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When Your Family Falls Apart

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FAMILY

Hope for the Journey through Divorce

Yvonne Ortega
Licensed Professional Counselor

CBN.com Maryellen looked at her wedding ring and recalled the bliss of her engagement. She remembered singing the words to the song, “When I Fall in Love, It Will Be Forever.” Then she collapsed in sobs that left her exhausted. The next day she woke up with puffy eyes.

Feelings of anger crept in unannounced. She never expected to feel so much rage. How could she handle it? Waves of depression and suicidal thoughts scared her to the point she wouldn’t drive over a bridge. She wondered if she would ever feel normal again. She asked me what she could do and how she could survive.

As one who has survived divorce by God’s grace, may I offer the same suggestions to all of you going through divorce that I gave Maryellen? First, call a few churches or check the Web site www.divorcecare.org to find a church that offers the support group, Divorce Care. You will find comfort, encouragement, and support from those going through the same experience you are. You can also pray for each other.

Secondly, go to your local book store and purchase the book, Fresh Start Divorce Recovery Workbook. You might think you’ve moved past the anger, hurt, and bitterness, but the chapter on forgiveness will let you know for sure. About a year after the separation, I thought I was doing well until I read the chapter on forgiveness. It made me realize that forgiveness is like an onion with many layers. I peeled off one layer after another. Check the Fresh Start Web site at www.freshstartseminars.org. Perhaps a seminar will come to an area near you. Fresh Start also offers seminars for the children “caught in the middle.” If you have children, all of you may find hope and strength at the seminar.

Please don’t confide in your children. They are not adults. Resist the urge to talk against the other parent in front of them. Children need to feel free to love and respect both parents.

Browse through your church library or the local public library. You may find a DVD series or a book that addresses your circumstances. You can learn from those who have not only survived a divorce, but also thrived.

If you struggle with finances, tithe anyway and ask God to multiply your money. Read the story of the widow in 1 Kings 17:7-24. She had a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug, but the prophet Elijah asked her for food and water. She thought she and her son would eat from the little they had and die, but God had other plans. The jar of flour and the jug of oil didn’t run dry until the Lord brought rain on the land as the prophet had said.

Don’t pretend that everything’s fine. God knows how you feel anyway. Tell Him and allow Him to walk beside you. Begin and end each day with prayer. Read the Bible and look for verses to memorize that will give you hope and courage. Write the verses on sticky notes or 3x5 cards and place them on your bathroom mirror, a kitchen cupboard, the console in your car, or on your desk at work.

Never underestimate the power of praise and worship. Look at 2 Chronicles 20:21: “King Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army.” When you go through a divorce, you are in a battle that shakes the foundation of your faith. Face the battle armed with the power of praise and worship. I used to place the Bible over my heart and fall asleep to praise and worship music. Many nights it was the only way I could sleep.

Ask God to let good come from your pain and suffering. Ask Him for a miracle and then hang on. You are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. God delights in using for good what was meant for evil.


Copyright © 2009 by Yvonne Ortega

Yvonne Ortega is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, speaker, and author. She is the author of Hope for the Journey through Cancer (Revell), a contributing author to The Embrace of a Father (Bethany House), and has published in CBN.com, Spirit-Led Writer, The Secret Place, The Quiet Hour, and The Virginia Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors VAADAC Views. You can find out more about her at www.yvonneortega.com.

 

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