Sacred Scars of Divorce: Why the Divorced Need the Church
She writes: I sewed the scarlet letter for shame to my heart in exchange for freedom because I thought I needed to. You see, it wasn’t that long ago that divorce was still uncommon, even scandalous for those in the conservative church. And there I was caught between serving God or pleasing man.
You hear pastors say, “Church is for everyone.” Sometimes there’s a heartfelt, “Church is for the broken.” I thought those were just empty words intended to stir emotion. After all, I remember vividly the “prayers” for so-and-so going through a divorce. Gasp. Even as a child it seemed like a backhanded way to gossip and there I was, adding to the growing divorce statistic.
The thing about being abused is it kills you inside out and sometimes it breaks every part of you. Sometimes it seems like God couldn’t possibly love you let alone redeem the mess no matter how much you love Him.
But during this time I learned something new about God, He offers Holy Spirit life support. Isn’t that how God is, reaching down, pulling us out, sustaining us in our moments of spiritual hypothermia? You see, it won’t ever matter how much we love God, He will always love us more. And what do we do for those we love dearly? We do everything in our power to sustain them until they come to, and when they do, we nurse them back to full health.
Like a courageous wounded soldier, each week I walked through the doors of the church. Fervently I held back tears (pretty impossible) because just being there was the most peaceful place my battered heart could be. I wished to become a chameleon and blend in so I could stay in that place for hours, singing, learning and absorbing medicine for my soul.
For the first time I realized the pastors weren’t lying, the church is for the brokenhearted, the weary and the healthy; the church is for everybody because we all need somebody. It begins with God but the in real life somebody’s there are an extension of Him. They sincerely want to support, nurture and help restore others.
Putting the bit of residual pride aside (because really, how much is left when your entire world has been destroyed) was the birthplace of real relationships with people at church. Getting to know these people cemented in my heart that God will finish writing every story when given the opportunity, a brilliant ending impossible without trusting Him.
Don’t judge that person joyfully singing at the top of her (probably out of tune) voice because you don’t know the abuse, caner, MS, miscarriages, adultery…she is praising God for redeeming her from. (And well, it may be me, a happily redeemed child of God.) As impossible as it may seem, it can be you to.
You can read more of Julie’s writing at: http://www.peacequility.com