Going through a divorce is a deeply emotional and psychologically traumatic experience. If you have been through a divorce, you probably know what I’m talking about. Everyone reacts differently to the pain of divorce, so there is no “one size fits all” formula for finding yourself after divorce.
Divorce is even more traumatizing if it took you by surprise and you find yourself holding the ashes of what you once thought was a vibrant marriage relationship, asking yourself, “How did this happen?”.
Finding yourself after divorce is often difficult
Newly divorced women often experience a feeling of being lost. Many of us have spent years with Mrs. as our major identity, so when this gets taken away suddenly, we often find ourselves lost and wondering “who am I?” and “how do I find myself again?”. During the process of getting through a divorce, life easily becomes a whirlwind of many negative emotions that sap our energy and make just getting from one day to the next a heavy task.
Confusion, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, shame and a host of other negative emotions can become constant companions, where we were once hopeful and at peace. Finding yourself after divorce is not easy but with God’s help, it can be done and life can be even better than before your divorce experience.
Finding yourself after divorce – my story
Every divorce is different, but I believe that the general thread of loss, rejection, and disappointment is common. I can relate, having been through a divorce that blindsided and almost overwhelmed me at the time. Rebuilding after divorce was challenging but God is faithful! He held my hands and helped me every step of the way.
I was married for 8 years and had just given birth to our second child when my now ex-husband simply left. He later informed me that he no longer wished to be married to me and had filed for a divorce.
There was little to no warning that this was coming. I thought we were a Christian couple, who believed that marriage is a permanent commitment. I also thought that we were growing in our relationship and that while things were not perfect, we were doing ok.
Since my divorce, I have experienced God’s love for me and His mercy in ways that I didn’t know before. God has been so faithful to me and my kids! He has gone ahead in everything and made provision for our needs before they became an issue.
While there are challenges in being a single mom, (just as for everyone in life), I now know that my divorce was a blessing in disguise! My life is peaceful and the joy of the Lord is my strength.
Rediscovering yourself after divorce IS possible
I’d like to share some thoughts about how to make use of the opportunity that divorce presents to rediscover yourself. However, finding yourself after divorce is challenging, and it probably doesn’t feel like an opportunity right now.
God doesn’t waste our pain. If we cooperate with Him, He is more than able to bring beauty from our ashes. There is life after divorce and you can still live the life of purpose that God created you for.
But how do you do this? How can you push past the present pain to find yourself again and rediscover who you truly are? Do you even dare to try? Is finding yourself after divorce even possible? Can you heal from this trauma?
Yes! You can heal from the pain of divorce, rebuild and thrive again.
6 essential tips for finding yourself after divorce
Here are some essential tips on the process of finding yourself after divorce and rebuilding your life.
1) Return to your maker
God created you for a unique purpose! He has also gifted you with everything you need to accomplish that purpose and your divorce does not invalidate that! Maybe it was completely out of your control, or you may have stumbled off the path and taken a detour, but that doesn’t mean the original destination has changed. You’re on your way somewhere. Go back to the One who made you, find out why He put you here and what He wants from your life.
I had never talked to God in my life as much as I did when I was going through my divorce! He comforted me and gave me peace down in my soul when it felt like all hell was breaking loose around me.
Begin to speak to God again, just as you would a friend sitting right in front of you. He already knows everything that you’re thinking, so there’s nothing to hide. Speak openly and honestly with God about how you feel about your situation. Tell Him if you’re angry, sad, afraid, frustrated or if you no longer even believe that He exists! God can take whatever you have on the inside! Return to your maker and let Him remind you of who you are and help you rediscover yourself in Him.
Here are some additional resources to help you deal with the challenges of your single mom life
2) Return to the manual
I’m practically useless when it comes to electronics or anything “techy”. Therefore whenever I find myself having to figure out a new TV or something for my blog, the instruction manual that came with it is never far from me or I know I’d be lost!
Same thing in your life!
The manual for your life is called the Bible! It’s a love letter from your heavenly father, straight to your heart, full of precious promises and a roadmap to a life fully lived! When was the last time you opened a bible? Learn to soak yourself in God’s word and find hope and healing for your soul.
One of my anchor scriptures for when I was going through a divorce was
Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”.
This verse brought so much peace to my soul as I read it over and over again. It dispelled the fear that continually tried to creep into my soul and it reassured me that God was right there with me, in my mess!
The Youversion Bible app is an excellent tool for easy access to God’s word. You can search for verses that address whatever you’re struggling with, write them down and stick them wherever you will see them often so that you can be reminded of the truth even as the enemy whispers lies and negativity. If you soak in God’s word often, you will get to a point where the truth you know will always rise up to contradict the lies that you are hearing and you will experience greater peace.
3) Be careful about what you’re hearing
What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? The information that we allow through our senses has tremendous power to dictate how we feel. Pay attention to what you’re feeding your soul.
Music was one of the tools that God used to soothe my soul in the darkest hours of my pain. I would listen to the song “you are my strength” by Hillsong until I would fall asleep at night. That song spoke so much peace to my soul. Lauren Daigle’s album “How can it be” was my anthem whenever I was driving. I also listened to many songs by Jesus Culture and fed my soul with music that reminded me of whose I was and who I was. Jenn Grice’s amazing blog was very helpful, as well as a few books.
Be very picky about what you’re hearing during this vulnerable season as you deal with the pain of divorce. This also includes who you’re allowing to speak into your life. If you find that certain people always have something negative to say that contradicts the truth of God’s word and leaves you feeling “blah”, it’s okay to avoid spending much time with them until you are strong enough to refute lies and are making progress in your healing journey.
4) Date yourself
Hear me: The last thing you need right now if you’re going through a divorce or separation is a new man!! I’m astonished at how many of us run straight from the arms of one abuser to another! You are vulnerable right now and you are not thinking straight.
Take time and get to know you again. What are your core values? What do you enjoy? What dreams do you have for your future? Don’t try to dull the pain of divorce with the “drugs” of another relationship. The crash will hurt like crazy when it ends (ask those who’ve done this!). I don’t understand why many women who have made this mistake continue to encourage others to do the same “Have fun”, “you deserve to be happy”, “show him that somebody else loves you”, all lies!! Don’t buy any of it.
Take this time to fall in love with yourself. When you know your worth, you won’t cast your pearls before swine. You will be more careful about the pace of your next relationship and you will be able to discern if someone is worthy of you.
Take the time to relearn that you are precious, valuable, loved. No one gives a jewel to a child or someone who doesn’t know how to handle it. You are a jewel because God says so! Give yourself time to understand and believe this before you give another person space in your heart.
Meditate on this verse in Isaiah 43: 4 “ Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for you because you are precious to me. You are honored and I love you”.
God is talking about you here. Yes! You.
5) Build your tribe.
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so does a man sharpen the countenance of his friend”.
We become like our surroundings! Examine your close relationships and remove yourself from anyone that pulls you down instead of building you up. Especially in your vulnerable post-divorce state, you need to be with people who have clear goals and are committed to growing in their relationship with God. I have found women’s bible studies at church to be one of the best places to develop godly friendships.
Make friends with people with other divorced women. You will find a group of people who understand your feelings in ways that many of your close friends and family members may be unable to, as well as wisdom to help you navigate the situation.
Give it time. Things will fall into place over time as long as you’re working on yourself. Don’t fret because everything isn’t crystal clear just yet. You just suffered through major trauma! Give yourself time to heal and let things become clear as the days go by.
One of the problems with divorce is that because there are often no physical signs of illness, it is difficult for people to understand that you’ve experienced trauma. You may even be struggling to understand why your pain is so deep. Emotional wounds also take time to heal! If you had experienced heart failure and just had open heart surgery, wouldn’t you expect it to take a while to recover? It’s the same thing.
Give it time.
I hope you learned some new tips for finding yourself after divorce! Share your thoughts and leave a comment.