If you watched a close loved one suffer the deep, wounding pain of a spouse suddenly walking away and abandoning their marriage, and you watched her world come tumbling down in a thousand broken pieces, you would then have to watch her go through the pain of accepting what had happened, the anger, the hurt, and then, hopefully, the healing.

But how would that healing take place?

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Her healing would take place with the love, support, and prayer of family and friends. For this healing to take place, she’ll need understanding and compassion. She is still trying to understand it herself. And she has all these emotions: rejection, shame, humiliation. She didn’t want any of this, much less the label of being a “divorced woman.”

How else would that healing take place? What role would the church body, the body of Christ, have in this journey to rebuild a life that took a steep downhill turn she never saw coming?

It took several weeks for her to be able to hold her head up long enough to face going to church… and then a few more weeks before she could mouth the words. My husband left me. He wants a divorce. The “D” word was now part of her vocabulary. She couldn’t hide it anymore. She had to tell the world and deal with the response.

She did go back to church and told a few people close to her what had happened. They surrounded her with compassion and understanding. They assigned her someone in the counseling ministry for one-on-one support. The ladies Bible study she was already part of treated her with tender care and she felt safe there. She needed that.

I watched her turn to God to guide her through this. I watched her cling to God for her strength and balm from the pain. I saw her hang in there with God and not get bitter and turn away. I watched her reach out to family, friends, and her church for the help she needed to handle this crisis.

Divorce happened. We don’t understand why God allowed it, but we are thankful that He is a sovereign God in control and has a plan for her life. I believe He still has great plans for her!

When I step back and process all that happened, I find myself grateful that when she reached out, help was there. She did not have to navigate this healing journey alone. God provided understanding and compassion when she needed it the most. I am thankful for each person that has walked beside her and lived out the true meaning of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

I know there are others who have had a completely different experience and have been hurt by the response or lack of response from those around them when going through a marriage break up. I am deeply saddened when I hear that someone did not receive compassion and understanding at a time when they so desperately needed it.

If you are in this hurting place today, can we pray for you? Can we come around you with understanding and compassion and show you the love of Jesus?

Kathy Cheek is a freelance writer with articles in various Christian magazines, including LifeWay’s Mature Living and Journey, and she regularly contributes to several online ministry and devotional sites. You can read her faith-filled devotions at her site, In Quiet Places. Kathy’s favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and how that is walked out in everyday life and every circumstance. She and her husband live in Dallas, Texas and have two grown daughters who also reside in the Dallas area.

Comments

  1. Awesome work …

  2. I could swear you are talking about a close friend. Her husband is a former pastor. Out of the blue he left her…and for another woman. She agreed they had problems in their marriage but was committed to the relationship and their family. She was so caught off guard and because she was a former pastor’s wife she couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone. Our Lord and Savior was watching out for her though. My first experience as the Lord circled the wagons was when he woke me up on vacation one night. I had this overwhelming urge to pray for my friend and I did. I had never had that experience before. As I learned of their separation I told her about this experience. Then one by one other friends came to her with similar stories. She learned that a group of her friends were praying for her…men and women, all strangers to each other and the only thing we had in common was our friend. One by one we told her the Lord called us to pray for her. She’s still grieving the lost relationship and the damage it’s done to her family. She’s learning she can do things that she never had the courage to do or never believed she could do alone. I’ve had to remind her a few times of the prayer circle the Lord has put in place for her, that he has not forgotten about her and standing by her side.

    The most difficult thing for me was to be able to relate to her loss and grief. I’ve been married for 25+ years to my high school sweet heart. My husband and I grew up in homes with both parents married to each other. There were times I didn’t know what to do other than just listen or what to say other than I would be praying for her. Your article reminds us that we need to be there offering compassion and understanding. Thanks for the very timely message.

  3. Thank you for sharing how the Lord was their for your friend and how a group of friends supported her through this!

  4. I have walked in those shoes. It is my story. The important thing was the acceptance of others, showing God’s love and compassion at a time when my daughter and I needed to feel safe and secure. We were surrounded by our church family. I believe healing was expedited by this healthy environment we worshiped in. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight to a painful journey for too many.

  5. I also have walked that walk many years ago and there is new life beyond this dark tunnel. I now have been married 43 years to a wonderful man. I didn’t realize that I would marry again as I was full of bitterness towards all men. At the time of my divorce I didn’t have a network of women to help me through this difficult passage in my life. Even thought my relationship with God was somewhat at a distance, I know now that Gods hand was in the outcome of this journey. Thank you for this wonderful message, all women need to read this regardless of what circumstance they might be going through. There is help for all types of heartaches. Blessings to you Kathy.

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