By Betty Troyer
I am thankful for the healing and restoring work of Jesus in my life. Going through the trauma of separation and divorce is indescribable! There was a time I could not have shared an encouraging word with others regarding my experience. I was torn inwardly to bits and pieces. I wondered why me? Why our marriage? Why our family? I wondered why God didn’t come quickly to change everything. Many times I felt like Job when his family was ripped apart in death. Life seemed so hopeless, so meaningless. What did life have to offer now? What was left for me to do?
Because of the mercy and grace of God, I truly rejoice to tell you that God is greater than any problem. I marvel how God has had so much patience with me in my healing process. I promised the Lord that if He would keep me from going into deep depression, and would keep my mind sane, that I would be faithful to Him in helping others who may be in need. I prayed, “If I have to go through this, then work through it to make me a blessing.” Realizing that God had previously spared my life when I was at death’s door, I knew God must have a purpose for my life.
My most severe trial came when I realized that there was someone who was coveting my treasured one — my husband. She was bold and out to get him.
She did not seem to care who she was hurting or what family she may be tearing apart. I soon realized the rejection of my husband was real.
Rejection and Divorce
Rejection is a cruel and degrading experience. Self-worth goes down the drain. You are torn to bits and pieces and you wonder if any of the pieces will fit again. I wondered who cares, who understands? I’m a failure, and why do I exist?
Let me tell you, though, very honestly: rejection is one thing, but divorce is another. It is everything of rejection and still more. It is a cruel death to marriage. No funeral service is held. No friends gather to express their heartfelt sympathy. Really, how could anybody know what to say to me? I was at my wit’s end; I wanted or wished to be put eight feet deep and out of this hurt. I blamed myself; how could I have worked on the situation differently?
Divorce is one of the most humiliating things that can happen, as your life seems to be a complete failure and you believe that everyone else sees you this way, too. It seems that all eyes are looking at you condemning .
I felt like a misfit in any group or public occasion I was hurt so severely by many sermons. In fact, it was easier for me to go to a funeral than to a wedding.
Often I didn’t want to go to church, but the realization that I must keep on and not give up, kept me going. These are some of those things one must give over completely to the Lord.
Rejection and then divorce are such negative experiences and can become very depressive. A heavy spirit must be dealt with. We must allow God to take charge and completely take over in our lives or else we may be completely devastated.
God Is Bigger
Even though I felt unloved and unwanted, God seemed to call my name. He longed for me to turn my eyes on Him. As I meditated on His Word and prayed for Him to move the mountain of pain as well as the obstacles in our marriage, He revealed Himself so clearly that I no longer saw the mountain, but I saw Jesus. He took my hand in His and He began to lead me. He wanted me to lean on Him. God brought me to my knees as I cried for mercy, His forgiveness, and His presence. My emotions had to be brought under control and given over to Jesus. I needed the reality of His presence and nearness for the long lonely hours and nights that followed. When I was willing to see God as bigger, greater, and stronger than my burdens and problems, I was able to see a ray of hope as I turned my eyes upon Him, as the song goes: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Just lately one of my friends who is feeling rejection from her husband, said, “Oh, I’ve prayed to God, but where is He? I don’t feel Him, I don’t hear Him, and where is He now when I’m needing Him most?” This is a typical feeling at a time when the enemy attacks us, but God is right beside us and we need to recognize His hand, His nearness. God brought many things to my mind during the long lonely hours of the nights and days. The following are some of them.
Isaiah 53:3-4 says that Jesus was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and familiar with grief. He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. Jesus had a real healing ministry when He lived among men. He wept. He prayed and showed His love to children, to the sick, to the widows, to the Marys and Marthas. Now, He’s right here to touch and heal our hurts also — physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We know He is touched by our hurts and rejection, because He too experienced this from His very own. He too suffered when He was tempted (Heb. 2:17-18). Through all this He is able to help those who are tempted.
He will not give us more than we can bear and He will provide a way out so we can stand up under it (I Cor. 10:13). I needed these verses. I needed to know someone really understands and cares when I was feeling unloved, unwanted, and rejected by the one I had entrusted my life to — the one closest to me.
My dear companion turned his back to me and rejected my love and all commitments ever made, and chose to leave me all alone.
But, just as I assured my friend who wasn’t feeling Jesus’ nearness, God is always beside us with outstretched arms ready to enfold us and love us and heal our hurts. Our feelings are so unstable. We need to continually focus on Jesus. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. He dwells within us by His spirit. His promises fail not!
Jesus will remove many a mountain for us when we focus on Him and realize He is greater than any of our hurts or problems. He is greater. He is with me.
We need to assure ourselves of this constantly. No human, regardless how dear he or she may be to us, should ever mar or destroy our relationship with Jesus Christ. Nor should we feel our life cannot go on without them, or without their love and support.
We can soon feel sorry for our circumstances and for ourselves, and see others who have it so much easier or so much better. The devil loves self-pity.
He can produce sin in us such as bitterness, resentment, also anger against those who have hurt us. We dare not allow this to take place.
My children were also going through many struggles and hurts. This was almost unbearable for me. I was so blessed as a child by a strong Christian family with much love and acceptance. Never had I thought of my children facing such a trauma as this. I prayed many, many times for God Himself to be a father and mother to them when I could not be with them. God could meet their needs so much better than I. It was very comforting to me to know my heavenly Father was watching over them. God has proven Himself so faithful and true to me. He has now given me the joy and closeness of my children and grandchildren.
There are some choices we must make. We can choose to go on carrying our heavy hurt, refuse to smile through it, refuse to let God do a new work in us.
Or we can make choices to move forward. I knew I had the freedom to choose to go forth with a smile, or live in defeat We need to choose to guard our subconscious minds at all times. We need to choose to practice the presence of Jesus with us constantly. Even though I could not understand why God allowed this to happen to me, to our marriage, to our children. I knew God had not left me, nor turned His back on me.
Forgiveness is another choice we need to make: forgiving ourselves as well as forgiving those who hurt us. I blamed myself on many shortcomings as having caused my marriage to fail. I am grateful to one particular friend who prayed me through on this one! Jesus did do the forgiving for me. A deep settled peace and acceptance followed when I experienced the freedom of forgiveness.
The Lord led many Christian sisters and brothers into my life to encourage me during this time. I needed to choose to listen to them and receive their counsel. I didn’t want people to pity me but to pray for me! The self-pity comes so easily anyway.
Positive Steps to Take
I’d like to share some additional ways I coped as an encouragement for those who are struggling with life’s hurts:
- Be very open with God — tell Him your feelings, your needs. David in the Psalms is a good example for us.
- Read your Bible and mark promises or anything that strikes you. Find verses of God’s nearness, His power, and guidance.
- Write down your prayers on paper. It may be easier to concentrate on paper, especially when it seems impossible to concentrate to pray.
- Be willing to have others pray for you and with you.
- Collect quotes, poems, and songs which are an encouragement to you.
- Be open to God to give you a new outlook in life. Be open to His leading. Entrust yourself to new opportunities He may have for you.
- Praise the Lord through it all!
A Ministry and Purpose Restored
My husband and I had served as missionaries in Germany, a calling I felt strongly and deeply about. This was also part of the difficulty of my divorce as I had a longing to return to the mission field and I wondered how I could now serve the Lord. Doors soon opened for my own mission field here. I started working in the local Christian bookstore, and was then promoted to store manager. I worked there for almost 20 years until retirement. It was through this ministry that I again found the purpose God had for me. I know God has used me and I long to continue to be faithful to Him.