We often hear how different religions don’t support divorce yet many people turn to their faith during the end of their marriage and afterwards for much-needed support and guidance.
When I was setting up this interview with my current guest Carol Round, she said that she would not be able to do the interview without talking about her faith and her relationship with God and if that was OK with me, then she’d be happy to share her story. Unlike Missy whose faith supported her through the end of her marriage and her divorce, Carol’s relationship with God grew after her divorce. Here’s Carol:
I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord until after my divorce, when I realized what was missing in my life.
At first I didn’t even go back to church. The divorce was final, the last Thursday in August and then 9/11 happened. But it was October and I was not back in church. I’m a writer and am retired from teaching now but at the time I was still teaching and I was working on a story for a magazine. The story just wasn’t coming together, so I took a break. This was in the afternoon.
I decided to go for a walk and the house I purchased was right on a lake. I went walking down the lake and I did something I had never done before. By the end of the lake there was a picnic table—the commons area. I just felt this emptiness inside of me and I prayed out loud for the very first time. My prayer was, “God, please help me. I need some direction in my life,” because I was feeling very lost.
For 28-plus years, I was somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter. I’m still a daughter, but I was just lost and I think part of that being lost was, because I was also a people pleaser and an overachiever. My mother demanded perfection, so I became a people pleaser. I didn’t know who in the heck I was. Then, when my marriage ended—and of course we had an empty nest, it was just like I was lost. I didn’t have a clue who I was.
I was empty.
I prayed out loud, and immediately, I was flooded with peace. I went back to the house and I finished that story and that began my journey of starting to seek the Lord.
It was the following February before I went back to church there in my new community. I went during the week and visited with the pastor and then started attending church there.
It felt like I had come home.
My sons were raised in the church but they’ve also drifted away, so I pray for God to let my sons to return to church. They’re good men, good fathers, but I pray that they get back into church and have a relationship with the Lord.
I pray the same thing for my ex-husband, even though he never went to church with the kids and I. He went periodically when he was a kid. His parents took him.
What’s been important to me since my divorce is my spiritual growth and using my writing to glorify God.
You have to be intentional about your spiritual growth. It’s not going to church and then walking out the door. It is spending time with the Lord every morning, reading your Bible, praying, studying the Bible, going to—I teach a class now on Wednesday nights at church. It’s intentionally wanting to know the Lord more.
At the time that I got the divorce, I wasn’t reading the Bible. I wasn’t thinking about it from a Christian’s perspective. I read different viewpoints on what God thinks about divorce. If God had been in our marriage, our marriage would have lasted even if I had a relationship with God and my ex had not, because I think I would have had a different sense of my worth.
The Divorce Coach Says
I am not a religious person. I don’t subscribe to a faith and nor do I believe in God yet I can still appreciate Carol’s experience.
I was raised a Christian and the values that are most important to me now are closely aligned to those embodied in the Ten Commandments. But I wasn’t able to articulate this until pretty recently after having worked with my dating coach on my values. Knowing my values has given me a much greater sense of self-worth and they do guide me in my parenting and friendships. Knowing them is reassuring and empowering.
If you’re feeling lost, unsure of your direction I do encourage you to explore your faith community, whether that means returning to the faith in which you were raised as a child or exploring a new one. Don’t get discouraged if your community does not appear to support divorce – that doesn’t mean you have to give up your faith. Start by meeting with your community leaders to gain a better understanding of their position. If you don’t find the support you need, then start looking for another community. The search itself will help you know what’s important to you.
Carol Round has been a writer her whole life and now writes the A Matter Of Faith blog where she shares inspiration thoughts for daily living. She is the author of Journaling With Jesus.