I was married at eighteen and divorced by the time I was 24. A lot happened in those six years. My ex-husband and I abused each other mentally and physically. We cheated on each other. All while having three children. After three separations, counseling, and a verbal punch to my heart with the phrase, “I don’t love you anymore.” We decided that it was best to get divorced. Living happily ever after was always the plan. I never had a plan B. No one in my family had ever been divorced, so I had no idea how this was supposed to “work.” God hates divorce, and I do, too. It left me feeling isolated and ashamed. The effects of it will be with me for the rest of my life. But there is healing and forgiveness after divorce. 

After divorce, Lindsay Howards personal essay.Becoming A Single Mom 

Divorce is what catapulted me into being a single mother. For years, I thought I was better because I was a single mom because of a failed marriage versus being a single mom due to the consequences of having a child out of wedlock and the father just walking away. Now, I know it all boils down to decisions and outcomes. Either way, we can always end up in the same boat as someone else, no matter what the reason is as to how we got there.

Imagine being the daughter of a pastor, a licensed minister, and being from a small town going through a divorce. The gossip, the stares, and the judgment from others added to my torment. My upbringing in the Christian faith would help me try to work on my marriage and ultimately help me through my divorce. Without God, I would be crazy, in jail, or maybe even worse. In divorce, the weight intended for two people is now placed on one person’s shoulders. It is a wonder that the person left with the most responsibility doesn’t break. However, I am finding that when a weight is lifted and carried appropriately, it produces strength.

After Divorce 

I did not deal with it maturely during the first couple of years after my divorce. Putting my faith in God on hold, I went for more immediate gratification to help numb my pain. I became a party girl and smoked marijuana regularly. Basically, I became the kind of girl I had previously looked down upon. Finally I got tired of not dealing with my hurt and decided to start my healing process head-on. I knew I had to forgive my ex-husband.

Pastor TD Jakes said, “In order to forgive, you have to first give up what you had in mind.” I had to let go of my expectations for my marriage and life to begin to heal and move forward. Holding myself accountable for the part I played in my marriage failure also helped me forgive my ex-husband because I started to take the focus off of him and put the focus on the areas I needed to work on. I had to hold myself accountable for my actions and how I responded to him. This has helped me through the years in how I operate in our co-parenting relationship.

My Ex-Husband Is An Involved Father 

Our divorce was finalized a decade ago. My ex-husband has barely missed a beat as a father for the last ten years. He gets our children every weekend and is very involved in their lives. I am thankful that he remained faithful to his children even though we could not make our marriage work. Our co-parenting relationship has gotten much smoother in the last couple of years. When wounds are fresh, that is when they hurt the most. After the healing process, our goal is not to hurt each other but to help each other ensure our children have the best education and opportunities to have successful lives.

Linsday's children say my "my mom is cool."Forgiveness and Healing After Divorce 

Forgiving my ex-husband also helped me move on with my life. I have never wanted to be the bitter woman who doesn’t trust men or the woman who has my guard up because I have been hurt before. After my divorce, I had a few relationships (more than I should have), but I loved and learned. For the last three years, I have been with an amazing man who loves me and loves my children. I look forward to marrying him in the near future.    

When we heal what hurt us, we have a better chance of attracting another whole, healed individual into our lives. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily let the offender off the hook, but it does let you off the hook you shared with that person. Forgiveness yields freedom. As I reflect, I can say that I am the woman I am because of what I went through, and I know I am right where I am supposed to be.

Read more of the Mom Stories series.