As springtime approaches I recall the struggle of rebuilding my life after divorce. In the throes of healing a few years ago, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this piece. It is my prayer that you will find hope in the Savior today.
The difference is, I lie for a reason.
The smile on my face freezes as I hesitate momentarily and suck in a quick breath of air. A thousand thoughts rush through my mind at the unspoken question lingering in the air.
The question that naturally arises as I share a tale about my six-year-old daughter. The curious glance that spikes my blood pressure, unbeknownst to my audience, as I grasp at straws on how to answer the simple inquisition:
Are you married?
The answer is no, so the obvious solution to my precarious situation is to merely state my response matter-of-factly and graciously change the subject to a more a comfortable topic.
If only it were that simple.
Instead, I tilt my head slightly aside, swallow, size up my listener, and brace myself for their reaction. I maintain my composure as I give a nervous shake of my head and allow my eyelids to shut for a brief instant before I cautiously admit that, “No, I’m not married.”
I’m never quite sure what to say after that. I’m a writer, so I’m certain that I could come up with a quick script on the spot to find my great escape. And yet I find myself continually taken off-guard as words and explanations elude me.
I pray for the courage to remain silent and let the urge to justify my past dissipate, even as I attempt to change the subject.
I can’t deny that I am not married. I can even utter the fragmented truth that I’m divorced. What I can’t come to terms with is the fact that I am, in fact, twice divorced. Married twice. Divorced twice. And the man from whom I was most recently divorced is not my daughter’s father.
These thoughts swirl around my soul as I fight the impulse to bring peace to these eyes staring back at me that flicker with questions. What shame, guilt, and condemnation lay within my heart and soul to hold onto this disgraceful reality about what I’ve done and who I’ve become.
It makes me crumble inside to think that I’ve failed. The fears that entail when people ask me, “Are you married?” How do I express the pain of omitting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
I confess I have a newfound contempt for those little checkboxes on intake forms to confirm your marital status. I purse my lips and roll my eyes as my shoulders hunch, and my pen places a big, fat “X” next to “divorced.”
I suddenly notice my fingernails and unkempt cuticles as I divert my attention from having to write down my previous name. Which alias do I need to write down? One or both? My most recent married name or my first?
Perhaps I should start using initials next to my full name: RaChelle Glauser, S.B. Would that be an acceptable form of identification? Let’s just lay it all out on bare on the table. Let’s get this over with!
And then I think of a Carpenter, a man exactly my age who did precisely that. He laid his clothes aside to walk naked for miles with a crown of thorns upon His head and a tree upon His back. He was whipped, beaten, spat upon, mocked, and ridiculed, and for what purpose? He was blameless, the spotless Lamb of God, the One who knew no sin.
He did this for me.
He already knew I would make mistakes and fall short of the glory of God. He knew I would rebel against my family, look out for my own selfish desires, and lose myself in a world full of chaos and confusion.
Two thousand years ago this Son of God made a choice to shed His innocent blood, and in doing so washed away all my faults, all my fears, and all my failures. He carried the weight of my guilt and my shame so that I don’t have to. He experienced my heartache and insecurities so that I can walk with my head held high in victory.
And so I lie.
I lie at the foot of the cross.
I lie for a reason.
I am redeemed.
R.G. Sharpe is a freelance writer bringing faith and fortitude to blended families. She is happily remarried with five beautiful children now ranging in ages seven to fourteen. She is a co-author of two devotionals and is currently writing a children’s book to help young readers process their emotions after their parents’ separation and divorce. You can learn more and subscribe for updates at www.rgsharpe.com.