Anger, Forgiveness, Grace, Pain and suffering, promises, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

My Defender

“We have heard that you had multiple affairs and destroyed multiple families,” the email from my employer read.

Stunned. Shocked. Mortified. Hurt. Angry.

The emotions rocked me to my very core. My hands shook as I attempted to respond. Where could such a venomous attack come from? Hadn’t I suffered enough already?

Yes, in the years since my divorce I have heard multiple versions of the events leading to my divorce.

In one, I simply woke up one morning and decided I didn’t love him any more and wanted to marry someone else. I guess it could be technically true, but it’s hard to leave out the three year affair and the online dating account that led me to that point.

Another version has me having multiple affairs, destroying multiple families. Of course, one must take into consideration that these “affairs” happened after divorces caused by cheating spouses.

Most recently, I have encountered stories about my treatment of my kids. I always wondered how the situation was being explained. But, I no longer have to wonder.

Can I just say that divorce is awful? People choose sides. Families are split. And ugly things are said and done.

I have truly done my best to walk in integrity, to do what was right even if it meant I lost the battle. I have always attempted to put my children first, to make sure I was looking out for their best interest. I will always sacrifice if it means my children suffer less. That’s what a mom does.

But I’ve also worked hard to make them fight their own battles. I refuse to step in and cover for them. If there’s something they want or need, I make them stand up for themselves. I just believe that’s the best way to raise my children—giving them the courage and confidence to make decisions, speak their minds, and follow through.

I wish we could all put the past behind us, be adults, put forgiveness and reconciliation above self. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Without going into details, let me just say that I had some very ugly—but not completely unexpected—accusations thrown at me at my ex-husband’s funeral a few weeks ago. I was mourning, my heart-broken for my kids. I was shocked, saddened by his sudden passing. I was devastated for his family. And I was hurt very deeply by unkind words, by absolute hatred.

I wanted so badly to lash out, to tell the world the truth. I wanted to defend myself, to tell my side of the story. I wanted to treat others just as ugly as I was being treated.

Instead, I chose to bite my tongue while fuming inside. I chose to hide in the back of a vehicle rather than face my accusers. I chose to do my best to be the bigger person.

And, after about 36 hours of utter devastation, I felt God melting my heart. I sensed Him calling me to put aside my bitterness and anger and look at my accusers with eyes of compassion and forgiveness. I sensed Him telling me to love as He would love, to let my actions prove my innocence.

Sometimes I would rather live life my way than His…

Yes, in my humanity, I want to lash out rather than listen to God’s plan. I want to take all of the written evidence I have and publish it, to show the world I am not guilty. I want to point to all of the times I’ve gone out of my way to go the extra mile even though I didn’t need to, even though many said I shouldn’t.

Even now, three weeks later, I still find myself fighting daily to choose forgiveness, to choose to put the anger and bitterness aside. I don’t really want to choose God’s way today.

And yet, I know that His perfect peace guards my heart and mind as I choose His way. I know that He is my Defender and He has a way of bringing truth to light. I know that He is much better at defending me than I ever will be. I know His way is best…always.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

It’s often difficult to sit back and let God work…in His way and in His time. Our human nature screams to step in and fight the battle.

Think about all the times the Israelites took matters into their own hands. Abraham and Sarah decided to manipulate circumstances to have a baby…which led to extreme bitterness and Abraham sending his oldest son away. David decided to cover his sins by having Uriah killed…rather than trusting God to have grace. King after king went to war…even when God said not to go.

But then we have Joshua who chose to fight Jericho God’s way…and succeeded in the most unusual way as the walls simply crumbled. Or Gideon who was called to fight the Midianites…and succeeded after God whittled his army down to only 300 men. Or Joseph who faithfully followed God day after miserable day while sitting in prison…until God raised him up to a position of prominence at the right time.

The point: When we fight God’s way, we find success. It may not happen in our time. It may not happen the way we expect it to happen. But we see God move on our behalf in powerful ways.

Over the last seven years, I have seen God move on my behalf so many times. I have seen Him bring the truth to light repeatedly, vindicating me for wrongful accusations. I have seen Him answer my prayers in ways I never could have dreamed possible.

For years now, I have found myself running back to Psalm 37:4-7: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Day after day, I beg God to let my righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noon day sun. He has never failed me. And so, here I am again. Begging God to be my Defender. Begging God to reveal truth. Begging God to work on my behalf.

I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I do know that He is faithful, that He is working on my behalf. I simply pray that as I strive to follow hard after Him, my attempts to love my accusers—no matter how feeble those attempts may be—will be supernaturally multiplied.

Lord Jesus, you know every broken, bruised heart reading these words. You know how hard we have worked to live with integrity, to live above the level of reproach. You know the truth behind our actions, even when others may not. You know the accusations we face daily, the lies told about us. We pray that you, the Truth, will shine your light into our circumstances, allowing our righteousness to shine like the dawn and the justice of our cause like the noon day sun. We love you and trust you to act in your time and in your way.

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21 thoughts on “My Defender”

  1. Stay strong and stay the course. People who haven’t gone through divorce don’t realize how distorted the truth becomes and how lies have a life of their own. Even your evidence wouldn’t change the minds of those who are committed to their perceptions, no matter how erroneous they are. God’s ways are always best even though they’re not easy. Save your energy for your children and your own healing. God will take care of the rest. Blessings and peace.

  2. Dena,

    Unfortunately, I think many, many single moms have walked this path with you. It’s almost as if people relish watching a family be destroyed. I’m so sorry for the things that were said, the lies that were told, and believed. I’ve been there. And it’s devastating. But, you are right in that I AM is fighting for you. And he’s been a firsthand witness to your story. Thank you for shining light on a subject that many suffer through, but none talk about.

    Hugs,
    Laura

  3. Dena, my heart aches with you at all you have endured! Big Hug!!
    And Thank You for your authenticity and example!!

  4. Wow Dena,
    That is so difficult and so sad. I’m sorry for your pain, but so encouraged by your heart to continue to trust God. I relate some if what you shared to my struggle in moving forward (deserted by husband almost 10 months ago and he has no plans to return) as it is evident the marriage is over… (33 years). Me taking steps, but not knowing for sure whether to go forward…wanting His will and timing… Jesus, please show us Your way…

  5. Boy, don’t I know this story! Everything you have said is true too. In His time these fresh accusations will not only fade, BUT, you will see your vindication from God and these mouths will close shut forever! The enemy playing his hand till the bitter end – his end! I stand with you and pray peace, rest and confidence in God’s awarenesses He will bring to you as He silences wagging tongues. This season will be short lived and you will enter a new season of grace. ✨

  6. I will be 70 years old soon. My mom raised 3 children all by herself working the third shift at Burlington Industries in the weave room. She had a saying that has always stuck with me; “Burlington Industries can’t make me do anything, but, they can make me wish I had.” That is the way satan is, he can’t defeat you since he is defeated already; so he does the next best thing, waging war on you “trying” to hurt you.
    You have a beautiful ministry in your written word. You speak to my heart with every article. Forgiveness is your way of demonstrating your victory over your circumstances; and if others don’t get it, it is not you they doubt but Christ who lives in you.
    My father walked out on us when I was eight years old, but you know what; God knew exactly what he was doing when this happened. My mom raised us in the church, she left every night on her way to work praying, and to this day is my hero. It all works out because God is still in control. God Bless you and your children. Praying for you, but knowing you are already an overcomer. God wouldn’t let anything else but that happen.

  7. Dena, I told many people divorce was worse than death!
    The person that promised to love and cherish you was still in your life! He is not being kind ! Much less treating you as the person he has hurt so deeply! That only God can heal your heart. You tell yourself I can deal with him because I don’t want my children upset!
    Now he has died and you are devestated! Because of the hurt it will cause the children! You now realized that he still had a very little piece of your heart ! Yes. because he was your 1st love and the father of your children!
    In God’s time you will have peace! The children will understand everything you tried to hide from them about him ! So he could still be their dad and love you all more than anything!
    God’ promise will heal your heart of all the unkind words and lies!
    We love and support you and the kids by daily prayer!

  8. Dear Dena,

    Continue to cling tightly to God. HE is your vindicator and refuge. My prayers for you and your children will continue.

    SEJ

  9. Dena;
    I have followed your blog for quite some time. My heart has bled for you, and leaped with rejoicing at one time or another, depending on the issues you present. Some day I might send a very long letter explaining why you have stirred such responses, but for now I will say that I see your heart, God has led me to pray for you and your family many times. I have endured more than one betrayal and intense heartache and so I know the painful cost all too well, and the high value and joy of allowing God to heal and guide. Live on, Sister, and consider the works within you of the Spirit of God and rejoice. I am a living example of more mercy and grace than most can know, and I see the fruits of your walk. Bless you and your children.

  10. Thank you for sharing this – your words have convicted me that I need to do a much better job (with God’s help and grace) of “holding my tongue” regarding my ex husband and his infidelity. He is married to his affair partner. I have found love again and have recently remarried. It is time for me to resist the temptation to talk any further with anyone about what my ex did that led to the end of our marriage. It is in the past, and God has great things in store for the future!

  11. I feel compelled to ask what kind of employer violates someone’s personal privacy by asking such a question and subscrbes to unfounded rumors? And further, one thing I have learned, the hard way, is that judging others is the worst. No one has walked your path – thus they have no idea. I am horrified that people insert their judgement into your personal business, especially at such a time of loss. Eventually ” life” catches up with everyone in some way – and we all need compassion, not judgement.

    1. My employer (a Christian organization) quickly dismissed the claim when they understood who the accusations were coming from. My Defender once again stepping in where I need Him…

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss, both then and now. And I’m sorry for all the people who have been so ugly in their judgement of something they know nothing about. Praying for you.

  13. Christians or so called Christians can be very cruel when they judge others when God is the one that knows the hearts of men and women:) You have touched the hearts of many with your honest thoughtful blog as you have shared about life’s realities that we all face. You are a Blessing to all who read your blog 🙂 Blessings to you and your family 🙂

  14. Thank you so much for your transparency. I have been through trials such as this and am going through something similar right now. I am also called into ministry such as this. Did you go to school for a degree in ministry? I’m thinking about getting my MCM or MDiv. Do you suggest I do that for the credentials to travel and speak at churches with my husband? Or does it really not matter?

    1. I have always planned to get my seminary training, but it hasn’t happened yet. One day… Listen to God. Ask Him to lead. Ask Him to open doors as He sees fit. He is completely trustworthy.

  15. I can say I empathize and can relate to what you have been through from my own experience with divorce. I’m not a divorcee by choice. It was the most ugly devastating thing I have ever lived through. What my ex spouse did to me literally drove me to my knees. But I thank God for this as I have developed spiritually more than at any time in my entire life. I spent 28 good years with this man. I even had to hire a private investigator because of the events occurring at my home. They tried to convince me he had a girlfriend but I refused to believe this. In the past 2 days I found out they were right. But I’m healing rapidly. I’ve had 15 years to go through the grieving process even though we were still together. All I lacked was the final stage, acceptance. When I found your ministry it spoke to my heart in so many ways. I thank God for your ministry. Keep persevering. Many have found healing in the work God has led you to do. Prayers for you and your family

  16. Dena, thank you so much for this encouragement, it is exactly what I need at this time.
    Two years later, my ex is still going around spreading lies about me, to the point where people go out of their way to avoid me! I have done NOTHING to deserve his lies or their treatment of me – it cuts so deep!
    From the beginning of this ugly mess, my heart has been “Your will be done Father God, only Your will”. I have not seen any change in this situation, but the cry of my heart is the same “Your will be done Father, not my will”.
    I know Father God is busy working, just some days I wish I could see what He is doing!!!

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