This chapter talks about how I started to rebuild and the importance of self-care when you’ve endured the trauma of divorce. When you are in pieces yourself it’s hard to even know where to start with trying to rebuild a life. You must rebuild your ego, your trust, your instincts, your thoughts… Every part of you that has been crushed by the divorce must be carefully handled and put back together. Slow and steady would be my big take home for this portion of the healing. This doesn’t happen overnight. I will say looking back, the two solid years I went through of rebuilding seems like a short time span, even though the days felt long and suffocating at times. This chapter is choppy. I didn’t like how the first draft read so I am in the process of rewriting most of it. Here is what I’ve decided to keep.
- SOUL REPAIR
“Time is a revealer and an enabler. If you plant a seed in the ground and water it, in time it will grow and reveal its species. If you plant that same seed and never give it water, it will never grow. In the same way, if you go through the process of healing, in time you will be made whole. But if you skip the healing process, you’ll be left wondering why you are the way you are.”
…You are responsible for your own healing. This is both your best friend and your worst enemy. It cannot be dependent on the choices of anyone else. Keep reminding yourself of this truth.
Before deciding to act as Mother Theresa and dive into full forgiveness, I beg you not to rush the necessary recovery needed from the pain you’ve encountered. It will get better, but take every moment as it comes. Experience the pain and move forward. Every single emotion that you feel and every single loss that you grieve is part of your recovery process. Own it. There’s no need in skipping any of it. Fully experiencing it will produce the stronger version of you. And by fully experiencing it, I mean sobbing over a song during your manicure or going back to a familiar “marriage spot” and making a new memory. The spectrum is long and every point will help in the healing.
There is much beauty in forgiveness, even if it seems utterly impossible. Keep your mind on that you are forgiving to create the better version of yourself, not because they deserve it. They don’t, but who really does? When push comes to shove, no one really deserves forgiveness.
There were months where all I could do was think in terms of forgiveness. The act of it was mind-blowing. I knew this was what I eventually needed to accomplish, yet it all seemed so impossible. I read, I prayed, I researched all things forgiveness. I found a helpful book, The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness by Kris and Jason Vallotton. This book described a similar betrayal that I had been faced with.
Supernatural Power of Forgiveness is a great resource for picking up the pieces and moving forward in your marriage as well. It gives practical ways to rebuild trust. “Trust is not built by the absence of mistakes, but rather on how well we clean up our messes.” If you are working to save your marriage, make this your mantra! Your marriage will thank you in twenty years.
DivorceCare also had many grand ideas on forgiveness. It was Session 11 of 13. They knew it was going to take some easing into. I debated skipping this session many times. They broke it down as follows:
Consequences of Unforgiveness
- Emotional Prison
- Physical Effects
- Hurts Relationships
Forgiveness Is Not
- Minimizing the hurt or offense
- A one-time thing
- A promise to cancel a debt
- Liberating and healing
- A hard thing to offer
- First a decision, not a feeling
- Motivated by God’s forgiveness
How Do I Forgive?
- Don’t give up!
- Don’t wait until you FEEL like it)
Experiencing God’s Forgiveness
- There’s nothing God can’t bring us back from
I made the commitment to forgive BD. I use the word commitment because it’s a continual choice. Nothing about it is easy. Nothing about it is deserved. However, the one thing about this particular commitment is that it pieced my heart back together. This choice I make day in and day out is for the greater good. For my daughter, for the other loves in my life, for the better version of myself. The only alternative to forgiveness is unforgiveness and as Joyce Meyer puts it, “unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping that the other person dies.”
Image by The Hipster Housewife