“Divorce is not in my vocabulary.” This was my motto before the you-know-what-hit the proverbial fan in my marriage. More than a year ago, I found out my husband of 5 ½ years was having an affair and although I was desperate for restoration with him, that’s not my story.
It wasn’t until I was well into the legal process that I could actually say the dreaded “D-word.” Divorce was literally not in my vocabulary. Divorce seemed “unclean” to me, even in our grace-filled world. Legalism was hiding internally until the mirror was held up to my own life. 50% of marriages end in divorce and actually, that’s my story.
Throughout my divorce process, shame and fear were real emotions I faced regularly. Being a naturally hands-on person, I began to wonder what I could practically do to position myself to receive God’s full restorative healing. I’ll do my part and I’ll allow God to do His.
Three of the four Gospels tell the story of a woman who suffered with bleeding for twelve years (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48). The woman isn’t named but I can feel her emotional distress and pain. Jewish law said women who were going through their menstrual bleeding were “unclean.” For any woman at that time, this would be incredibly inconvenient even just once a month. But for this woman, “unclean” was a constant label. Anything or anyone she touched had to undergo a cleansing by a priest. The text say that her doctors were baffled, and every medical procedure only left her condition worse.
Twelve years of isolation and pain brought her to desperation. She got out of bed, left her house, fought the crowds and found a way to reach and touch Jesus the Rabbi. This was not a passive healing! She took many courageous steps of faith, fighting her physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and even imposing her impurity onto Jesus by touching the hem of his robe. But her act of faith released Jesus’ healing power; she was instantly restored! The whole crowd heard her recount her story and describe the immediate recovery she’d just received.
This woman is my hero. Faith, boldness, resilience and audacious hope led her to Jesus and to reach out to receive healing. Could Jesus have healed her while she was lying in bed? Absolutely! But look what He told her once she was healed: “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”
She stepped out in faith to receive her own healing.
This was my strategy to find healing from the pain of my divorce. Out of desperation and faith I got out of bed, I left my house, I fought the crowds to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. I believe that if I could, I would receive healing.
And I did! This process of “reaching out” is what I’ve come to call Reclaiming which is nothing more than taking steps of faith and courage to put myself in a position to receive a miracle.
Reclaiming exercises are not magic. My restoration didn’t come by simply walking into a place that once held happy memories with my ex-husband to create a new and positive association. True Reclaiming would occur for me when I walked into pain so that Jesus could meet me there and take the place of my grief. That’s not magic; it is a miracle which is delivered by Jesus the Reclaimer. He is able and willing to bring that healing to anyone.
Today, divorce is in my vocabulary. It’s my story, but it’s not my identity. Through this blog, I hope to share the stories of facing my shame, fear and healing. Perhaps I can invite you to share yours as well. I am just like this woman in the Bible story. Reclaiming is my way to reach out and touch Jesus. He is bigger than my divorce. He – not the clever acts of Reclaiming – is my healer.