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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 15 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Topic: Struggling to Believe

Welcome Survivor!

Struggling to believe there really is life after the death of a marriage is the topic of this newsletter. Initially, when a husband leaves, most of us struggle to believe that anything good will ever happen again. That's because grief has a way of blinding us to the possibility of new life sprouting through our parched hopes, shattered dreams, or tarnished memories. Some of us are discovering that years later the memory of a loss can unexpectedly pierce our hearts and we feel afresh the pain--especially during the holidays. Whether you are new to the Sisterhood or a seasoned survivor, may this newsletter encourage you during the days ahead to dig your roots deep into God. To savor moments. To live in hope as you dare to believe in what remains unseen. To smile just for the sake of it.

Perhaps this submission by Patricia in Colorado will elicit a much-needed-well-deserved chuckle.


Take all American women who are within five years of menopause; train us for a few weeks; outfit us with automatic weapons, grenades, gas masks, moisturizer with SPF15, Prozac, hormones, chocolate, and canned tuna; drop us (parachuted, preferably) across the landscape of Afghanistan; and let us do what comes naturally.

Think about it. Our anger quotient alone, even when we're doing standard stuff like grocery shopping and paying bills, is formidable enough to make even armed men in turbans tremble.

We've had our children. We would gladly suffer or die to protect them and their future. We'd like to get away from our husbands, if they haven't left already. And for those of us who are single, the prospect of finding a good man with whom to share life is about as likely as being struck by lightning. We have nothing to lose.

We've survived the water diet, the protein diet, the carbohydrate diet, and the grapefruit diet in gyms and saunas across America and never lost a pound. We can easily survive months in the hostile terrain of Afghanistan with no food at all. We've spent years tracking down our husbands or lovers in bars, hardware stores, or sporting events. Finding bin Laden in some cave will be no problem.

Uniting all the warring tribes of Afghanistan in a new government? Oh, please. We've planned the seating arrangements for in-laws and extended families at Thanksgiving dinners for years. We understand tribal warfare. Among us, we've divorced enough husbands to know every trick there is for how they hide, launder, or cover up bank accounts and money sources. We know how to find that money, and we know how to seize it . . . with or without the government's help.

Let us go and fight. The Taliban hates women. Imagine their terror as we crawl like ants with hot flashes into their male-dominated territory and over their terrain. ---Source: The Internet

Here's what's new

Dr. Bert Moore, Jr., Director of PastorCare, a national clergy support network, recently said this about Kari's recently released book, Dare to Trust, Dare to Hope Again: Living With Losses of the Heart:

"My wife Anne and I see this as an 84-day meditational manual for countering

the negative images of mistrust and hopelessness about life

that are burned in our minds since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

If someone you know needs encouragement this holiday season, this book of hope for such a time as this can still be shipped in time for Christmas. Autographed copies available for $13 each postage paid by writing P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588. (This 256-page hardcover book retails for $12.99.)

Now let's meet Sharon, a woman just like you. This 15th issue of the newsletter features her story.

Personal Reflection ... by Sharon in Texas

My life was a fairy tale. In 1978, a girl friend introduced me to a young man. We had much in common and eventually married. Having just left the military, his first job was sweeping floors at a local manufacturing company; but even with a broom in his hand, I loved him. In a fluctuating economy, he moved from carpentry work to an electrician, finally settling into a police officer's position. We lived on a beautiful small ranch outside of Houston with our two wonderful daughters, horses and cattle. Little did I know it would all change one Sunday afternoon.

That Sunday was like any other: a morning of worship and an afternoon of projects around the house. When I walked into the bedroom to ask for my husband's help, I noticed he was on his cell phone in deep conversation. Patiently, I stood behind him and quietly waited. "See you tonight, Honey," I heard him say into the receiver. "And I love you, too." My heart ripped out of my chest. Six months earlier I had listened to his lies and confession of an affair with this woman and now he was at it again. So I threw him out! Two weeks later, he filed for divorce. As I read the Petition for Divorce over and over again, I couldn't believe that this man had changed so much. And now this "selfish uncaring monster" was requesting custody of the girls and wanted me to pay him child support! He also wanted the ranch sold so he could lavish our lifestyle on this new woman and her four little kids. "Why should we suffer for what he did?" my oldest daughter said. "What did we do that God is punishing us," asked my youngest girl.

I had no answers, except that our lives were changing and I wasn't sure what the future held. I also felt betrayed by   God. I prayed to Him every night. "Why? Why? Why?" My only question was "Why?" After reading Kari's book, "When He Leaves," I came to understand that God didn't do this to us; it is the devil who is against families and the love they share. That helped me understand the forces behind the destruction of our family; yet I wondered, Could my trust in the opposite sex ever be repaired? I had to leave that in God's hands.

During the seven months of separation, before our 20 year marriage officially ended in divorce, I felt like a zombie. I was deeply depressed because I had trusted this man completely. Now I saw a side to him that I didn't know existed. On the way home from the courthouse, I cried like a baby, even though I was able to negotiate keeping the ranch. When I got home, I walked down to the catfish pond, stood on the dock, and took my wedding ring out of my pocket and flung it into the water. (To this day, friends still call wanting to fish in that pond so they can catch that fish that swallowed that ring.) Every scrap of personal property my exhusband left behind, I either took to the dump or donated to my daughter's drill team's garage sale. I wanted no memories of that man! (Too bad it isn't as easy to dump some of the memories.)

For a while, the ranch was a nightmare. It seemed like every single and/or divorced man in the area called and confessed his love to me. I even had two of my exhusband's friends call, men I've known for years. I wanted to scream! Having trusted once before, I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I had resigned myself to a life of solitude. Over the months, however, my depression increased. I couldn't eat. I had trouble sleeping, averaging about four hours a night. At 2 a.m., I would wake up and start thinking about my ex and would lay crying until it was time to go to work. I looked horrible! One night, determined to get a full night's sleep, I took a couple over-the-counter sleeping pills and went to bed. But as usual, I woke up around 2 a.m.; but this time it was a voice that shook me awake--"True love is very close." I felt that God had spoken to me! For the first time in a long time, I felt hope. Hope for a new life.

In the meantime, I was busy with the ranch. Not only did I keep the flowerbeds and house clean, but now chores that were once my former husband's were mine. Every Saturday the routine was the same: weed-eat, then mow. It took hours. The girls helped with the housework, while grocery shopping had to wait until Sunday afternoon. In my exhaustion, I even put the ranch up for sale, but eventually came to my senses and pulled it off the market. I was very confused.

One beautiful Saturday morning, my neighbor and horseback-riding friend of 11 years, popped over to help me with the work. Walter was a blessing. Over time, he began helping with odd projects around the house. Our friendship grew stronger, and so did something I hadn't recognized in a long time: love. But could I trust him? I wondered. I found myself thinking about Walter constantly and how much I depended upon him and looked forward to being with him. He'd been hurt by an exwife many years earlier and had resigned himself to the fact that he would probably die alone. I realized that he had trusted and lost, too; and now he was trusting in me not to hurt him. So how could I not trust him when his convictions were so strong for me? I began to feel a love in Walter that I never had seen in my ex. Walter talked to me, laughed with me, and enjoyed just being with me. My ex, on the other hand, would walk away from me when I'd talk. In fact, I don't remember the last time I saw my ex laugh or when he had done anything with the girls. I began to realize that my ex had left our family a long time ago, and I had just been too blind to notice. My ex hadn't conquered me completely by destroying my inner-self; if anything, his leaving made me stronger.

Well, God, who had promised me "true love," delivered! He kept His word. I learned that I could love and trust again. Walter is proof of it! On November 18, 2000, Walter became a part of our family. He is the husband I always wanted and the father that my daughters need. At night, the four of us are together as family, talking and laughing or playing games. Walter tells me constantly that he thanks God every day for my exhusband's stupidity. I know that the love and trust we share is God's handiwork. Not only is God healing my broken heart, but He's teaching me to trust again. Now when I go to bed at night, I no longer ask Him, "Why?" Instead, I give thanks. I say, "Thank you, Lord, for changing my life!"

[Sharon suggests the following Internet sites to learn more about the high rate of divorce among police officers:   http://www.geocities.com/~halbrown/police_afairs.html and http://www.firstcop.com/]

Help for today ... by Kari

 (Excerpted from "Dare to Trust..." - Section 6: Unavoidable Moments for Sorting the Past and Savoring the Present, Chapter 42: God, thanks for what was and what is yet to be, p. 119)

"Be cautious and alert for snags [standing dead trees] ... They may fall without warning," read the brochure that I had picked up at the park entrance during a vacation.

As Richard and I drove the highway that snakes past lakes and sweeping vistas of the Grand Tetons and high plateaus crossing the Continental Divide, I saw snags wherever we went--along roadways and trails, in campsites and picnic areas. When we brushed passed them during a walk in the woods, they grabbed our socks and pulled our sweaters. I thought back to televised images of the firestorm that roared through the park in 1988. In its wake, thousands of snags now stand as reminders of that fiery conflagration, of a changed landscape, and its lost wildlife.

In our lives, we also encounter reminders of the loss that changed us forever. Snags are everywhere--on the radio, in stores and restaurants, during holidays and family gatherings. Unannounced, they fall into our life and find our weak spot. A particular date on the calendar catches you unaware. Like a thorn, it pricks your heart. A song yanks your thoughts back to the past. A distinctive aroma replays a bittersweet event. An invitation to a celebration arrives, and your mind latches on to a memory ... a time and place ... and that person who is gone.

The biggest challenge with snags is not that they can unravel us, but that they will entangle us. They bore into that part of us that wants to extend the arch of mourning, indulge it, and will it to remain. Snags grip onto those doubts welling up on the crest of sleep. They claw at our fragile emotions and won't let us surface from the pain. Once they hook us, they take from us our will to live in the present and our hope to believe in a future. In the course of the journey, some of us get lost in the past. Our tears blind us to the possibility of young hopes sprouting through the ashes.

Looking back to that summer day when I stood beside those leafless, lifeless snags and saw only bare bark, charred chunks, and scorched skeletons, I realize God saw substance where I couldn't. Not only does God see seedlings sprouting in the ashes of a blackened forest floor, but He sees our new beginnings, too. His tri-focal vision sees where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed. He has not forgotten that once-lush forest of lodgepole pines--nor the person you and I were before our loss. He feels the whipping flames ane rippling heat of the firestorm--and the suffering we undergo. When all we see are snags, God sees the women we were created to be and the growth still to come.

In fact, your presence here this moment is proof that God is still working in your life. Is there a better reason to give thanks.

This holiday season, if you wonder whether you will ever be able to pull loose from the snags that remind you of what you've lost, know that you are not alone . As you live out the days ahead, remember that God is nudging you to burrow your faith deep into Him. To hold on to the stability of His everlasting love. To believe there really is a life after the death of your marriage. To trust that He is already on the job working on what concerns you.

A promise you can trust

Nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death ... life ... angels ... demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries for tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. ---Romans 8:38

In the meantime

Don't hesitate to write. I am here for you, however I can encourage or help. Please feel free to share what helped you through your divorce so others know they are not alone and that they too can and will survive. E-mail by Clicking Here or write Kari West, Garden Glories Publications, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588. 

Copyright 1998 - 2002 by Kari West