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Kristin’s Story (Part 2) – Being a Peaceful Divorced Wife

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

Part 2 of Kristin’s story. (Please click here for Part 1.)

———————-

It has been 11 months. 11 months since my husband of nearly 7 years walked out the door. 11 months since he physically left what he had already emotionally shut down. I can’t believe it’s been a year. In most ways, it feels like another lifetime. I’m repeatedly reminded of the verse in Genesis when Joseph tells his brothers,

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20

Now, I have no aspirations of actually saving anyone’s life. But I do know and have seen repeatedly, both during my year of suffering as well as since it all ended, that God is using the “harm” that came upon me in my life last year to be a light of hope to others who have also found themselves in difficult times, be it being abandoned by a spouse as I was, divorced almost overnight as is the case for others, or any other suffering that can occur in this imperfect world. This is the “intended for good” portion. The portion that God is using to bring His light and love through me to anyone and everyone who needs it. It is a humbling experience. But God uses the weakest of us time and again throughout history to accomplish His work.

Encouraging others feeds my soul. I believe it is one of the gifts the Lord has given me. So it is not in the least bit surprising to me that God brought me through a difficult storm because it led to me having the ability to speak directly to other suffering women who were and still are in the same shoes I was in not long ago. The most heartfelt encouragement comes from experience. One cannot offer advice or wisdom on a subject one has only read about in books. This is the power of the body of Christ. We all have different, yet similar, life experiences and are made to live in community with one another. Living in community means not being isolated, not keeping quiet, offering words of encouragement and hope, as well as being on the receiving end of said help. There are many verses speaking to the importance of encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 3:2 and 4:18).

  • “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” – Hebrews 3:13-14

We are not meant to live life alone. Do not give into the lie that you are alone. It is just that, a lie, and so very far from the truth.

  • “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16 (emphasis mine)
  • “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

God has brought me through this storm and I am stronger than ever.

I can see now that what I had in my life was not meant to be my forever. I firmly believe that things could have gone a different direction if my ex-husband had chosen to follow Christ and chosen our marriage. However, in God’s great mercy, He knew that would not be the case. We have free will and there are consequences. In my case, the consequence to my ex-husband’s choice to walk away resulted in divorce. But I can honestly say I am so very thankful for the Lord saving me from a loveless marriage for the rest of my life. I know He has wept with me over the year as I mourned the death of a lifelong commitment.

I can say with full confidence that I have faced my greatest fear – the fear of losing my spouse in one way or another – and life DOES go on. There is joy and hope to be had. I had joy and I had hope even in the middle of my storm. The ONLY reason for this was my resting in the Lord. I miss the deeper sweetness with Jesus that came in the eye of the storm when I was at my lowest. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything because I saw a side of God that could not have been experienced if I had not been in that place. I had been brought to the end of myself and found so much more of Him than I could have imagined.

  • “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

Here’s the thing about this verse. It all comes back to experience. Just as you can only encourage others from what you, yourself, have experienced firsthand, so it is with knowing the “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” This facet of God is only experienced when you have been “brokenhearted” and “crushed in spirit.” Friends, this is cause for hope! This is the reason my time with the Lord was so sweet in the midst of my suffering. I was brokenhearted. I was crushed in spirit.

But I called out to God and guess what? He came nearer than ever before in my life. He is faithful to ALL of His promises.

Claim them.

Pray them.

We all have our own ideas of what we think would be the best thing for us whether life is going well or it’s spiraling out of control. However, God’s answers don’t always resemble our ideas. I certainly never prayed for my marriage to end. I prayed for the Lord’s will to be done. I know this to be true: whatever path the Lord has you on, it is for your GOOD. It is not to make you miserable or because He doesn’t care. Quite the contrary. He loves us so much that He will use the tragic events in life to show us how much we need Him as well as use them for our good and His glory.

  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

To those of you who are in the middle of your storms and cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel, may I encourage you that there IS a light. You just have to keep looking UP and not straight ahead.

  • “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” – Psalm 25:25

Think of Peter when he was told to step out of the boat, in faith, and walk on water as Jesus did (Matthew 14:22-32). The second he took his eyes off Jesus and looked instead at the circumstances around him, he fell into the ocean. Lock eyes with the only One who can keep your feet on solid ground. He sees you. He loves you. And He is not finished with you.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Kristin’s husband would not stay with her – in spite of her willingness to obey God and work through their problems.  There are times when a wife may do everything RIGHT – and still, her husband may not respond or may decide to sin against her. This is not the ending that any of us would pray for. But, it is not yet the end of Kristin’s story. I can tell you this… she and I emailed often during the worst part of this storm last year. Yes, Kristin hurt deeply, but – she also had full trust in Christ that was the most amazing thing to see. Her faith matured, blossomed and became such a thing of exquisite beauty during this trial. Her peace was real. Her joy was real. Even in the midst of her pain.

I pray that God will draw her husband back to Himself. I know that many of you have unbelieving husbands. Their greatest need is Jesus! That is a much greater need than even keeping the covenant marriage vows they have made. How I pray for God to draw each of your husbands to Himself. We can be a light to them. We can shine and demonstrate the power and love of God in our own lives – showing them Christ in us by our respectful attitudes and actions – not by preaching/lecturing/nagging/shaming/demanding/criticizing them (I Peter 3:1-6). But, ultimately, it is between our husbands and God to work our our husbands’ salvation. We cannot force them to come to Christ in our own power. It is actually possible to make our husbands’ salvation into an idol we cherish more than Christ. For more about that, please read this post, “My Secret Idol.”

Our responsibility is for ourselves: our sin, our obedience to God, our relationship with God, our actions, our words, our responses.

We are not responsible for our husbands sin, their obedience to God, their relationship with God, their actions, their words or their responses. They will stand accountable to God for all of those things just was we will when this life is over.

Our obedience to God and our being filled with God’s Spirit helps to influence our husbands for Christ and makes it easier for them to come to Him and to us – but we are not guaranteed they will do any of those things.

My concerns are that:

  • When we stand before Christ, He says to each of us, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”
  • God brings the greatest glory to Himself possible through each of our lives.
  • We might be faithful and obedient to God.
  • We might become more and more like Christ.
  • Jesus might be, by FAR, the most important person/thing in our lives.
  • God might accomplish His good purposes in us.
  • We might rest and trust in God’s sovereignty and love for us no matter how bad the storms get around us.
  • God might use us to draw many to Himself.

Ultimately, this journey about becoming a godly, peaceful woman is ALL about us and Christ. It has very little to do with our husbands. Our husbands may be beneficiaries of what God does in our hearts. But – Jesus is our Reward, our Rock, our Portion, our Treasure, our Pearl of Great Price, our Shelter, our Refuge, our Deliverer, our Great Physician, our Good Shepherd, our Light, our Truth, our Way to God. He is all we truly need. If we have Him, His Word and His Spirit – we have EVERYTHING that matters. If we have everything else in the world but do not have Him – we have NOTHING of real value.

How I pray for God’s will, His glory and His power to work in each of your lives and that His purposes might be accomplished for His kingdom in your heart and soul.

Much love!

April

35 thoughts on “Kristin’s Story (Part 2) – Being a Peaceful Divorced Wife

  1. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Everyone’s story does not have a fairy tale ending like we would want it to. But – God is good. And He is faithful to His promises. He is able to bring good out of any awful situation that happens and He is sovereign. We can rest and trust in His sovereignty and experience His peace in any storm.

    1. Thank you for sharing this story! Every time I read a new blog post I get a deeper understanding of my purpose of being a Christian and a wife. I would not be capable of this journey without your blog! 🙂 I really believe God has lead everyone to your blogs for a reason. I feel greatful God has chosen me for his purpose!

    2. This story has really blessed me today. I am going through the same thing now and feel so much pain. To God be the glory. I feel encouraged now!
      hank you Kristin for sharing!

        1. Thanks April your prayers mean more than words right now. My kids need your prayers son 16 and 13 daughter. My husband just moved out last week after 23 years…my prayer is for him to return to Christ, God will take care of the rest. I trust him although this is scary …I trust The Lord !

          1. Christine,

            Oh no! 🙁 I am SO SO SO terribly sorry, Christine. 🙁

            I stand with you in prayer for your husband to return to Christ and for God to tear down the strongholds of sin and the enemy in your husband’s life and for Him to draw you and your children to Himself. I pray that you will live wholeheartedly for Him as Lord and that you might experience the peace that passes all understanding that He is able to give to those who trust Him even during the fiery trials of this life.

            I wish I could hug your neck, my precious sister!

  2. One of the very hard areas is to watch your own daughter be so disappointed in her marriage and stay because of her child. To not see any real love or effort. I see a revolving door of hurt and selfishness on both sides however the trust that her husband has broken over and over since the week of their honeymoon has left deep scars. And even when my flesh says one thing, I have to crucify it to stand on God’s Word when she asks for advice, or to simply keep my “opinions” to myself and just let her talk even when I may disagree I see and feel her hurt. She is at a point that she wants to simply stop trying and every day is just “get through” it. She loves the Lord and is trying so hard to follow, and listen and grow and I encourage when I have an opportunity even if it is simply to provide a stress free weekend at home or a girls day. She is a wonderful mother and practically raised her daughter by herself but has ensured the love between daughter and Daddy remains a close knit bond. I know she would leave today if she felt she could, and on one side there would be less stress and more peace, but on the other side there would be a new set of issues. I know she feels trapped in her own choices and circumstances and all I can do is “pray” but knowing that indeed “prayer” is all I need to do at times. Please keep her in your prayers and for me that God would continually pour his wisdom into me as a mentor and encourager as well as her Mom. I love them both and my son-in-law has a good heart, just easily swayed by others and puts others before his own wife and child and their needs.

    1. I’ll be praying for you and your daughter, Wanda. Praise the Lord for brothers like David who are willing to walk beside you and share experiences. I pray someone like him will come along beside your son-in-law and share that hope and truth and that it will speak to him. Thank you both for a fine example of how Yahweh’s people can share and learn in Him.

    2. Wanda,

      I am so sorry that things are very painful and difficult for your daughter and son-in-law. It is so hard for a mama not to want to step in and protect her baby. Thank you for desiring to point her to Christ and His Word. I pray for healing for them and for wisdom for you and God’s peace for you.

      Much love
      April

      1. Thank you April and yes indeed it is very hard to not be a “Mama bear”. But I can’t see what God does and I sure trust him more than I trust myself and my emotions for only he can complete the miracles and humble the hearts. It sure helps to share with others who want God’s will and his Word more than earthly emotional gains, it gives added strength for the race endurance……. Blessings

        1. Wanda,

          You are on the right track, my precious sister! I’m so glad you know that God’s wisdom is greater than our own. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for your daughter and her husband and family. 🙂

  3. Wanda: Please continue to encourage your daughter to stick with it. In my own experience, I know what it is like to be miserable in a marriage and to want to give up, and to stay only because of the children, while wondering if life wouldn’t be better for all if we just ended it and got on with our separate lives. My wife felt the same way. Ultimately, she acted on that feeling and that hopelessness, and she divorced me (after 29+ years and 4 kids, 2 still at home). So I got my answer: it’s NOT better. It’s hell, for everyone, both during the divorce process and after. The pain, at least to the non-initiating spouse and the kids, can’t be overstated. The effects are permanent — every birthday, every holiday, every graduation, wedding, grandchild, and so on. It makes perfect sense to me that the studies show that miserable couples who stay together often report 5 years later that they’re happier. So — unless he is physically abusing her or is an unrepentant serial adulterer or something — she will be doing herself and her daughter a huge service by persevering. I know, believe me I know, how excruciating it is to stay and to live every day in a miserable marriage. But (1) there’s always hope because of our God, who will be with her in the midst of the slog, and (2) it’s better than the alternative. God bless you and your daughter.

  4. Kristin: Thank you for your testimony. Having gone through the same thing (my divorce was final a little more than 2 years ago), I have claimed almost all of those same promises. I hope that in that time I’ve been able to assist others, through DivorceCare courses, comments on blogs such as this, in person with friends and in Bible studies. But I am far from arriving or being a latter-day Joseph. (Though his story is probably my favorite from the Old Testament and has had the most impact on my life. I even spent several weeks/months teaching through his life to an adult Sunday School class years ago.) I feel more like the Joseph who had been forgotten in prison than the Joseph who was Pharaoh’s second in command. This is, I think, largely due to the multiple other shoes dropping since the divorce — my wife’s remarriage a year later, her relocation 400 miles away with my daughter shortly after, the continuing financial effects (attorney debt, etc.), recurring battles about visitation with both kids (including my son who lives with me), a recent estrangement from my oldest son that was encouraged by my ex, etc. So your testimony is an encouragement to me; I look forward to the day when my gratefulness for this experience outweighs my pain and my usefulness to others is as more than just a cautionary tale. God bless you.

    1. David J.,
      Thank you for your comments. How I pray for healing for you, your ex-wife and children – for God’s glory and for the ultimate good for each of you in God’s sight. I appreciate your willingness to share your story.

  5. To David J. and fallenshort – thank you, I know God is the great redeemer, restorer, refresher our everlasting hope and salvation because everyday we need to be saved from something, especially ourselves at times and as long as I have breath,even if not words, I will pray for God to heal this marriage. I know for a fact it can be done from personal experience. My daughter knows that she can always count on her Dad and me but she also knows I will always be honest with her and not be her crutch or dumping ground. I will not “preach” but I will remind her that God has never failed her through my own life. I will fail her at times, but God never does, no matter when it seems he has turned away. It was so good to hear from a man’s perspective and this marriage can be healed in Jesus Name Amen <3

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  7. Kristin,
    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to many. I have prayed for your husband’s salvation & for God to be your strength & comfort in this season of your journey.

  8. Wow it’s so easy to get caught up in our own troubles that we forget we aren’t the only ones going through this. I’m in the same situation as many posting on here and I absolutely hate it. But that being said God is so good to me. And if nothing else my relationship, real and intimate relationship, with my Lord is better than it has ever been. So I’ll continue to praise Him and trust Him. Life here is so temporary that even though enduring these troubles I will be glad knowing that I have an eternity to spend being the bride of Christ!

  9. April, is there anyway that I can send a message to Kristin? If I say what I want to say to her on here, it will cause controversy and I don’t want that. As someone who has been where she is, I would like to share some encouragement with her.

  10. Hi Kelly, I am also facing an unwanted separation after 21 years of marriage. I did NOT see it coming. Your words are very encouraging, is your story posted anywhere? I would love to read it.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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