Almost 11 months ago, my husband and I separated. I kept myself small and quiet at first, trying to minimize the backlash from the church as a whole. She really isn't known for supporting women who make these kinds of choices. I wasn't ready to defend myself. I wasn't sure how much of the very private, painful details of my marriage anyone was entitled to. So, I only told my closest friends. I thought my inner circle was safe, but it wasn't. And you know what, that's okay. I've learned. I've adapted.
When I finally exposed myself to the world, it was mostly to say "back off". No matter how small we try to stay, people are going to uncover your sadness and form an opinion on it. They're also pretty likely to share that opinion. I was a heartbroken mess and knew no other way than to just have it out and make it as clear as I could that I didn't want opinions.
Your response was beautiful. Emails and comments from women I have never met, with similar heartbreaks. Women saying, "Thank you. No one is talking about it. I have felt alone." Those of you who have never experienced this kind of heartbreak, but are humble enough to consider that it might not be as sinful as one might assume.
Since then, I've received more emails and text messages that have crushed me. I've had to stand up for myself and I've had to cut ties. I've learned how to draw appropriate boundaries. I've learned a lot about myself, actually. Some of it is good. Some of it is ugly. All of it is redeemed.
I have SOUGHT Jesus. I have not said a word, taken a step, made a single decision without sitting in it with him first. I have sought community and counseling. I have finished my Mending The Soul process. I have built the kind of life that is terrifyingly beautiful.
After all of this, after fighting for my marriage for 9 years, after leaning in while separated for 10 months, I've come to the decision to get a divorce. It's not what I wanted. It's not what he wanted. It's not what my kids wanted. Despite the kind of brokenness and continual wounding that would lead me to this choice, Joe is a really amazing dad. He was my friend long before he was my husband. He was a hero for me countless times. But the momentary absence of his behavior is not the presence of change. Nothing less than change could have saved our marriage.
It's sad, isn't it? We want to hang on a little longer, try to create or force the kind of change that could have made us work. But this choice is marked by peace. I am heartbroken, friends. Truly. I'm also free-er than I have ever been before. I'm not the same woman who started this journey.
If things like divorce rub up against you, I would invite you to pray. Pray for the people who are doing things you don't understand. Pray for the people who make choices like this. There is ALWAYS more going on than you know. Pray for the children and community that are affected. Pray, friends.
If you're in this too, know that I'm with you. I know what it takes to have to hold a healthy, holy space - even when the world is raging against you. I know what it takes to hold that ground - even when you are tired and broke and desperate for a break. I know.
This kind of breaking is almost unbearable. It's not what we were designed for. It just doesn't land gently.
Don't forget that you need healthy community like you need air. Don't forget that you need to keep showing up to your life. Lean into Jesus. There is no softer place to fall.
Just keep showing up.