As I’m sitting on the edge of my bed, tears streaming down my face, all I can think about as my husband is telling me he wants a divorce is, “why me?”. “What did I do to deserve this? God, where are You in this?”. I begged my husband not to leave. I begged and pleaded for him not to leave our family. I promised him, whatever I did, I would fix it. But it was going through one ear and out of the other. I felt abandoned. I felt embarrassed, but most of all, I felt ashamed. “What kind of person has two failed marriages before the age of 35”, I would ask myself. “What are my kids going to think of me? What will my family think of me? I’ll never find someone who loves me as much as my husband loved me. I must do everything I can to get back”, I would cry out. For months, I blamed myself. Two major questions I would ask God, “why me?” and “how can I fix this?”. I went to marriage counseling. I read what seemed like every book on marriage I could find. I allowed him to use me, placing me in compromising positions for his own benefit. My husband fooled me into thinking the breakup was my fault and there was still time to make him come home, I just needed to continue to preform my wifely duties, all while living his life as if he were single. The more time that went on, the more ashamed I felt. I was doing things for him that made me really uncomfortable, sometimes it would even be illegal. The last thing that shame would allow me to do is look beyond my own circumstances and see the grace in the situation.
Prior to my husband leaving, he was physically, emotionally, and spiritually abusive. Every time my husband hurt me, I would cry out to God asking Him to change my husband into the husband that I thought he was suppose to be. I thought God was suppose to do what I asked of Him. I thought no matter what, God was for marriage and that He would do anything to fix it. But shame hid the truth from me. Shame had me convinced that the abuse I was facing at the hands of my husband was well deserved for all of my sins. Shame had me convinced that I deserved every attack, every verbal beat down, every hateful thing done to me.
That was almost three years ago. Thank God, he delivered me from such abuse. He taught me that what happened to me was not my fault, nor was it something I deserved. He is teaching me that I no longer have to walk around with a shameful heart. Sometimes I feel that I’m not good enough due to the things I have done. Sometimes, I feel that I will be alone for the rest of my life due to the things I have allowed to happen to me. But everyday, Jesus continues to teach me that that feeling ashamed is not my burden to bear. Shame is not apart of who He wants me to become. He is teaching me that what the enemy intended to harm me, God is going to use it for my benefit. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” -Genesis 50:20
We aren’t meant to live with shame. Shame is a tactic used by the enemy to keep us trapped, feeling hopeless and defeated. Our Heavenly Father is not the father of shame. He is the Father of love, glory, and mercy. He cleanses us from our sin and saves us from ourselves. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
A year after my husband left, I had hope for the future again. He is helping me not feel ashamed or embarrassed. He is given me grace so that I can forgive my husband for the hurt that he has caused my family and I because he, too, is a child of God. So I end with this: “Following Jesus does not end our pain, but it does transform it. Although God never causes our pain or shame, he can use it for our benefit, for his purpose, and to help other people.” -Christine Caine, Unashamed