. . . . 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?