uptomytoes

Hope & Humor for Single & Divorced Parents

What Happens Afterwards?

on April 8, 2014

ImageIt’s been a weird week or so.  Do you know what I mean?

I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s been a little off.

I think I know part of the reason and it’s quite surprising to me.  Particularly because I thought I was kinda past all this stuff.

You know all healed up and such.

But lately, I’m spittin’ mad…angry…frustrated….even a little bit bitter.

And even more than all of those…I’m surprised.

I thought I was over all those awful emotions.

I thought I was past that place

…outta that pit.

But I think there is still some climbing, crawling and running that needs to happen.

Still some growing

learning

and trusting…

I’ve had friends tell me that I need to not use my husband’s adultery, abandonment, and our subsequent divorce as such a huge reference point in my life.

My answer has always been, “????????”

‘Cause it’s pretty much feels like one of the biggest things to happen in my life…and it’s the most recent biggest thing…and it impacted so much and so many and so deeply.

You know those big events like salvation, marriage, children…those things you build upon.

They are all the beginning of something wonderful.

Divorce, it’s just the end.

There isn’t much to build upon there…

in fact, what IS there, is nothing you’d want to build upon anyway, right?

Sadness, regret, anger, betrayal, crisis, etc.

Someone recently said to me, “Divorce can be the beginning of something better.”

I guess so.

But it isn’t because divorce is a great beginning; it’s what God can do afterwards.

But after what?

After divorce?  After a while?  After the stages of grief have all been cycled through…again?

Please don’t get me wrong I’m not asking that in a rotten way…I’m pondering.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  Psalm 119:15

I guess I should tell you a bit more about my situation…well, my thoughts on my situation.

Those feelings of anger, frustration and bitterness are toward my ex-husband…and he absolutely deserves it BUT it isn’t right and it isn’t good and it isn’t what I want to be feeling.

 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.  Proverbs 14:29

I forgave him for what he did to me, to our children and to our family.  And although I know forgiveness is a process (sometimes a long process), I thought I had finished the process.  I thought I was on the other side.

There have been many things to forgive since the original hurt, and those things have indeed been forgiven.

  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? 

As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21-22

But, honestly, I’ve been thinking all along that much of what I’ve struggled with in the past 5 plus years has been anger and frustration at those continued dumb things the man does.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Maybe I underestimated the whole forgiveness thing.  Maybe I didn’t understand completely how forgiveness needs to be a “completely” thing.

Forgiveness is definitely something I have offered and done.  I know I have…without a doubt.

I guess this is where the whole faith thing comes in.

The thing with forgiveness is…well, it doesn’t necessarily make all the hurt go away.  I forgave and I still hurt. ..a lot.

And maybe that hurt won’t ever completely go away…it’s pretty deep…but does that mean I haven’t really forgiven?

And if I have forgiven, can I still feel angry at the offending person?

Yes, yes I can.

But should I?

I don’t believe so.

The best thing I can do for ME is forgive and move forward.

The answer is to let go of the anger, frustration, and bitterness.

And I’m thinking I need to go read the chapter on anger and bitterness in my book, because maybe I can remind myself of how I got through this before…  I wish I was kidding.

I definitely don’t want to feel fussy forever.

I want to be able to move forward without anger and bitterness.  I want to not give that burden to my children.  I just want to give my burdens to the Lord – He can handle them.

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you, He will never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

Part of being in this funky place has been that I haven’t been able to hide from my children my thoughts and feelings about their dad.  I apologized to my oldest daughter the other night.

She said, “Yeah, it’s been weird.  But it’s ok Mom.”

Well, I guess I can take one positive think from that – I have done pretty well with it for over 5 years!

But I don’t want to be a mom who weighs down my children with my baggage.

So what am I going to do about it?

1st I’m going to pray.  (I’m noticing a theme in my life – pray first!!!)

Pray for God to give me His perspective on things.

What is His perspective on things?  Well, one thing that has helped in the past is to see my husband as a broken, sinful man in need of a Savior…just like I’m a sinful woman in need of my Savior.  To recognize where he is…and that like David in Psalm 51, his sin is against God.  God will handle it.  I don’t need to.

Pray for God to give me the strength to control my tongue..

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil

and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good;

let him seek peace and pursue it.  1 Peter 3:10-11

Oh golly, is this gonna be a big prayer request!  I’ve struggled so much lately with my comments and my facial expressions.  I can’t seem to keep my thoughts to myself…my angry thoughts that is.  And the sad part is that those angry thoughts don’t serve any purpose but to wound innocent people around me, particularly my children.

That’s the dumb part about anger and bitterness – it really doesn’t impact the offender very much, if at all.  It just hurts you…and me.  It just hurts the people we most want to protect from further hurt.  Our beautiful children.

So, friends, I’m gonna do something about this angry, bitter woman I see sometimes in the mirror.

She is not welcome anymore.

I don’t think I can just make a decision in this post and change myself instantaneously, but I can start the process…golly another process…maybe I should rephrase that…I can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to start the process in me.

I know that only God can make this better in me.  I know that only God can change the hurt, anger, and bitterness into something much better.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3

My part…my part is to pray, to seek Him, to read His love letter to me, to counsel with friends, and to fight for a better attitude.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.  Psalm 105:4

 

I lift my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come? 

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.  Psalm 121

 

 

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11 responses to “What Happens Afterwards?

  1. Angela Derusha says:

    Once again I am nearly startled that you are voicing my journey. I remember the first time I heard you on the radio and you were talking about your book, “When Happily Ever After Shatters….” and I was blown away by how alike our stories are, including the timing, etc. Recently, I have been battling the same demons as in this blog. I suffered a closed head injury, due to an unknown blunt force trauma about two months before my husband walked out the door permanently.

    For me, often I think that the reason I seem stalled in the grieving process or fear that I am stuck in the ‘bitterness’ is because I picture my brain like an old vinyl record with a scratch and I can’t get past that divot, my point is I so often just blame myself, take it on myself, because if my brain worked right I would be so much further along in this journey. I thank God for you all the time, because you show me where I am supposed to go for comfort and that I am not the broken bitter person the enemy wants me to think I am.

    Seriously, I too thought I was so much further on this journey only to recently be reeled back into the abyss of it, a simple vacation with my eleven year old, reawakening his love for something that he adored as a baby and not really feeling like I have ‘that person’ that I can turn to and delight in this moment with, or watching a movie at the theater and again having the two hours of it be invaded by a person and his personality that isn’t even there. These things set off the hurt, the anger, the pain. But I believe now that it is just part of the journey of grief, that I am not the person the enemy (and my ex) want me to think I am. I have grown, I have taught my children perseverance, I have taught my children faith – as an action word, not simply a nice thought. I would better state those things as God has taught my children these things through me.

    Again, I thank YOU for saying the things that I cannot state out loud as I fear people will accuse me of not letting go, of not moving on, of being bitter, and on and on I can go with all the things that float in my mind when I want to let go the situation by writing and sharing it. I have recently taken to hand writing a journal and letters that I burn after, which allows me to let this stuff out and I thank God that you write my feelings for me and I can like them and up lift them as though they are my own. hmmm, maybe I just said too much. I pray you find peace today my friend I have never met.

    • Sue Birdseye says:

      Angela,
      Thank you for sharing…thank you for your honesty. And you are so right that we don’t have to define ourselves by anything but Christ…we are not the people the enemy wants us to think we are…AMEN!!! We are chosen, precious, and loved! God has been showing that to me over and over again.
      I will be praying for you dear one! Please email me if you’d like to share ways I can pray.
      In Him,
      Sue

  2. Penny says:

    Just this morning I was thinking about how much sorrow my heart can hold. It has been five years for me also, and I could still cry every day. There is a level of pain that I can’t seem to find a way to heal, even after forgiveness. I have asked to be delivered from the sorrow that surrounds my heart, many times. It is still a struggle. This morning my Bible reading took me to Psalm 43. I don’t know if reading it well help you in any way. It could just be what I needed this morning. I continue to lift you up in prayer.

    • Sue Birdseye says:

      Penny,
      Thank you! I read Psalm 43 just now – I’m always drawn to vs. 3
      “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
      There is hope!
      Praising God who is our exceeding joy!
      In Him,
      Sue

  3. michdeaven says:

    I’m way too familiar with this situation. It is a case of CHRONIC OFFENSE. Just like a chronic disease has to be dealt with over and over and over, year after year. This particular offense has to be forgiven multiple times over a myriad of layers that have been destroyed.

    Every time I approach God, and sit in His lap over this, He tells me that this is what it is to carry the cross in my life. And that HE is the Joseph on the side of the road, stepping in to help me. Because I can’t do it alone…but I have to do it. I get to choose not to, but I remind myself every single day that I love my kids and Jesus more than I hate someone else.

    Blessings to you, friend. Someday…we will get to sit face to face and share our hearts in person.

    Michelle Deavenport

    • Sue Birdseye says:

      Michelle,
      What a beautiful reminder! I’ll take love over hate any day!
      And thank you for the picture of Jesus taking our cross from us just like Joseph stepping in for Jesus. We definitely can’t do this alone! He is so good!
      In Him,
      Sue

  4. Michelle says:

    I thank you. I think it is very difficult to live your life from a pivot point not all see. It’s like living separate lives. The life I lead, and the life people see; because they don’t all want to hear my story, and I dont’ want to tell it- again. But it does mark every thing I think, and almost everything I do. ….

    • Sue Birdseye says:

      Michelle,
      Thank you for sharing…I have that feeling too. Sometimes I just want to hide and not share because I don’t think people can possibly understand…but then I get sweet comments like yours and it helps so much to know others do!
      And God does too! So thankful for Him (and you!)
      In Him,
      Sue

  5. Yes, I totally struggle with this too: thinking I’m done with all that, and then something triggers it, and all those emotions come back… not a fun place to be.
    But thanks for the reminder that God will work in me–that’s such a relief! whew… Great post–thank you!

  6. Barbara says:

    Thank you for you honesty. I can totally relate. I have been reading this website called “The Hero’s Spouse” (http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/index.html) which talks about mid life crisis. It has helped me understand my ex-husband’s struggles and see the situation from a different perspective where I feel compassion rather than the negative feelings I don’t want to have.

  7. Barbara says:

    “The day comes when only God remains. Everything else in our lives eventually pass away; and when it does, God will still be there”. I try to keep this verse close in my mind and heart and it helps me keep this temporary life in perspective. Because one day we will be with Jesus and looking forward to that makes my ex-husband and everything he has done insignificant. Give Jesus your whole heart and make him the love of your life.

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