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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 7 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications

Welcome Survivor!

Wherever you are in your journey through divorce, one thing is certain: You are among friends. We all need friends. Friends who care. Friends who listen. Friends who share. Friends who show us how to become more transparent. Friends who accept us today just the way we are. Friends who know all about our past but who love us anyway. Friends who believe in our future. Friends who never stop telling us "You're okay and you will be okay." Friends is the topic of this newsletter.

They say a dog is a man's best friend. However, Valerie in California now feels a dog just might be a woman's best friend. We hope you chuckle as you read the words of a poster she recently bought to hang on her wall after she discovered the man she was dating cheated on her with a former girlfriend. Enjoy!

-Author unknown

  • Dogs do not have problems expressing affection in public.
  • Dogs miss you when you're gone.
  • Dogs feel guilty when they've done something wrong.
  • Dogs don't brag about whom they've slept with.
  • Dogs don't criticize your friends.
  • Dogs admit when they're jealous.
  • Dogs don't feel threatened by your intelligence.
  • Dogs understand what 'no' means.
  • You can house train a dog.
  • Middle-aged dogs don't feel the need to abandon you for a younger owner.
  • Dogs don't mind if you do all the driving.
  • Dogs don't step on the imaginary brake.
  • Dogs admit it when they're lost.
  • Dogs can't feel threatened if you earn more than they do.
  • Dogs mean it when they kiss you.

Here's what's new:

The March-April 2000 issue of The Plain Truth features a short inspirational article by Kari entitled "When My Garden Is Disturbed." You can view this issue of the magazine at the web site http://www.gardenglories.com/www.ptm.org.

In this 7th issue of the DivorceWise newsletter, the featured survival story from a woman just like you comes from two women, both of whom are nurses: Maurine in Nebraska and Beth in Illinois. They know the value of friends.

Personal reflection ... by Maurine in Nebraska

It was my last day of work. I had been at the same medical office for over six years. The time had come for me to move. I had decided to move to another state to start a new life for myself. Leaving behind so many years of friendships was going to be very difficult. After all, these nurses had become my friends. They had been there for me with hugs and encouragement when an unwanted divorce was forced on me. Tears were flowing as they presented me with such wonderful parting gifts. I was so touched that they were giving me gifts at all!

One of the gifts was a red shawl. The nurse who placed it on my shoulders said, "Whenever you need a hug, just place this on your shoulders and pretend it is coming from us."

I can't tell you how many times I have used my red shawl. In fact, it's getting slightly worn after almost constant use these past six months. I use it when I take a nap. I drape it around me when I sit on the balcony on cool mornings. I toss it on my bed and cuddle into its soft folds at bedtime when I'm really lonely. It is the perfect gift that keeps on giving. I know that this red shawl is helping to care for the hurt child still inside me.

The nurse-friends who gave me this shawl are best reflected in that verse in Philippians: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." (Philippians 1:3) Not only was I blessed with the opportunity to work with them all those years, but I am blessed now each time I think about them. They knew just what I needed--a daily reminder that I have friends who care about me even in my absence. Each day their lives reach out in friendship to touch mine.

Personal reflection ... by Beth in Illinois

My story is similar to so many other Christian women I have met in the past year. I had a husband who led the Promise Keeper's group at church while living another life on the side. He finally ran off to Colorado with one of his "exotic dancer" girlfriends, leaving me and a 15-year-old daughter behind. Since then I have discovered numerous infidelities throughout our 17-year marriage.

Perhaps the hardest thing was praying for the marriage to be restored, yet seeing it end in divorce. I mean, doesn't scripture teach us if we pray according to God's will we will receive what we ask for? I asked for healing for my marriage. Surely, that was God's will. Yet the answer I prayed for did not come. After two and a half years of fighting to save my marriage, the divorce became final.

What got me through this? Morning were worse for me. I kept thinking that I would wake up and the nightmare would be over. But it wasn't. So each day I would sit down with a cup of tea and my Bible and read Psalms for comfort and Proverbs for wisdom.

Good friends listened to me cry and they prayed with me. They hugged me when I needed it. I felt God's presence through them.

The Lord provided a full time job at the place I had been volunteering for four years. What a blessing! I am a nurse in a clinic that provides free medical care for those people who have no insurance and are low income. It is the perfect place to work if you think you are having problems because you realize your life is a basket of cherries compared to the people you see every day. Giving to others helped me tremendously and also realizing there were so many others who were much worse off than I was.

The one thing I wanted so badly though was time. Time to cry. Time to pray. Time to be alone. Time to deal with what happened to me. Life was so busy. And trying to work full time and be a single parent left me little time to grieve and heal. It was financially impossible to take a week off to go away somewhere.

Months later when the worst was over, the Lord spoke to my heart as I looked around my house and saw the unused space. I wondered, How could I use this to serve God?

I was going to be able to keep the house until my daughter went off to college. The basement is finished. Up until my husband left, we had college students living with us from time to time.

So I decided to open up those rooms to women who were hurting, who needed a place to go to heal. I thought, this could be a place they could be alone if they wanted; or they could talk, if they wanted. They could talk to someone who understood their pain and who knew where they had been.

The first woman who came to stay in my home has become a dear friend! I have been blessed by knowing her as much as she says that she was blessed by coming here. A mutual friend told me about what she was going through and so I invited her to come. And she did. I had never met her. Now as friends, we are on this journey of healing together. We know that we pray for each other frequently. By reaching out to help others who also hurt, my life is being changed forever.

Help for today ... by Kari

Oh, how we all need people in our lives like the wonderful friends who encouraged Maurine and Beth. Friends are like an intravenous feeding tube. They nourish you with their words, their deeds, and sometimes with just their silent presence--until you regain the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to begin to believe in yourself again.

Friends hold up a mirror reflecting where you came from, where you are, and where you are heading--until you begin to see the truth that sets you free. They provide a safe place emotionally where you can peel off the mask of pretense to reveal your fears and doubts, your hopes and dreams. They encourage you to never give up--on yourself, on God, or life.

Friends with similar wounds say, "Take my hand. Let's walk and talk. I don't have all the answers, but I've been where you are now. In time, I healed and moved on; and someday you will too." These friends touch you with their lives by baring their wounds so you may touch their scars and believe that you too will heal. They are honest but don't judge; yet they hold you accountable to the truth about the past, yourself, and your former spouse.

Friends model how to risk change--how to give away past clutter, to sort through what you can handle and what you can't, and how to mentally disengage from what is toxic in your life and in your relationships so you can focus clearly on what matters and what you need to do next.

Friends are grace givers. They are there at the other end of the telephone. They answer e-mails. They send crazy cards. They give you permission to be in process. When I couldn't imagine ever forgiving Ed, my friends said, "That's okay right now. It's part of the process. Be patient with yourself. In time, you'll get there. Just be willing to be willing."

Some friends are mere acquaintances, like the mother of my daughter's school chum. Although I no longer remember her name, I will never forget the bouquet of flowers she left in my mailbox along with a flier about a divorce recovery group at her church. I was so moved by her concern that I decided to check it out. Was it just a coincidence that the topic that night was anger? That the assignment was to write a letter to our ex-spouse about a particularly painful event? Looking back, I don't think so. I think it was a God-thing. My acquaintance-friend was an angel on a faith mission.

Other friends are strangers. That night those of us in the group who were brave enough took turns reading our letter to the stranger sitting next to us. For the first time ever, a stranger heard my bottled-up hand-written scream. She hugged me; I cried. Then I listened to her letter. I hugged her; we both cried. Neither of us knew the others name. But I moved forward a few more steps in my journey through divorce. And I hope my stranger-friend did too.

You see, wherever you find them, friends are rare gifts to be treasured. God knows that you and I need friends. Perhaps that's why they pop unexpectedly into our lives at the time we need them most. And that's why we also need to be a friend.

Dr. Susan Forward, therapist and author of "When Your Lover Is A Liar," writes: "Our women friends can be a vital part of our memory, reminding us of parts of ourselves we've forgotten, disasters we've survived, impossible dreams we've seen into being. They are also the accepting ears who will hear our story as we try to make sense of it, and help us puzzle out what we want next....We endure more easily knowing that others have. And we appreciate our own resilience more fully as our stories are told and received with love and compassion."

In closing, let me share what Nicole writes about friends.


-written by Nicole in California

Imagine yourself in the middle of a lake. You are struggling to stay afloat. It seems as if you are all alone; no one else is around. You consider just giving up. But then you hear a voice. The voice is quiet at first, but slowly becomes louder.

You look up; and in the distance, you see your dear friend. She is paddling a rowboat that contains an extra life preserver. You cry out for her to help, expecting her to throw you the life preserver.

But she doesn't. And the water is slowly pulling you under! You cry and scream--and yell. Because it would be so easy for her to just throw you the life preserver.

But she doesn't. She jumps into the lake. Suddenly, she is right beside you. She says she is going to teach you how to swim.

It is not easy. But every time you want to quit, she whispers words of encouragement. And soon you are doing it. You are swimming on your own. And you realize that swimming on your own is much better than being rescued.

A promise you can trust

"...He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." ---Proverbs 11:25

"... Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn't choose me. I chose you." ---John 15:15-16

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