By Liz Cowen Furman:
Recently divorced, I thought it was over. I felt abandoned by the man who had only one year previously pledged to protect, provide for, and love me into eternity.
Excitement grew for me as our honeymoon plane took off for Hawaii, (the first plane I had ever boarded in my young life). But he shook his head and sighed, “Oh God, what have I done?”
Being a young blushing bride, I replied, “Did you forget something, I’m sure we can find whatever it is at a store in Maui.”
“No. No. It’s nothing.”
The next miserable year was filled with heartache, shattered dreams and a growing fear inside me that my life was over. I wanted children. I had dreamed of growing old with this man who become like Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. Before the vows, he was kind to all my friends and family. He lavished me with little affirmations that he would love me forever. Promised me over and over to never leave or forsake me.
Post ceremony he was cruel, saying and doing things that made me feel worthless, refusing on most occasions to even have my family or friends around. He refused to attend church. I was confused, betrayed and heartbroken. Then came the day he announced it was time for me to find an apartment. By that time, I would not even do the grocery shopping without him there for fear I would do it wrong and experience his verbal wrath.
After several sessions of marriage counseling, the marriage counselor met with me alone. He told me my husband believed he had made a terrible mistake, and just wanted out. No counseling could help someone who did not want to try. SHATTERED would be an understatement.
Could I be such a miserable person that the one I had pledged to love for the rest of my life couldn’t stand me in his presence after only 12 short months? FEAR had me in its destructive, paralyzing grip.
In the months that followed, I spent a lot of time alone. Spent a lot of time in the Bible, a lot of time grieving my dashed hopes for a happy marriage and family. I was in my early 20s and believed I was facing life alone. It was the first time I had ever lived alone in my life.
The next years, I focused on building a new dream. I got involved in a church, made new friends and kept my old ones. Went back to school and prayed. I asked God to help me find my way. I repented of anything I had done to cause it. I asked for guidance, wisdom and a new mission in life. God is good, and as the next several years unfolded, I grew in my love of Him. He gave me new hopes, new dreams, even a husband and children. I married Dave with the condition that we will not divorce. I was not leaving. This marriage vow is a covenant, not a contract.
Looking back, I can see several benchmarks that saved me. Reading my Bible became a daily passion. The wisdom I found on the pages there ministered to me like nothing else. I made mistakes along the way but that single activity pulled me back every time. One of the verses that became my mainstay is Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
If your hopes and dreams have been shattered, take courage. Give your next months to studying the love letters God has written to you. You will find them in the Bible. My advice is to start in the Book of John.
Here is a song that encouraged me along the way.