I was looking through some of the writing I did while traveling through what I call Divorce Country, you know, that time between being married and being divorced. It takes a long time for some of us to travel through Divorce Country. It took me nearly four years from beginning to end, but sometimes I wonder if there really ever is an end. For instance Christmas was changed practically forever for me. I decided to share two of my writings because some of you may be traveling through Divorce Country and maybe this will encourage you that your journey will change, the scenes will become faded as time goes on. For you who are reading this and not traveling through Divorce Country, count your blessings and encourage someone who is on such a journey. Fasten your seat-belts cause here we go!
We are approaching the end of the year and the holidays. It used to be that the holidays were my favorite time of the year. It used to be that I looked forward to celebrating with my family all the things to be thankful for and celebrating Christ in Christmas. Now though, I must admit that I’m not looking forward to the holidays. The divorce is not final yet and the memories of last holiday season are not good ones. On Thanksgiving, I got an angry e-mail from my spouse. On Christmas Eve, after he spent a couple of hours with the kids exchanging presents, I got a really angry e-mail. On Christmas Day afternoon I got a super angry e-mail and on New Year’s Day I got a threatening and really super angry e-mail. In other words I don’t think he handled his first holidays away from his family too well. I had a very hard time dealing with all his anger. Then on top of everything else, my adult children had such a hard time dealing with coming home and the drama of the break-up of our lives, the pending divorce was like the elephant in the room. They acted so weird, they wouldn’t talk to me, they become moody and easily angered…..the only one that had fun was the five-year old! I cried more tears over the holidays last year than I did all year-long! I am not looking forward to round two this year.
I think this jingle sums it up.
On the first day of Christmas, my spouse said to me, I stopped making your car payments.
On the second day of Christmas, my spouse said to me, I stopped making house payments too.
On the third day of Christmas, my spouse said to me, I stopped paying utilities too.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my bad spouse said to me, you better file joint taxes with me.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my mad spouse said to me, YOU BETTER DO AS I SAY!
On the sixth day of Christmas my angry spouse said to me, I can live in a tent can you?
On the seventh day of Christmas he also said to me, I closed the joint credit card too.
By this time I didn’t want to hear what the eighth through twelfth days of Christmas were, would you?
Yes, I am not looking forward to Christmas this year. It will help that he is in a different town as the kids will have to drive two hours to see him, and hopefully they can get past their emotions by the time they darken my door again. Of course I am assuming that they will see him. The last I heard from the girls is that they have no intentions to go and visit him this year; they still feel the betrayal and agony from last year. It’s fine with me if they don’t visit him as I can do without all their drama and emotions too. I had hoped to be living in some other home rather than in the family homestead, but the house hasn’t sold yet so I can’t move. I wonder if I shouldn’t book a trip to Hawaii for one during their stay over Christmas??? It would probably be more fun, but it isn’t reality and I must face reality. So I need to develop a coping battle plan. I think I will just keep praying and keep forgiving, and go shopping, put up the decorations and keep a cheerful heart and rely upon the joy of Christ to fill me up and keep me going. We are to give thanks in all things and so I must also be thankful during this divorce. I can be thankful that God has given me the strength to deal with every day…isn’t God awesome!
It is the first of December. Thanksgiving has passed and we survived it well. It was the first time that my son and I spent the holiday alone. He is now six and he chose the menu, fish sticks, crescent rolls and lemon meringue pie. We spoke to all his sisters and my Mom on Thanksgiving, but we saw no one all day, just the two of us. My son wanted to make a list of things we are thankful to God for and the list was thirty items long, but not one word about his being thankful for his Daddy. I felt it was not right for me to allow him to not be thankful for his Dad even though his Dad is not good to him or good to me. So I approached the subject cautiously and said what about being thankful for Daddy. My son looked at me and paused a moment then said, “Of course.” So I placed his Dad at the bottom of the list, item number thirty-one. As I looked at the list I could not help but notice that my son’s first item was that he is thankful for God. How fitting that he placed God in that special number one spot. I am so thankful for all that God has provided for us these past three years. And soon it will be the fourth Christmas I have spent since my ex-husband abandoned us. It is the first of December.
Christmas is a special time and always has been a season that I enjoyed decorating, baking, planning parties and being a great hostess. It is a season that I always loved to sit at the piano and play Christmas Carols and sing. It is a season that I loved preparing stockings for and playing Santa to as many as I could. I loved honoring God with thanks for the wonderful gift He gave us in the birth of His precious son Jesus. Even throughout the years of separation and the process of divorce I have maintained my enthusiasm for Christmas. This year, however, I live in a small home and I sold most of the massive Christmas decoration collection on a summer garage sale. I kept three trees, all are small in size and sold the thirty or so that I had in all shapes and sizes. It was time to let it all go, sort of like freeing myself of the past. This year my son and I put up just one Christmas tree and decorated it with decorations that hold little sentimental value for us. We will not be having turkey and stuffing for Christmas dinner either. Nor will we be having mashed potatoes and gravy or green bean casserole as we always did. We will instead create a new tradition for Christmas dinner, chicken and potatoes, carrots, celery all baked together and pies for dessert. We will have our traditional Christmas breakfast as we all really enjoy that special time together. But the daughter and son-in-law that are coming home for Christmas will be having a large family dinner with my son-in-law’s family. I don’t want left over’s for a month so I am choosing a different menu. We will all have a wonderful time and that is all that matters.
God’s promises in the Bible are still there for us to cling to during hardships and trials as well as times of great blessings. Jesus will still be our Lord and Savior. Gifts to remind us of how precious the infant King really was will still be exchanged. Santa will still come with many presents as a token of my love for my children. Christmas will still hold a special place in my heart because God has warmed my heart toward giving to others rather than myself. God has taught me the value of righteousness and goodness. Jesus has covered my sins with his blood. I have forgiven the unforgivable and could not have done so without the love of God seeded in my soul. I trust that God will handle the rest and I know He is big enough to handle it all so that I don’t have to. A season of change is in the air, but God still rules this household. How awesome is that!
Do you see the differences a few years made between the first and last Christmases traveling through Divorce Country? In the midst of the drama and the pain God was still my anchor but the last year was so much easier than the first year as I had such peace. Have courage dear friend who is traveling through Divorce Country today, you can make it, God will be with you every step of the way. Walk in the journey with God and allow the Holy Spirit to comfort you through scriptures and applying what you are learning in your every day life. Take heart and give thanks…Merry Christmas.
Until next time…Katherine