A Letter to the Separated

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Dear Divorcing Woman,

I’m sorry to be writing these words to you. You probably feel alone right now, but you’re not. You just joined an invisible sisterhood that’s bigger than you ever imagined. The abandoned, the abused, the serially cheated upon: we’re everywhere. Rather than dwell on how depressing that is, just be assured that we get you, and we’ll have your back without demanding any explanations. We don’t hold you responsible for your husband’s choices. We know that, contrary to popular Christian teaching, one person cannot hold a marriage together by sheer force of will.

Here’s the good news: your divorce will make you stronger than you ever thought you could be. This is boot camp for your soul, and your strength will snowball. Every day, for a while, you will have to get up and do an assortment of things you really don’t want to do. Call a lawyer, reassure your kids when you don’t have much to reassure them of, deal with a broken car or major appliance, keep it together in the face of thoughtless, ignorant comments, move big heavy items alone… all while you want to lay down on the kitchen floor and just stare at the ceiling for an hour because your grief is too deep even for tears. But you’ll press on, because you don’t have a choice. And as the days turn into months and even years, you’ll become less and less intimidated by life. When you’re faced with something unpleasant, you’ll look back at all the other unpleasant things you’ve done, survived, overcome. Those things didn’t kill you. Neither will this.

When you get a chance, go ahead and have those kitchen-floor moments. At first your grief will be so overwhelming that you’ll be desperate for some relief. But don’t get hooked on painkillers (literally or figuratively). To stay fully alive, you have to walk through this valley. Really through it. There’s no healthy way around or over it. There’s no quick fix (which is almost impossible to accept in this fix-it world) – you just have to keep living one day at a time. It never goes away completely, but it gets so much better. I promise. Remember that God hates this more than you do. He’s on the kitchen floor with you.

Embrace your freedom to be. Your thoughts, passions, and time are no longer secondary to someone else’s. Enjoy the things you love that your ex disdained, or that you didn’t have time for when he was in your life. Cook (or don’t cook) whatever you want for dinner. Read an entire book. Drive out to a field just to look at the stars. Drink in the peace of knowing exactly what’s going on in your home, of being in the driver’s seat of your finances and your future. It’s all on you now, and that can be scary, but it’s also pretty awesome because you know you can trust yourself.

More than likely, you won’t be single forever (unless you really want to be, which is okay too). You’ll eventually meet a man who truly sees your value and won’t cringe away from your scars. Despite the evidence to the contrary, there are still a lot of good men in this world who have their priorities straight. And if you remain unacknowledged – if your ex’s opinion continues to stand as man’s last word on your worthiness – maybe it’s because God wants all the credit for His work in you. Maybe He doesn’t want to share it with a white knight. He doesn’t want any doubt that you and He are accomplishing this, alone, together. I don’t know why, but that’s the only comfort I’ve found.

This is the end, but it’s also the beginning. Whether you wanted it or not, you have something not everyone gets – a second chance. You can do this, and we’ll be cheering you on the whole way.

Love, Brenda

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

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28 Responses to A Letter to the Separated

  1. thebeccaoh says:

    This not often spoken truth is much needed. Thank you for writing this.

  2. I’m so proud of you, Brenda, for all you do and then for writing about it, too.

  3. Katharine says:

    Wow, this is beautifully written. It almost brought tears to my eyes, and I (thank God) have not been in this situation.

  4. Well done! And applicable to many situations.

  5. He doesn’t want any doubt that you and He are accomplishing this, alone, together. I don’t know why, but that’s the only comfort I’ve found.

    But haven’t you also had comfort in family and friends?

    • Brenda W. says:

      Yes, but that’s not the kind of comfort I was referring to there. I meant comfort in not knowing why you’re still totally dateless when people you know got divorced after you and are already remarried! :P

      • Well, why didn’t you say so? ;-) Of course you don’t have to be totally in the dark about your status. You’d probably have tons of dates if you casually made more playful faces in polite conversation like you just did in your comment. So many gentlemen trying to court your affection, you wouldn’t know what to do, I tell you. Why, when I read your comment, for an instant I thought, “Where has that tongue-wagging emoticon been all of my life?”

        Well, that’s just a theory anyway. (And by “theory” I mean “harebrained notion.”)

  6. Carol says:

    I think this most showed me how a divorce is like a death. You feel so many of these things after someone dies, and though they’re not the same, I can see the parallels. *hugs*

    • Brenda W. says:

      Totally. That’s one of the most helpful things I’ve learned, that even though circumstances are different, at a certain level all grief is the same. It’s made me feel so much more connected to others and equipped to support and encourage them even if we’ve had different losses.

  7. Suzy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post! I’m passing it along.

  8. I think that this may be the best piece by you I’ve read. Thank you so much for sharing; you’ve opened my eyes and awakened some new compassion in my soul.

  9. Teresa Roberts Johnson says:

    Thank you for speaking truth, light, and life into the nightmare of divorce. It has been almost twelve years since my marriage formally ended, and I can say that while this journey has never been easy, it has never been impossible because the Lord heals and sustains the brokenhearted.

  10. Wow Brenda. That. Was. AWESOME. Like anything pulled from the darkness of our own experience, that was powerful.

  11. Jean W. says:

    This is so helpful and healing. Thank you for your words. Just beginning this painful journey…

    • Brenda W. says:

      I’m glad it helped. So sorry you’re going through this. :( I highly recommend finding a local Divorce Care group or other support group if you haven’t already.

  12. So beautifully written!!! I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever read that you’ve written.

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