- 2 - 3
- 4 - 5
- 6 - 7
- 8 - 9
- 10 - 11
- 12 - 13
- 14 - 15
- 16 - 17
- 18 - 19
- 20 - 21
- 22 - 23
- 24- 25 - 26
is our topic for this issue.
Without it, unresolved anger will escalate to
rage. In a life-altering divorce with its life-changing losses, we will be tempted
to scoff at life, become bitter, or seek revenge. Yet
forgiving those who hurt and betray us is
never easy. As C. S. Lewis explains: “Everyone says forgiveness is
a wonderful idea
until they have someone to forgive.”
In this newsletter,
you’ll meet Marilou in Maine who tells a tragic story
of divorce anger and Kay in California who speaks not only
of a devastating betrayal but a timely forgiveness.
what is new
Moments With God—Personal Stories From Women Sharing
That Changed Their Lives recently released (Honor Books). Within its page,
an inside look at the lives of some of today’s leading women authors and
speakers, including Carol Kent, Patsy Clairmont, Alice Gray, Leann Weiss, Linda
Shepherd, Cheri Fuller and more. You’ll discover how God’s touch
turned adverse circumstances and ordinary lives into extraordinary testimonies
of His grace. You’ll share in personal stories of hope that will encourage
you through life’s tough times, and
be uplifted as God’s faithfulness is proven time and again.
two stories to this collection as a member of the Advanced
Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), a professional
support group made up of the top 10 percent of Christian
women in publishing and speaking. This inspiring book is
now featured on her website.
hear from Marilou and Kay.
Reflection by Marilou
I truly believe
there is hope, healing, and peace after divorce. I was
divorced three times. There was so much I did not know.
three years, I have facilitated DivorceCare groups. In
working with these groups I’ve seen marriages restored,
anger dissipated, and forgiveness initiated. Twenty people
have come and gone. I watched first hand how divorce hurts.
It hurts all family members. Not only did I personally
experience what divorce did to my children and to me in
the past, but I recently learned how anger can become destructive.
DivorceCare programs help most people get started again—but
some people never get over their anger or their pain.
In one particular
group was a young man named Joe Tracy. Joe was 43 years
old, young to me as he could be my son. He was in a business
where he worked outside most of the day and his time was
flexible. His 10-year-old dog Sadie was his constant companion.
Joe was winsome
but quiet. However, he did get involved in discussions.
Many times he referred to things in his last relationship
as “fair” or “unfair,” which led
me to believe that he felt very strongly about fair play.
His story was that he was divorcing his third wife. He
had no children from these marriages; his dog was his family.
that when he met, dated, and planned to marry Eve, they
both agreed to each sell the individual houses that they
currently owned and put the money toward a new home they
would occupy together. He sold his house. However, she
did not—not until after Joe left. The divorce decree
said Eve should get the new house. To Joe, it was not “fair” for
Eve to have the new house and alla the money from the sale
of her prior home.
the marriage with two children by her former husband, who
was killed in a car wreck four years prior. During those
years, she became overly protective and almost smothering
of her children, which Joe felt left very little room for
him. “It just ain’t right,” Joe said
when Eve showered the children with gifts and treats. When
the family went out, Eve paid for the activity whether
it was mini-golf or ice cream and toys. The children never
saw Joe pay for anything. Although he paid the bills from
the mortgage to lights, telephone, cable, heat, etc, Joe
felt that the kids looked upon him as only a tagalong.
to explain to Eve how all this looked and how he felt,
but she laughed at him. She didn’t think it was important.
This went on for two years until finally Joe had enough
and wanted out. Realizing he had made some mistakes and
wanting his life to be different, he came to DivorceCare
and really seemed to be trying to put his life in order.
He was not a Christian, but seemed very knowledgeable about
God’s place in his life.
You can understand
my horror when about a year after that group ended, I saw
on the television news that Joe had been arrested for shooting
and killing his exwife. Joe decided if he couldn’t
have the new home, neither could Eve. He felt he had nothing
left to lose since his old dog Sadie had died just a few
weeks prior to this fatal shooting. Joe said he had been
planning this for a long time. What a sad, sad end.
Reflection by Kay in California
Some of us
know when our marriages are in trouble. For others, the
shock can hit you like a ton of bricks. My husband was
having personal problems. Work was not going well. His
father had passed away and he took the death exceptionally
hard. His social drinking was rapidly turning into alcoholism.
And he seemed miserably depressed.
The man I
loved had been a model husband and a wonderful father for
years. He had the respect of all who knew him. He was the
loyal friend, the wonderful boss, the favorite son and
son-in-law, a great coach; and his truck driver C.B. handle
was “Family man.”
I was not
about to let him fall apart. After all, I was his soul
mate and the perfect wife. We were best friends. I was
his cheerleader, his counselor, and his biggest supporter.
I would save him.
One by one
the bricks started falling. Two days before he entered
a recovery treatment program for his drinking, I learned
that for six months he had an affair with our oldest son’s
18-year-old girlfriend. When he tried to end the affair,
she claimed to be pregnant with his child and threatened
to tell everyone. In a panic, my husband left. He ran from
everything. He ran from me, his children, his job, his
home. He left everything behind. He never faced our family,
our friends, or me again. He confirmed the affair on the
telephone after he was eight hours and many miles away
from us. The worst part is he never faced our son.
In the beginning
of my healing process, everything was an anniversary—the
day we met, the day we married, the day he left. I was
hypersensitive to dates and times. His birthday is June
25th (6-25), so it seemed like I woke up every
morning at 6:25 a.m. I started the car to head home from
work and the clock read 5:05, reminding me of our wedding
anniversary on May 5th (5-5). I pulled onto
the freeway and noticed a propane truck for the company
he used to work for. I thought God was playing some cruel
trick on me. In fact, it seemed more than a coincidence
that every patient I treated shared his birthday or his
middle name or his initials. Even our wedding song made
a comeback during that time, playing once an hour on the
radio at work. How I wanted peace! I longed for five minutes
where I didn’t think about him. Five minutes where
something or someone didn’t remind me of him.
days I thought I would never make it through. I couldn’t
think straight. Then, the messages started on my answering
machine begging me to call him, begging for my forgiveness.
I broke down and called back. There were tears or a fight.
Because he was so ashamed, he had moved two thousand miles
and way could not come home. He told me he could not bear
to look in my eyes and see the pain he had caused. He said
he’d made a new life with the 18-year-old.
His telephone calls never stopped. He missed us. He missed
our home and our children. He wanted his life back. He
must have told me he loved me a thousand times. He begged
me to see him. I always said no. He was a cross-country
truck driver and sometimes he would be only five miles
away and still I said no. He continued to be a long distance
father to our three youngest children, and there were fights
several times a year that just ripped my heart out. The
heartache of sending your children away, while you whisper
for them to have a fun visit. The pain goes both ways,
as I am sure it was just as difficult on him when he put
our kids back on the plane to return to me.
A year ago
today, he called me and we talked for five hours. He had
been gone for five years. He asked me if he could come
home. He wanted to reconcile with our oldest child. He
told me that if our son could forgive him then maybe he
could forgive himself. He asked me if I would consider
seeing him again. He told me that even if I wouldn’t
that he just wanted to be closer to his children. He longed
to see my parents and wanted to spend the rest of his life
trying to fix what he had thrown away.
agreed. We made plans to speak the next morning. So he
rented a car and said he was coming home. I was not sure
we could ever be together again as a couple but we could
at least parent together. He told met that he loved me
and he would see me in three days. I finally uttered the
words that I had not spoken for five years. I told him
I still loved him, too. That was the last time I spoke
with him. You see, he was killed three hours later. I cannot
tell you what happened in those three hours except that
he had packed his things, had a confrontation with the
girlfriend, they struggled over a gun and it went off.
Now I have
another anniversary to remember—the day of his death.
I am eternally grateful for that five-hour telephone call.
Our marriage ended but our relationship never did. We talked
a lot about God during that call. He felt God was punishing
him for the hurt that he had caused me and that God would
never forgive him. I told him all he had to do was ask
God for forgiveness. We prayed a very simple prayer together.
It is the simple act of forgiveness that keeps my heart
filled with peace today.
I now have
entire days when I do not think of him. And when I do,
the memories are not bad. Finally, the good memories outweigh
the bad ones. There was a time when I thought this would
never be over; and now that it is, I realize that I have
the Lord to thank for seeing me through. God has blessed
my children and me with his comfort and healing. God will
take care of you, too. It’s a promise.
for today by Kari
you already know, divorce forgiveness
is the bridge that spans the distance from where we were
in the past
to where God wants us to be in the future. But forgiveness
is never easy. It is not a feeling we conjure up but
a choice we make–an act of our will. It’s
not about forgetting past pain but about remembering
what happened, then choosing to the direction of our
heart. Forgiveness says, “Lord God, You are
more important than anything my exhusband or exwife has
done to me. I’m willing to no longer keep score
of wrongs. I need healing more than I want revenge for
the hurt. I need to be whole more than I need to be right.”
In our journey
through the landscape of divorce, we will be angry. Look
upon anger as a sign that something needs to change—realizing
the only person you can change is you. Dare to pray for
your former spouse, asking the Lord to make you willing
to be willing to forgive. Pray Jesus’ blood over
the doorposts of your mind so you don’t act out your
anger. Know that you don’t need the cooperation of
the other person to forgive. Someday you’ll see God’s
mercy in the madness. As Kay discovered, you’ll find
His peace in the process. Forgiveness is the most God-like
act we will ever do on earth. It’s not about sanctioning
unfairness or condoning wrongs. We forgive others because
we recognize that we, too, owe a debt we cannot repay.
promise you can trust
if you keep in mind our sins then who can ever get an
answer to his prayers?
you forgive! What an awesome thing this is!
130:3, 4 TLB
for any reason you do not want to remain on the DivorceWise
Newsletter list of subscribers, please let me know and
you will be removed. Just click
here or send your request for removal to
Garden Glories Publications, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton,
94588. This disclaimer clarifies that I am not sending
spam, but that you subscribe to my mailing list at your
request. Note that all outgoing newsletters are checked
by Norton Security.
you are an e-mail subscriber and wish to send a copy
of this current issue to a friend, click the link inside
the rose arbor on the first page, or log on to www.gardenglories.com/Newsletters and
click inside the rose arbor of the online issue. To share
your story, e-mail by Clicking Here or
write me at the P. O. address above. Archived issues
available upon request. ©2003 by Kari West