Sunday, September 4, 2011

Singleness Part One- The Ohana Divorce

I can't really do 3ish posts on singleness without first explaining how I came to be a single mom.

I think people, especially people who have never experienced divorce in their family, tend to have a lot of questions when they find out someone is divorced or is going through divorce.

"I wonder what happened?"
"Did he cheat?"
"Did she cheat?"
"Did they have Biblical grounds?" (this one comes mostly from the CofC crowd :) )

While I think it is normal to have questions, the answers are not always as simple as the questions.

My divorce was terrible. It had been "coming" in a sense for a couple of years. I was pregnant with our second child when it all went down....and it was Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. I had a 2 year old. Ugh. BUT, that was almost 5 years ago.....and by God's grace I decided a long time ago to pull myself up by the bootstraps (what does that mean anyway?) and let God have the lead. Rather than focusing on what I thought my life was supposed to look like, I stepped out in faith and let God show me where to go. It is His life anyway.

I have no doubt that God hates divorce...mostly because He said so:

... You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don't get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse.  
"I hate divorce," says the God of Israel. 
God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat. You make God tired with all your talk.
"How do we tire him out?" you ask. By saying, "God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all." And also by saying, "Judgment? God's too nice to judge." Malachi 2: 13-17 MSG

When Jesus had completed these teachings, he left Galilee and crossed the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Great crowds followed him there, and he healed them. One day the Pharisees were badgering him: "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?"  He answered, "Haven't you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart." They shot back in rebuttal, "If that's so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?" Jesus said, "Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God's original plan. I'm holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery." Jesus' disciples objected, "If those are the terms of marriage, we're stuck. Why get married?" But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it." Matthew 19:1-12 MSG

Not part of His original plan. I get that and it is so true. 

Am I an advocate for divorce? Absolutely not. Does God hate divorce? Yes. Does divorce happen all too often in this fallen world? Yep. So what do we do when divorce happens to us? What does our life look like in the aftermath?

We have set a standard in this society of ours of what divorce look like. Two people were married. Now they are not. They hate each other. They go to court. They fight over money, kids, houses, cars. Once they are done fighting in court, they continue to fight for ever and ever amen...because that is how it is done. They make nice for the kids (sometimes) but they can't stand each other and the kids know it. They re-marry. Then they hate the ones their ex's have re-married. Pain. Disdain. Money. DRAMA. That is what American divorce is all about right?

I have a different take on things. What if divorce happened to you, and you were able to work through the pain and grief through a great program like Divorce Care (if you are divorced and have never done this I highly recommend it- click the link to find a group near you), put your anger behind you, forgive, and......move on. 

Divorce is hard. It is really, really ALL CAPS HARD. But, once it is over, and the dust settles, shouldn't the drama be over as well? Shouldn't 2 grown people (especially if they have kids) LEARN to put their hurts and emotions aside and move forward?

I have an Ohana divorce. My ex has since re-married a woman who had 2 kids and they have 1 together. So the whole clan is 3 adults and 5 kids. Believe it or not, we all went to Disney World together. I even have pictures to prove it. "Ohana" means family in Hawaiian, which you would know if you have ever seen Lilo & Stitch, or, if you have ever been the their character breakfast at Disney where they take your Ohana family picture before you eat! :)

Isn't that tender? :) He coached our sons soccer team and we were all out there cheering for him and his bonus sister who was also on the team. People think our "Ohana" family is crazy, but to me it just makes sense. Shouldn't the people who chose to hate and fight constantly be the crazy ones?

Don't misunderstand me, I firmly believe in boundaries. We don't hang out as an Ohana family all the time. The kids have their time with him and they have their time with me, but on occasions when we are all together we act like civilized people. Basically, we have a mutual respect for each other. The past stays in the past, and we get along because it is what is best for everyone.

Let me say right now that this requires both sides to be on board in order for this to work and I know that in many cases that is just not possible. But, even in those cases where the "other side" may not want to cooperate in getting along, that doesn't mean you are out of luck. The Serenity Prayer (the whole thing not just the AA part) is what really helped me to see this and believe it.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

The only thing I can change is me. The only thing you can change is you. This is a sinful world and we have to accept that.  Things are not going to always be how WE want them to be, but we can seek wisdom and guidance from God, stay close to Him, listen, and follow His command to be like Him. 

Oh how I pray that divorce will start to look different in our society. That God would use this terrible thing that He hates, to draw His children closer to Himself if they do experience it. I know that I will be personally accountable for how I have handled this time in my life......and that makes all the difference.