An Excerpt from “Creating Extraordinary Marriage after Divorce”
From Part Two, Chapter 3, “Finding a Mate”.
Men! Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them. Fourteen years after my divorce from my first husband, Dan, and healing from my marriage to Mr. Hyde (George), I found it very challenging to live as a single mom with two children. Now Jonathan and Alex were almost ready to go to college and they would be leaving me alone. I was already feeling anxious and isolated. Just the thought of being by myself frightened me half to death.
Was I alone? Was I lonely? What is the difference? Was there a right man for me? Did such a man exist? Was I ready to search for a man? There were too many questions unanswered at this point. This was a time for reflection and introspection.
Just then, my best friend invited me to her church. This unplanned visit opened the door to my new life. It took me a few months but I learned to let go and let God guide my life. A child holds his parent’s hand to cross the street. Without even thinking, the child trusts that the crossing will be safe. For years I crossed the streets of life on my own, thinking that I was looking both ways, but constantly crashing. Then I learned to hold His hand to take me through life safely. Since I’ve done that, my life has been transformed completely! I knew I required a total spiritual makeover! I then accepted a suggestion to undergo Christian-based psychotherapy.
In my therapy I began to hold His hand and hear His voice – pure, simple, and true – unfiltered by culture, man, or tradition. This enabled me to view my past in a new light. I started with my family. I looked at what I knew about my father. I realized that my earthly father did not have all the characteristics of my Heavenly father. For example:
|Earthly Father||Heavenly Father|
As I opened my heart, I began forgiving my father and others, realizing that they had done just what they had been taught. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!” At the same time I learned through Landmark Education (a secular self-development organization) how our brain is like a computer and registers what it experiences. We then react to what our brain knows (the past), but “the past” is not who we are. God created us whole, complete, and perfect with freedom and potential. We are the ones who believe that our past experiences are who we are. It takes work to retrain your brain and change the patterns that it has been used to, but with God anything is possible. My life and this book are proof of that. >>Continued next column
Changing my brain patterns to accept my father and others as they are, rather than how I would like them to be, gave me the freedom to love them without resentment and anger. Being free of resentment and anger, my heart then was empty and open to love unconditionally – love as God created it!
Transformation, however, is never painless. I was growing into the person of God’s created potential and not the person who the world had diminished. No longer did I view myself as unlovable, incompetent, incapable, and undeserving. No longer did I have to compromise with people just so they would like me and be my friends. No longer, for the sake of being loved, would I jump whenever my family wanted me to do something.
As significant as this transformation was for me, it wasn’t complete. Far from it! I was still broken. Joy was nonexistent. I responded to anger with anger, to abuse with abuse. Life was serious and contentious. I did not like myself or my place in the universe. I became masochistic and would hurt myself by chewing the inside of my mouth until I bled. I chewed my nails till they bled. I was physically manifesting my bleeding spirit. How do I cope with the hurt? I was reaching for God and the devil was fighting back.
I continued to pray and asked God every day for His will and guidance in my life and for Him to show me my shortcomings so that I could be more like Him. This has made available for me—besides finding my soul mate—peace, joy, and aliveness that I did not know existed.
The big question that kept coming up for me was: Am I ready for another man in my life? Although I was experiencing the anxiety that comes with self-examination, I was growing in courage with each new discovery. The door to freedom was opening. Freedom takes courage. Was I ready to go out there and meet the world on new terms? Well, I guess the only way to know is by jumping in with both feet.
They say you can’t pick your family but you can pick your mate. Would I have to pursue a man? Would he be the right one? In any case, I knew dating was in my near future if I wanted to find the answer, but where would I start? Until then, I never had to pursue men. They always pursued me. However now I was a single mom, a teacher with little spare time. I realized I needed to “put myself out there” in order to meet “Mr. Right.” It scared me. I didn’t know even how to start.