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    Friday, January 9, 2009

    The Ugliest Thing

    Dear Friend,
    Let me tell you a simple truth. Divorce is indeed ugly, it is not fun, it is not freeing it is ugly. I know what you're going through, I've been there and lived it...actually to say "lived" is the wrong word because in fact I LIVE it. It is ugly because for the rest of our lives, it is lived by us and all who've been affect by this, the ugliest thing.

    Your wounding is much more recent, so let me tell you I understand. You feel alone, abandoned, cheated and pissed off. These are all REAL feelings. They are OK to feel. In fact this event has cheated you. However, you are not alone, because God is with you and I am here for you.

    You may also feel as if there maybe something you can do to repair the breach within the walls of your parents marriage. You feel as if this, the ugliest thing was somehow your doing and if you stay "good enough" (or "bad enough") that they your parents will have to come back together either to reward you, or to reprimand you. My friend, this is all untrue. It isn't your fault and there is nothing you can do for good or for ill that will repair what was done.
    There are many things I wish I knew when my parents divorced. One I wished I knew was this: they will never get back together, it's over. I know that sounds harsh, mean and wrong but friend it's true. If the papers are signed and the ink is dry on the divorce papers, it is indeed over. The desire for them to get back together is NOT wrong, but the truth is that it is over.

    Second thing I wish I knew is this simple truth: This loss MUST be GRIEVED. What has happened is awful, ugly and humanly UNNATURAL. People will tell you that it's going to be OK, you will get over this and one day life will be normal again. Friend, life will "seem" normal, but the fact will always remain that the deed is done, so PLEASE grieve this loss. Sadly the church is the WORST at dealing with these types of things. We don't try to do this but we do; we say things like: "It'll all work out when God wants it to", "God's in control", "God can use this for good", "He {God} will use this as a testimony". All of which are true enough...YET they are used in uncaring, un-explained ways that end up sounding cold, dead and meaningless. You see, people within the church don't know how to deal with pain, so when serious pain erupts, we use "pat" answers, instead of simply saying: "It's OK not to be OK, feel this, grieve it and allow God to heal your brokenness, for brokenness it is." Had I been told THAT, the lingering effects wouldn't have crept up the way they did. I thought I had to "be strong for God, so he could use this as a testimony", yet I never dealt with the trash that divorce brings. So friend, PLEASE grieve this loss, for loss it is.

    Third thing I wish I knew when the ugliest thing hit is that God can uplift me and make even this disastrous thing to be used for good. You might be saying: wait a moment here, you just said that this is a pat answer. Friend for most it is just that, but the fact is that God CAN and WILL use any and every situation for good. However, to get here to this point, you must allow God to first heal you. Can God use you un-healed...of course. However, to not re-wound yourself by regurgitating a "testimony", grieve it. What that will do is make it less a "story" and more a real, connecting life. Your life will connect with others and will come off as true life rather than a memorized story that hasn't truly been felt.

    Lastly, I wish I knew that even after I was healed from my pain of the divorce itself, that divorce would still run a muck in my life. You see, generally your parents get re-married, which then brings 4 "parental units" into your life rather than the 2 originals. Some step-parents are HORRIBLE and some are AMAZING. I had a mixture of both. My step-mom who married my dad in 1996 is an amazing testimony to step-parents. She loved me as her own and treated me as such. My step-dad(s) were not so cool. One abused my mom (verbally and physically), was a drunken drug addict and ended up in jail. The second was a man who hated my religious views, also drank heavily, manipulated my mother and sadly years after getting divorced from my mom was found dead in his bathtub. So friend, with that said, the effects of divorce are life-long. Your parents thought it was a "in the moment" problem, or maybe a "til they grow up" problem...but it's LIFE LONG.

    God, the great healer has done tremendous work in my life and the lives of my family. So, THERE US HOPE! My mother is now walking closely with the Lord and has two wonderful friends that love her. My brother is a Youth Pastor/Seminary Student, My Sister is an amazing counselor married to a Youth Pastor/Engineer. My dad and step-mom are happily married and are in ministry together...

    We are all still MESSED up people. However, we are all HEALED and being HEALED by our Great God. Allow Him to go deep into your woundedness and heal you my friend, trust me when I say: You'll be so glad you did!


    Anonymous said...

    AMEN and AMEN! Praise God for we are HIS LIVIBG Testimonies to His GRACE! Thank you Marvin for telling our story for many are out there that need to hear it and not just shove it aside. I say to all of you Please LISTEN, don't keep running away for the ugliness of divorce for it does affect us ALL yes even YOU!! Whoever YOU are stop and listen to the voice of God written on these pages and FORGIVE whomever then if necessary, forgive yourself if you are the one who caused the ugliness of divorce...I know I was one of these whom God has forgiven, my children and my first husband then finally I learned that forgiveness ios needed for myself to forgive ME!! The testimony to God is shared and even lifechanging for many because once I learned I had a responsibility to share it, God blessed it and people started having life changing results! Oh praise God for His Grace does cover our ugly mistakes. Don't be afraid to share what God has done , yes even through the ugliness of divorce. Thank you again Marvin for sharing this!

    ben said...

    i have a couple German friends here in Berlin who want to read a Max Lucado book in English, but i'm not sure which one to recommend...besides this book, got any other recommendations?...

    Marv Nelson said...

    ben, besides which book? I love facing you giants, and Traveling Light