God hates divorce and I know why. I mean seriously who doesn’t? This is not what I want and it’s certainly not what I planned. I’ve seen a Christian counselor and I’m surrounded by an amazing support network. After doing everything I knew and everything advised by people more spiritually mature than myself, I filed for divorce. So please look me in the eye and don’t treat me as if I failed. My marriage failed, I didn’t. And I need you to help me succeed at living divorced as a Christian.
There has been a ring on my left hand since I was in high school and got a promise ring for Christmas. So much for promises. Maybe you didn’t notice my bare hand, but I feel like a limb was amputated and no one knows what to say or do.
Five years ago an orthopedic surgeon made a small incision in the crease of my palm to relieve nerve entrapment. Not that I remember, I was unconscious and numb. The pain after surgery was controlled with Ibuprofen and I didn’t even miss a day of work, yet fourteen meals were delivered to my house.
When I got seriously ill, my mailbox bulged with cards and my refrigerator overflowed with food. People sent scriptures, devotionals, books and messages of thoughtfulness. Lunch invitations were scheduled weeks in advance. For crying out loud, I was on prayer lists all over the country.
People love me well and they know what to do and say. At least when I’m sick.
Half my body was ripped away when my husband left. Living in the public eye of a small town, I felt like I wore a neon sign on my forehead. I looked at people and wondered, “Do they know?” Then they looked at me and thought, ”Should I say something?” Or worse, they diverted their eyes completely. What’s the deal? If my dog died, you’d say, “I’m so sorry.” If my foot were broken you would pitch in to help me plant my garden. Okay I don’t really have a garden, but you get the picture. You’d know what to do if I had my appendix out. But this, well this is awkward.
Never in a million years did I think I would address this topic. I wrote and taught a Bible study called, “Becoming a Godly Wife.” I read and practiced “Love and Respect,” “The Power of a Praying Wife,” “Intimate Issues” “Love and War,” “Rebuilding a Marriage Better than New.” So there’s that. In fact, I also wrote a book on forgiveness. And I meant it. Every single word.
You can do all the stuff and still wind up with a broken heart.
Broken hearts hurt worse when ignored.
Saying nothing seems safe, but seriously people, don’t think I’ll forget if you don’t mention it. That doesn’t mean you need to say something just because you happened to run into me at the grocery store.
Can I give you some advice from the raw side of pain? If you wonder whether you should say or do something ask yourself this question, “What would I do if she had her gall bladder removed?” If you would pray, then pray. If you would visit, then visit. If it’s none of your business, stay out of it. Would you text, call, or bring dinner? Then do that. Would you add me to the prayer list? Then do that. Oh I know it’s easier to pray about cancer and travel mercies, but if anyone needs your prayers it’s the family being fractured. Good grief, the pain is nearly unbearable.
When you don’t know what to say, try this:
I love you and I hate this is happening to you
I am so sorry
I am praying for your family – ALL of them
Speak truth from God’s word: I need to hear it outside of my own head. God is near to the brokenhearted; His mercies are new every day.
Invite me to dinner or lunch after church, to watch football games and attend weddings. I can’t walk with only one leg and I need people to lean on.
Thanks to the Lord’s faithfulness and incredible people, I’m surviving dismemberment. My closest friends text me with simple questions, “How are you?” or “How was your day?” Let me clarify, I’m not asking you to hover; I’ve got a good mother with a lot of experience in the fine art of hovering. These are special people I do life with. And please don’t receive this as condemnation. I know you care and I know it’s awkward, but I need you friend.
A friend loves at all times…
Vickie Petz Henderson is a speaker, author, and encourager. When she is not blogging at My Right Side Up Life, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
"One day I sat on a rolling stool as the doctor and the next day I woke up on the other side of the sheets. When I permanently transitioned from surgeon in the operating room to patient in the emergency room, I discovered blessings through adversity and “My Right Side Up Life.”
"I lost what every woman wants and gained what every woman needs. When a disabling illness shattered the career I loved, crippled my active hobbies and rearranged all my relationships, I thought my life turned completely upside down. Instead, the challenges turned my life right side up."
"From my perspective as a physician, I share encouragement from the other side of the sheets and show people how to find God’s blessings despite life’s interruptions."
Vickie is also the author of Dressing the Wound
Have you been wounded? As a surgeon I made thousands of incisions and I can testify, even excruciatingly painful wounds heal. However, they need proper care. “Dressing the Wound;: Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness,” shows you the benefits of forgiveness, warns you of the dangers of unforgiveness and gives you practical steps to finally be free. It is time to dress our wounds.