Is there life after divorce? Yes! There definitely is.
No one need to tell you divorce is a type of death. Sure, you have a pulse but your dreams cracked open, and you feel broken. Shattered.
“Will I ever be happy?” a recently divorced woman and mother of several adult children asked me.
“Yes, as God fits together the pieces, and as you apply God’s Word to your life, you’ll experience a joy that’s deeper than circumstantial happiness,” I replied. “Do you want to get better?”
She twisted the tissue in her hands. “Yes.”
In this article, I’ll share hope and help in three significant ways:
- Identifying the ultimate cause of divorce
- Giving encouragement from divorced Christian women.
- Three tips toward wholeness after divorce.
Ultimate Cause of Divorce
The ultimate cause of divorce is sin. Sin is selfish, prideful, and misaligned with God’s written Word, that is, the Bible. In the Bible, God gives two legitimate grounds for divorce
Click & Tweet!
- Unrepentant, sexual adultery. (Matthew 5:31, 19:9)
- Desertion by an unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)
Even though these are legitimate grounds for divorce, God always meant for marriage to be for life. In Malachi 2:16, God says he hates divorce because it’s borne from sin and brings destruction.
In what ways have you experienced the effects of destruction? Have you received care or condemnation from your Christian friends?
Remember, for Christians:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, ESV)
God doesn’t condemn you, dear friend, even though you and your ex sinned against each other. When God brings together two sinners in a marriage, guess what? They sin. God uses marriage to chip away at your character flaws–and his. Sometimes marital conflict seems unbearable, doesn’t it?
“I used to feel rejected,” Lana said. “That first year was unbearable. My sleep was awful and I couldn’t stop eating junk food.
A neighbor asked me over for coffee. This was a turning point.
“We talked and I began to see that it wasn’t just his fault. I was selfish too. My friend listened. I thank God for her.”
“I went back to bed after I got the kids off to school,” Annie shared. “Life seemed black after the divorce. What kept me going were my kids and going to church on Sundays.
“I thought I went to church for them so they could be in Sunday School, but
the worship songs melted by hardened heart.
“I began to look up again. It still hurts and money is still tight, but I have hope now.”
“My husband was into porn,” Jess said. “I didn’t know about his addiction when we married. We talked to the pastor. Justin would stop for a while then I’d catch him at it again. I felt so numb, I didn’t know what to do. He said he didn’t want to hurt me so he divorced me.”
“I guess the good that came out of it was getting counseling and growing closer to the Lord.”
Three Tips Toward Wholeness
- Learn conflict resolution. A main reason for bitterness in marriage is failing to work through problems. Commit to speaking the truth in love to family members, coworkers, and people at church and in your neighborhood. When you speak the truth in love, you communicate your feelings lovingly and work toward a solution.
- Figure out what kindles your anger and fear. As your identify the thoughts that prompt your emotions you can change them. “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:5).
- Cling to your identity in Christ. You are God’s beloved child. Get my 64-page eBook to savor the “5 Amazing Names God Calls You!”
Join the Conversation
How has divorced touched your life? Where did you find hope and healing?
AN OFFER: Get a free consultation! Great for any woman going through hurt or who has questions. Contact me now.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Did you know you can have a forward-focused, loving attitude about almost anything?
In this post you’ll learn how to improve your attitude by
- Choosing an attitude like Christ’s.
- Taking a very practical step.
Choose God’s Way
True happiness comes to you as you choose God’s plan for your life.
Choosing God’s way over your own isn’t necessarily easy, is it? It’s humbling! My friend Kara wants to serve women at her church but her offer has been rejected. This discourages Kara. She has adopted the attitude that God has another plan, a better plan. Kara has adopted a God-centered attitude.
Not my will, but yours be done: This is the heart’s cry of a believer who desires God’s plan for her life.
Click & Tweet!
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:42, ESV)
Are you in. . .
Choose God’s way and you’ve won more than half the battle.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
Ready to learn HOW to improve your attitude?
Try this simple exercise. In a journal or on an index card, write:
“I choose to _________ (a godly action) so I will ___________ (a godly result).
Here a few ideas to get you started.
- I choose to deepen my friendships so I will have people to turn to when life gets tough.
- I choose to save an extra $100 a month so I will build savings and avoid using credit cards for surprise expenses like a car repair.
- I choose to talk with the kids about skipping their chores so I will stop holding in my anger toward them.
Do you see how a God-honoring attitude helps you move forward?
Your turn: I choose to ______________ so I will ___________________.
As you make God-honoring choices, you will rid the junk that blocks you. As John Piper said,
So the point is: Don’t stroll. Don’t meander. And don’t wander about aimlessly. Run as in a race with a finish line where everything hangs on the race.
May I encourage you to subscribe to my blog? When you subscribe, you receive a complimentary eBook.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
“Getting Up After a Fall” appeared first here on Biblical Counsel Coalition, which promotes the biblical counseling movement and builds relationships.
Remember the outdoor water game Slip ‘n Slide? To slide as fast as possible, you could place the thin, yellow plastic slide on a gentle hill. Then you run, jump on the slide, pick up speed, reach the end, and tumble into muddy grass. Then you ran back and did it again—and again.
Sinful choices can become a slippery slope too.
One sinful choice may slide into another, reminiscent of Psalm 1:1. Then the Christian may face a problem she helped create: a marital separation, an addiction, a lost job, anxiety, depression, bitterness. Her problem might cause enough angst to bring her to your counseling office, looking for relief.
But relief isn’t the real answer is it? Relief is among the world’s counterfeits for mankind’s greatest and truest need—the gospel.
In this short article, you’ll learn how to. . .
- give hope after a fall
- give help to get up and walk again.
Your counselee’s sin problem is an opportunity for you to give guidance for her Christian walk (Eph. 4:1-2, ESV).
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
No one is immune to the self-deception of thinking he or she can sidestep the slippery slope of sin. James writes,
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers (1:14-16, ESV).
I’m reminded of a time many years ago when I caught my young son with holiday treats in his fists and smeared on his shirt.
“Did you have permission to eat candy?” I asked.
“I didn’t eat any chocolate,” he blurted.
“What’s that on your shirt and in your hand?”
His forehead wrinkled. “Well, I didn’t mean to eat them!”
Giving Hope after a Fall
Your counselees need not remain in a muddy puddle of poor choices. Knowing one’s identity in Christ is powerful and hopeful. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can remember who they are in Christ, as described in Ephesians:
As you help your counselees remember who they are in Christ, you’ll give them hope to live out who they already are: God’s children. They also need the reminder that they are no longer identified by what they did and who they were–slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6-7).
In Christ they have been restored.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, your where justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11, NIV).
Remind your counselees of who they are in Christ and of what Christ did for them, and they will have hope after a fall.
Here is a suggested assignment to help counselees understand the blessings associated with being “in Christ”: Give your counselee the assignment of reading Ephesians 1 and listing, verse by verse, the words describing her new identity in Christ.
Giving Encouragement to Walk
To get up and walk in the ways of Christ, encourage your counselees with a masterful passage tucked in Titus:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).
Paul wrote the epistle to Titus, encouraging him on several counts, including the truth that we are saved for good works (not by good works). Remind your counselees that they can get up and walk in God’s strength because the same gospel that saved them also sanctifies them. As Titus 2:12 underlines, grace trains them:
- To renounce ungodliness and worldly passions
- To live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives
Trained by grace, your counselees can say “No” to sin and live a godly life, for in his kindness and mercy, Jesus cleansed them by his blood and gave them new life so that they might display good works.
Consider these verses from Titus:
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works” (2:7a).
“A people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:14).
“Ready for every good work” (3:1).
“Careful to devote themselves to good works” (3:8).
Just as your counselees fall down the slippery slope of sin, they can make better choices by God’s grace. To do this, help them remember who they are in Christ and encourage them. . .
(1) to renounce ungodliness through confession and repentance;
(2) to live a godly life marked by good works.
They do not need to wonder if this is possible, because “Jesus Christ … gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13-14).
Join the Conversation
How have you sought to teach counselees the critical doctrine of their identity in Christ?
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
In the Internet age, counseling has a new look. I’ve counseled people over Skype as far away as Tanzania, New Zealand, and Cambodia, and as close as ten miles from my office.
Advantages of Internet Counseling
Here are a few groups groups who access biblical counseling over the Internet:
- People in remote areas
- People without access to biblical counseling in their area, such as a ranch in the middle of Montana
- The home-bound
- Mothers of very young children
- Counselees in dicey weather (thunderstorms, snow storms) who usually come in the office
Excerpts from Plugged In
My friend Marie Notcheva (who also is listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here on my site) interviewed me for her book Plugged In: Proclaiming Christ in the Internet Age (Pure Water Press) and shared some of my stories of counseling in the Internet age in her book. She wrote:
Lucy has done premarital counseling with a Hong Kong real-estate heiress, counseled a former gang member in the a U.S. city, and helped numerous women around the world walk more closely with God.
CONVENIENCE. “It’s convenient, and the Internet has opened doors to many people in nations without access to biblical counseling,” she points out. She has counseled women in Cambodia, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Australia, as well as the US.
WORKING WITH A LOCAL CHURCH. One dramatic turn-around happened in the life of a West Coast woman and mom of three small children, who had to flee from an abusive husband. “Julie” had heard about Lucy through a mutual friend. Lucy first heard Julie’s cry for help over the phone. Soon they began regular telephone counseling sessions.
“We had a lot of good conversations, in which I was able to get a lot of details about the abuse from her husband,” Lucy notes. In an emergency situation, Julie reached a point where she had to take the children and flee the home. She went to the Midwest, where she had family, and commenced Skype counseling with Lucy while getting involved in a local church.
The combination of online counseling and involvement in a local church was what greatly aided Julie in applying the Scriptures to her life – and turning it around.
ANONYMITY. Lucy tells the story of “Beth,” a young woman who joined a Chicago gang for a sense of belonging. Following a horrific gang initiation (essentially gang-rape), unimaginable violence and sexual abuse followed. Beth would point the camera down, at her feet when she divulged these details to Lucy. Her shame was so great that she would not show her face, even through a computer monitor. At the same time, however, Beth desperately wanted someone to hear her story – and talking to Lucy in this way was the only way to get it out.
At the time, she could not tell anyone at her church. The subject was so sensitive that it demanded distance, until Beth was able to work through the issues of neglect and sin that had affected her childhood and adolescence. Beth now attends a gospel-preaching church and has grown greatly there. “I see this as a ‘graduation’ of sorts—seeing counselees plugged into a church body,” Lucy says.
For more on using technology, see Marie’s book, Plugged In: Proclaiming Christ in the Internet Age (Pure Water Press).
An Opportunity for You
Would you like to know more about counseling with me by Skype? Please send me a message. I offer a free confidential consultation so you can ask questions and share concerns.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Did you know God wants you to eat well and take care of your body? I received a strange message from God (it’s in the Bible) one summer day several years ago. This message led me to eat a pork chop. Weird, huh?
Pork isn’t particularly healthy and I had been a vegetarian for fourteen years. God had better plans. How does an avowed vegetarian–and author of vegetarian books–end up with a chunk of pork chop on her fork?
I obeyed God.
God Spoke, I Obeyed
While at the barbecue, piling my plate with corn and coleslaw, I heard in my heart this Bible verse.
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 1 Timothy 4:4, NIV
It sounds silly but this was a spiritual crisis for me. Would I stick to my vegetarian principles and eat well (i.e., no meat), or be thankful for the food set before me and obey God?
There sat a pork chop on my plate. I held a fork and knife. I stabbed. I ate. The verdict: Delicious!
My hubby grinned. My children looked at each other, wide-eyed. I forked another piece of pork.
Even though my vegetarian days ended a dozen years ago, I keep my meat intake to a minimum in order to eat well. One reason: Eating green is eco-friendly. Eco-friendly eating is good stewardship of God’s creation. I’d love to share a few recipes I wrote. I hope you like them. Eat well, my friends.
3 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes
Quick Black Bean Burritos
This dish pairs legumes and cheese with healthy carbs. It’s ready in 20 minutes.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 to 2 Tbs. minced green chilies, fresh or canned, seeded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Eight 10-inch flour tortillas, preferably whole wheat
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1/2 avocado, diced (optional)
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Sauce: Place the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Burritos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lay a tortilla on your working surface. Spoon about 1/4 cup black beans across the center of the tortilla, followed by a tablespoon each of onion, rice, and cheese. Roll up and place the burrito seam side down in a 9-by-13-inch lightly oiled baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, onion, rice, and cheese.
Spoon the sauce over the burritos and bake for 12 minutes. Serve the burritos topped with the sour cream, avocado if using and cilantro. Serves 4.
Spicy Sesame Noodles
Pasta with Asian flair. Soba is best but linguini works too.
1 pound whole-wheat soba noodles or regular linguini
1 Tbs. sesame oil
6 scallions, green parts only, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp. peeled and minced ginger root
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Drain. Transfer to a serving dish. Cover.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the scallions, red bell pepper, and ginger root for 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, cayenne, and soy sauce, and saute a minute more. Toss with the noodles. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve warm or cold. Serves 6.
Strawberry Orange Ice
This refreshing ice is a pretty, deep pink and vitamin-rich.
1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice
2 cups strawberries. fresh or frozen
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)
Orange slices for garnish
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the orange slices. Pour into a shallow, nonmetallic pan and freeze, stirring occasionally, until almost frozen, about 3 or so hours. (Freezing time depends on the shallowness of the container and the temperature of the freezer.) Spoon into four dessert dishes, garnish with the orange slices, and serve at once. Serves 4.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,