November 23, 2013, I walked into the building that housed my then-husband. I had spent the three days prior discovering secrets he had kept from me and the danger that lurked in my own backyard just a few yards from my toddler’s bedroom window. I was sad, hurt, angry, frustrated, but determined to do what I had come to do. I sat down and waited for his face to appear on the small screen and for him to pick up the phone so I could tell him it was over. I listened as he cried and apologized repeatedly and made excuses for his behavior and disregard of our marriage and our child. Then I took a deep breath and said words that I never imagined in a million years would ever pass through my lips, “I’m filing for divorce.” There are no words that could convey to you how devastated I was. I felt betrayed, abandoned, ashamed.
If I am honest with myself, I knew my marriage was failing long before this point came. I felt helpless as I watched my marriage crumble into pieces, praying for a miracle because there was nothing left in me to give. There was a time of separation about six months prior to the divorce. There was reconciliation and restoration. The same stresses came back. The same differences. The same difficulties returned. Old habits are easy to return to and those old habits were ultimately our demise. And this time there would be reconciliation, forgiveness, but not restoration.
I’ve always been an easy crier. Small things would make me tear up. Watching military homecoming videos gets me every time! But for three long months I didn’t cry a single tear. There were moments that I wanted to cry so badly – like Christmas morning watching my sweet, innocent, oblivious two-year-old have probably the best Christmas of her life (and mine). I was deeply touched by the love that was shown to us that day. But I knew once the tears started coming they wouldn’t stop. I was broken. Damaged. Unlovable.
Three short months later, on February 20, 2014, my divorce was finalized. I started seeing a counselor. I had so many emotional wounds that I had put band aids over that I needed help sorting through them all and really processing everything. I felt every emotion for myself and then felt them all more intensely on behalf of my daughter because she didn’t know to feel them. Gretta helped me peel back the band aids and dig deep to get all the emotional infection out of my soul in order to truly heal. She helped me to see myself again the way that God sees me. And in that time I re-found a verse that has so much meaning for me. 1 Corinthians 5:17 has always been a favorite verse of mine. Paul writes, “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” For me, going through my divorce and then walking through therapy, I became a new person all over again. I re-learned how to love myself. I was in counseling for about a year and a half. Healing isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s a battle because Satan is a tricky little dude and he sneaks into any crevice or tiny crack he can find. He doesn’t want the world to have new creations. He wants us to live in darkness, fear, anger, doubt, negativity, etc. The list is endless. I know because I’ve been there, deep inside the pit. But God brought me out of that pit one healing step at a time.