I’m sure Biblical scholars would give reasons far better than I about why wind and fire were chosen by the Holy Spirit, but, as I sat in the pews last Sunday and read the week’s Bible passages, I was again struck by the appearance of the Holy Spirit and how significant His appearance is for anyone going through divorce.
The Holy Spirit could have manifested Himself physically as another human being as Jesus had, as a larger-than-life, incredibly demanding, Greek-style god, or as a glitzy golden calf, but instead He chose to appear as Fire and Wind and a change of language and work only in those who both patiently and actively sought Him.
The significance of fire and wind and language cannot be lost on those experiencing divorce and hardship. We have all experienced them at some point or another…
Divorce & Fire of the Holy Spirit
My Mom held the pin in one hand, the lit match in the other. Somehow she managed to hold me down at the same time. It didn’t matter how many times she explained the match was simply to disinfect the needle to get my splinter out or that she was helping me.
I was scared.
I fought to get away.
I was certain I could live with the splinter
I wasn’t sure I could survive the pin – or the fire!
When my husband left, I reacted much the same way. There were times I screamed and fought myself, my friends and family, and most of all my Savior.
If my husband was the splinter, I was certain I could live with the pain of knowing he didn’t really want me or a Sacred Marriage. I was certain I could live with him as he was – dug under my skin and embedded deep within my heart – even if the reverse was not true. I was certain we could live like this now, and he could grow to Love again.
I was certain if we hung together long enough, he’d want to be part of me again. I’d seen other couples do it plenty of times. Marriage isn’t about using divorce as the “easy” way out. It isn’t about a phony martyrdom of staying together for the kids.
I was certain Marriage was about seeking Good in the other person and finding unconditional Love for them. I was certain my husband had this ability if only he didn’t have someone else working to remove him.
And I wasn’t so certain I could live with having him removed. I wasn’t certain I could live with having him dug out. I wasn’t certain I could live with the hole that digging would leave in me or in our children. I wasn’t certain I could survive the blistering our painfully burning hearts would endure.
I didn’t know then that that fire was simply a purification process. The burning was disinfecting what was wrong with my life. I’d run my hand along a board. This was the consequence. My husband’s leaving was not God’s will, but the pain that I felt was the burning away of sin, mine and his, wrongs we had both committed. It was the result of purifying I needed to endure to be a better me.
The flame that I was afraid would wound my heart had actually refined and brightened it making me glow when before the best I had given the world was a mere flicker. The Fire I had been afraid of now dwelt within me. It warmed me and made me come alive. The Fire kept me going.
That Fire is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was with me waiting for me to be ready to have splinters removed, waiting, not to make me afraid, but to give me the gifts of Strength and Courage and old fashioned but always valuable Fear of the Lord.
The Fire I fought saved my life.
The Fire I fought saved my soul.
Divorce & The Wind of the Holy Spirit
Having been a single mom for just over seven years, I no longer have that intense pain. In many ways, I’m actually grateful for my newfound independence and glad to be away from my husband’s influence. I’m loving and enjoying life, pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible in some ways and letting myself go and being happy with that falling apart in other ways!
But, it wasn’t always this way. I remember in the beginning the voices in my head, telling me I wasn’t good enough. I remember the voices in my head telling me, “If I had only…” I remember the voices in my head telling me all the horrible, terrible, awful things I had done and was! I remember all the gossipy voices, some seeming to sympathize but really just seeking self-satisfaction, others judging, others doing who-knows-what, but so many voices talking into me all the time.
And I listened to those voices – especially those in my own head telling me I was not good enough.
And I hated myself and how not-good-enough I was.
Yelling louder to shout those voices down is at best a temporary fix. Replacing bad words spoken by your own mind with cheap words spoken by others does far more damage than good long term. Substituting negative talk with emptiness isn’t a substitution at all but a void that doesn’t exist, but the Holy Spirit conquers all.
If you’ve ever stood on a cliff by the ocean and had the wind really blow at you from all sides, you know power of that force. You know the sound wind makes as it lifts the curls from your face and forces you to close your eyes and lift your head. You know the Joy that fills your heart when you are alone on that cliff, high above craggy rocks and crashing surf, and you finally turn into the wind daring it to fill your soul, and you know the laughter that bubbles up from deep within because you hear nothing but the sound of that rushing wind in your ears and feel nothing but the warming Fire of the Son in your heart.
This is the Holy Spirit.
This is the force that blows away all evil, even the evil you speak into your own heart. This is the force that rushes at you when you finally stand on the edge of the cliff and turn to the Son. His kiss is the laughter that comes when you do something you didn’t think you could do, the kiss you receive when you follow God’s plan, and the kiss you receive when Good happens when you least expect it.
Divorce & the Ability to Speak a Different Language
The Apostles were amazed by their sudden ability to speak and have the crowds of people from many lands and regions understand what they said. The people were probably even more amazed. Non-believers and those who had never heard of Christ must have been in the crowd that day. Put yourself in that crowd and imagine the astonishment to never have heard of Christ and then to hear of Him in a strange land in a voice you understand.
Divorce is a pain one cannot understand without having gone through it. Abuse is a pain one cannot understand without having gone through it. A sick child is a pain one cannot understand without having gone through it. This life is filled with suffering and pain few can understand and all can understand.
The Holy Spirit reaches through your pain to gift you with the ability to reach others in their unique language. Once you experience hurt on such an astronomical level and also make the decision to embrace, not merely accept, the Holy Spirit, you find the words that speak to pain without being caught up in pain. You find ways you didn’t know you had to reach hearts of others in words they understand as they travel a land that is foreign to them, as they experience pain that is foreign to those who travel with them, as they walk paths you know too well because they run parallel to your own.
This is where you begin to find yourself and your purpose and the power of the Holy Spirit. This is where you not only accept your painful moments, but you embrace the Fire that purified you, the Wind that lifted your hair and picked up your face, the language that you speak when others cannot.
This is divorce and this is the Holy Spirit. This is your first step. This it the new you. This is where you begin.
There is no doubt Fire, Wind, and a change of language were intentionally chosen by the Holy Spirit. One day I Hope to speak with Him more about this, but for now, I am content and at the same time delighted in having been Blessed by Him.
Today, I am still just beginning to understand the Holy Spirit. I am just beginning to see Him clearly and as physically real as real as Jesus Christ. I’m looking forward to an eternity of walking by His side, having Him dwell inside me, and getting to know Him better!
If I am have been gifted with the power of speaking your language, thank the Holy Spirit. Embrace Him and allow Him to purify, lift, and change you too. I pray that you do because I know that He will.
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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