20 Feb Beauty From Ashes – Divorce, Disappointment, and Faith
Divorce, Disappointment, and Faith
by Stacey Koziel
I got married in 2014, with visions of Hallmark movies dancing through my head. While I knew life wasn’t a movie and things weren’t going to be perfect, nothing could prepare me for what that marriage truly brought.
I’ll spare you the details, because you’ve probably heard stories like mine before. It’s a little sad that my story isn’t “special,” because things like emotional and physical abuse are so common. In a way, I think we’ve all become a little numb to those words and ideas.
So, while they may not be words that stand out to you, they were actions that certainly stood out to me for five years of marriage.
Still, I wanted to make things work. I resigned myself to the idea that even if I couldn’t get the Hallmark movie, I could survive. He would change. I could live with it. I didn’t get married to get divorced.
We were trying.
I wanted to believe he was trying.
…I didn’t want God to be disappointed in me.
A Little Ray of Sunshine
Like I said, we were trying to make things work. I prayed constantly for God to change my husband’s heart, and to make him the man he claimed he wanted to be.
Throughout those thoughts and prayers, I became pregnant, and eventually gave birth to my son.
And nothing else mattered from that moment on.
There were moments of danger, throughout the first three months of my little boy’s life, where I wondered if I would still be here much longer to keep him safe. Eventually, I realized that things weren’t going to change. They weren’t going to stop. In fact, they were getting worse.
Either we had to go, or he had to go.
…But, I didn’t want God to be disappointed in me.
The End and The Beginning
I tried to justify so many things in order to make myself feel better. I counseled with my Pastor. I read scripture. I thought to myself, “surely God doesn’t want me to stay in a marriage where I’m in danger…where an innocent little child is in danger.” My husband had an extreme addiction to pornography and talking to women online, so I even tried to justify my decision by focusing on his “lust of the heart.”
But, something kept pulling on my own heart for a long time.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally felt as though I could take a breath. Don’t get me wrong, the divorce is not finalized (and it’s been about a year since it was filed,) we’re in the midst of a contentious court battle as I try to keep my now two-year-old son safe, and things are exceedingly stressful.
I realized a couple of weeks ago, sitting in a courtroom with tears threatening the corners of my eyes, that I wasn’t hated by God. He hates this divorce more than I do, because it wasn’t in his original design. But, the divorce itself isn’t my way of turning away from God. It exists because we live in a fallen world. This sin of divorce is no greater (or smaller) than any other. My signature on a pile of paperwork doesn’t condemn me.
In fact, I realized that it drew me nearer to Him. I know God desires a reconciliation for all of us. So, I’ve turned to him, instead of away from him in shame. I’ve fallen into His arms and cried because I’ve had nowhere else to go, and He is the only one who can heal all things.
Divorce is never easy, whether it’s amicable or contentious. It causes things to change. It causes you to step out of your comfort zone and start over. For Christ-followers, it may make you feel hopeless, helpless, and unwanted. But, let me assure you of this, from my own experience: When God looks at you, if you are in Christ, he sees Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).
He doesn’t see your shame and your sin and your faults and your stumbles. He sees His child.
I think about how I see my little boy, and though I may think he’s perfect, I know he has plenty of faults. It doesn’t keep me from loving him. It doesn’t make me focus on those faults and consistently reprimand him for them. To think that God looks at me that same way, as a child he loves and cherishes – I’m not sure what could be more comforting than that, especially in times of heartache.