I wore the scarlet letter “D” around my neck for several years. Divorce. It was not a word I ever expected to find attached to my name. In fact, had you asked me in my younger years if I believed I would ever wear the title of divorcee you would have received a loud resounding no. I would never be one of “those” people. That would have honestly been my answer. Truly. Well look at me now.
After sixteen years of marriage and five beautiful children, I found myself at the end of my marriage. I found myself a single mom of five with no job. After fifteen years of being a devoted stay at home mom, I had to figure out how to provide for six people on my own. My identity as wife had been stripped away and was now a thing of my past. The scarlet letter “D” hung so large and disgusting around my neck that is began to define me. With each marital status box check marked divorced, I sank lower and lower into a lesser version of myself. I began to lose even more of myself than I already had in many years of an unhealthy marriage. When I was young, I wanted so badly to “get it right.” I was determined to do all the things God wanted me to do and to go all the great places He wanted me to go. I had great plans for the plans God had for my life. That was the problem. They were my great plans and somewhere along the way, it all went wrong.
Finding oneself within a community of Christians is incredibly difficult after divorce. To find healing and restoration within a church can be even more difficult. Throughout the process of my divorce I went to church. I wanted comfort and direction. I needed guidance. But what happened was more times than I can count I left feeling discouraged and hurt from simple comments about “divorced people.” The feelings of inadequacy grew into a pile that covered me with such weight that I could not breath at times. As I would slowly attempt to dig my way out of the rubble and just begin to see some light someone else was there to add more weight to my pile, reminding me that divorce was a sin and that it disqualified me from God’s blessing. The cycle continued. The digging, climbing and clearing of the horror and humiliation by those well meaning Christians in my life. A never ending cycle of pain.
It took a great work of God to get me through it all. It took enormous amounts of time emerged in His book searching for His answers and not the opinions of others. You see I had to come to the realization that we all have regrets. We all deal with shame and guilt. We all have sinned. We all continuously sin. It is an ongoing act for everyone.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Because of our sin, we all deserve death. No one person is better than another.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Suddenly it was like a light bulb went off in my head as I began to truly grasp that no one was sinless. That was huge for me because somewhere in my mind I had created a lie that said there were those who walked the earth that did not sin. What a lie I found myself believing. It left me feeling like I would never be good enough. Then I discovered a “But God.”
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
Let me tell you the significance of But God, in my life. I want to share it with you because it is huge and it is freeing. You see on my own I cannot live this life perfectly. Nothing I do on my own will succeed if I do not allow God room to work. This would be where But God comes in and changes everything. Example: I may feel that I have ruined my life because I am divorced but God showed His great love for me by sending Christ to die for me while I was still a sinner. (Romans 5:8) You see when we see a But God in scripture it signals a change or a clarification in what follows next. It signals a change in our life or a chance to challenge and grow our faith. When God enters the picture of our lives, He makes all the difference in the world because He changes everything and His mercy makes it new. It begins to change your perspective on things. That’s what happened to me. I realized that nothing I could do nor anyone else would ever be good enough to gain God’s approval, His love or His grace. We are all nothing but disgusting sinners who need saving. But God gave us Jesus and it is by the blood of Jesus that God’s see me as righteous and no longer disgusting. So now I shut out the world and I listen to what God has to say about me.
I am a child of God
But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become the children of God.
I am chosen, holy and blameless before God
Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
I am righteous and holy
Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.
I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Jesus Christ
He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.
My past happened. It is done. I cannot change what has happened. I cannot go back and make things different. I could choose to continue to beat myself up and carry the burden of my past forever but that would just be stupid. That would be like living in a prison forever. When it all comes down to it, we all have a past, we all have sin and we all deserve death BUT GOD gave us Jesus. Thank God and His amazing grace that because of the work Jesus did on the cross, He remembers our sin no more! He has taken it and thrown it as far as the east is from the west. He has redeemed the messes and restored the broken. He has freed me from my past and He has freed you from your past too.
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
There are days when the past creeps in and I find myself suffering with feelings of guilt and shame. Satan wants nothing more than for us to suffer with those feelings. He wants us to be so paralyzed by our past regrets and choices that we cannot move forward because his mission is to steal, kill and destroy the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10) We have to remember that we are free! We cannot enjoy the life God has for us if we allow ourselves to wallow in guilt and shame. So we must combat those lies of Satan with the Truth of God’s word.
Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “you are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
That is it! The truth sets us free! The past has happened but I will make the choice not to allow it to impact my future. The choice is up to us. We can choose to either wear those chains of guilt and shame or throw them off and allow God to redeem our past and use it for His glory!!
My scarlet is letter is a “D,” but perhaps you have a different letter hanging around your neck. Truth be told I have many scarlet letters that I could wear. So do you. Maybe it is an “A” for adultery or addiction. Maybe it is a “G” for gossip or greed. Maybe it is a “P” for pornography or pride. An “I” for insecurity or “J” for judgmental attitude.
Regardless of your sin, regardless of the guilt, God is your only true answer and real source of freedom.
I am divorced but I am no longer defined by my scarlet letter of shame. Instead, I choose to see myself as whole, forgiven and loved. I choose to wear the title of Child of the One true King! I choose to be free!