Today is National Widows day. Part of the mission of Joy in the Mourning is to bring awareness to women who are widowed through death and abandonment. We consider women who are abandoned to also be a part of our sisterhood. They too have experienced deep loss, they too are faced with a future they did not plan for and they too are left to pick up all the pieces. Our community is made up of women of all ages, and women in different parts of their journey, and with different stories. Just like a wedding dress, every one of them is beautiful and story unique. This is one of them…
I was 19 years old when I got married and 21 when he left me.
At 21 years old I was already a divorcee.
How embarrassing that the naysayers and statistics were correct.
I am divorced before most of my classmates have even entered a serious relationship.
This made me feel isolated and pathetic.
I labeled myself as a failure, broken, sad, divorcee.
I did everything in my power to keep my husband but he abandoned me and this is the life I am left to live. He was not very nice so I didn’t miss him but I did miss my goals, future and identity that I created all revolving around him.
He was gone, how was I supposed to pick up the pieces?
I became connected to a church community again and reconnected with friends I had left for him. I started to pursue my passions that I had hidden to put his needs before mine.
I still felt sad and broken but I realized that I would get better eventually.
I was listening to a sermon and it was about control and how we hold too tightly to things. That we never actually lose control but the illusion we were ever in control.
I thought to myself, this isn’t for me. I have nothing happening in my life right now therefore I am not being controlling of it. But God quickly revealed that was not the case. It is true that I was forced to let go of my goals, plans and identity because I was abandoned but what did I replace them with? I replaced them with an image of myself that was broken, and helpless. I started to cry because that is an unpleasant realization to have about myself. I cried because the truth in my heart was shown to my head of how I viewed myself. I needed to let go of the labels I was placing on myself. I prayed.
“Lord, I lay my identity, hopes and life at the foot of the cross. I don’t see myself the way you describe me. Help me to see that I am precious even though the man who was supposed to love me forever threw me away. Help me to know that I am not these earthly labels but I am so much more in your eyes.”
I sat, just breathing. I felt a peace come over me and the word “new” was impressed on my heart. I just laughed with a joy I hadn’t felt in months. I could feel this wasn’t just a new chapter in my story. This is a new book I am starting and I am excited.
The lies are still whispered in my ear, “pathetic, failure, divorcee, broken, used.”
But I wake up every day and choose to believe my true labels, “loved, valued, beautifully, Daughter of a King.”
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Written by a woman whose life was changed because of Joy in the Mourning.