WHAT DO I DO?
I feel like I have been running a mile a minute lately, hence it has been a day or two since put a blog out, so today’s the day. I hope you had a good Father’s Day, which can be very difficult after a divorce…believe me, I know what that’s like.
Every once in a while I receive a contact from someone who has suddenly been blindsided by the emotional trauma of unexpected and undesired divorce, who reaches out to me asking for something that can help him or her figure out what to do. After some I received recently, I decided it might be worth putting some ideas into a blog, because there are those who don’t write, but may well have the same kind of questions. So here are ten suggestions, in no particular order, many of which were helpful for me some time ago:
1) Do your best to maintain your normal routine…job, church, sleep patterns, etc. It can be tough to keep it all going, but do what you can.
2) Grant yourself some grace. You are dealing with a major life event, don’t expect yourself to always be at the top of your game.
3) One of my aunts gave a pretty useful piece of advice: find something to
bring you a smile or a laugh each day, just a little joy can help even the darkest days.
4) Do something nice for yourself now and then. Go to a movie, buy some new clothes, visit a museum, have dinner out with a friend, just something to take you out of your context and let you focus on something else for a while.
5) Keep going (or start going!) to church, and make time for daily prayer and Bible reading. It doesn’t matter whether you know what to pray or not, even just sitting in God’s presence is worthwhile. If you don’t know what to read, I would suggest finding a devotional that can help (which is why my books are set up in devotional format). You can also read through the Psalms or the Gospel of John are good places to start. As for church, it may feel very awkward, sitting alone after years of marriage. It’s okay. Sit in a different place, sit with new people, or if your own church is just too difficult to handle, take a leave of absence and attend another for a while. But make worship a priority, keep that connection with God going, because if you let it drop, it all too easily never returns.
6) Make time for appointments with a counselor and also with your pastor. In some cases, money may be too tight for a counselor, but if so, some places like county mental health centers operate with a sliding scale, and pastors don’t usually charge. A trained individual with a good listening ear can be extremely helpful.
7) Find a support group. DivorceCare is one I often recommend. It is a good program, down to earth and real. They list potential locations on their website, but not all places always have meetings, so you may have to followup with other locations to find one.
8) I often encourage folks to look around their church to find an individual of the same gender who has been through divorce, and ask if they would spend some time with you over dinner or lunch now and then. Very often those who have been through it are very willing to help others in the throes of the process.
9) Invest your attention and energy on your children, if you have them. They are experiencing the major life event as well, but with much less understanding of what is actually going on. They need your support. And they need the support of your ex if he/she is still involved with them. They need all the support they can get, don’t shortchange them.
10) Finally, thought I’d offer a few Bible verses that I found helpful. HOWEVER, I’m not going to quote them, I’m just going to give you the references and make you look them up for yourself. This is just a random sampling of some that can be encouraging (there is a much more extensive list provided in my books on a daily basis and in the index).
Joshua 1:5-9, Isaiah 42:1-3, Isaiah 43:1-7, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Psalm 121, Psalm 46, Psalm 62, Psalm 34, Psalm 42, Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 28:20b, Romans 8:26-38, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, John 16:32-33, John 14 the whole chapter, Hebrews 4:12-16
Hang in there. It does get better, but not always quickly. God WILL get you through this.