Monday, November 25, 2013

What I Want You to Know about My Sordid Past

Photo by My Anjelina (Anjie Kay)

I read a Forbes article, the other day, on our biggest regrets. I relate really well to #21, about failing to live in a health-conscious sort of way, also to #23, about failing to visit a friend before his or her death.

#12, though, about failing to save a marriage, isn't among my personal regrets.

My life would have been easier had it not included divorce. That was a painful, little chapter, although not as painful as the marriage that preceded it, okay? I in nowise mean to write ill of my ex-husband, either; it was just a poor match of immature people.

The hardest thing about divorce, for me, was experiencing the hurt and disappointment of others. Our son was very young (four) and has always seemed to handle the situation well, but I knew I was letting my parents and grandma down. One aunt seemed particularly sad, which made me sad.

My parents are still married; my grandparents were married until parted by death; even my little brother and his wife are still married: sixteen years, now, in fact. I just never pictured myself the divorced one in the family. So there's that.

At the time of my divorce, I didn't (couldn't? wouldn't?) see or accept my responsibility for it. Many years after the fact, after I'd rededicated my life to Christ and remarried, I came to see and accept just how responsible I was--more responsible, in fact, than my ex-husband--and ask God's forgiveness for specific failures on my part. It was a painful process.

My life would be easier, today, if I were not divorced. First of all, there's the sharing thing. My ex-husband and I share custody of our son, and we share beautifully. Still hard. My family doesn't feel complete without my oldest darling in the mix, and he's very often gone. When I'm missing him, I know I'm experiencing a natural consequence of my failure and sin. I've been forgiven, yes, but consequences remain.

Another painful consequence comes in the form of other people's judgment of me as a divorced person. I can't even say how much is real vs. imagined, and in the end, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I allow the enemy to mess with my head over it. For example, when I feel as though my words are being dismissed by another Christian, my go-to thought place is: oh, (s)he doesn't respect my words because I'm divorced. That hurts, and every time.

My greatest regrets revolve around my being unkind to others, including my ex-husband. But you understand, surely: I can't regret marrying or lying down with either of my husbands without regretting one or more of my children. I would do any of it, all of it--in the same sinful ways, if necessary--all over again to get my four children exactly as they are: each so much of the best of his or her dad. I have produced the first (and, so far, only) male heir for two different families: beautiful, strong boys; how can I not hold my head up high?

Don't pity me for any reason (history, situation, or mentality).

And here's another thing I want to get off my chest, a truth so precious to me: I am not jealous of you. I would not trade places with you for a second or even entertain the thought. It makes no nevermind to me who you are or what you have or how perfectly or righteously you've acquired it. 

God bless you, Friend, and I mean that with sincerity. I don't think I'm better than you by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll take it: I'll take my life, my story, my testimony, my children, my consequences.

I'll take my own, personal and extravagant redemption through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Without hesitation, I will.


  1. So much of this post seems like conversations I've had with my mother (one of my favorite people). As a "divorced kid" there are some things that have really really sucked - but I think that goes more to the character of the people involved rather than the divorce itself. Does that make sense? (Like my dad and I would probably still have major issues even if he and my mom handn't divorced) And as much as the divorce has shaped me negatively, it has also shaped me very positively, too (I hope!) My mom is a much better person without my dad, and I think I am a much better person to have been raised without much of his influence (as sad as it is to admit that).
    And I too will take the personal extravagant redemption Christ has offered me in all of my mess every time.

  2. this is so beautiful, you can make me cry girl, you can. I love your rawness, and it makes me cry.

    The thing is no matter what we are grateful for how our children came to be. I love the forgiveness, I'm so grateful for His redemptive love.

  3. Annie Watson GislasonNovember 25, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Love you, and your words, so much.

  4. and who knew it could happen?: i love you even more.

  5. I love the words you write because they are such a true reflection of your amazingly human, imperfect, ever changing, growing, learning, loving, caring, heart. Much like mine. Thank you for sharing. Even when I don't comment, I always read. Love you friend.

  6. Oh, honey - this is a lovely, true piece of confessional writing. You have owned your part, you have regretted the hurt. And that is all there is to that. You are redeemed, forgiven and growing in grace and peace every day, friend. And your children are magnificent, each and every one.

  7. Oh, Brandee - I love your pea-picking heart!!!! I love your scrappiness, too - I'm scrappy, too, but you are just so much more courageous about it! You said, "I've been forgiven, yes, but consequences remain" - I think that is a huge acorn of truth that is so missing in today's culture. There is beautiful grace in accepting forgiveness and deliberately rolling up the sleeves and handling the consequences.

    I LOVE that you work with your ex-husband to make it work for your son. I wish my parents had done that. I LOVE it because you are do so much to grow wholeness in your son. The bickering and fighting of mine just always made me feel more broken.

    Our stories are different - but we each have been broken - and we each are being mended by the same potter - and that is just so cool in itself! Cheering you on, friend - in this amazing journey He sent us on - so glad our paths have crossed in it!

  8. As I see it, in order to fully love myself for who I am, and accept that God loves me enough to continually pursue a deeper relationship with me, I must also accept that everything in my life that has contributed to who I am and my perception of God is all a part of His divine plan for my life.

    Every 'wrong' choice was used by God, just as every 'right' choice was used by Him, to lead me into a deeper understanding of His love and grace, and a closer relationship with Him.

    No regrets! Tons of thankfulness!

    Great post, Brandee! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. you write with such purpose and have the best testimony ever.......