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Issue 7 - ©2001 by Kari West - Garden
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.
15 REASONS WHY A DOG IS BETTER
THAN A MAN
- 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
- 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.
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
Good friends listened to me cry and they prayed with me.
They hugged me when I needed it. I felt God's presence through
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
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,
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.
WHY BEING TAUGHT TO SWIM IS BETTER THAN BEING
-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
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.