One of the disappointing aspects of growing older is watching the number of married couples around me divorcing. You can’t help but watch things unfold on social media with the quotes posted by the jilted spouse to slam their x-significant other. Or, those posts that show the now-separated spouse out partying with their friends, making the best of their new-found freedom. Honestly, it makes me kind of sad. But, in many ways, I can relate to what they are feeling.
When my husband and I separated I remember feeling as though I had literally just lost a limb. It’s like I had this great arm that was very comfortable to me and it helped me do so many things during my day – I really loved that arm. I also had high hopes for that arm and the amazing things I could do with it. Then, that arm was all of a sudden not there. I missed that arm and remembered what it was like to easily pick things up, hug my kids, and feel complete. Although I am so glad I didn’t go the route of social media to air my pain and anger to the world, I did flounder around asking friends if we could go out and do things because I was desperately trying to replace that arm and feel complete again.
The question that kept popping in my head during that time was, “Now what?” Being separated was never part of my hopes and dreams and certainly didn’t fit into any plan I had laid out for my life. All my plans, all of my hopes had now just disappeared. I couldn’t look into my future anymore and see anything. It was this vast black expanse that went on and on. It was incredibly lonely . . . and incredibly depressing.
Our pastor gave a great sermon yesterday in a series she has titled “Now What?.” I listened and related to the entire sermon as she described Mary sobbing at the tomb after realizing that Jesus isn’t there. Mary’s plea to the “gardener” that she saw near the tomb was heartbreaking – “please, if you have moved him, just tell me where his is.” You see, all of her hopes and dreams died with Jesus on that cross. When Mary looked to her future it was bleak and hopeless. This man who was to save them all was dead and now even his dead body was gone. She was left, on her knees sobbing, wondering “what now?”
The sermon reminded me of how often we stop looking for Jesus when we feel this way – when our hope is waning and our future looks bleak. Mary didn’t realize that Jesus was right there the whole time – she was too wrapped up in her grief, heartbreak and hopelessness. I was like Mary a couple of years ago. I was looking for something to replace that arm when, in reality, I needed to seek Christ instead. Christ, alone, fills us with the hope we need to get through trauma such as divorce.
I know this is a marriage blog and, hopefully, you have never been down the path of separation and divorce. But, we all go through period in our life, whether it relates to a broken marriage or not, when we are looking for hope and asking, “Now what?” If you are asking that question today, I urge you to lean on Christ, read Scripture, and pray without ceasing. It will be then that you will find hope. If you have a friend going through a hard time, why not share this hope with them!