Facing Discouragement in Divorce and Single Parenting: Rebekah's Story
God’s design for lasting marriage was a truth woven through the foundation of my faith. So when my marriage began to unravel, I could not fathom how God would be glorified in the brokenness we were experiencing. After twelve years of marriage, three separations, two reconciliations, many years of Christian counseling, and church and elder interventions and accountability, my ex-husband still refused to submit to the Lord and repent from his lifestyle of adultery. I was six months pregnant with our fifth child, and I clearly saw and knew in my heart for the first time that if I did not begin divorce proceedings, I would not be demonstrating to my ex-husband a godly response to his sin. This was a radical shift in my belief system. Trusting God to walk with me through a lonely pregnancy and divorce I really didn’t want, was unbelievably hard. I did not make this decision easily or quickly, because I had been hoping God would redeem my marriage.. But my ex-husband’s heart was hard, and he was unrepentant and unwilling to change.
The walls of discouragement seemed to quickly surround my children and me. I gave birth two weeks early and brought my baby home-feeling so alone- to my four other young children. And by the grace of God, I was somehow able to manage those first weeks at home with my newborn. I saw God’s faithfulness, time and time again. He drew me into His Word, and I searched for truths and promises to hold on to each day.
Yet I was so broken, so hurt, and overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. Anger, fear, sadness, and worry all tempted me to lose confidence that God was working. The Lord gave me specific Scriptures to combat each emotion that threatened to send me over the edge into despair. His Word was life and hope, and I clung to it. He gave me a desire to follow Him and obey him no matter the cost. He taught me that finding a way to bless the people that hurt me actually freed me from hating them. Believing His Word and acting on it in obedience grew my faith and began a healing work.
My dad was such a blessing during this season. He spent hours on the phone with me and reading Scripture over me because often the truth of God’s Word soothed my anguished soul. My dad felt the Lord calling him to leave retirement and take a job so he could support my kids and I and provide the ability to stay home full time with them. What a blessing this was to me and a beautiful picture of God the Father’s sacrificial love for His children.
God continued to confirm my path toward divorce, even though I prayed for signs to stop it. On the day the divorce was supposed to go to trial, my ex-husband did not show up to court. He had missed two prior dates, so the judge was already frustrated with him. We called him and waited, but he never responded. Instead of going to trial and potentially battling things out for many months, the judge issued the divorce right then and settled everything in my favor. God gave me favor with the judge and protected and provided for me when so much evil intent had been exposed throughout the process.
Becoming a single mom with five children was hard work, and I had no idea what our future would look like. I trusted the Lord and knew that He was my husband and He would be a Father to my children. I walked closely with Him, surrendering my loneliness and my emotions, filling my mind with truth, and choosing to respond in godly ways to sin done against me. This was the path of healing. It was a struggle at times. I felt weak and exhausted, and I often wanted to take up my old offenses and get angry that God wasn’t doing more on my behalf. But as I learned to allow Him to have His way in my heart and the more I trusted God to deal with sin in His way and time, the more peace and freedom I felt inside. And I began to trust that God would work everything together for my good.
Over time, my love for the Lord and my passion for His Word caught the attention of a single man at church. He served regularly in children’s ministry and knew my kids and a little bit of my story. Slowly, we began to get to know each other. We became friends, and with the blessing of our pastor, we began dating. Two and a half years later we were married, and God showed His faithfulness to me in giving me a man after His own heart who loved me and my kids as his very own. We’ve been married eight years now. God continues to show His faithfulness as He continues to redeem the brokenness in my life and the lives of my kids through the steadfast, faithful love and sacrifice of this wonderful man, and through the truth and power of His mighty Word. I am so grateful for His love and mercy toward me, and the way He broke through the discouragement in my life.