I never thought I’d be divorced.
This thought wasn’t born from arrogance, but from naivety. We often accuse children and teens of having a “that will never happen to me” attitude, but honestly as adults, we tend to have the same mindset at times. We often think our marriage is strong enough to overcome this. Our life is stable enough to prevent that. Our love is deep enough, our bond secure enough, our dream life lovely enough to withstand any storm.
Though I had friends I loved and even my own parents who were divorced, I still never thought I could be part of that club. I suppose back then I believed that if you tried your best to do the right things in the right way at the right time, then everything would turn out–well, right.
Coming to the realization that things don’t always turn out right, no matter how well laid your plans, how hard you work, or how much you hope, can be a very hard and heartbreaking lesson to learn.
I’d never been to church alone.
As I child, I’d gone with my parents. As a college student, I’d gone some with friends. Immediately after college, I married and went with my husband.
And as we’re often lulled to do, I imagined this would always be the case. This life I was living would end up exactly as I designed in my mind and dreamed about in my heart.
The air was cool, the sun shining in complete indifference to my overcast soul and broken heart that first morning I walked into church alone. Hundreds of smiling people filled the beautiful sanctuary as I slowly made my way down the aisle, willing back tears, and sliding into one of the pews as close to the back row as possible.
Turns out, this would be one of many things I’d do alone in the weeks and months ahead.
It was hard.
It was so very hard to go to church alone. It was hard to go to a church where I had no family and no friends initially. Just me.
It was hard to go home alone. Back to a house with empty closets and empty drawers. Back to a home of memories and used-to-be laughter. “Where did it go so wrong?” I’d cry into my pillow at night, but there was only silence to mock my pleading questions.
I’d experienced difficulties in life as we all do. But this was the first time as an adult that my world was shaken to its core, and my soul felt completely shattered. Yet it was there, in that brokenness and grief; it was there, crying beside my bed each night, that I began to realize something that would forever change my life and my faith. I began to realize how “un-alone” I truly was.
The faith I’d held since childhood suddenly became even more real to me for it was God alone who could put the pieces back to together.
And God did just that.
I don’t often go back there in my mind. I no longer cry about what was. It’s been so many years ago now, my heart has long since healed, and my life has been blessed beyond measure since. But as my fingers have typed these words, the tears have come. Not the tears of grief I shed night after night on the bathroom floor way back then, but tears of gratitude for a God who can bring absolute beauty from utter brokenness.
And I write this, not out of some need to share my heart with you, but from a profound need to share my God with you.
My soul bares scars of brokenness. But my soul also reflects the beauty of One who did not…would not…leave me there on the floor in a pool of tears. It bears the mark of One, who in His unfathomable love and grace, picked up the pen and began to write in me a new story. More beauty. More joy. And more love than I could have ever imagined.
And friend, He loves you just the same.
Tears will fall in this life. And there are some sorrows, some pain that will never fully leave us this side of Heaven. But I can promise you this…God can write a new story. He can bring beauty from ashes. God is the Redeemer. He is the Creator. And He is always doing something new.
So to you there on the bathroom floor tonight, lift up your head friend and take God’s outstretched hand, because “He who has begun a good work in you WILL be faithful until completion.”