Life After Death of a Marriage by Stacey Wynn
Can something as divisive as divorce actually bring wholeness in a person’s faith? In my experience, the answer is yes.
God promises that His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). He says that faith comes from hearing (Rom 10:17), and that our walk is by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
We often hear that it is in life’s darkest moments that God reveals Himself most clearly. This has been true for me. As I navigated through the dark storm of a crumbling marriage, God became my lighthouse. He led me away from certain destruction in my time of greatest testing, and His redeeming power and unfailing love is now my testimony.
Patterns emerged early in my 16 year marriage that were unhealthy and became worse with time. Harsh tones became cruel words, and cruel words became emotional neglect. Early on, there were apologies but as time passed, I realized they were empty words without change. My emotional connection with my husband began eroding, and although I may have looked normal on the outside, I was disintegrating on the inside.
At the point I began seeking advice for my marital problems, there was plenty offered. I was told to pray more often for my husband’s heart, and I did. I was told to be more forgiving, and I was. I was told to find ways to submit more fully to him in our marriage, and I tried that too. And I was encouraged to patiently wait for signs of change and true repentance beyond the apologies. Was 16 years of patience enough?
As Christians, we are taught to live faithfully within the constraints and disappointments of this world. As women, we often take on additional pressure to be more empathetic, nurturing, and selfless. John 15:19 describes that we are in the world but not of the world, which brings the question:
How do we find our spiritual balance within a physical world where we don’t ‘belong’?
One day, I picked up Stormy O’Martian’s book THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE. I know it’s a great book that has helped many women and marriages, but I have to be honest -- I became nauseous as I read the first chapter. I felt God telling me that after so many years of praying on behalf of my husband, there was much more that needed to be prayed for regarding my own heart.
I threw that book into a corner (sorry, Stormy) and began seeking God in a very personal way. I listened to worship music, sermons, and podcasts. I dug into His Word and He met me where I was… faithfully directing my path, step-by-step toward the solid ground I was so desperately needing.
One day through a friend’s podcast, I was introduced to the book NECESSARY ENDINGS by Cloud and Townsend. I’ll never forget that podcast, because as I listened, it was as if a lightbulb came on in my spirit. Could God really be showing me the marriage I was in needed a necessary ending? I knew I had to boldly ask God to intervene. My prayer was based on Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any way of pain in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
God didn’t have to show me what my husband was doing wrong -- that was obvious to me. I was asking Him to show me what I, personally, needed to change. It was then that God began speaking into my situation and bringing His light to the darkness, just as His word promised. He started to narrow my focus from the things I could not control, to the only thing I could control: my relationship with Him.
When my relationship with Him became my priority, He opened my eyes to things I hadn’t been wiling to see or admit about myself.
• I had an idol. Marriage had become an idol in my life. The success of my marriage had become my priority and my focus above all else, regardless of whether it was healthy or not. Keeping my marriage intact was a form of idolatry.
• I was a deceiver. Because of my shame, and also concern for my reputation, I withheld the truth of my situation from others. I created and maintained a public facade. God showed me this was a form of deceit, and His Word says The Truth will set you free (John 8:32).
• I didn’t trust God. Fear of the future kept me shackled in the present. Taking my hands “off the wheel” meant having no control over what the future would bring, and I had allowed the enemy to use it as a weapon. God showed me that in my fear of the unknown and unwillingness to surrender control, I was not trusting Him with my future.
The Word of our Testimony
Matthew 7:13-14 is a reminder to us of God’s way for handling life’s difficulties. We can enter into situations through the wide gate that leads to destruction, or we can choose a “narrow gate” that is less traveled but leads to life.
I, as a Christian woman, asked God these questions and He answered.
Q: Does God hate divorce, as Malachi 2:16 suggests?
A: It’s not the divorce decree that is the object of His hate (See Proverbs 6:16-19).
Q: Does divorce separate me from the love of God?
A: No (See Romans 8:38-39).
Q: Are human relationships more important than my relationship with God?
A: They should not be (See Luke 14:26).
God’s word clearly states that we can live in peace only if it is possible (Romans 12:18). And we cannot forget that there are times when we will not be able to live in peace, and we must shake the dust off the soles of our feet as our testimony (Mark 6:11). In the entirety of scripture, God demonstrates that His love for us has nothing to do with marital status, gender, or ethnicity.
Statistics show that within the church, 25% of women have experienced abuse in some way. While nothing is beyond God’s resurrecting power, in my situation His leading me in “the everlasting way” meant a necessary ending to my marriage. And while my testimony is not that of every woman, I’ve found it to be one that is shared with many. If you do not see yourself in my story, you may know someone else who needs it.
Sometimes, the death of a marriage leads to life.
Stacey B. Wynn lives in Jacksonville, FL with her daughter, Maggie. After 20+ years in a corporate career, Stacey is now a leadership and career consultant and certified facilitator of Myers Briggs and TotalSDI assessments used in her private coaching program, Clarity Unleashed. She has founded a non-profit called Living Water Women’s Ministry which has an upcoming COMMON GROUND women’s conference in May 2019. Check out her blog and podcast, and learn more about Stacey at her website ClarityUnleashed.com.
“When we know who we are, and our God-given gifts and purpose, we are able to unleash that clarity for the benefit of the body of Christ.”
Women’s Conference: http://commongroundtickets.com