Healing•Marriage•Relationships • 6 minutes to read
You did all the things. You read the books, prayed the prayers, and did the counseling and the 5-day marriage intensive. Then, separated in an attempt to give space to let fires die down and find some grounds for reconciliation, joined a group and did the work wholeheartedly… and it still didn’t work.
Or maybe your marriage was working fine, or so you thought, but now you have these papers in your hands.
After navigating a separation and divorce this past year, these three things have been my lifelines.
Being Real with God
Being able to be real with God was one of the most healing things during this season of my life. I would park by the river and yell and cry and beat my fists, and yell and cry some more.
Why are you letting this happen? I’ve done all the things! Why did we waste seven years in crappy counseling that just told us to try harder but never gave us any tools? I can see where we both brought so much hurt and brokenness into this marriage, but aren’t you the God of victory and reconciliation? Or is that just what we sing on Sunday mornings? Why can’t we get past this? I know you’re bigger than this, I know the miracles you’ve done, I’ve seen you move in big ways in my life, why not here, why not now? Please! If you want our best, why don’t you let us see the areas we’re blinded to that have us bound? Why God, why?
As I blow my nose again, wipe my swollen eyes, and sit back exhausted, I feel seen and heard. I know He knows my heart, but now He’s heard it. In all my questioning and lack of faith, I’m here and pouring it out to Him. I can’t tell you exactly what happens and I didn’t really get answers to all my questions. But in these moments—being real and raw, feeling seen and heard AND still loved and accepted, under the umbrella of His care and provision, even if it’s not what I wanted it to look like—these moments meant the world to me.
Phrases or words or scripture came to my mind that were healing to my soul. This intimacy with God was my lifeline through the darkest hours.
Finding Safe People
If you’ve been around Pure Desire for any length of time, you know how we feel about community and groups: “hurt in relationship and healed in relationship.” I hear some of you saying, “But I’m an introvert…”—so am I. “I’ve gotten bad advice and people have hurt me…”—me too. “I’d rather just work through this between God and me…”—it doesn’t work that way. God uses people.
It can be scary to let someone in. Looking back, I now recognize it would’ve been a million times harder for me to have done this alone. I didn’t realize what it looked like to be truly loved by people (who aren’t family), with my messy life, imperfections, ugly crying, and all. Having someone willing to get in the trenches with me and being the hands and feet of Christ. When they loved me, I felt His love. When they supported me, I felt His provision. And it hasn’t stopped just because the divorce is final. I have a tribe I can depend on. But it took being vulnerable, putting myself out there, searching out others who were safe and passionate about following Jesus, and not throwing in the towel every time there was a hiccup in the friendship. Relationships don’t just happen, they’re forged.
Processing My Stuff
You might have just been blindsided by divorce papers, or maybe your spouse is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and take the appropriate steps toward healing and recovery—you feel your hands are tied. There are so many variables and moving pieces when it comes to relationships.
For us, it was like a crockpot of untruths—bitterness, resentment, perceived truths, red flags, projections, trauma, family of origin, and outright not knowing any better—had slowly cooked for so many years. When it finally came to a head, we imploded. We could have made it with good counseling, tools, and humility, but that takes two all-in participants; so finger pointing and the blame game took us down for the count. Coming out of that, I needed help.
Pure Desire groups aren’t JUST for people wanting to stop porn or who have had their world turned upside down by betrayal—they are so much more! I’m a woman who doesn’t struggle with porn, but I struggled with my identity, and I’m still working through major dad wounds, being controlling, a perfectionist, and a ton of junk from years of NOT KNOWING ANY BETTER.
Being in a group, going to counseling, and being in community…it’s not just for really messed up people. It’s for everyone.
Most days I don’t feel like going to group. I don’t want to get up early or leave my house in the evening. But not once have I regretted going to group and taking that purposeful step toward health and healing. Not for anyone else, not to prove a point, not to be more righteous and better than anyone else… but because I want to follow hard after Jesus, unhindered.
I don’t want to be running my race tripping over chains, blind, and still in bondage. This sounds like the first part of John 10:10 (NLT):
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
I’m not sure why the church as a whole seems to struggle with integrating mental health and faith. It doesn’t have to be either-or. We can live our lives biblically based and clinically informed (check out podcast episodes 287 Pure Desire Foundations: Biblically Based and 288 Pure Desire Foundations: Clinically Informed).
I mean, that’s the definition of holistic, right? “Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”
My faith didn’t heal my marriage. No amount of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading, on its own, was going to fix both of us and give us a healthy marriage. Too many people have crashed and burned trying harder, praying longer, and reading more of the Bible. Please understand me: praying and reading the Bible are a necessary and wonderful part of our lives, but using the FASTER Scale or processing our family of origin and trauma is not unChristian and it’s not a sign that our faith is weak.
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.John 10:10b (NLT)
Maybe it just looks different from what we’ve had in mind.
Divorce was the last thing I wanted. We were together for almost 20 years and have five kids—I was in it for the long haul. But I hit a breaking point.
Some of us don’t get the happily ever after story we prayed for so many years. But I trust that where God is leading me is where I want to be. I know who I am (Colossians 1:22-23); and that I am fully loved and cared for by my Creator and Father. I have peace and continue to fervently pursue freedom. I sing the songs about Him being victorious and an overcomer, and mean the words I’m singing again.
I have hope and confidence that my story will be used to encourage others.
And He’ll use your story too, if you let Him. You are not alone.
The views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and do not reflect an official position of Pure Desire Ministries, except where expressly stated.