Yesterday I had a unique experience. My paths crossed with three women who have survived the pain of betrayal and broken promises. Each woman has a different story, but their journey to wholeness has been an inspiration to me!!
The first woman I saw yesterday was my mother. Five years ago my heart broke each time I saw her. Her agony was evident in every area of her life. Her physical and emotional health was at risk. We all wondered if we would ever have her "back" the way she used to be. To see a woman who had given all for her family have to endure the destruction of her family because of her husband's choices added to my grief! How could she go on? Would this destroy her?
The second woman I saw yesterday was a friend I met in Divorce Care. The support group I sought out was designed for people going through divorce. Although it was my parents ,, and not me, experiencing the divorce, I found the Divorce Care support group at my church to be extremely helpful as I processed my struggle with what was happening!!
Listening to the helpful videos guided me through my healing, but listening to the stories of those who were processing their own betrayal and end of relationships added perspective. A particularly wise and mature woman became a dear friend as a result of our time together in Divorce Care. Listening to her story and her determination to grow and become better , not bitter, encouraged me to do the same.
The third woman I saw yesterday is a friend through employment who I ran into at a concert. When I first met her I learned that a long marriage was ending. Although she was pleasant and enjoyable to work with, she was sad. The changes and challenges in her life were unwelcome, yet she was having to face them. As time has passed I have seen her confidence grow. Her sadness has diminished. She is embracing the new life and opportunities she has.
When I realized this morning, what a unique thing that was, for me to see these three beautiful women in one day , I realized that they have some wonderful things in common.
Things that can help us ACODs and also that can help the women or men we ACODs are trying to help heal from their own divorces.
Each one of these women experienced the awful shock of realizing that they had been deceived and betrayed.
Each one of these women were enveloped by anger, depression, and other debilitating , but necessary stages of grief.
Each one had a faith in God that has been something they have leaned upon and valued more through their experience.
Each one sought help from family , friends and support groups. Their counselors and others in their support groups have been invaluable in providing guidance and insight and hope.
Each women has grown, healed, gained strength to move ahead!!
They have moved, taken new jobs, made new friends, and reached out to others in similar situations. They are real life examples of how God can help us heal and grow in the midst of the pain of our lives.
Each woman still feels the pain of what they have gone through. The memories, the continued effects, and the changes in relationships can't be ignored.
But each woman has gained strength to move ahead.
I have been privileged to walk with them in some capacity. Just their sharing their journey with me has been highly valued. Their pain has been my pain, I have cried with them and for them. As well, their healing, has been my healing. I have laughed with them and looked to the future with them. Their strength has given me strength.
My experience yesterday reminded me that those experiencing divorce , as a child of divorce , or the person divorcing, really need others to walk beside them.
If you are that child of divorce, seek counsel, support from others going through the same thing and take care of yourself.
If you are a child of divorce , helping your parent, encourage the same for them.
And if you are a woman ( or man ) who is experiencing your life being dramatically altered by a spouse who is leaving, seek help for yourself. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to get help!!!
A journey to wholeness doesn't just happen!! As my friend said yesterday, that she had to do the "hard work" involved in maturing and growing and healing, it is well worth the effort!!
The women I am blessed to know are proof to me, that despite life's harshest loads given to us to bear, with God's help and the help of others, we can have the strength and grace to move ahead!!!!