Feb 17

Some things we just can’t talk about . . . .

. . . . but they still happen, whether we want them to, or not. And they still break our hearts, wound our spirits, and shatter our dreams. So why can’t we talk about them? Because for some reason, we often think that if we ignore certain events or situations, somehow they will disappear . . . . or perhaps if we pretend that they didn’t happen, then POOF! they didn’t happen. There are several of these kinds of “things” that aren’t discussed at all in our Christian communities, or if they are discussed, it is in hushed tones of disbelief, disapproval, and secrecy. What about you? Is there anything that you’ve experienced that you find you can’t talk about?

Have you discovered that if you mention certain words, that everyone around you suddenly stiffens up and that make-believe smile comes over their face and the mask goes on? If we just don’t talk about “It,” then we can go on pretending that all is well and life doesn’t have to be interrupted with the messy and unpleasant possibilities that come with reality. But reality is where we all live;  things happen all around us, and sooner or later we discover that we are not immune to the real life drama that is part of life this side of eternity.

For me, it is time to talk about “It.” To acknowledge the destruction and pain of divorce, because even though this is not the way I thought my life would be; this is not the life I planned for my children; this is not what I ever envisioned for my journey as a Christian woman, wife, and mother, it still happened. For 25 years I prayed and wept, begging God to show me what else I could do to fix “It,” but unfortunately I was the only one who wanted it “fixed.” And now, for 15 years, I have been terrified to talk about “It.” Partly because that word makes Christians very uncomfortable . . . . . but also my fear of “talking about it” is a result of being deceived into believing that “talking about IT” is so much worse than “It.”

And the other word that we almost never, ever allow to slip past our lips is adultery. But whether we want to believe it or not, it happens in Christian marriages. As I have stumbled and bled, wandered and wept, struggled and questioned all along my journey after “It,” I have discovered that there are many, many Christian women who are living this very day the same nightmare from which I escaped.

I survived, although admittedly with very little support and understanding (or forgiveness or grace) from most of my “Christian” friends. And if you are facing the shock, the terror, the shattering, destructive reality that YOU . . . . yes, YOU . . . . now have to decide what YOU are going to do about the truth that has just been revealed . . . . let me encourage you. You will be OK, you will survive and thrive, if you accept God’s grace and forgiveness. Whether or not you are offered grace and forgiveness from those around you, remember that you know the truth – God knows the truth – and other people will think, say, and do whatever they want. And you can’t stop them.

Stories will be told, whether they are true or not. Gossip will be spread, even by those you thought you could trust the most. And you will feel alone. But you are NOT alone. As I contemplate how to speak of this topic, moment by moment, I sense the courage that God alone is giving me to speak the truth – because someone else needs to hear it today. Is it you? If you were to discover a book that had been written about divorce, and about the soul-crushing experience of discovering that adultery has been destroying your marriage, even while you blissfully believed that all was well . . . . . would you read it? What would you want it to say? What do you want to hear that will convince you that your life can be whole again?

The bad news is that “It” happens. “It” happens sometimes to marriages that look so “perfect” that you could not believe that “It” could happen to them. “It” happens more often than we want to believe, and “It” has the power to completely incapacitate us . . . . for a while. But the good news is that God is in the business of forgiveness. God forgives all sin, even the sin of divorce. So if you find yourself in this situation, be happy for those around you who haven’t had to walk this dark journey, and pray that they never will. And then get on with the business of living.

You are forgiven if you but seek Him. No matter what anyone else says. Don’t worry about the ones who are blessed with a “perfect” marriage . . . . . life has a way of leveling the playing field, so keep on moving. He is going to use YOU to walk beside someone else when they are limping along a rocky pathway. He works ALL things together for good to those who are called according to His purpose. Even this.

Maybe we ought to talk about “It” once in a while, and perhaps we could help resolve some of the problems that cause “It” to happen to even the most devoted, committed Christians. I think it is time to talk. What do you think?


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  1. Christena Hammes

    Wow – thanks for sharing!
    When we went through some hard times with our daughters no one wanted to talk about ‘it’ therefore we had no support or help – everyone was ‘pretending’ to have it all together….

    1. Nina

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Christena. I’ve recently talked with several Christian women who are facing the difficult (nearly impossible) choice of staying in a marriage that has been destroyed by infidelity or to find themselves divorced. It is tragic, because none of the women I’ve talked to wanted it that way, but they find themselves there anyway through no choice of their own, and then they discover that they are all alone on that difficult journey. I’m sorry to hear that you went through a time of struggle with no one to embrace you and walk with you through those days. Looking forward to getting together this spring ;o) Big hugs, Nina

  2. Ricki Jill Treleaven

    I think that sometimes Christians have this attitude toward divorce because God says that he hates it. He does not say that about many things. But I think that the reason God hates it is because how much it hurts his children who go through it. It disappoints me to no end how many opportunities He gives us to be encouragers, and we miss the mark. I wish this post would go viral because so many Christians need to read it.

    Ricki Jill

    1. Nina

      Thank you for your sweet and thoughtful words Ricki Jill. I know how much God hates divorce, so much more than I do. And it is always sin, no matter what the circumstances, but I cling to the truth that God forgives sin if we seek His face. When people are in situations where they have tried for so long to do the right thing in the midst of ongoing sin all around them, and then they are shattered by the end of the marriage they wanted desperately to save, what they need from their “friends” is support and love, not condemnation and humiliation. The prayer of my heart would be that God will use my words and my pain to touch the lives of others who are suffering the heartache of a broken marriage. Your kind response truly means so much to me ;o) Nina

  3. Katherine

    I tried to stay in a bad marriage many years ago and as a result I now deal with the after effects of a traumatic brain injury. God understands and forgives ,we need to forgive ourselves . Sometimes we are the victim of failings of another. My heart was broken for so long. But then years later I met and fell madly in love and my heart has been forever grateful. My prayers were answered when I asked to allow me to be open to love again. As a result I know live happily ever after with the true keeper of my heart. My wonderful hubby Robert ( aka Sparky). I love you Nina, I send you hugs and prayers always, thank you for this courageous and heart bearing post. xo

    1. Nina

      I love you, too, my dear friend ;o) You have been a treasure and truly a gift from God in my life with your sweet spirit, your loving kindness to everyone you come in contact with, and your welcoming embrace of friendship. Thank you for sharing from your heart and letting me know you truly understand. Praying for you today that you are feeling strong and healthy! Much love, Nina

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