Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been a week since my last confession.
This is your fourth Saturday in a row, yes?
Yes, Father, but I’m so angry with my ex-husband! I think horrible thoughts about him and his new girlfriend… what he’s done to me and my children is despicable!
I can’t pray. It hurts too much. All I can do is just try to get through my day without being angry. I don’t think I can receive Communion without coming back to confession.
I understand and I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
I don’t know how I’m going to live through this. Help me!
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? If you’re divorced, chances are you know exactly what this woman is going through because you’ve dealt with it, yourself. Bearing the heavy cross of being divorced is a challenge like no other. The temptation to give up doing what you know is right accompanies you every step of the way, like someone taunting you, making fun of you for trying.
Most Christians are familiar with the 13th scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 10:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
But when you face such devastating circumstances, this scripture, which is meant to bring consolation and strength, might seem somewhat empty, partly because you’ve heard it so often, and partly because the level of suffering you are enduring is accute and appears to be impenetrable. But regardless of how you feel, this scripture is very true. God will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength, and He will not give you a cross to carry that you cannot handle. So from your angle, what can you do to gain consolation and strength?
My suggestion is to give yourself a little paradigm shift… dare to look at it from a different perspective, a positive one. Look for the blessings that accompany this cross. I know this may sound ridiculous to you, but doesn’t something positive usually come out of every negative situation? We know God works our circumstances for our good, so if you can find the positive things that are happening despite the misery, you will begin to find consolation. You will find something to hope in, something to thank God for.
Remember, as a child on Christmas morning, searching behind the Christmas tree, hoping to find more gifts? You can do the same when you are suffering. Look behind your cross for hidden gifts… blessings you don’t readily recognize. Think about the woman in the confessional and all the heartache she is experiencing… a positive for her is she is drawn closer to Christ through the sacraments because of the intense anger she is experiencing. Her divorce brought her closer to God. She is learning to rely on Jesus and His grace and mercy to get herself through it. In my own experience, a great blessing in my divorce was that I became free to practice my faith as passionately and openly as I wanted without the fear of ridicule or guilt.
What has been happening in your life?
Have you come closer to Christ as a result of your divorce?
Was there an abusive behavior tearing the family apart that has now ceased since your ex- spouse left?
Has a relationship with a relative or friend become stronger because of their support?
Has God brought new people into your life that have been a source of strength and consolation?
You may not like the idea of associating the word “blessing” with “divorce” and that is entirely understandable. But if you give the idea of looking for the blessings that have come your way because of your divorce a chance, you might be surprised at what you find. The act of gratitude reveals your inner strength, it builds virtue, and you receive many great graces and blessings. So, why not give it a try? There probably are many hidden gifts behind your cross that are waiting to be discovered…
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