“'For I hate divorce!' says the Lord, the God of Israel." (Malachi 2:16)I’ve heard it quoted by so many people. It’s been thrown in my face, reminding me what a sinful person I am for walking away from my marriage. I’ve been told I am required to live a celibate life until my death, pining away for my ex-husband or risk the fires of hell for living in adultery.And yet, I know how hard I tried to save my marriage. I know how I chose forgiveness after learning of his adultery. I know how I prayed without ceasing, fully believing God would save my marriage. I know the hurt and pain I endured for the sake of doing the right thing, of keeping my marriage together.I also know how I was losing my dignity and self-respect. I know how my very life was being chipped away, bit by bit. I know how I doubted myself, wondered what was so terribly wrong with me that I couldn’t keep my husband happy. I know how I began to hate myself, hate my life.Until the day God told me it was time to walk away. Yes, God told me it was time, I had endured enough hurt, pain, and rejection. It was time for me, the captive, to be set free. It was time for me to fulfil the purposes for which He created me.Since that day over seven years ago, my life has changed dramatically. My children and I have found freedom. We have found joy. We have found purpose. We have found life. And we have found our Saviour!But it’s not been easy. I have battled shame, guilt, and condemnation for years, and my fellow Christians have often chosen to add more guilt and shame on top of what I’ve already experienced. I’ve been told how much God hates divorce, how disappointed He is in me. I’ve been told I chose happiness over holiness. But, if that’s true, why would God tell me to walk away?-Dena Johnson
“You can argue that God would never plan for any divorce or any of the pain that comes with it. But God allows pain to bring about a greater good for His people. God told Moses to move His people out of Egypt into the desert. After a short period of rejoicing, they started to feel the pain of desert living when they’d been used to a life of abundance in Egypt.
In their pain, they learned that they had to depend on God for everything. Similarly, I had to learn to depend on God, which brought me closer to Him. Every single day God uses sin and destruction in this world to bring His children closer to Him. It’s in the good and abundant times, just like the Israelites, that we often forget how much we still need God every single day.We often feel closest to God in the painful trials of life. But even after the pain has diminished and you start to heal, God hopes that that relationship will be just as valuable as it was in the beginning stages. He wants all humans to first love Him and have a close personal relationship with Him. Second, He asks that we love others with the same love that He loves us. That’s our purpose and that’s our ministry.When we surrender our will to His and accept His redeeming grace, then we can be used to further the Kingdom. Yes, even us divorced women.”
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