your support network.
I’m not talking about engaging in things to the point of burnout, I’m talking about stretching yourself to do fulfilling work for the Lord.
We serve because God asks us to serve.
Serving is part of loving on you because it strengthens your personal and spiritual development.
If you’ve been following my posts for some time, you have heard me write about Ms. Pauline, a senior citizen I was matched with through one of my church’s ministries soon after I divorced.
I served as a companion to her, and it was a fulfilling experience that blessed both of us immensely.
Find someplace to serve.
Try your hand at a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Write a book. Travel. Live.
Life hasn’t stopped because of your divorce; you are navigating a new season.
I’ve written four books, numerous articles, and workshops in the 24 years since I’ve been divorced. Writing is a way that I practice self-love.
Practice self-love by figuring out what brings you enjoyment and then do it.
Therapy is another way to love on you. If you are struggling with what I call the “Not Good Enough” Syndrome, get some professional help. Many times after a divorce, we fall into the cycle of self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness. We question our value based on what has happened to us instead of who we are in Christ.
There is nothing wrong with seeking licensed and trained individuals to provide support to you at this time.
Due to their clinical insight and expertise, therapists and counselors can help you figure out some of the hard stuff and support you in a way that friends and relatives cannot.
There is nothing unbiblical about going to therapy. The Bible teaches about seeking wise counsel. There are plenty of Christian counselors and therapists who can work with you.
God has given some of us the talent to help others through counseling and exhortation. Don’t be afraid to get the support you may need.
You may be tempted to jump back out into the dating pool or get a “friend” of the opposite sex to ease the pain you are feeling—especially if you identify as the “injured” party in your divorce.
But I want to warn you not to do it. Don’t do it. Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It,” my slogan is “Just Don’t Do It.”
Just. Don’t. Do. It.
It may seem harmless and therapeutic to talk with someone new and feel “desired” or “loved” or even feel good about attracting someone of the opposite sex. But you aren’t ready.
Don’t roll your eyes or sigh. You aren’t ready.
If you are still hurting and angry, and still feel broken, it’s not time for you to invite someone into your life.
Most often, getting involved with someone else within two years of a divorce is just a phase that you don’t think through, and many times you just refuse to think through.
The excitement may be there. The desire may be there. However, the foundation of a new relationship will be weak because your reason for getting into a new relationship is faulty.
Even if you are unaware, you are more than likely entering a new relationship because you are trying to ease your pain and not because you have come to a point in your life where you are ready for companionship and all that comes along with it. And certainly not because God has given you the green light.
The worst mistake you can make is to jump into a new relationship when you haven’t fully processed your marriage and divorce. You are essentially bringing another person into your chaos, which is unfair, even if the other person is willing. Their willingness may even be a clue that they have some emotional work to do themselves!
I double-warn you to avoid any type of sexual relationship. As Christians, we often shy away from talking about the hard stuff, like remaining celibate after a divorce.
Well, I’m here to talk about the hard stuff.
It’s more than difficult to go from the physical intimacy shared in a marriage to no intimacy at all. I get it.
Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt and the hat.
However, God tells us not to fornicate (have pre-marital/non-marital sex) for a reason. It’s flat-out destructive. Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 6:18.
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [a]and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20, NKJV
You may think you are the main character in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, or How “Steve” Got His Groove Back, but I promise you, you are inviting chaos into your life.
Entangling yourself physically without God’s blessing will only lead to emotional damage. Going around saying, “I’m grown,” or “God knows my heart,” will not exempt you from the consequences of your actions.
Do life God’s way (it’s tough but can be done) and reap the benefits of His peace.
Being in an unauthorized (unauthorized by God, not you!) sexual relationship will break your fellowship with God.
It’s not worth it.
I realize this is a challenging conversation. Over the last almost 24 years as a divorcee, I have experienced both failure and success in this area, so I write to you with honesty and self-awareness, so that you can avoid the pitfalls!😊
My mom always told me, “The road of life is going to be rocky; I’m trying to give you information to make it a little easier for you.”
I will leave you with that.
Peace and Love
Until Next Time,
GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
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