An Open Letter to Ex-Wives   1 comment

Ok, reality check.  You may have read one to many “open letters” to new girlfriends or step moms . . . I certainly have.  They are stock full of beautiful ideals and good intentions.  It’s wonderful that those one in a million kind of relationships exist.  But if you are looking around at your new definition of family and it’s not even close . . . you are in good company.  Now before you start thinking, “if only my child’s step-mom” . . . or “if only my ex” . . . that’s not even close to where I’m going with this.  The reality is life is messy.  People make choices, choices have consequences.  ALL OF US.  If you’re thinking I’m going to go into a soliloquy about how everyone else is to blame for the co-parenting relationship being less than ideal, you might as well just stop reading.  This is for the rest of us imperfect people.

First let me say, I am so sorry.  I know the heartache of divorce.  It literally felt like someone came and ripped my soul into two.  For me, it was excruciating.  I gave everything to my husband, all I had.  I felt like I had nothing left.  A millions pieces shattered, and not a clue how God could possibly put them back together.  I know how it is to pray and believe for a child, and one day your prayers to be answered, only for half of her life to be spent away from you.  I know how it feel to kiss her good-bye as she leaves with a stranger, and someone who was once my best friend, now also a stranger.  So many painful moments, nights spent crying out for God to make everything better, to “fix” things.  It hurts.  Anyone who says it doesn’t is in denial or they’re lying.  Here’s the thing, it doesn’t hurt so much or so often.  Every time I invite God into a splintered part of my heart, He softens and changes me.  There is HOPE.  Will things ever be perfect?  Not as long as you are alive.  I promise you it can be BEAUTIFUL though.

Secondly, “An Open Letter to my Daughter’s Step Mom” isn’t your story.  It’s someone’s beautiful story, but not yours.  You will have your own.  Different details, different characters, different ending.  We all find ourselves in the middle of the story, not the end.  Don’t ever convince yourself it’s the end.  Some of us are on chapter 10 or 11, you may be on chapter 1 or 31.  Regardless, no once can judge you by another person’s story, so neither should you.  I don’t know who the characters in your story, but chances not all the characters in your story are as willing participants in the beautiful story you’re trying to write.  God has an amazing way of using even those characters that are antagonists in your story and weaving them into his incredibly beautiful masterpiece.  I have a few thoughts that may bring you peace or help you in this journey.  They’ve helped me.

This was NOT God’s will.   I’m not sure why, but it seems like we have to fit everything into the category of “God’s will” as part of healing or acceptance.  It was not God’s will for your marriage to disintegrate, and for your children to have a segmented life   “28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  I rest on that, and so can you.  But you need to know, divorce, step-parents, co-parenting was never God’s will.  I’m not saying you failed or that your situation is hopeless, or that you are to blame.  What I’m saying is that what you’re dealing with was never God’s intention.  Do a search for “covenant” and for “divorce” in the bible.  You will never see a single verse where God says that divorce and remarriage is His ideal.  I’m not arguing divorce and remarriage doctrine, just simply saying that this is not God’s best.  I’m saying there’s a reason that things don’t feel right.  A reason why they hurt.  Convincing yourself that everything that happens in your life is God’s will and therefore you must accept as such will eventually lead you to resent and mistrust a God who ultimately planned such pain for you.  God’s plans are always good.

God has a plan  “28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” Jeremiah 29:11.  So,  your situation wasn’t God’s plan.  Where does that leave you?  To keep walking out a plan, a life that is less than blessed?  The good news is God has a plan.  Find out what it is!  It often involves love, sacrifice and restoration. I’m not saying life will be the fairy tale you dreamed when you played house as a little girl.  I’m saying you will see true miracles.  In your in relationships, in your heart and in your finances.

God’s plan involves YOU.  There’s a good chance that you have struggled with focusing on what you perceive are the inadequacies of others.  There’s an even greater chance that you often feel powerless in your situation.  Just because you don’t see the solution in a situation, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  God is a creative God.  He parted a sea to deliver the Israelites, caused the sun to stop in the sky to give victory, calmed a storm for terrified disciples.  He was and is the same God and can be in your life if you allow Him.  “I the Lord do not change”  Mal 3:6, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”  James 5:7.  Here are some ways you can be an active participant in that plan.

Forgive.  (Matt. 6:14)  You need to know that forgiving doesn’t mean that what others have does is acceptable or right.  It means that you are giving it to God and trusting Him to do the best thing.  It’s unloading your soul of that pain, and your spirit of that bondage.  I think it’s easy to hold on to even the smallest pieces of unforgiveness, because in a way, and it makes it still feel like there’s a connection.  Let it go, and let God fill the empty spots it leaves.  It’s likely you’ll need to forgive yourself.  No one is perfect, and it’s likely you contributed in some way to your failed marriage.  Unload it, give it to God.  You’re dragging around that hurt and bitterness like a huge sack of rocks if you don’t.

Give your dreams to God.  One of the hardest things for me to deal with as an ex-wife and mother was the shattering of so many dreams.  I wanted more children.  I wanted to do ministry together.  I wanted to grow old together.  Those desire are all healthy and good, but life looks so much different now.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire is the tree of life” Proverbs 13:12.  Give every desire you have to God, trust Him, see what it does.  It actually will help with the forgiveness process because you won’t be so busy resenting the other person for those dreams not materializing.

  Stop looking to others to meet needs only God can fill.  When I look back on my marriage, what root sin I found myself repenting for was idolatry.  I looked to my husband to tell me who I was.  I looked to my husband to meet all of my needs.  I looked to my husband to tell me what my purpose was.  All things I should have been looking to God for.  If you don’t deal with these tendencies to run to others for what God wants to give you, you will always feel empty and always be looking to fill that void.  It leaves you vulnerable to jump into the next relationship based on your need, not God’s will.  I’m not just talking about emotional needs, any needs.  It’s easy to be frustrated by the financial situation you find yourself in.  Life looks a lot different when you are a single mother.  But God promises He will meet ALL our needs.  “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Pil 4:19.  He will fill the gaps in your heart and life that seem to be left empty by a failed marriage. “For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5

     Walk in honor.  Most wedding vows contain the promise to honor your spouse until death.  You may think because you are no longer married to this person that you’re “off the hook”.  That’s not true!  We are called to love and honor everyone that is in our lives.  “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ”  Romans 12:9. If you just cringed at my application of this verse, it’s ok.  It kind of smacked me in the head to when I first read it.  If honor looks like keeping your mouth shut and biting your tongue until it bleeds, then do it!  I’m not perfect in it, but I’m definitely leaning on God for the ability to walk in honor and love in every area of my life.  You may not like this, but that includes his decision to marry someone else.     It doesn’t mean that you are thrilled or even agree, it means that you acknowledge her roll and importance to him and his life and your child’s life.  It means that you don’t intentionally do things to cause division between them.  Your decision to honor WILL affect your children.   Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2.  If you choose not to honor your ex or his new wife, what example are you setting?  How easy are you making it for your child to honor them?

If you have been reading this, thinking that your situation is impossible.  You’re right, in your own strength it is impossible.  If you invite God into your mess, it is completely POSSIBLE.  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
19:26.  Can I tell you this because my life is perfect and my daughters step mom and I go for mani-pedis each weekend?  Not exactly.  In fact, I don’t even have her contact information.  Communication is sparse and limited with my ex, and my daughter is expected to live two different completely disjointed lives.  It’s not easy.  It’s messy.   But I have more peace than ever.  What changed?  ME.   And guess what?  In the middle of it, I have seen God do miracles that I never expected. I’ve seen God do miracles in a difficult schedule and give us extreme favor.  I’ve seen God provide in ways I never expected.  He’s provided for not just needs, but wants as well.  In a difficult situation that is so tied to someone else, it’s easy to feel powerless.  As though they dictate the course of your life.  I love Job’s perspective, in Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  No one can steal or change God’s good purpose and plan for you.  The only way you can miss out on it, is if you forfeit it.  So don’t.   Let God into your mess.  Ask Him the plan.  Let Him decide what your heart and your life should look like, and trust Him that in His time, He will accomplish it.

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One response to “An Open Letter to Ex-Wives

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  1. Proud of you. You’ve come a long way and you’re still on that journey. “In all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart. “(‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭4-7a‬ NIV)

    Liked by 1 person

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