This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: DESERVE
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Setting my timer for five minutes, and . . . GO.
He said it was my fault. I had no reason not to believe him. After 13 years I had no reason to doubt his word.
Gaping mouth, eyes wide and filled with tears I wondered how I had gone so wrong. I thought I had done everything right. Well...maybe not everything, but a lot of things.
This was the last thing I expected. The. Last. Thing. And it was my fault??
In the weeks after he left, I was sure everyone knew I had ruined my marriage. While I had gained insight in the past month about some of my shortcomings as a wife, I still wasn't clear on how this was all on my shoulders, but surely everyone else would think that was true.
After all, he was the one who had left our home. I was so intolerable that he took the first chance he could to run out the door and never look back.
How would I survive this shame? Everyone at church was staring. I'm sure of it. They could see the scarlet 'D' on my forehead. The former youth pastor's wife was now a cautionary tale. I could almost hear the hushed voices of mothers telling their newly married, young, daughters to pray harder, submit more, and make sure to keep your husband happy so he doesn't leave you.
And then there were the actual people who told me point blank that I needed to pray harder, submit more, and do whatever it took to get him back. They told me that God hated divorce. It was like they were threatened by my very presence. Fearful that it would spread to them.
It was enough to make me leave church in tears week after week and wonder if I could ever go back.
Truth 1: When a marriage ends it is likely not for just one reason and is a combination of the decisions made by both people. While one person may choose to end the marriage and the other person desires reconciliation, it takes the will of two people to ultimately put things together again. No amount of prayer, submission, and tears will work if both people aren't committed.
Truth 2: No matter what shame you feel about your circumstances, most Christians have compassion and want to help but often don't know how or what to say. It is our job to help the church understand how to minister and pray for and with us.
Truth 3: I used to think I deserved a blessed life because of my. "right" living. A pastoral husband, a few kids, a nice home, vacations at the beach, contentment. But God doesn't promise this. In fact, he often says, "when" trials come and not "if" trials come. Thankfully His presence in the darkness and the light gives new life in ways we can't imagine in the shallow realms of an easy life. Unincumbered by pain or disruption, we easily turn to ourselves, our spouse, and our status for security. For identity. No longer.
So did I "deserve" divorce? I don't think that's the right question.
Once it was decided, the only question left is what ways will God work in and through me to bring about good and growth in the midst of what was broken? He certainly gives more than we deserve.
Psalm 31:21- Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.