After my divorce, I was in very intensive weekly counseling for about 6 months. Slowly, the memories of my marriage and the anxiety it produced subsided. Sometimes though, the past comes jolting back in a very real way, and it never fails to catch me off guard.
One such memory came flooding back to me this week at a doctor’s appointment. One of the most devastating things that happened in my marriage took place during a time when I was extremely ill with (what ended up being) mono. I was hospitalized for a week and in-and-out of doctor’s appointments for many months after. The details don’t matter, except for the fact that it was my mom and sister who came to care for me from South Carolina and Washington D.C. respectively. It was a very trying time physically, but also when my family started to confront me about some of the serious issues they were seeing in my marriage. It’s very hard for me to think back on that time, and I don’t do so if I can at all help it.
Well, this week I had a Dr.’s appointment at the same hospital where I was admitted during that illness. When I checked into my appointment this week, the nurse went through and updated my information. My emergency contacts listed were two of my aunts….not my ex-husband as it should have been, because I knew that I couldn’t count on him to come if there was an emergency. The feelings and emotions of how utterly alone I was during the time of my illness came flooding back, until I turned to see Andy sitting with my daughter P in the waiting room, ready to go through anything with me.
It happens sometimes when I go get Daughter P. My ex-husband still lives in our old home, and although I would never want to be back there, sometimes I am overwhelmed with sadness just remembering what I hoped our home and family would be like there, and the failure of my marriage.
Unfortunately, it happens sometimes when Andy says a certain phrase that my ex-husband would say, and I have to fight back the tears or harsh comments that threaten to spill forth from me.
I guess my point is this….just because you are removed from a situation, it doesn’t mean that it won’t still affect you for years to come. Letting go of the hopes and dreams you had for your life is hard. Even if you were in a horrible marriage, it is still necessary to grieve the loss of it. I have had to grieve the loss of the person I was before my first marriage. Some of the thoughts these memories bring up are straight from the enemy, and I have to confront them as that. I find myself repeating the lies that I had gotten used to believing about myself, and I start to feel the guilt and failure all over again.
For those of you who have suffered through a separation or divorce, or who are suffering in a difficult marriage now, I highly suggest that you work to begin looking at yourself as God sees you. Search through Scripture to find the wonderful thoughts and promises that He has for His children. When those negative thoughts and lies creep up, replace them with the Truth from God’s Word. Memories are powerful things, but the Lord who created us is more powerful. Cling to the Truth about your present and your future, and leave the lies of the past behind.