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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 2 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Topic: Battling Mental Despair

Welcome Survivor!

Welcome to a sacred sisterhood of survivors. And thank you so much for taking the time to write. You don't know this, but as I've read your letters and e-mails these past several months I've cried and laughed and often prayed. I hear your heart and feel your fears-and I want you to know that I'm listening.

Your comments encourage me to keep writing and speaking encouraging words of hope, grace and forgiveness. And to finally update this newsletter.

Here's what's new:

Airing the week of October 10 is a one-hour radio program "Woman to Woman" with host Phyllis Wallace. I appear as her guest on the topic of DIVORCE. A tape of the broadcast can be ordered by E-mail: w2w@lhm.org or by telephone at 1-800-876-9880 or by Fax at 314-951-4295. If you e-mail me Clicking Here with the name of your town and/or state, I'll provide the station's call letters and frequency in your area.

Also, I'm the guest of Dr. Dale Meyer on his TV talk show "On Main Street" produced by the Lutheran Hour Ministries, St. Louis, MO. This program airs the week of October 16-22. The topic is MIDLIFE DIVORCE. A video of this broadcast can be ordered from them at 1-800-523-0226. Request Program #9908. Just e-mail me for the station's call letters and frequency in your area.

Changes to the newsletter include a Personal reflection column featuring a survival story from a woman just like you. So, let's get started and I'll introduce you to Lisa.

Personal reflection ... by Lisa in Indiana

I remember when I first found out what was happening, I didn't want to live anymore. As that time, my husband and my daughters were my whole life and I was in total shock and denial and complete despair. I had no idea that my husband was cheating on me, and so it was like I had somehow fallen into a huge, black hole that was suffocating me and I didn't think I'd ever be able to find the will or the strength to pull myself out of it and go on.

It took several months for me to believe what was happening and to accept that life as I knew it was over. It seemed like everything I thought I knew about my husband, our marriage and our life together hadn't been real-and everything I believed about myself and my life as a sick joke. How could I have lived with this man for 13 years and not known him or what was happening? Had I changed? Or had he? I was beginning to think I might be going crazy until I read When He Leaves and realized how the adulterer manipulates and makes right seem wrong and wrong seem right.

The pain was overwhelming! At times, it was a physical pain in my chest, and I often felt like I was literally suffocating. I couldn't concentrate on anything-my girls, my job, housework. Everything was more than I could handle. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I didn't care if I lived or died. My prayer life degenerated to agonizing pleas for God to either give me the strength to get through this or to let me die.

I had always done daily devotions and read my Bible, but now I could barely rouse myself to even do that. Somehow I did do it, but only out of habit. I started reading in the book of Psalms. I began to notice how closely my despair mirrored David's-and yet he still praised the Lord. The promises I found there gave me hope. I continued through my Bible, highlighting all the promises from the Lord that I could find.

Then one Sunday morning during Sunday School class, my teacher read Jeremiah 29:11. There was something about that verse that spoke to my heart and broke through the haze of devastation that had enveloped me for 2 months. That verse has since become my lifeline and is more dear to me than I can express. It gave me the hope to believe that God loves me and cares for me and will do his part to bring them about if I do my part and open my heart to his mercy and leading.

I'm not saying that a few scripture verses solved my problems. But after I typed a list of some of the promises I found in God's word, I would take out that sheet and read those promises every day during my devotions, meditating on them until God provided me with the strength I needed to get through that day. Sometimes I read through that sheet several times throughout the day when I needed encouragement. Then before I closed my eyes at night, I read through them again. They helped me ward off mental images that drove me crazy.

It's been 11 months since I first discovered that there was another woman in my husband's life. My divorce is final this May. In some ways, that fateful June night over a year ago, when my whole world turned topsy-turvy seems like a lifetime ago. The initial shock has worn off and I'm going about the business of day-to-day living, fulfilling roles that I was not designed for. In other ways, it seems like only yesterday.

The pain and heartache never seem to completely go away and maybe it never will. I don't know. There are times when a memory hits so quickly and unexpectedly that it takes my breath away. Then there are those moments when one of my daughters will innocently ask a question that mentally knocks me for a loop and suddenly I'm plunged back into the horror all over again.

Through it all, though, I've learned a lot of things about myself, the truth and its absolute essentialness to my life. If I can use this time in my life to grow and become what God intends for me to be, then I will be better for the experience. That's what I'm striving to do. - Written by Lisa in Indiana

Help for today ... by Kari

Divorce's most brutal battles are fought in the mind-not in the courtroom. If you've had a long-term marriage, you tend to look back on all those years and you feel that you've wasted your entire life. It appears at first glance that you have more years behind you than ahead of you. You think, "What a fool I've been to have wasted my youth on such an unworthy or, worse yet, such an untrustworthy man!"

If you're like I was, you might even vow out loud to family and friends that you'll never love or trust anyone again. It makes perfect sense: You don't want to be vulnerable because you don't want to be hurt again. But the real issue is that love and trust are not your fault-but your gifts. Your ability to love and trust are precious qualities patterned after God's own heart. They are who you are at the core of your being-that deep place within you where God's spirit witnesses to your spirit about what is true.

Lisa is right. Divorce-along with its companions of rejection and betrayal-makes all of us feel "topsy-turvy," "crazy," and "hopeless." As we battle the humiliation, the shame, the sense of failure, the inability to justify to family and friends, to our children and perhaps even an ex-husband, just how hard we tried to keep the family together, we must cinch up the belt of truth and clutch the sword of the spirit, which is God's word.

So ... for this day and for its accompanying dark night, take a few moments to flip through the book of Psalms. And like Lisa, start jotting down God's promises one by one. The sword of the spirit knows how to battle. You'll be amazed how it is able to cut through and "to ward off mental images" that drive you crazy.

A promise you can trust

"You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has ben fulfilled; not one has failed." --- Joshua 2:14

"The Lord, your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." --- Deuteronomy 31:6

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."--- I Samuel 16:7

 - Contributed by Lisa in Indiana

Please stop by again soon

Please let me hear from you. I answer every letter and e-mail. Also, be encouraged to share what helped you through your divorce so others know they are not alone and that they too will survive. E-mail by Clicking Here or write Kari West, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588.

Copyright 1998 - 2002 by Kari West