Divorce leaves the abandoned spouse with an emptiness that is hard to describe. It means the one person in the whole world who promised to love you for the remainder of your days has decided you’re not worth trying for one more time. It means he imagines there is something or someone better. Divorce and abandonment are crushing wrongs that are hard to explain.
So often we see divorce as a loss, a loss of our beloved spouse, a loss of time with our children, a loss of financial stability, a loss of home and material possessions, a loss of hopes, dreams, plans, and freedom.
It’s tempting to fill the emptiness that follows a spouse’s departure with noise. “Noise” sometimes comes in the form of new relationships, but it also comes as activities, work, and even parenting. God can use activity to get us over the hump of despair and take our minds off ourselves helping us focus on His bigger picture.
Eventually though, there comes a time when, to move forward, noise is silenced, and you are left alone with your own thoughts. It’s often on a dark night after you’ve watched your kids be driven away, when a weekend of nothing looms painfully ahead of you and you are confronted with a choice about how to use your time.
You can continue to fill yourself with “noise,” finding someone or someway way to fill your time.
You can also choose to confront the silence, surviving those moments, daring silence to overtake you.
Or you can choose to change your mindset all together by realizing that confronting silence isn’t enough.
You must embrace the silence.
It is in the silence that God speaks and allows the healing process to propel us forward. It is in silence that we hear God’s voice calling us through divorce to turn from distractions of this world.
It is in the embrace of silence that we realize much of what we miss about Married life took us farther away from our Savior. We realize the value in Saint Paul’s urging to remain unattached. We see that, while Marriage is a beautiful, Loving commitment smiled upon by our Creator, it can sometimes distract us from worshiping Him as we were meant to do.
It is in the embrace of silence that we hear the call of our Lord asking us to pray harder, more often, and more fervently. It is in the embrace of silence that we begin to understand that, no matter how close we were to God before our tragedy, we need to be closer.
In the crying out we do in the midst of tragedy’s chaos, God draws us closer, but it is in our embrace of silence, after countless tears have been shed and our wells risk running dry, that we begin to truly hear the voice of the Shepherd.
If all we do is cry out, we are like an wailing newborn who doesn’t realize his mother has already wrapped him in her arms, ready to nurse and soothe him if he will just be still and notice.
If all we do is cry out, we may feel the Lord’s Blessings, but it is in the silence that we truly recognize the Shepherd’s voice, and it is in the silence that realizations are made.
It is in the silence that we realize that much of what we miss about Married life took us farther into the field, closer to the cliffs and the wolves without our noticing it. We begin to realize that the Shepherd’s voice was heard, but it was distant and hard to make out, muffled by how far we had gone.
We realize that we mistook our own distance for the Shepherd’s silence. We mistook our ideas of what should be for what is and what was, what will be and what could be if only we embraced silence to allow the Shepherd to speak His words over our own.
We realize that the Shepherd speaks to us, soothing our pain, calling us back from the cliff, away from the wolves, but we must give Him silence to do so.
It is in the embrace of silence that we begin, begin! to hear the Shepherd’s voice, whispering in our hearts and in our souls and shouting in our joys and in our sorrows.
It is in the embrace of silence and upon the return to the Shepherd that we begin to realize the freedom divorce can give. We are no longer inhibited by the faithlessness of our spouses. We are free to pursue and seek the Lord with total dedication in those moments of emptiness. We are free to be cleansed of our past, free to start anew, and we are free to teach our children to do the same.
Reflect in silence on Sunday April 17th’s readings and, in your silence, embrace freedom that comes from the Shepherd’s voice.
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
Join me later in the week as I look at How to Be the Shepherd’s Voice, especially to your children and in your own home.
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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