I met a lovely young woman this past weekend and for our purposes here, we will call her Monique. She is a divorcee and has a young daughter. Her husband left her two years ago for another woman. He moved out of the home they had bought together and right into the new woman’s house. Monique had to short sell her home due to the divorce and moved into a two-bedroom apartment.
She has suffered a lot of loss. The unexpected death of her marriage, the selling of her beautiful home, and also loss of time spent with her daughter due to visitations.
Anyone who has been cheated on can identify with this type of hurt and betrayal. What happened to promises of love until “death do us part”? The emotional crises that can arise from a partner leaving particularly for someone else, comes with questions like “Am I enough? Or “What does she have that I don’t”? Or “Why did he fall out of love with me”? All of this is enough to tear a heart a part.
Monique’s parents were divorced when she was young so she remembers what it is like being the child of divorced parents. It’s hard. Children love both of their parents and just want their parents to like each other. Her dad and stepdad hated each other apparently but the mistake they made was to let Monique know this and she felt put in the middle. Put in the middle of adult problems. Is that fair? Of course not! Monique was learning to live with her own loss of family. No child should have to shoulder the burden of their parent’s choices. If the two men hated each other, they should have worked out a way to avoid each other and keep Monique out of it.
But her heart was further hurt because she was put in the middle of their selfish behavior.
This amazing young woman decided a year after her divorce to take some time for herself and figure out what she wants to do with her life. Due to her own experience with her parents, she examined her own heart and she made some very hard choices.
She decided, for her daughter’s sake, that she is going to be friends with her ex-husband. She determined that her daughter, as far as she can help it, would not be put in the middle. Her daughter will be allowed to love both of her parents and enjoy her time with her daddy without being pumped for information. So she called her ex and asked if they could get a cup of coffee together. She asked him to forgive her for her part in the break up of the marriage and she told him that she has forgiven him. She said, “For our daughter’s sake, I would like for us to be friends and be friendly toward each other”. He agreed that would be a healthy arrangement for their daughter.
They recently attended a school program together and their little girl was so delighted…she exclaimed with a big smile on her face “You and Daddy are really coming together?” That made Monique’s day, seeing her little girl happy and feeling loved by both of her parents, together.
Monique could have chosen to become bitter and really, who would have blamed her? She was dumped on. But she has certainly chosen the higher road and because of that, her daughter is the winner. When we get caught up in hating our exes, the only ones hurt from that are our children. And, of course, our own hearts. A bitter person becomes an ugly person no matter how pretty they may be on the outside. And no one wants to be around a person like that for long. I have no doubt whatsoever, that this young woman will find another partner at the right time. Someone who will cherish her for the woman she is and the choices she has made.
Our sin nature wants to take the road of getting even, lashing out, and bad mouthing our exes. And when we are deeply hurt it can seem so right to get revenge. But the strength and character Monique has displayed will benefit not only her daughter but also herself. She is being a healthy example of how to love, forgive and let go. Today, she is moving forward: she has a great job, loves her home and has many friends. She is not letting the past ruin her future, and she won’t give in to hatred because that would hurt her daughter.
I was sharing Monique’s story with a friend and she told me about her grandson’s mom and her family. “They hate you, gramps and my dad,” he told her. “They hate all of you”. My friend’s response to her grandson was just what he needed to hear. She told him she is sorry they hate her but she loves them and she prays for them. This boy is being drug into the middle of adult issues, which cause him pain. If his mom and her family hate his other family, they should keep it to themselves. My friend and her son are not hurt by their hatred, but her grandson is.
Col 3:13 says “ Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
I’m proud of you Monique for choosing the high road. Your little girl will certainly benefit from your decision.
So let me ask you: How are you doing with letting go of past hurts? Are they still hurting you or the people you love, particularly your children?
If you are finding it difficult to forgive your ex for whatever reason, then maybe you just need someone to come alongside and walk with you for a season. Sometimes our hearts are so wounded we seemingly can’t let go. I have walked the journey of choosing to forgive so I understand and can help you in your journey to freedom of the past. Don’t let the past rob you of a great future.