2015 is upon me. A new year full of possibilities. Right now I am struggling to overcome my fear of the unknown. I’ve never been very good at dealing with the unknown. I have a confession. Sometimes, when it’s apparent that the book I’m reading is a cliffhanger and can go either way, I skip ahead to the end so that I can end the suspense. Then, I can go back to my place and enjoy it without the stress of wondering about how it ends. My first divorce court hearing was today. I didn’t attend, but let my lawyer take care of it. And I can’t skip to the end. I have to wait until I hear from my lawyer to find out what happened. Yes, I admit that I am nervous. I’m nervous about the outcome, and nervous that there won’t be an outcome. My life has been in limbo for nine months while my husband stalls the process. I have tried my best not to be impatient. But, the truth is that I’m impatient for my marriage to be over once and for all. It seems like my pending divorce represents not only the end of my marriage, but the end of my old self. The final chapter of the submissive, manipulated daughter, wife, friend and “Christian”. And the birth of the strong, feisty me.
My husband has left me alone for the past nine months until a couple of weeks ago. Now, when I text him to ask for something from the house, he takes the opportunity to tell me that he misses me and wishes we could work it out. I just want everything to be resolved so that I can go on with my life. I try not to dwell on it, but I have to admit that sometimes it’s difficult to go through the motions. I am resolved to rise above the drama and just keep on keeping on. So, I paste a smile on my face and move forward. I can keep growing as a person, even while feel like I’m in limbo. I will get past this and I know that someday this will all be a distant memory. I have to hold my head high and remember that I no longer have any obligation to give my husband the time of day.
This past week a prominent woman from my former church shared a very disturbing blog post. She went into detail about how divorce is wrong and that she regrets divorcing her husband ten years ago. Mind you, her husband was abusive. She cites the fact that she lost “the opportunity to be a beautiful reflection of Christ and the covenant of marriage”, and that she lost her “earthly provider and protector”. Her attitude is a reflection of the toxic teachings of my former pastor. He protects and supports a drug addict and convicted sex offender, but refuses to take a stand against domestic abuse. Marriage must be preserved at all costs, even when the husband is verbally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abusive. Evidently, even physical abuse has to reach a certain level to be considered serious. When I read her post, it brought back guilt where guilt should not exist. I remember my pastor calling me the day they helped me move out and asking for my husband’s phone number. He wanted to call my husband to reassure him that the church wasn’t encouraging me to leave him. I was so stunned by his request that it practically rendered me speechless. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to refuse. I couldn’t fathom, after all I had shared with him, that he still felt that God hates divorce more than God hates abuse.
I’ve been retrospective lately about the events that lead up to me leaving my husband. Looking back, I’m still not quite sure at what point I started to question what the church had taught me my whole life. I don’t recall an earth shattering revelation or a bolt of lightning. I had prayed for so many years for God to change my husband’s heart and save me from my circumstances. I sincerely believed what I had been taught by the conservative Christian churches I have attended. My duty as a Christian wife was to pray for my husband and submit to him, despite the abuse. Perhaps by my example he would see the error of his ways and change. Now it all seems so unbelievable that I bought into it, hook, line and sinker. After my mom passed away several years ago, I felt so alone. At least when she was alive, I could load the kids in the car and go to her house for a few hours to get away. After she died, I really had no one to turn to. Perhaps that was the turning point for me. When I had no one to turn to except myself, I was forced to make a decision. Did I want to spend the rest of my life in fear? I knew the answer to that question was “No”. But, it would take me eight more years to have the courage to turn my back on my husband, my church and my well-meaning friends who believed that I would be sinning to end my marriage. I had to come to a place where the fear of staying in an abusive marriage was greater than the fear of leaving.
My daughter texted me today, asking me how the hearing went. I told her that I don’t know yet. She said she was sorry and I replied that I was, too. Then I told her that no matter what happens we were going to be okay. And I know that it’s true. I feel confident that my life will go on and I will keep moving forward. I have to remember that I have the power over my own life. I am the happiest that I have been in as long as I can remember. Despite the uncertainty of my circumstances, I am enjoying life like I haven’t done since as far back as I can remember. And there’s no holding me back!