(**This post was written weeks ago, and for whatever reason is just now being published on my site**)
Recently I got an email from my pastor asking me to consider speaking at this Sunday’s service about gratitude. After looking around to be sure he really meant to send it to me, I was like “heck yessss” of course I will! He mentioned my blog, which quickly had me in a panic…”oh gawwww I think I cussed in my blog a few times, my pastor is praying for my soul and my mouth!” He sent me a list of a few questions that we would talk about Sunday. The first one…”tell us a little about your story” It hit me then that I have a story. Our old teaching pastor talked about this back in 2015- he referred to it as a “grace story.” He encouraged us to find our grace story and to share it.
It hit me then…I realized that this was the answer to every single question or doubt that I had over the past two years.
When I look back at the extremes that I went to in order to try to save my marriage, I can’t help but think I did things the “right” way as a Christian wife. You know by now that I am quick to admit when I fail. And I for sure failed during my marriage, but my intention during the last year was to save my marriage, and I truly believe I did what I was called to do as a Christian wife. Sidebar: I feel the need to say “Christian wife” because the ONLY reason I went to the extremes that I went through during that year, was BECAUSE I KNEW it was my duty as a Christian to keep fighting for my marriage. He didn’t abuse me. We didn’t cheat on each other. We had committed before God and our family to be a Christian couple. That meant NOT quitting. I took this extremely seriously. I had ONE person in my life who encouraged this (shout out Dawn), and I KNEW she was right. I HAD to keep trying.
So imagine my surprise when, even after all this, my marriage still ended. I had to believe there was a reason that this all happened. I knew that there was NO WAY the God I worshiped would let me go through all of this, for nothing. And so I had to figure out what the reason was.
So now, telling a little of my story goes like this:
My name is Gretchen. I’m the mom to two Littles, 11 and 9 years old. About two and a half years ago on New Years Day, my husband left. I spent the better part of a year struggling to understand- God’s plan, my husband’s reasoning, my purpose, etc. In attempts to save my marriage, I moved my kids from the only school and friends they’d ever known, back to my husband and I’s hometown, where my husband was also living at the time. A few months after we moved, I received divorce papers. My marriage was over.
This past year, my kids and I moved BACK to Fort Wayne, bought another new house, and have been rebuilding our core family again. I have been able to look at my divorce in a different light, lately. I took much of what he used as reasons for leaving, and have been able to improve myself, and my life.
God was ever-present throughout my marriage and my divorce. I grew in ways I never imagined. My husband, once the spiritual leader of our family, instilled in me a new found confidence in my faith. God continued building me throughout my divorce. I never once was MAD at God… I struggled to understand God’s reasoning, but I truly never doubted there was a purpose that I was married, and I never doubted that there were lessons to be learned throughout my divorce. God showed up in major ways- from selling our FTW family house, to then buying and selling (with ease) my Wabash house, to then buying my new Fort Wayne house. He brought people into my life during this season when I least expected it, and even took away some who were nothing but toxic to my progress.
So many times throughout the past two years I have had to intentionally choose to find the good in this situation. Of course divorce is a crummy situation. No one gets married with the thought that they’ll get divorced. But looking back now, I am thankful for the lessons that were shown to me throughout my marriage and divorce. I am thankful for having my own voice again- being able to share it through my blog, and with other women going through this less than ideal situation. I am grateful that God entrusted ME with the responsibility of sharing my story and helping others. I had to find the good in this situation. There have been a trillion blessings that have come into my life since my divorce- friendships, stronger faith, a new relationship, feelings of independence again, accountability as a Christian, and mostly finding genuine peace and strength inside myself again.