Excerpt from Finding God in the Seasons of Divorce By Richard D. Crooks
Day 101 2 Timothy 4:9-18
I was sitting at the computer one day, and my Siamese cat was sleeping on the bed………..the cat got up and jumped into my lap, expecting me to pet him. Of course, I obliged for a few moments, and then turned back to writing. The cat was not impressed (they never really are, you know). The cat turned and rubbed his head against my chest, and then nestled up closely insisting that I wasn’t done scratching his fur until he decided I was done……….I was struck by something about cats in general that I think divorcing people can benefit from emulating.
My cat had the courage to come over to me, express his need for caring, and did not give up until his need was met. Sometimes when we are struggling in divorce, we need to have the courage to express to those who care about us, that we are in need of something. In other words, to just ask for help. Or for love. Or whatever assistance we need. In today’s passage, even Paul asked for help! I remember a friend who was so struggling that she realized in the middle of the day that she hadn’t fed her toddlers that day, and yet didn’t feel she had the strength to do so. Instead, she called another family member and asked if they would mind coming over and making something for the toddlers to eat. Of course they were willing, because sometimes those who care for us want to help and want to be supportive, but don’t know exactly how. A request like that gives them the opportunity to express their concern in appropriate ways. Or I remember a time when I was sorting through some of our more sentimental things, and was concerned I might not divide them with the fairness I desired, so I called a good friend and asked if she would be willing to come over and help me sort through those things. She did, and I felt much more confident about how that task went. It helped ease my conscience. And sometimes it may be simply telling a good friend, “You know, I could sure use a hug today.”
I realize there is a danger in this, because I also knew a person who was so needy, that he just wore out his friends. I probably did, too. In fact, I know I did. And I thank God so much for those………remember what that friend of mine said: “If you believe that it is more blessed to give than receive, then if you don’t let me give of myself, then you are robbing me of a blessing!!” So don’t let those who care for YOU get cheated out of a blessing, just because you are hesitant (or maybe too proud) to ask for help.
Day 52 Genesis 15:12-21 and Exodus 10:21-22
There are times in our lives that can be described as none other than darkness. Divorce is one of those times. In it there are times when you simply cannot see your way. There are times when you feel you have become completely lost. There are times when you cry out with Job that no matter which way you turn you cannot find God. There are times when it is like you have fallen into a deep, deep hole, and the darkness in that hole is clutching at you to draw you down, down, down. And that darkness is, like the Exodus story mentioned above, so strong a darkness that it is a darkness that can be felt. I cannot explain it to those who have not experienced it. And for you who have or are experiencing it, it needs no explanation anyway, you know exactly what I mean.
While it may or may not be the best interpretation of this very odd story from Abraham’s life, I believe the imagery found in the story can be very poignant for those of us who experience divorce. Abraham stands before a God he cannot see, having split the sacrifices in half, part on one side, part on the other. Isn’t that what you are experiencing with your marriage…..a brokenness, a splitting apart, a deep divide? And just as the sacrifices were killed, don’t you feel the death that has sucked the life out of your marriage and devastated the vows you made so long ago? And while you are looking at it, don’t you find it hard to see God and his purpose anywhere in it? And if you could step outside yourself and look down upon yourself, don’t you feel that what you would see is a heart that has been shattered and broken, a person torn between vows and violation, a person half in the past, half in the future, and mostly in the limbo between? I invite you to take all that brokenness and turn it into a sacrifice that you lay down before God just as Abraham did that night. You may have to protect what you offer; there will be birds of temptation, doubt, despair, despondency, well-intentioned advice, hostility, so many birds that will come to devour what you are trying to offer to God. You have to shoo them away, and maintain the sacred portion of your life.