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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 9 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Midlife Divorce

Welcome Survivor!

Divorce is not something any of us want, but it is something millions of us live with. In a divorce, what is really important is not what he did to you--but what are you going to do with the rest of your life? We welcome you into our growing sisterhood of survivors, whether you are newly separated, going through a divorce right now, or have been on your own for a while. We are here to tell you that you are going to make it and to encourage you to never lose hope or your faith in God--whatever happens along the way.

Here's what's new:

Kari's recent article on adultery can be viewed online at www.ptm.org. Click on the July/August 2000 issue of The Plain Truth Magazine; then, Special Report, and the title "The State of Affairs." Copies available through the mail upon request.

In this 9th issue of the DivorceWise newsletter, the featured survival story from a woman just like you comes from Lina in California. She speaks to the insecurities in all of us that divorce at midlife brings.

Personal reflection ... by Lina in California

I thought I was unique in the way I hurt and in the things I did. Nobody seemed to understand why I could not snap out of it and go on with my life. All the people who knew me, including my children who are grown, thought I was insane.

Since reading When He Leaves, I discovered there are many women out there just like me who battle the same demons of a middle-aged divorce. For the first time, I felt that somebody understood. I won't share with you about all those dark hours and the crazy things I did, because you know them as well as I do. The details and our circumstances may be different, but the feelings and the process are the same.

There is no prescription to overcome the feelings of betrayal, of abandonment, and of being used. No replacement for the years of youth and no way to go back to them. There is nobody to come to our rescue and give us a brand new life. Instead, we must go through it. In the company of God, and with the understanding of other women just like us, we must go alone. It is a wild ride, but we can make it.

Wherever you are right now, don't judge yourself too harshly. Whatever you are doing to cope and stay alive right now is really okay. God, who is the only one who can judge you, knows your heart.

My story begins almost three years ago, when the book I mentioned saved my life one day when suicidal thoughts were so powerful I thought for sure I would go through with it. That hot summer afternoon I sat down and read nonstop from 6 p.m until 6 a.m. By morning the crisis had subsided, and God had used its message to spare my life.

This was probably the worst year of my life--no Christmas, no celebrations, and no family. Everything and everyone in my life was scattered and broken up. My home was dark and gloomy, just like my heart.

Then came spring the following year. I found an abandoned container in the building where I now live. I remember one of the suggestions in When He Leaves about gardening in a pot. Other than my kids, I had vowed never to care for or to pour love into anything again--not even a plant. But I went to the store, bought a rose bush--and partially angry and not doing a very good job of it, I planted it.

Months went by and I even forgot that it sat out there on my balcony. I had overlooked watering it; but, for some reason, it had been a strange season with lots of rain. A few months later to my complete surprise, I was picking roses.

That plant showed me that even when it seems that nobody loves us that God is with us taking care of us just as he took care of that unattended rose bush. It has taken awhile, but slowly my apartment is filling up with plants. And that poor rose bush that once sat outside being ignored? Well, it is now getting my attention. I'm not perfect at it, but I'm working on it, just as I'm working on my life. It's still in process, too.

I planted that rose bush, just because Kari, who had gone through what I had experienced, suggested it. It has taught me new insights about faith and life. I remember having no idea what that bush would look like. When I first planted it, it was just a few dried thorny sticks coming out of the mud--a metaphor of me.

Today I am amazed how God can and does change us, if we allow the natural healing course of time to have its way. I try to remember when I get discouraged with the progress in my own life that a beautiful rose bush full of blooms does not always start out that way.

The allegory of the rose bush has also taught me that what we see is not always what is. What we perceive or what the other person is telling us is not always the truth. I have learned to be much more cautious in trusting. I want to use the wisdom God has blessed me with and to never again think I am so powerful as to attempt to change someone's nature.

When you think about it, if we plant a cactus plant, we receive cactus flowers. If we plant rose bushes, we will certainly receive roses-but only afer the natural process has taken place. The Bible says we all reap what we sow. Who we give our love to matters. If we pour our love and affection into a cactus plant thinking it is a rose bush, we should not be surprised when we find a prickly cactus flowers instead of velvety blooms.

I know it is only by faith that I was able to overcome the fear of age, the stain and public shame of being middle aged and not married. I think divorce at this age takes on a whole new meaning, because of all the insecurities that age brings. I know that for too long I hid my divorce from people at work, because I was ashamed. Today I have a new job and this time instead of lying I am telling the truth--because it could be that another middle-age women will someday be walking in my shoes and I'll help her.

Divorce has been a devastating experience, but I have been able to pick up the pieces of my life. I have regained what I lost in the divorce and in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage--my self-esteem, my self-confidence, and my dignity. My relationship with God is deeper than ever. I have learned to lean on and trust Him all over again. His faithfulness has made me a stronger woman. I know He will not abandon me.

Do I still hurt? Yes, I do; but it's okay. I don't hurt in the same insane manner as I did in the beginning. I have stopped blaming myself and started assuming responsibility for my mistakes. I'm a better person--more compassionate, more sensitive, less selfish. I have finally come to accept life as it is and I'm making the best of it. Maybe like the book says, someday I will laugh again. For now, I am content with a smile.

Help for today ... by Kari

As women we grow up thinking we need a man to be secure. But security and stability lies within you. It is not about who you are with, where you are, or what you own, as we all eventually discover in the process of divorce.

Like Lina, you have also gone through something profound. You've lost the one person you thought would love you for a lifetime. Maybe you lost the home you spent years decorating. Or you watched your once-precious wedding dress carted off to charity, like I did. Perhaps you saw the possessions you spent years accumulating sold at a garage sale. You also gave up family traditions you once dearly treasured, because they no longer have meaning or it just hurts too much to repeat.

After going through something this profound, you know just how quickly you can lose everything. Now you are learning to hold loosely all your possessions, the people in your life, and the places in which you live. You know first-hand that life does not come with guarantees. And you also know deep down in the core of your being that you can survive almost anything. You are starting to like your own company and taking care of yourself--because the one you once loved no longer will and because nobody else really can.

And for the rest of your life, you will keep looking for ways to keep hope alive--even if your apartment turns into a gorgeous plant-filled jungle like Lina's.

A promise you can trust

"The Lord will turn the darkness before you into light; the rough places into level ground. These are the things He will do, and He never will forsake you." ---Isaiah 42:16

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