I spent hours with my face to the floor, at church and at home, begging God to save my marriage. I wanted to overcome the statistics and prove to my critics that I could in fact stay married, through the good and the bad. Even if there was a lot of the bad.
Day in and day out, I searched my Bible for the hope and the peace I so desperately craved. I wanted to know there was purpose for all the pain I’d experienced; that all of my efforts weren’t in vain. And I hoped that because God hated divorce that I’d never have to experience it myself.
For more than a decade, I was doing CPR, trying to breathe life into my marriage, while losing myself in the process. My life’s purpose had become saving something that God never intended to save. But that deep dependence on Him became my only source of peace and hope, even with my body and marriage failing.
In 2013, after finding out about another affair, God said it was time to stop providing my marriage’s pulse and allow Him to pave the path forward, His way. It was then that I gave Him my complete surrender, no matter if that meant I’d be married or divorced in the end. God had other plans for my life and I was finally ready to accept that.
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21 NLT
God has a purpose for pain and suffering. Your divorce has a purpose too.
1. To bring you closer to Him.
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 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.
2. To heal you and redeem your life.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.” – 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 NLT
It wasn’t until after my divorce, as I worked through my own healing, that I was able to see how God had laid the framework for me to do the ministry that I do today. I think back to my fourth grade teacher, who pushed me and encouraged me to start writing, the college professor who encouraged me to start a blog, and so many other experiences, even the heartache of my divorce, were just pieces to the bigger puzzle. The masterpiece of purpose that God is creating out of the pieces of our entire life.
In keeping God at the center of my life am I able to continue with the ministry and the purpose that He has given me.
“Redemptive suffering is when you go through a problem or a pain for the benefit of others.” – Rick Warren
3. To use you to share hope with others who are suffering.
We may think that only those who go into a “true ministry” – pastors, missionaries, or those who form a non-profit – are called into a purpose. But we were all given a purpose when we were created. It has been with us all along, even in our youth. Each day has been one more step towards God’s reason for your existence, for your trials, and even for your divorce.
God uses the hurting to help the hurting. He uses the redeemed to help redeem. God used divorced women during my darkest days, early in my divorce healing, to give me hope that I too would survive this divorce… and maybe even thrive someday.
Every day women need to hear that I have been through a divorce, I’ve healed, and I’m thriving on the other side sharing this hope and healing with them. Someone you meet is going to need to hear that you too have been through a divorce. Seeing how your life is better now, what it took to get through the healing process, and that you’re doing well, which will give someone hope, needed to keep moving forward in her own divorce healing journey.
Some divorced women write books, some speak, some create redemptive music, and others start support groups or Bible studies in their neighborhood for single mothers. We all can find some way to give purpose to our pain after a time of healing. I believe God can use your divorce just as much as He can use marriage. Even just meeting with a newly separated woman to share your hope, will bring light and love into her world, when all seems dark.
Whatever God’s purpose is for you, do it to shine a light into the dark places of pain, hurt, struggles, and divorce. Your purpose may look very different than mine, and mine different from yours, but we all can be used in distinct ways to comfort others in their times of troubles and use our purpose to benefit the Kingdom.
Keep God close and He will walk with you as you search for the purpose of your divorce. It’s not by our own strength that we’re able to fulfill our God-purpose but by the God strength and power that is living within us.
Jen Grice is a Christian Divorce Mentor and Empowerment Coach, author of the book, You Can Survive Divorce: Hope, Healing, and Encouragement for Your Journey, a speaker, and a single homeschooling mom. She writes full-time at JenGrice.com and empowers women to survive and heal after their unwanted divorce on her YouTube channel as well. Jen believes that through God's healing, grace, and redemption that all Christian women can survive... and even thrive, after divorce. Navigating this foreign territory we call divorce? Feeling alone? Start here!