This past Saturday my former husband passed away. I knew he had been sick, but you are never prepared for a moment like this. This moment, however, is layered with a depth of emotion and complexity that has been unsettling. I have been honest about the pains of divorce. I truly do not know how anyone who walks through it doesn’t quickly understand why God hates it. Because divorce is not a precision cut of a scalpel. No, divorce is like being sliced in two by a chainsaw. The scar never heals clean. The edges remain jagged. And if you bump up against it, you know quickly that you have. So, to grieve the loss of a former spouse while being ten years into another marriage, like any grief, doesn’t have a playbook. Thus, this week has been filled with many levels and layers of emotion.
I, like many of those who knew him, have had a flood of memories. I’ve listened to songs we wrote together and laughed at stories remembered with friends. Honestly, it has been sweet to remember the good. Jonathan was funny. I mean you had to beg him to stop because you were hurting from laughing so hard. He also had a genuine compassion for people along with his God given talent in both singing and interior design.
Yet our journey was not easy. You don’t walk through a divorce because you had an easy story. However, I never called Jonathan my ex-husband. There is something in that word that has always sounded callous. So, it simply hasn’t been in the vocabulary. The Lord also spoke to my heart right after my divorce and said, “If you honor Jonathan, I will honor you.” And God has. He birthed a ministry from the pain of my divorce and the healing I pressed into… hard. But one of the best gifts God gave was mine and Jonathan’s decision to remain kind to one another. The enemy had stolen enough, I wasn’t going to allow him to rob anything else through bitterness because forgiveness and kindness and peace are my inheritance as a follower of Christ.
There is a deep sadness in this moment. A thousand questions. Yet an awareness they may never be answered on this side of eternity. I ask God to continue to let me know what honoring looks like here… now… in this moment for his family and my own. What I do know and am intensely reminded of in moments like these is that life is ultimately not about us. This life is about living the abundant and free life God has gifted us with, for him, through him and because of him. Then, when we choose to accept that extravagant invitation, He is able to take our greatest places of pain and turn them into our greatest places of purpose. The ministry God has privileged me to steward for this season exists because I believe this truth unequivocally and because that is what He did for my heart. Now, I pray an extravagant peace for Jonathan’s father and sisters as they grieve and say goodbye.