Faith, Grace, Pain and suffering, parenting, Spiritual Growth

Rewriting History

Have you ever seen history rewritten?

History is often about perspective. We each have our own experiences through which we interpret events. Sometimes an event will change the way we see our past.

I’ve seen this over the last years concerning marriage. Often, we rewrite our marriages in light of our circumstances. For example, I’ve known people who did not have good marriages by any standards. They were miserable. Perhaps they lived with an angry, bitter spouse. Or an addict. Or an emotional abuser.

And then their spouse dies. Suddenly, they view their marriage through a different lens. They remember all the good times. They look back at their marriage and remember it fondly. They miss their spouse and long for their marriage…no matter what it was like.

Those of us who are divorced often do the same thing, but in reverse.

When I divorced, the hurt and pain were devastating, too much to bear. The cruelty of his affair was a crushing blow, one that could have done me in forever. The rejection. The feelings of worthlessness. The fear of not being loved ever again.

The final years of my marriage were unbelievably painful. And those years rewrote my marriage. Completely wiped out my memory of any good times we had together. Made me wonder why I ever married him in the first place.

Over the years, I have worked hard to forgive, to wipe out any bitterness that I might be clinging to. It’s been hard. Those of you who are divorced with kids know how difficult it is to co-parent with that pain. You know what it’s like when you have disagreements over the kids. You know the ongoing battles, hurts, pains. They never end.

And they make it difficult to fully forgive.

That’s the life I’ve lived for the last 6-7 years. And these years have rewritten my history.

But, this last week, my history has begun to be rewritten in a different direction. My ex-husband—the father of my children—passed away suddenly last week.

Can I just say that death post-divorce brings a very strange mixture of feelings? Am I now a widowed divorcee? How does the interaction between his family and me play out?

More important than anything, what about my kids?

My kids are grieving. Such a painful mix of emotions for them. And they are each grieving in their own way. Quiet, withdrawn, contemplative. Tearful outbursts that come on for no reason. Just trying to be happy because we like to make others smile. Hurt and pain that they will never see their dad again on this earth. Guilt for a relationship that was not what they had hoped—and they will never get a chance to have. Shock that he’s gone, so quickly, so suddenly. Anger over the complicated family dynamics.

So very much to handle at such a young age.

And me? Wow. I don’t even know where to start. Suddenly, I am flooded by the good memories of our marriage, things I had pushed out of my mind for years. The way he made me laugh. He really could be so funny. His preaching ability. He was truly a very gifted speaker. He had the ability to stand up and speak on a moment’s notice (unlike me who wants/needs ample notice to prepare). His knowledge of the Word. He could open scripture and see things I would never see.

We communicated so well during our marriage. We had such open communication that he even told me of his attraction to the woman he eventually had an affair with. We talked openly about it, trying to fight that temptation (until he succumbed to temptation and shut me out).

My ex-husband had some great qualities, qualities that I see in my children. My kids would not be who they are if he were not their dad. And I am blessed with three amazing children—children who are my heart and soul, my heroes. Children who have walked through so much pain in their short lives and are now faced with even more pain. Children who love Jesus and are overcomers. Children who are desperately in need of all of the love and prayers they can get right now.

Last night, the day after his death, two of my kids went with me to a special service at church. Throughout the service, I felt the weight of the situation. I’ve been a single parent for years. I’ve really had little to no help for the daily responsibilities. I’ve carried the load. I’ve been a solo parent.

And yet, somehow knowing he is gone, the burden seemed so much heavier. I tried to remind myself that our daily lives will not change. We will continue doing exactly what we’ve done for the last six or seven years. I will continue to take my kids to every doctor appointment. I will continue to take them to every school activity. I will continue to sit in the stands and cheer my kids on…alone. I will continue to be the only parent standing by their side for every awards assembly.

But, I now have to walk them through their own grief. I have to wonder who will give my daughter away on her wedding day. They will never have a dad at their graduation. Or when they have children of their own. There will always be a hole, a hole that is not easily filled.

And me? Suddenly I began to wonder if I had ever said anything in my writing that I shouldn’t have. Never would I ever want to disrespect him, to use my blog to tear him down. Yes, he had an affair. It is a fact documented in public records. But, I do everything I can to protect his identity by writing under another name. I write about my journey to healing and wholeness, not about him. But I am reconsidering every word I write in an effort to keep from painting him in the wrong light.

Again, I feel like I am just rambling. So many thoughts running through my mind. So much hurt and pain that doesn’t even seem right in some ways. So much fear for my children. Such a heavy weight of helping them navigate this new journey that has been thrust upon us.

Ultimately, I know my Savior is faithful. He has carried us through some incredibly dark and difficult days, and I know He will by faithful to carry us through again. I’ve been praying for a deeper faith. (Really? You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time.) But I know this is an opportunity to see God do incredible things. The impossible is a set up for God to show up.

As I run to my Savior’s arms, I look forward to having my Heavenly Daddy bind up my wounds and heal my broken heart—and the hearts of my children. I look forward to a new intimacy with my Father. I look forward to experiencing my Savior’s tender loving care…again. I look forward to learning more of my Father’s nature, more about who He is. I look forward to an incredible period of spiritual growth.

I don’t always know what God is doing, but I have learned that I can trust Him.

If there’s one thing I need, it’s prayer. You all have been so amazing! So many words of kindness and encouragement. So many people all around the world praying for us. It’s so great to share those words with my children, to let them know they are not alone in this journey.

Please continue to pray that I will be able to lead my children to a place of healing and wholeness. Pray for my children as they navigate these tumultuous waters of grief and guilt. And pray for my ex-husband’s family as they mourn the loss of their son, their brother, their uncle, their nephew.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire 0f oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

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20 thoughts on “Rewriting History”

  1. I am a new follower and just getting to know you and your children, and my heart is aching for you. I am so, so sorry for your loss, and for your children’s loss of their father. As a divorced single mother for many years, I can only imagine the tangled mix of emotions you are going through right now. Count me among your supporters and know that I will be lifting you and your children up in prayer. God is good. He WILL see you through. Blessings.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I am praying for you and your children as well as the family of your ex. May God cover all of you with his peace, comfort, and strength to face the future.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your life! I am so encouraged by reading your blogs. It is helping me walk in the Light of Our amazing Father Our Lord JESUS CHRIST!! I will be praying for you and your children! So sorry to hear about the loss of their Father. Again Thank you for making my days easier and Pointing me to our Savior!!

  4. Just beautiful, Dena. Cling to Jesus and protect the hearts of your children. Praying for you all.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. I had a feeling from your last posting that he had passed. Your story is mine, I know it well. I cried, and could not put exact meaning to my mourning. I felt the extreme burden of my son’s emotional welfare piled on my shoulders. I reminisced the archives of better days. I then blamed myself. That last issue stayed with me for years and colored my world. I don’t know if I am through this journey yet because my son is a wreck and has enormous deep seated pain and has basically left me. I know and I will pray.

  6. Dena – You have been there and prayed for all of us, and it is nice to know that you are being lifted up in prayer as well (including your children and husband). Through the struggle of separation and divorce/custody, I have prayed to know His will. Whether it is His will for restoration or to let go and move on. I often thought of you, and included you in those prayers. It has taken a long time to understand that resentments (to all including oneself) keep us from Him. The unspoken words, and the might have beens…..will linger for a long time. May you all find peace, love, and a trust in Him. You will show us how to cope with this. That is a gift you will give, through His grace. You are in our prayers.

  7. Dena i will certainly keep your family in prayer. Looks like the Lord wants you to learn how to hit curve balls as well as the fast ball and change up. Forgive the sports, but i thought it might be helpful for the kids. 🙂 take care

  8. Dear Dena and children uplifting you all in prayer at this sad time.
    Your Heavenly Father will hold you close to his heart and walk with you and be there for you every step of the way. God Bless.

  9. That is my life verse in Isaiah, name of my youngest. This life is frought with jagged edges and plan b’s. We serve a perfect savior but we live in an imperfect world and where the wrongs that we have done, and the wrongs done to us were nailed there with Him, there on the cross.

    I think all who read this could share pains that life has brought them, some more some less, but we have to believe that his love was reaching, an invisible hand pulling us through.

    —fgp

  10. Hi Dena,
    This is Shuba from India. Please know that prayers for you and the kids are going up from this side of the world. He will never leave us or forsake us 😍
    Hugs
    Shuba
    Shuba

  11. You are an amazing being of God! You know…He is a “Good, Good Father”! Please listen to that song by Casting Crowns. You and your children are in my prayers. Be encouraged by Psalm 61:2 “Lord when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”!

  12. Dear Dena and family, please accept my deepest condolences for your loss. I will uphold you in my prayers. Dena I have been reading your blog for some time now and as a divorce myself it has been a blessing to me. I trust that God will give you the strength to be there for your children as they go through this difficult time.i do understand how much you are reliving the good times in your marriage and do continue to do so because it is from these memories with God’s help you will come through this valley. I would like to share this verse with you from 1 John 4 v 4 ” For the one who is in you is greater than the one who is on the world.”

  13. My prayers are with you and your children! I, too, had my husband leave our marriage (leaving me with full custody of our children, little interest in being involved in their lives, and very limited financial assistance) for another relationship. I have read your blog for a while now and have been uplifted and inspired by how you handle single parenting and your openness in sharing how you have used the ruins of your marriage to build a ministry to others who are in a similar situations. I have recently remarried, and am focused on looking forward to what God has in store for my life – not backwards to the hurt of the past. However, I cannot imagine how I would process having my ex-husband pass from this world. I cannot “sugar coat” it and say that I would be devastated…and yet I can imagine being flooded with fond memories of past times while also filled with worry for my children who are teens/young adults but still have a longing for an earthly father. I have no doubt that you will write in the days ahead from the heart and share how God is leading you and your precious children forward in grace and love. You are a rock and an inspiration and God most definitely has a purpose for what you are going through at this time.

  14. I will pray for you and your family. I know the hurt of a husband having an affair and leaving. My husband was a deacon in our church, good man, good husband, up to that point where he gave in to sin. I experienced tremendous hurt and pain, it changed my life dramatically.God has led each step of the way to recovery. I will never recover fully, not on this earth. You and I both know that being one with someone is just that, one, now broken apart, always aware of the other half being gone. I wish him well, as you seem to do. and hope he will find peace. We have been apart for 17 years now, but it still grieves me. I didn’t get my divorce until we had been apart for 15 years. The hurt is still there, but thanks be to my God, it is easier to bear. I pray God will give you peace and much strength to carry on. That your children will have this as well, We had one child, when he left, she was 17 at the time. She is grown to be an awesome woman, mother, wife and to me, a friend . All things work together for good for Gods’ children. Thank you for your blog, it helps. In Christian love, Debbie

  15. It always amazes me how the treacherous times in our lives can bring such wholeness
    What the enemy has meant for destruction flourishes within the courts of our God
    I am too a wife who had the rug pulled out from under her, about to celebrate 19 years of marriage , we have three amazing children , also leaders within in our church home … It has only been 7 months and as many of you have expressed in words that only my heart and mind have thought , i am encouraged to know that this journey , as hard, as lonely and painful as it is , is not being done alone

    As there are no words to console or comfort such grief , I only wish there was something that could take away the agonising pain ,and I could give you a great big hug , but I know you know that only the oil of our lords presence can fill those voids
    Dena, I simply say to you, know that this one is also praying
    From one stranger to another sending love to you and your families xxx

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