You don’t get a divorce because you’re emotionally healthy, flourishing, content, or strong.
You don’t leave your home because you feel safe and loved.
You don’t walk away from everything because you are whole and confident and rational.
You don’t hear logic when you feel shame. You don’t seek community when you crave isolation. You can’t take the advice given in truth when you don’t trust their love.
You don’t seek approval, or grasp for identity, or turn your life inside out…you just don’t.
But when you do all of those things and you are also a Christian you are left on the periphery of a moral question. You are both shunned and pitied. You are a demonstration of grace and an example of destruction. You are a subject of what I like to call prayer request gossip and you are seen through a filter of fear and confusion.
Christians know what to do with Unbelievers; they know how to treat the poor and the disenfranchised. They are filled with love enough for the whole heathen world, and yet when it comes to their own, panic sets in. What do you do with a girl who’s just a bad Christian?…what do you do with the bad girl? How can she really be a Christian and fail to keep her list of sins within the “acceptable” range…like gluttony, or hatred?… How did she miss behavior modification at the moment of conversion?
I learned more about grace going through a divorce than I ever did sitting quietly through a sermon. I learned about a God who walked with me moment by moment through loneliness, bitterness, fear, and self-loathing. I learned that there were limits to my goodness, kindness, self-control, and long suffering and I learned that when I could do nothing but fail, He loved me still. My faith stands in spite of my circumstances. The fact that I could do nothing other than what I did and that it cannot be undone only serves as a continual reminder of what Christ does for me daily. Only when I could no longer make anybody believe I was good, did I learn that we walk well only as we understand we are loved without deserving it. We lose the ability to stand on our own self-righteousness but we find instead we are covered in His obedience. Behavior modification alone is merely a parlor trick creating false comfort for distant judges and a paralyzing fear within the offender.
Humans have a very finite threshold for experiences they do not understand. I lost friends…mostly strong Christian friends. Through no fault of their own, I simply became too much of an inconsistency. These are strong girls… good girls…girls with a healthy fear of consequences and perhaps a stronger faith. Our sins and failures often cast a shadow and sometimes that is in the love we lose. I cannot and I would not change the path I chose or the place I now am. I crawled through a pit to discover a God who is worth my faith no matter what my circumstance. My repentance is in a life lived forward for His glory. Because He first loved me and always loved me, I can operate from a position reflecting that love.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” – Ephesians 2:8-9.
When you are a Christian woman and you find yourself at the end of yourself, you make decisions with the knowledge you have and the will you have left, and you fall at the feet of a God who still calls you daughter.