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Divorce & Annulments

In my Voices of Hope DVD, part of the successful Journey of Hope program for divorced Catholics, there is a chapter about letting go. Letting go is often equated with forgiveness, but the two issues aren’t entirely similar. Forgiveness is more of a moral act, and letting go, more of a practical/psychological issue.

 

One of the men featured in that video was Marty and he gave his very candid explanation of being a 40-something dad going through a terrible divorce…

 
“So, one night, I couldn’t sleep, and I had all these fears. My company was down-sizing so I was fearing losing my job. I’m fighting for custody. I want my kids back. My ex-wife was being very deceitful and she can play all those things against me in court. So I actually woke up that night and said to God: “I am frightened out of my mind! I don’t know what to do! I’m scared.”
 
 
I’m sure many men and women who have gone through a divorce have felt this way before. Marty went on to describe how God sort of instant messaged him and gave him the grace and hope he was praying for: 
 
 
“On Sunday at mass, the priest – in the middle of his sermon – just suddenly stopped talking and after a pause he said, ‘I have a message. For those of you who are afraid… God can’t get to you unless you release your fear.’ And then he went back to his sermon. It was like a commercial break.”
 
 
Marty realized something that is important to acknowledge for whomever wants to heal from their divorce and the surrounding circumstances: and that is, the only thing you have control over is yourself. You can’t control your ex-spouse. You can’t control your in-laws. You can’t control the judges presiding over your case, the lawyers representing you and your ex-spouse, your neighbors, your witnesses, etc. You can only control your own thoughts, words, and actions. Once you realize this, you have control in a way society doesn’t understand.
 
 
Self-control is freedom. Being in control of yourself and releasing the fantasy of being in control of others brings true freedom. It brings great peace. It paves the way for you to do great things with your life.
 
This is why it is so important to pray and stay close to God during your divorce, or really any relationship breakup. Is it easy? No, not at first because society conditions us to the contrary. But it’s essential. Without that connection to God, fear takes over. Fear of being humiliated, fear of being alone, fear of losing everything, fear of not being loved. In summary, fear of the unknown.
 
If you are struggling with fear of the unknown because of the circumstances surrounding your separation, divorce, or relationship break-up, take some time to reflect upon this beautiful scripture passage:
 
“Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 4:6-7).
 
 
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4 Comments

  1. Stephen-725391 June 1, 2012

    Lisa,

    Hello, I really like your blogs and had to re-subscribe to CM so that I can comment and hopefully obtain PRACTICAL understanding and ways of action. In that vein, this blog is academically clear to me, HOWEVER, somewhere else in my journey through this hell, I read that you may not feel fearless, but by ACTING fearless you MAY begin to feel fearless’. Thus, your concluding comment:

    “If you are struggling with fear of the unknown because of the circumstances surrounding your separation, divorce, or relationship break-up, take some time to reflect upon this beautiful scripture passage:

    “Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 4:6-7).”

    Reflecting nor praying, while demanded to access this ‘peace’, certainly, in my mind, falls short of ‘nuts and bolts’ practical of HOW does one act fearless?

    Thanks.

    Stephen

  2. Lisa-727959 June 1, 2012

    Stephen! So glad to see you on CM again!

    I understand what you are saying and allow I ask you to bear with me here. There is nothing magical or instantaneous about any of the advice or suggestions I put forth. It is all a process, it is all somewhat arduous and it all takes time. But that is why it is so good. It’s like running a marathon… at the end, you’re tired, you’re out of breath, but you made it! You succeeded because of your perseverance.

    During the difficult times praying, reflecting, persevering may not readily provide instant feelings of relief and consolation – but it will come. You describe the divorce scenario quite aptly – HELL. It is hell that we go through and have to survive. No question. So to answer your question, what are the nuts and bolts of acting fearless?

    Well, as one of my great friends told me some time ago, you have to step out and not be afraid, even when you have reason to be afraid. Trust God the same way Peter did when God said, “Come to Me” and Peter walked on the water… only don’t give in to doubt. Trust. It’s just something we all have to do on our own. No one can do it for us.

    So glad to see you back, Stephen!

    - Lisa

  3. Pauline-860097 June 2, 2012

    Thank you, Lisa … well said — a process! I learned to lean on and trust my Shepherd completely and without reservation while I was living/teaching ESL in South Korea and faced with the challenges of not knowing how to read or speak the language and the culture was so very very different than the Canadian culture I grew up with. I now can look at all my challenges as gifts that allow me to grow closer to the Lord ^_^

  4. Anne-702606 June 10, 2012

    I like the above story though in life we expect to meet challenges, mostly challenges will always come in unexpected time and that is why we are always advised to keep praying and always close to God.

    Divorce or death always is painful to us and human feelings can not be ignored, this is the time whereby the devil can work on us if we are not careful. This is the time we need to be very close to God recite prayers and read the Holy Bible which gives us verses that guides us in the right direction. e.g Isaiah Chapter 54 God is in control. In Isaiah 41: 10 Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious Right Hand”.

    With time you heal and you will be happy telling your story, because God will open another door for you, for God says ” I will never leave you or forsake you”.

    Anne

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