The Gift of Divorce at Christmas Time

gift

“The well of my heart is a very deep place, and at the bottom, it’s dark.
He was my ocean, and I didn’t know
if I would drown until I learned
how well I could swim.” Megan Hart

The last two nights I have had dreams about my soon to be ex-husband. Intense, vivid dreams. Dreams that have rattled my heart, forcing my head to have to work over time and remind myself of reality.

Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas and this is my first one as a single mom. Maybe it’s the empty space that allows my heart to dream. I don’t know what it is, but every now and then this happens. This thing where although I am healing and moving forward, although my heart is getting stronger and my head is in charge, I still have to fight my way out of the grip of a dream. To claw my way back to reality.

The truth is, even when I had him, I didn’t have him. I missed him even when he was sitting right next to me. My heart hurt even when his arms were around me. Because I never really had him. I had an illusion. A dream.

How can you miss something you never had? Someone you never had?

That life, the one in my dream, leaves me lost at times. I want to believe I can have both. Reality and the dream. But they don’t match up. They will never match up. Not with him. And although I have let that go, every now and then I feel the knotting of my heart and I struggle to undo it again.

The ripping apart of a love is never a clean break. The tearing of a heart is always messy. Brutal. It feels savage at times, the rawness of a broken heart. Even when you manage to gather yourself up off the floor and piece yourself back together, there are always little pieces missing. Tiny chips of shattered hope that may never get filled in.

That love chipped away pieces of my heart, and though it is healing, every now and then, without warning, I am reminded of those missing pieces. And they hurt.

So I wake up in the morning with an ache in my chest I can’t explain, and I have to figure out what to do with this thing. This thing I wanted but will never have. This person I loved but who is nothing more than a dream. This thing that leaves me completely breathless if I think about it too long.

I stumbled upon this quote and simply could not have said it any better myself.

“That life. This life. It looks as if you can have both. I mean they’re both right there, one on top of the other, and it looks as if they’ll blend. But they never will. So, you take this thing you want and you put it in a box and you close the lid.

You can let your fingers trace the cracks, the places where the light gets in, the dark gets out, but the lid stays on. You don’t look inside. You don’t look at this thing you want so much because You. Can. Not. Have. It.

So there’s this box you know, with this thing inside, and you could throw it away or shoot it into space; you could set it on fire and watch it burn to ashes, but really, none of that would make a difference, because you cannot destroy what you want… So, you take this thingyou want and you put it in a box and you close the lid. And you hold the box closeto your heart, which is where it wants to go, and you pretend it doesn’t kill you every time you feel yourself breathe.” Megan Hart

The untangling. The releasing. The dreaming and redreaming. The holding on and the letting go. The aching and the freedom.

They are all necessary parts of this path. This winding, twisting path. This path to independence, strength and deliverance.

The fact remains that even as we get further down the path to freedom, even as we are so close to it that we can taste the sweetness of a new life, that thing in that box that we feel no choice but to hold in our heart will still be heavy at times. It will still hurt at times. And there will be days, inevitable days, where the weight of it will be crushing.

And that’s ok.

We will cry. And each time, at each phase of this journey, the tears will be different. Those tears will sting, and they will heal. They will rip apart, and they will mend.

There will be tear drops so heavy, so full of pain, we will have no choice but to release them. The tears will fall through the silence and it will be deafening because with each one, another piece of the dream will shatter. With each drop released, we will feel the weight of that life, that dream, getting just a little bit lighter.

And then, we will lift our eyes. We will look up and we will surrender. We will give each tear to the keeper of our hearts, and with each one, we will be mended. We will not forget what is in that box. But we will release it into the hands of the One who can carry it. The one who loves us so completely, so wholly, and so vastly that we could never comprehend it.

It is only in that place, that beautiful, broken, dark and heavy place, that light can be found through the cracks.

I keep releasing this box. But every now and then, I find it again. It breaks me, and then I have to surrender it. Again.

God takes it every time.

So even though there is this thing in this box, I will keep the lid closed. I will refuse to look into it even when it beckons me with empty promises and illusionary tales. But I will be careful to only close the lid of the box, and not the lid of my heart.

I will stand with my heart busted wide open so that I can create the space for a new dream. A dream that won’t crush me.

This Christmas, there is a bitter sweet duo of relief and sadness. Pain and joy. Gratitude and sorrow. But the truth is, for every piece of that lost dream, I have gained so much more in its place. Reality is much sweeter than any dream because although there is evidence of a shattered life, there is also evidence of healing, restoration and hope. Evidence of a life redeemed. Proof that when we have the courage to give God our closed up boxes of lost dreams, He turns them into priceless gifts.

Now that, is a box worth holding. That, is a true gift this Christmas.

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26 thoughts on “The Gift of Divorce at Christmas Time

  1. I completely feel your pain and anguish Rachael. I wasn’t married with kids, but I was in a relationship with my son’s father for 3 years before my son was born. My son and I have never had a Christmas with his father, or any other holiday for that matter, not even his birthday. And it breaks my heart. Those are the moments that you want your child to have with both of their parents. However, it does get better with time. You learn to cherish the moments you have, rather than focus on the moments that you don’t have. I wish you the utmost happiness and joy during this holiday season! Hugs!

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    • Thank you natasha! Its amazing that 99% of the time, i feel gratitude and strength. I have gained so much more than ive lost. There are hard moments and times i feel sad, but its more of a pity type feeling because its sad to watch someone you loved live such a sad and empty life…and know you’ll never be able to make that different for him, or your kids. BUT, my boys are happy and healthy and really are too young to know any different. We are blessed and i feel truly grateful for the gifts ive been given as a result of my marriage, and now divorce. Thanks again! Merry christmas to you!

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    • Thank You Teresa I appreciate that new opportunities have already begun presenting themselves and life is full of beauty despite some of the painful things still there…but that is the way life goes…always some of everything! ☺ merry Christmas to you as well!

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  2. This is wonderful, Rachael. It is so hard when our dreams and reality seem so close, but yet so far away and out of reach. Oh, I dream of a beautiful future for you. A gift that will combine your wildest dreams for yourself and your boys all into one… and will be packaged in reality. Thinking of you this beautiful Christmas season. 💗

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    • You are absolutely right about that. My faith has increased so much as a result of the headrest times of my life and seeing how God worked it out and was faithful to His word, as always. His plans are always so much better than mine and I have been so humbled and amazed by what God has done through my messy life! Thank you! 🙂

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  3. Oh, my dear, how I know this pain. In fact, I have been trying to remember to pray for you, remembering this pain. It is never truly easy, but, the more you give over to God, the easier it will get. New dreams will come, and they will be so beautiful. He who begins a good work is faithful to complete it. Hugs and prayers!:)

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  4. I’m so sorry for what you are going through Rachel. Your attitude and courage have amazed me. Thanks for sharing your heart, I’m sure you are ministering to many women and helping them while you are on this journey.

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    • That means a lot to me Alana…I am glad to know other women can relate to this, although sad at the same time. But I know that even if we haven’t all been through the same things, we can all relate to each other’s hearts and that is my goal in writing. Thank you for your sweet words, as always!

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  5. Such a lovely way to share your pain so it will surely help others. Not many people are open enough to share such raw emotions, but you are and that is part of the healing. I know you and your boys are surrounded by love and the healing will just take time. I hope your Holidays were amazing!

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    • Thank you Tarynn! I really appreciate that. Sometimes it is scary to share your inner most thoughts and feelings with the whole world…or at least tens of people, hahaha! But I feel it’s necessary and definitely very healing for me. My prayer is that it is also healing and encouraging to others. Your words mean a lot to me. Thanks again!
      And thank you…Christmas was amazing. I hope yours was wonderful too!!

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  6. And that my friend is what makes you a strong person. Strong doesn’t mean we don’t cry. It means acknowledging the things that hurt us but knowing we are bigger than the pain and we can rise above it stronger than before.
    Happy New Year!

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