The D Word

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Divorce.

Bleh.

It’s literally heartbreaking.

It’s been five and a half really, really long years my friends.

There has been joy abounding- so many precious, fabulous moments that I hate to even say there have been bad ones.

But there has.

Some of you know my story. It began with a pregnancy test. Within 10 tiny little minutes, I went from being a normal, 22 year old Austinite, to being a mother. To knowing there was a precious life forming inside of me.

It wreaked havoc on my soul. I can’t even describe how awful I felt in that moment. How you never, ever want to feel when you find out your pregnant.

It should be a moment filled with extreme joy. Mine was complete terror.

My whole life I never questioned whether I would be a mother.

I just didn’t realize how devastating becoming a mother too soon is.

Even in that moment I had the sense to be thankful I was 22 and not 16. But not like this. This isn’t how I want it. Fear and guilt crippling me and taking my breathe away. Even almost 6 years later as I sit here my throat is starting to close up a bit and my stomach tighten. Emotions that cannot be expressed in words.

What am I going to do?

Whether you know me personally or not you may know the answer to that question.

It is what it is. I eventually got there. And I finally reached the point of pure excitement to be beginning my life as a mother. I got engaged. I got married in a courthouse in Killeen, Texas. I left my job as a nanny in Austin, Texas. I moved in with my new husband. I had sweet little Harrison Gage on January 3rd, 2009 at Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas. He was perfect. It didn’t seem to matter anymore that his life began in such a dysfunctional way.

On January 5th, 2009 we brought our little Harrison home. Exactly one year to the day after we met.

I can’t sit here and tell you it’s been all bad, because obviously it hasn’t. But we began a marriage based on a mutual desire to raise our son the best way we knew how. Not based on love. Not based on a deep friendship. Not based on God.

And we never truly figured out how to get it right.

And there was pain. And tears. And agony. And lonely nights. And sorrow. And regret. And heartbreak. And depression. And anger. And resentment. And poor choices.

There were moves, betrayals, broken promises. Ups and downs. “I love you”s and “I hate you”s

I know that every marriage is filled with some degree of these awful things. But there’s only so much you can take. Only so much can be done when most days are one-sided. When the spouses answer to everything is “I give up.”

And I believe with all my heart that God is leading me out of this marriage.

It wasn’t His original plan for me.

Obviously, God didn’t intend for me to start a family this way.  But I have free will and can make whatever choices I please. And I couldn’t see the forest through the trees, and the true consequences for my actions.

But now I’m following His will. Which is hard. It seems impossible to know when I’m truly hearing from God, especially about one of the very most important life decisions you could ever make. I have prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Gone back and forth, back and forth.

If there is one thing I want to tell people, that I selfishly want the world to know about my divorce, is that I poured my heart and soul into trying to make it work. I am not giving up for lack of trying. {I can feel my Rochester sisters hugging me tight!} Every time I thought we were finally walking down the right path, the script would be flipped. My world would get tossed upside down in the blink of an eye. There I would be, heartbroken, planning my new life as a single mother. But there were always apologies. Mended hearts. A small glimmer of hope.

I know I’m not perfect- I was not a perfect wife. I think on our early years of marriage and can’t believe how immature I seemed, and how childish some of my actions were. I certainly contributed to the breakdown of my marriage.

But I believe in marriage. At least now I do. Which is a funny thing to say- now that I’m getting divorced, more than ever, I believe in marriage and its true sanctity and commitment. Which is how I know what I currently have is not a real marriage.

When the D word used to come up in the very beginning it scared me more than life itself. I couldn’t imagine a life without Harold.

But as time went on, and the divorce conversations continued every few months for the next 5 years of my life, I begin to accept it in the quiet of my soul. In my unconscious mind. Thoughts of  “maybe it wouldn’t be so bad” crept up. Yet I still waited for that miracle. That day when I could feel that God and I were going to team up and truly heal my marriage.

Realizing that day is never going to come is devastating. I want to stay married. I want my children to live with their biological father. I don’t want to admit that I made a huge mistake.

Except in reality I didn’t make a huge mistake. I added Ruben to my life. I am only 28 years old. And I know infinitely more about marriage than I did as that 23 year old standing in that court house, in a blissful dream of what life could possibly be. I have learned. I have drawn closer to a God who forgave me even before I made my mistakes.

And now “maybe it won’t be so bad”  has turned into “this truly is the best decision for me and for my boys.” And the correlation of syncing my heart to God in the years it’s taken me to get here, is not a coincidence.

Jesus has so sweetly whispered into my ear “it’s time”.

To pick up the pieces. To take responsibility. To own up to my choices, my life, and do what it takes to live my best life glorifying Him.

Even if it’s messy. Even if it’s taboo. Even if it involves the most gut-wrenching pain I have ever experienced.

It’s time.

“I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, Amen and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, “I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I’ll praise You in this storm”

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9 thoughts on “The D Word

  1. Muriel Fevold says:

    So sorry for your pain and difficult journey. I am praying for you and the boys, and Harold too. I know you will do fine, with the support of your family and friends. Time will heal! Love you loads, Muriel

  2. Emm Fortin says:

    Joanna, I seriously LOVE your transparency and vulnerability. It is so refreshing!! I’ll be praying so big for you, the boys, and Harold. I am sure that God will use this difficult journey in the most beautiful way to minister to you and others!!

  3. corinne says:

    Joanna, I am in your MOPS group and read your post yesterday. I feel so convicted to reach out to you. I too have a similar story. I went through a divorce, single parented for 10 years starting out with a newborn and 2 y.o.., now I am re married and have a 3 y.o and a 1 1/2 y.o. and 2 teenagers. Everything in your story I can relate to I have even had a spouse in the military. I would really like to talk to you and offer the comfort that I have received from our savior and the great comforter, the Holy Spirit. I know exactly the misery that you are going through. Can I call you?
    Cori Adams (i am the DGL for table #2) 651-303-0219 (or send me a text so I have your #?)
    (i live in eagan)

  4. Amanda says:

    For what it’s worth…I understand. It’s so hard; divorce. But, you’re not alone. And you will make it through a stronger and even more courageous woman.

    Blessings-Amanda

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here, as a man who is divorced…who was unfaithful…and who regrets with such heart-wrenching disgust every action that led to the ultimate downfall and destruction of God’s covenant of marriage. This is probably not the perspective you were wanting, but I just feel so convicted to say something. I don’t believe for a second that God ever wants divorce for His children. Malachi 2:16 says “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel”. Not many things are said to be “hated” by God in the Bible. I completely agree that we have free will, and that there are consequences to that free will. But I don’t think God “had other plans”. God uses every single circumstance with the ultimate intention of drawing us closer to Him…to be completely reliant on Him. I don’t think He lets us marry by mistake. I don’t think the free will He gives us is to make our own path, while seeking His blessing over it all. Our own efforts come to nothing, and lead to destruction. I am the first to say that it takes two people to make a marriage work…and I failed. I ultimately fell to unfaithfulness. And I know that constitutes biblical grounds for divorce. So I take my lot – though I know we serve a God of great miracles. But now that I am on the other side of the mess, and can see what I have done…I feel God’s heart so strongly telling me that He NEVER intended for divorce to be an option. Satan’s #1 attack is on marriages – his ultimate goal is death and destruction…and look how he’s winning! I am a statistic to that. I was SO of the mindset of “well, it’s better off we realize it now”…or pointing fingers to say what my spouse was or wasn’t doing to make our marriage work. And it DOES take two people. It does on every level. I can completely empathize with the pain you are going through. I wish I could fix my family SO bad! But one thing I am realizing through this is that only GOD can do that. But through it all, I truly believe that divorce is NEVER what God wants…EVER. I think marriage is His perfect example of Christ’s love for us, and that is what it is to be modeled after. I failed miserably at that. I know I will never make that mistake again. There is always hurt, always anger, always reactions, always blame, always loneliness to be felt…but God can restore. Is your husband a believer? I know I’m coming from a pretty hypocritical place according to the world’s view, because I am a filthy sinner who believed Satan’s lies about the sanctity of marriage. But I have, through my absolute brokenness, been able to have glimpses of God’s heart through this…and I feel Him saying that this is never what He wants. Ever. Forgive me for maybe overstepping bounds, but I’m pretty passionate about this right now. God has impressed on my heart so clearly that He hates divorce. I made the mistake of getting here. Oh how I wish I could change everything. I love my ex-wife – she is an amazing woman after God’s heart. I betrayed God’s command on my life to love and protect her…till death do us part. What God has created, let no man destroy. I destroyed it. I hate to see others going through things like this when there is still a choice. Just make sure that you are seeking God first, putting ALL else aside to surrender to what He is calling you to do. If He is leading you to divorce, beyond a shadow of a doubt, then so be it. True peace comes from walking in God’s will. I know that now. All too late. But I know it now nonetheless. There is great joy in walking in His will and surrendering. Just be sure you are truly doing that on every level when it comes to this. Please forgive my passion for this…I just know the pain of the other side all too well right now. My heart goes out to you.

    • Joanna Price says:

      I appreciate your words. I too, believe God hates divorce. But there are a lot of things in the world that God hates, that sin has created. We still need to face them head on and make tough choices. I believe I am doing the right thing for my children, and I am at the point to say that is my number one priority. I am truly putting it all aside. The shame, the guilt, the pain. He is calling me to be a light in this world, and my light is currently being snuffed.

      • Anonymous says:

        I know I don’t know the situation, so I pray blessings on you and your kids through this journey. I know He will guide you in peace!

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