Dear Brave Mom, I am divorced. There! I said it.
Do you know how hard it is for me to say that? While it’s true and I know I shouldn’t try to conceal it, it’s something that I simply don’t want to make public. I want it hidden away in a dark closet, forgotten, with no one remembering it. Maybe if it stays out of view, it will just disappear; like it was never a part of my life.
Can you relate to that? Have you ever felt like you wanted to hide part of your life away?
Failure as a Christian
As you can tell, being divorced is not something I’m proud of. I hate the term divorced and hate that the word is associated with me. Me, a pastor’s daughter. A sister of two pastors. A woman who at the age of eight heard God’s voice so clearly, almost audible, call me into ministry.
Sigh. Yes. Me. The good girl who tried so hard in school to be a witness to her friends. The girl who began singing in church at four years old and leading worship at the age of 16. The one who wanted others to think she had it all together. She was perfect.
Even now, as I am in full-time ministry as the Executive Pastor of my church, I have fears of what others might think of my “failure as a Christian.” Since I’m in ministry, shouldn’t I be perfect in everything?
I Don’t Have it all Together
Perfect. Maybe that’s a word I should be more afraid of than divorced. While being a perfectionist has served me well in the workplace and causes me to be detail oriented even now as I serve in ministry, it has definitely been as much a weakness as a strength.
“What will others think?” “What if they know I’m not perfect?” “I can’t let anyone see me hurting because then they will know I don’t have it all together.” “I’m not brave!”
These voices in my head are the same ones that screamed so loudly even in my darkest times of hurting and heart-break. These voices were the ones that would cause me to retreat into my own world and keep me from reaching out and saying to those around me, “I need help. I’m lonely and hurting.”
Honest and Real
While I wish I didn’t have the word “divorced” on my résumé of life, it is there and I can’t go back and change the past.
But over the last few months, God has begun working in me, allowing me to see that while divorce may not be something for which I should be proud, it is through that experience, I can now help others, especially women, some of whom are young mothers.
I can empathize with them. I can bring support when they, too, want to run so people won’t see them hurting. But the biggest thing I have learned recently is when I am honest, gut-level honest (even while I am scared to be) about my past, you can see walls come down and hearts open. No, they no longer see me as perfect but they do see me as honest and real.
Some of these ladies are searching, not having yet come into a relationship with Christ. For others, they are coming back to Him but living with shame for their past choices. Both groups have told me that they would watch me on stage singing or speaking at our church and they would have never thought or believed that I hadn’t always had it all together. It came as a huge relief to them to know I was “real.”
For many Christians, we feel we have to always look like we have it all together, but that isn’t honesty. I would dare say there are many of us with skeletons in our closet. We all have things for which we’re not proud. Should we share every deep, dark secret about ourselves? Probably not. Should we be courageous enough to put our pride aside and share when we see someone who needs us to be real? Yes.
Share Your Story
Our story, while not pretty, can show others of the love and grace of God. While we live with regrets and the consequences of our actions, He can still redeem our pasts.
Maybe God has been calling you to share your story.
The Bible is filled with examples of people who didn’t always get it right and still God used them. A murderer and adulterer was redeemed and called a “man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22). Another didn’t fully trust God and lied. And God called him “righteous” (Genesis 15:6). There is even a prostitute in Jesus’ lineage (Joshua 2:1, Matthew 1:5). What a group of life resumes, talk about not being perfect! And I get to learn from their stories.
I wish I didn’t have that story to share…but I do. And I pray that what the enemy meant for harm and destruction, God can bring good out of it (Genesis 50:20); changing others’ lives. I will be brave and share my past.
Can you relate? Will you be brave and share your story?
Follow us on Facebook for more encouragement!