About eighteen months ago my then husband let me know he wanted a divorce.  He wanted no discussion, no talking to a counselor, just an “amicable” divorce.  People have asked me if I saw it coming, and my answer is both yes and no.  Yes, because the four to five months prior to this there was a change in my husband and although I knew something was wrong he refused to talk about it. No, because by this point I thought we were communicating better and that we were taking steps – baby steps – towards working through whatever was going on. 

Those four to five months I felt like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane – praying fervently for my husband and for our marriage, yet knowing that I had to surrender all control.  The author talked about feeling God asking her “Are you still in if the answer is no? Are you willing to remain in relationship with me if the answer to your prayer requests are no?” (pg94-95) I could relate to that question.  I knew the crisis of faith I had 15 years ago but I also knew I was in a different space now and I trusted that God was with me and would see me through!   

When my husband finally told me he wanted the divorce I knew there was no changing his mind.  The best I could do at that point was figure out what moving forward would look like.  I knew I could not do this on my own, so I told my family and within a week I had shared it with my colleagues and close friends.  As our separation proceeded I knew I was struggling to pray for myself, I still trusted God was with me, but I was too weak to pray for me. I knew that prayer would lead me and guide me, but I was just trying to move forward and anything above and beyond taking the next step forward was beyond my energy level.  I started reaching out to those whom I knew would pray me through those deep dark moments. When I moved out of our home and went to live with my sister and her family in Bondurant I was well aware of the power of prayer to see me through.  While living with my sister I was able to rest, to just be, to think through what moving forward meant and looked like.  In that time of rest and healing I was able to find that sweet spot with Jesus again, my prayer life was changed. 

My divorce was final last March, yet there are many days when I feel that I am still in the midst of working through it.  I know that this is, and will be, one of those “treasured sorrows” in my life journey.  As a result of this experience I know that I am growing in ways I could not have imagined, and my prayer life is deeper and richer than it’s ever been. I trust that someday I will look back on this piece of my life and realize the gift, the treasure, that I gained as a result of going through this storm and trusting in God to guide me even when the answer to my prayer was no.

When have you joined Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane?
Share your “treasured sorrows” … (you can do so in just one word or phrase)

Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation
My reflections based on the book: “Busy Lives & Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life” by Becky Eldredge given out to OLIH parishioners at Christmas 2018