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Issue 2 - ©2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories
Battling Mental Despair
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
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
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
"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
- 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.