Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Would I Do It Again?

  • blogspot for Dena Johnson of Dena's Devos
  • Published Jun 30, 2021

Have you ever heard that divorce is taking the easy way out?. k

As one who has walked through divorce, let me tell you that divorce is many things—but it is not the easy way out. Anyone who has been married knows that marriage can be hard, but a marriage between two people who have the best interest of the other in mind is amazing! Yes, there will be hard seasons, but knowing that someone else has your back no matter what life brings is an incredible blessing.

Want to know what divorce is?

Divorce is an excruciating separation of one flesh. When two have committed to one another with the expectation that only death will separate, the pain can make you wish for death.

Divorce is an ending of the life you dreamed. When you wake up one day and realize that you won’t be able to sit on the front porch and reminisce about raising children together, it is a crushing reality.

Divorce is a crushing failure. It doesn’t make the one walking through divorce, but when your greatest desire was to have a marriage that does the distance, it seems like you are a failure. And as a
Christian? It is a double failure because not only have you failed at marriage but you have failed God.

Divorce is a crisis of faith. When you sought God and prayed for the one you should marry. When you begged God to heal your marriage. When you walked with God your entire life and the “blessings” you reap are divorce. When all you hear from God is silence. When you are attacked and made to be the villain. When the church shuns you because you are divorced. Divorce becomes a crisis of faith, a place where you are forced to determine who you are at the core of your being.

Divorce is a lifetime sentence. When you divorce, you never really get closure especially if there are kids involved. You are forced to work with your ex-spouse to raise kids. You have to split holidays and vacations. When the kids are grown and have families of their own, the juggling of multiple families never ends. There are the uncomfortable and momentous occasions such as marriages and births where you are forced to put on a face and attempt to co-exist peacefully.

Divorce is a financial hardship. I spent the first ten years of my life as a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. Suddenly, I was thrust back into the work force, starting over at entry level positions. I had to scrape and claw my way back to financial stability—just when we were finally going to be able to start breathing financially. I was blessed with amazing jobs over the years, but I now stare at retirement approaching ever so swiftly, wondering if I will ever be able to enjoy the golden years.

Divorce is an unwanted label. You probably never think twice about filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office—unless you are divorced. Why does it matter if you are single, married, divorced, or widowed? Why do we have to designate why we are single? Is it really anyone’s business? The label divorced is everywhere, like a scarlet letter “D” around your neck. You cannot escape it.

Divorce is a lonely road. This world was created for married couples, complete families. Even the church caters to traditional families. When you are divorced, you feel like an outcast or a third-wheel. And don’t even get me started on those cold and lonely nights where you crawl in bed alone, exhausted, longing for someone to share the burden.

I’m sure I could go on, but I think you get the picture. If someone is telling you that divorce is the easy way out, I want to assure you that there is nothing easy about divorce.

I guess the question that has been ringing in my mind lately is would I do it again?

The truth is I really didn’t have much of a choice in my divorce. My ex-husband chose another. Sure, he wanted to keep his marriage together, but he wasn’t willing to give up his girlfriend. I could not stand by and be an enabler any longer. I could not allow my children to think it is acceptable to treat your spouse this way. So let me tell you what else divorce is.

Divorce is an opportunity to develop intimacy with God like you’ve never known before. I experienced the sweetest whispers from my Father as He carefully picked up the broken pieces and began to put my life back together again. He whispers because He is near the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18).

Divorce is an opportunity to see God provide. Over and over, I watched as God dropped sweet provision before me. The sweet lady from Canada who sent me her Christmas bonus that was exactly what I needed to put braces on my youngest. The gentleman at church who slipped a $100 bill in my hand which was exactly what I needed to pay for my boys’ basketball fees. My needs were always met at just the right time.

Divorce is an opportunity to reconstruct your faith. When everything you’ve ever known is called into question, you read scripture with new eyes. You begin to question traditions that were handed down through the years, and you realize not everything you were taught stands the test of scripture. Your faith is reconstructed and becomes more genuine than you ever thought it could.

Divorce is an opportunity to see God’s work in your life. In Deuteronomy 8:2, the Israelites are reminded that God led them through the wilderness so He could humble and test them to see what’s in their hearts. Divorce is a wilderness experience where you begin to see the true condition of your heart. It’s the wilderness journey where God transforms you into His image.

Divorce is an opportunity for new beginnings. God never leaves us in the wilderness. He has a promised land for us, and He won’t stop until we reach that promised land. I had so many new beginnings. New job. New friends. New ministry. And now a new husband. I marvel at where I was and where I am. There is such a sweetness in the new thing He is doing in our lives (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Divorce is an opportunity to be set free. Don’t get me wrong: marriage is not a prison. However, a sick, dysfunctional, abusive marriage can become a prison that robs you of life. It steals your ability to live for the purpose for which He created you (Ephesians 2:10). Honestly, I didn’t even see the true condition of my marriage. I didn’t see the curse-laden tirades or name-calling as verbal abuse. I didn’t see the mind games as mental abuse. I didn’t see that I was a captive in my own marriage.

Divorce is an opportunity. As I’ve said above, it’s all about opportunity. Everything in this life is opportunity—it’s what we choose to make of it. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can choose to let God use it to make us more like Him, to see His glory manifested in our lives. When Lazarus died, Jesus told Mary and Martha that his death was so God could show His glory (John 11). Our lives are an opportunity to showcase God’s glory if we choose to surrender to Him.

My divorce was an incredibly hard season, one filled with all kinds of tears and fears. The consequences continue to this day as I struggle to understand what God has for my future.

But God…

In the midst of my most painful season, God gave some of His greatest gifts. He raised this broken soul from death to life. He gave me the most beautiful redemption as He walked me into the promised land. The days of sadness and pain have faded into a beautiful life that only God could create.

Would I do it again?

I sat with my daughter last week, tears streaming down her face as she grappled with the pain of Father’s Day. You see, her earthly father died unexpectedly five years ago. She is in this complicated season of grief where she is trying to make sense of God’s blessings in the midst of the pain, where she is trying to reconcile the dad she always wanted with the dad she had.

As we sat together, she looked at me and said, “Mom, I am so glad you divorced him.” You see, the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse she suffered left deep scars, but because of the divorce she only had to live with it part-time. She had a safe place, a home where she was free to be a kid.

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat. I would walk through all of the pain and the hardship to provide my kids a safe and stable home, to know they had a place of peace.

I would sign those papers again to experience the blessings of redemption.

I would walk through the wilderness again to experience the intimacy with my Father.

I would do it all again to gain the most beautiful blessings of my life.  

Read More Dena Johnson Martin