I often find myself in a weird place. It’s a place where there is a push and pull between what has happened, what could have been, and what is happening. And I often find myself feeling guilty or ashamed when I experience this juxtaposition of happiness and sadness.
I Am Divorced
I am divorced. My ex-husband and I have three sons together. When I got married in 2011 at the age of 24, all I saw in front of me was a happy, hopeful, exciting life that he and I were beginning together. We had a lot of good, fun times together; and, of course like any relationship, but especially marriage, there were some really tough, tense times. Those hard times didn’t seem impossible, though. Like I said, we were full of hope and striving for a better life. We were both working hard in our own ways and together to build a life for our family.
Along the way, there was a breakdown. I can’t tell you exactly when it happened because I can’t pinpoint an exact day or time. All I know is that it happened. And one day I found myself waking up just going through the motions of life and searching for the hope I once had. Remembering my vows and everything I had ever been taught about marriage, I told myself it would work out if we both put everything we could into making it work. I didn’t always handle things perfectly, but I wanted to try. It took a while for me to realize there wasn’t much “we” in the trying. However, when I did eventually realize it, I saw that we were past the point of no return, and it was over.
I Am Remarried
I am remarried. My husband is wonderful. He cherishes me, pursues me, takes care of me, and works hard for us and our family. But sometimes, I still find myself in a sad place, and I am usually very taken aback by it. Because I think to myself, “Look at what you have! This is what you always wanted! Your husband is so good to you and the kids!”
But you know, the sadness is very real because I never planned or wanted to be divorced. I never wanted an attorney to help me decide how to split up the life we had built together. I never wanted to decide which holidays on which years the boys would be with me or their dad. I never wanted to take all the family pictures off the walls because looking at them was a reminder of what failed. I never wanted to have “mommy’s house things” and “daddy’s house things.” I never wanted to meet my sons’ dad at a gas station between his house and mine to hand them off for the weekend.
I Am Experiencing Both
But there I was, experiencing all those things; and here I am, still experiencing those things. And I am experiencing those things alongside the happiness and thankfulness I have for my current life. Feeling sadness doesn’t mean I wish I was still married to my ex-husband. The sadness comes from a place of demolished expectations and failed commitments. The sadness comes from a mother’s heart that never wanted her children to feel deep pain and confusion. The sadness comes from a place of shattered self-worth and confidence.
Experiencing those thoughts and feelings about my divorce does not mean I am any less in love or thankful for my husband. I love him with my whole heart, and I truly believe God gave him to me as a gift to help restore very broken parts of myself. The time I have spent with him has made me feel hopeful and happy again. He is a fun, playful, strong bonus dad to my sons. They respect him and look to him for advice and help. He brought three daughters into my life that have added color and joy to our home. He leads our family in truth and humility. We have had our share of tough, tense times, but he almost always is the first to say “I’m sorry” and keeps his word. I am grateful for and humbled by God’s goodness to me through my husband.
I May Never Be Okay, But I Will Be Thankful and Happy
But, divorce is unsettling and disruptive. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes years for me to feel any kind of comfortability with the collateral damage that is left in a divorce’s wake. I may never feel okay with some of it. I don’t think I will be ever be okay waking up without my boys on Christmas morning on odd-numbered years. But I will be thankful and happy to wake up with my husband and daughters on those years. I may always feel the sting of disappointment when I see a memory pop up on Facebook or find an old family picture and think back to life “before,” but I love seeing the pictures of my big blended family now and dreaming of our plans for the future.
So, I will learn to manage the good with the bad, the sadness with the hope. I will sit in the discomfort while experiencing happiness and goodness. And I will cling to the promises of God that he restores and makes all things new.
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