Hi friends, in this blog I’m going to share my story of how I found closure, and how I positioned myself to move forward and find wholeness in God. The timing of things may be different to where God leads you but I think the principles apply to all of us.
Moving forward is different to just moving on. Moving forward acknowledges what has taken place – the spiritual death of a relationship, the grief and the pain – but instead of staying in that place of pain and allowing bitterness to take root, moving forward is an intentional decision to trust God with the next chapter of our lives. It’s allowing God to take us through the process of healing and to bring us out to a place of wholeness where we’ll be ready for a fresh new beginning.
The first step for me in moving forward was getting closure - and it’s a process that takes time. About six months after my marriage ended, something took place and I felt God tell me clearly “it’s over” – no more hoping or believing – just surrendering and trusting. It was nearly twelve months after we’d separated that I decided to make a gift box for my ex-husband to give him on what would have been our 7th wedding anniversary. I chose the most beautiful box I could find and in it I placed memories of us. The first dress he bought me, the first ring, all the cards, poems and love notes he’d ever given me bound by ribbon, a little photo album of our happy highlights from our dating days through to the birth of our second son. I wept as I read over all those notes and looked over all those photos and thought about what could have been for us and our children. I then wrote a letter where I forgave, released and thanked my ex-husband for our marriage and blessed him by wishing him happiness and that most of all he would find God again in this journey he was on. This was an incredibly emotionally painful thing to do but at the same time it was so healing, so cleansing and so releasing. When I handed that box over, I knew it was the closure of our marriage, the breaking of ties and the beginning of moving forward.
The second step in moving forward was setting boundaries. Marriage to me has always been a holy institution not to be taken lightly, so when I ended up being divorced (to my horror!) I wanted to honour God in how I chose to conduct myself. I gave myself 3 years before I would allow myself to be open to a new relationship. I needed God to make me whole. I know it can be a little bit appealing after a divorce to think of all the exciting new possibilities out there but the first question after the end of a marriage should not be “How soon can I date?” but “What do I need to do to get whole so one day I will be ready for another relationship?” If we don’t allow ourselves time for God to make us whole, then we are never going to be able to give the best of ourselves to another relationship, and we’re also more likely to accept way less than we deserve and end up in another relationship that will cause more pain. It’s best to do things God’s way. It takes patience and faith but it’s so worth it. I would encourage you to set boundaries. It doesn’t have to be 3 years – that’s between you and God – but allow time for God to bring you to that place of wholeness where you’re ready for the next chapter.
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, yes wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
The last step for me in moving forward was learning to be patient and wait on God. My 3 years of waiting ended up being 10 years! I didn’t date in that time, even though people were trying to match-make me and I was trying to be “open”, it was just a closed door. And trust me, after all I’d been through, I didn’t want a bar of anything God wasn’t in. I believed He had someone handpicked for me and my boys…I just didn’t know at the time it would take 10 jolly years! I just had to wait…and wait. But I’m so glad I did because during those 10 years, God was a father to my boys and a husband to me. I look back now and see just how special that time was. Sure there was loneliness and plenty of challenging times but God was with us and we have so many stories of His incredible favour, blessing, goodness and protection over us. Those 10 years changed me, I grew strong, and I learnt so much more about God’s love, grace and His promises to us. He was and is so faithful.
As I mentioned at the outset, moving forward is different to moving on. I just want to say that if you have kids with your former partner, there’s no such thing as just “moving on” because your ex is not your children’s ex. You are both still the parents of your children and the reality is, in most cases, your ex is still going to be part of your life in some way and for some time, like it or not. But having closure changes the nature of that relationship, shifting it from intimate to appropriate. When we’re no longer husband and wife, we’re no longer entitled to act or speak to each other that way. It’s putting in a boundary of respect (whether they deserve it or not) and doing the best we can to have a peaceable relationship for the sake of our children and our own heart. Making this shift is a huge part of becoming whole and moving forward, not to mention the positive impact this has on our kids.
He makes all things new.
I pray no matter where you’re at in your journey, you would know God’s heart is to heal your brokenness and bring you to a place of wholeness. He does make all things new and He wants to give you a future and a hope. Trust Him with your life and allow Him to heal, restore and ready you for the good things He’s got planned.
A new chapter awaits!
Jules M x