It’s Not Contagious

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Life after going through a divorce is difficult to adjust to, your friendships especially. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean you have to be alone.

Things changed when my husband left…many things.  One thing I didn’t anticipate is the change in friendships.

For 18 years I was part of a couple, and although we didn’t do everything as a couple, we did do most things.  Being part of a couple meant more than just double dates.  It meant being part of a care group where we all lived similar circumstances, being able to mentor younger couples, and serving in church and the community together.  It meant a lot of things I didn’t realize.

It’s difficult to adjust.

Even years later there are friendship wounds that I struggle with…friends who I know love me but now don’t know what to do with me.  I could just make things happen, but there is something very awkward about this place I find myself.  It isn’t like people are rude, they just don’t think about us.

It isn’t that they don’t love me, I just don’t fit in well anymore.

Honestly, I can’t figure out where I fit in sometimes. Single mama with a lot of kids.

My kids have even commented on it.  “Is it because you aren’t married anymore, Mom?”

“I don’t know, sweetie.  It’s okay though, really.”

But sometimes I think it isn’t.

I sometimes feel maybe people worry they’ll catch divorce or at least some other challenging life circumstances – goodness knows I have enough to go around!

I kinda want to yell, “It’s not contagious!”

Other single friends, either divorced or widowed, have shared the same feeling.  It’s a paradigm shift for us…and I think in many ways it is for our friends as well.

Unfortunately, few are willing to walk the path…the single parent path…with us.  It can be difficult, challenging, overwhelming and just down right uncomfortable…but it has its moments of joy, peace, comfort, and blessings beyond compare.

And the causes of our singleness can be overwhelming and a bit scary…divorce and death.  Who wants to deal with one of those?  I don’t.  But God has called me to it.  And you know what else? God has called us all to it to some degree because He has called us to mourn with those who mourn.

I have to admit that when I was married I didn’t think very much about single parents.  Our church is small and there really weren’t many…but no excuses. I wish I had reached out more, but praise God now I’m able to comfort with the comfort my Savior has given me.

I completely understand the daunting thought of jumping into someone’s less than ideal life. But really does anyone have an ideal life?  Some just seem less ideal than others.

I think often times the church is great in a crisis, but doesn’t really know what to do when that crisis can’t be resolved with a pretty bow.  Day to day involvement takes time, energy, resources, and stamina…but God does say that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  And that includes loving others, serving others, and just being with others as they live their lives.

Part of the joy of being involved in someone’s life, even a challenging life, is getting to see God work…seeing Him provide, love and carry someone!

As a single parent I’ve gotten to see God as my husband and Father to my children.  I’ve gotten to trust God in more things than I thought possible!

I know I’m not the first choice for a young wife when it comes to mentoring, but I think God has given me some wisdom to share even about marriage.  I know a thing or two about choosing to love when many say “give up.”  I know about trusting God when marriage is rough beyond comprehension.

God has blessed me so much during this challenging season.  I do hope that I can bless others both by welcoming them into my life to see my faithful God work and by comforting with the comfort I’ve been given.

-Sue Birdseye

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