Most people, when they mention moving on, are referring to a readiness to get into another romantic relationship.
But moving on can be so much more. I’m here to tell you that you can “move on” without moving into the arms of another man. For me, moving on means finding soul-freedom from my past more than it means finding human love.
Letting go of a person when he’s dead can be difficult, but letting go when he’s alive can be brutal. Death brings finality and closure that cannot be avoided; divorce brings rejection and betrayal that, by all means, could and should have been avoided.
Divorce brings the death of a dream. It wasn’t only a marriage, though that would be enough. For me, divorce also brought the death of my children’s security, my dream home, my friends, the mountains and sea that I loved with all my heart, and my church. My ex didn’t think the loss would be so great, and wanted me on good friendship terms while he slept with our daughter’s 16 year old friend five minutes away. In his mind, we could live a good “friendship’, co-parenting life style in close proximity with each other.
When I realized how his brain really worked, I realized how confused mine had become. Narcissists are good at that—love bombing while tearing you to shreds—and if you don’t enjoy it, they’ll tell you that something must be wrong with you for being so sad.
Divorce taught me to see God, but it also taught me to see a lot of other things. Facing my grief with God allowed me not only to see His hand move on my behalf, but also His Love so pure that it was nothing like the “love” I thought I had with my ex-husband.
Seeing God means you own up to what He’s saying about everything. You start seeing evil for what it really is while you see goodness in ways that take your breath away.
Yesterday when a friend asked me how I’ve moved on, I had to stop and think. How has all that not destroyed me?
By choice, I don’t have a boyfriend. So I can’t credit healing to finally being in a healthy relationship.
It sounds clique to say that it was God’s presence that allowed me to stay intact and learn how to thrive again, but it’s true. I learned how to live autonomously before Jesus Christ and see what He said over me, to me, and for me—completely apart from any other human being.
You can lose everything, yet still hold on to the most important thing. This is because Jesus’ death on the cross annihilated not only sin, but also the effects of sin. Salvation was not only meant to take your sin away, but also to remove the affects of another’s sin toward you.
I took years to process the fact that my husband would walk away. I took even longer to process the fact that he wouldn’t come visit his children, and my little boy hasn’t seen his father in almost two years. Trust me when I say the processing included many tears, more grief than anger, and that devastating realization hitting hard when I woke each morning not wanting to place my feet on the ground.
So I’m not offering you some magic formula of moving on. It’s more like a solid refusal to go under no matter what you might feel in a day. It looks a lot like reaching out for help, like processing long and hard, like talking to God through it all, about it all. It looks like owning your own faults, while recognizing that the divorce is not your fault.
Moving on takes some hard-knock-life stuff. Avoidance or oblivion may make you feel momentarily that you’re moving on, but in reality, you’re only shutting down. Be willing to engage every day, even if you have a few where you don’t get out of bed.
Some of that hard-as-hell stuff in life will knock you flat for life unless you get hold of the delight Jesus Christ has over you. He says to me, to you, “I loved you before marriage, I loved you during marriage, and I love you just as much after marriage.”
The purity culture has good to offer, but we often end up idolizing the perfect romantic relationship, thinking that our well being is tied up in another person. We are much less prepared than the world is, to be cheated on and discarded. We find our identity in serving and submitting to a man, and try to perfect ourselves and our relationships as much as we try to have a relationship with God.
Slowly and unawares, a man becomes God to us. We really don’t think we can be okay without a good man in our lives.
The best women can be wrecked the most when betrayal happens, or even when marriage is less than it should be. But I want to tell you that your man is not your God. Your man is not your Savior. And your man will never keep your heart full of pure, unadulterated joy before God.
Idolizing marriage puts you in a cage of your man’s perfection—which he will never attain to, and if you expect him to be perfect for you, you’ll spend each day griping about one thing or another.
I’ve seen women gripe daily over good, faithful men as if they cannot live autonomously before God and find soul satisfaction on their own. As if it takes their men seeing a need and fixing it before they can fix their own hearts. As if their entire well being is contingent on their men treating them perfectly.
Heaven help these men if they’re trying hard, yet aren’t filling the quota their wives place on them to fill.
Coming out of abuse and the worst kind of betrayal allowed me to see the idol marriage was to me. Surrendering that to the Lord allowed me to take hold of His love, plan, purpose, and design for my life. No man can wreck that up—the only person who will ever wreck God’s perfect design for your life is YOU.
Seeing God changes everything.
Moses knew there was a burning bush in his vicinity, but the Lord started speaking to Moses when He saw that Moses turned aside and looked.
Moving on doesn’t have to mean moving into another relationship. The best moving on comes when we turn to face what God is doing—first, in grief, sorrow, pain, and anger. We don’t run from these negative emotions, but process them facing Jesus.
As the Lord started speaking to Moses when He saw Moses turn aside to really look, so He will speak to you when you stop everything to look at His face.
If you really face everything with God, you’ll find more soul freedom than many find who never have trauma but live a relatively easy life.
Facing God with our emotions is the only way to heal properly. Denial is not healing; it is debilitating.
As we face God with our grief, we begin to see God do things to help us. We credit God for His works as we move aside to see God.
I knew it was God who helped me run a successful AirBnB.
I knew it was God when I paid for my car in cash.
I knew it was God when I craved chicken and a widow lady called me up to ask if I could help her eat a larger amount she didn’t need. Somedays, small things meant even more than big things. They showed me God was watching closely.
I knew it was God when I found a house online and moved within three weeks from one coast to another.
Friends, God is always doing things for us, yet we are not always turning aside to see God and give Him credit. Many times we are stopping in our tracks to gripe over what we don’t have, and missing out on the marvelous works of God on our behalf.
“And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.
When the Lord saw that He turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Exodus 3:3&4, ESV)
God spoke when Moses turned to see.
Friends, if you’re seeing devastation in your life, imperfections in your spouse that leave you empty and wanting, make sure you turn aside to see God and His works even more.
He will come to you.
He will work in you.
He will work for you.
Though your spouse may never change, remember that the gift of Life is autonomously given, no man can take it, and, just as importantly, no man can give it.
Seeing God changes everything.