One of the byproducts of having an extremely creative brain is that information does not efficiently process as it might for someone else. Most teaching is not designed for my learning style, which made school very difficult for me. I survived with a lot of art and for the rest of it, I crammed for exams to pass classes and move forward with minimal retention. Visiting a venue, hearing a story, or meeting someone in person are always effective channels for learning, but sitting in a classroom hearing a lecture, or reading chapters out of textbooks never worked.
In my almost 50 years, I have been very blessed to travel and meet some of the most interesting people. Reading still proves to be a challenge, but studying people is of endless interest to me.
When my brain feels full, I love getting caught up in a good series. I have recently discovered The Crown. It is reaching me on many levels. I am as fascinated as the next girl with the Royal family, but I have never been able to comprehend the British government, monarchy, prime minister and what not, until I became enthralled with this drama. The Crown in providing me a great lesson in history. Albeit I realize it may not be 100% factual, it indeed is an excellent overview of which I can begin learning many things.
One thing that is very near to my heart is the abdication of King Edward VIII, due to the rules around divorce. David, as he was known intimately, fell in love with a woman who had two previous husband’s, both living. According to the Bible, it is adultery if you marry while your spouse is still living, and there has not been infidelity. Indeed in 1936, the British Monarchy could not condone such a relationship.
11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Romans 7:2 (ESV)
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
Matthew 5:32 (ESV)
32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
(Matthew 5:32 has been widely misinterpreted to mean only sexual immorality, when in fact Jesus used a greek word “porneia” which has a much broader meaning, including abuse. More on this and laws established to prevent men from marrying to get a dowry and moving on for the next dowry in another blog post).
I know these verses very well.
I stayed in a marriage that was unbearably painful for many years, because I believed it was the only choice I had, in the eyes of God. Additionally, I meant it, when I made my vows of ’til death do we part’, in front of God and man. Four children came into this world, whom I would give anything not to subject to the terrible pain of divorce. Though I did everything I could to make my marriage work, at one point every ounce of effort was dried up.
Regardless of the consequences of being seen as an adulterer in the eyes of God, losing my standing as a Christian leader (which sadly happens all too often) and bringing deep pain into the lives of my children and community at large, I had no choice but to let the dream go. I had to walk away, not knowing what was in store for me. With the exception of my ever-faithful God, I was alone, surrounded by those who disapproved of what I needed to do for myself.
Now for King George VIII, the stakes were entirely different. The woman God designed for his heart had been married two other times and taking her as a wife was undoubtedly seen as adultery in the eyes of the church and apparently the state as well.
Have you ever tried to force your heart to feel something that wasn’t real?
King George VIII was forbidden to marry the love of his life; American socialite, Wallis Simpson, because of her prior divorces. His only choice, to be faithful to his heart, was to abdicate the Throne.
We can imagine the consequences King George VIII faced. The loss of power, respect, and the lifestyle of being the King of England. The rejection he suffered, no doubt, from the people, including his very own family.
I can envision the messages that might have been transmitted, whether real or perceived: “If you do things the way we tell you, you are of value to us, but if not, be gone.”
“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I felt that way in church when I was asked to step aside from speaking engagements, and leadership because I had exhausted my last ditch effort to hold my marriage together. The church as a whole, though not necessarily individuals and even a few of my children assessed and passed judgment on my truth, from their point of view. The rejection during my most significant time of need was on some levels unbearable.
Being true to one’s self requires courage and faith. It often needs the explicit support of God, even if those around you are full of ‘warnings’.
I met Bryan before my divorce was completed. Many people warned me about where I was headed. In their eyes, I had clearly lost touch with my God, but I knew nothing could be further from the truth. I listened keenly to God when people accused and judged me for the desire of my heart.
God was providing for me in the most unconventional and socially unacceptable way. I know His voice. When I fell in love with Bryan before my divorce was final, it was shameful, but my awareness of God’s blessings overrode all the snares.
The trials I faced in the year after I left are beyond what most anyone can imagine. God had sent me a man who first and foremost loves and honors Him, a man who was devoted to our vow of sexual purity, at a time when betrayal, of a sexual nature, from my previous marriage, riveted the essence of my soul.
People’s viewpoint of my truth is not God’s wisdom in my heart.
David and Wallis were married for 35 years.
Bryan and I are asking God for 50 years.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The sacrifice of following my heart, despite what I read in scripture, and how God-fearing friends and church leaders chastised me, was one of the most valuable decisions I have ever made. It was the beginning of my adventure to discover who I am in the eyes of God.
Without this journey, my relationship with God was limited to what other people saw. I lived the “Christian” lifestyle, but I was covering deep pain. Being true to my heart is proving to be far more valuable to my family, those who are overserving and importantly myself, rather than blindly obeying scripture. The scripture is a guide, a tool, and gift, but it was not intended to keep me, in a marriage where I felt oppressed and unloved.
God permitted divorce, it is not His best for anyone, but there is an allowance for it.
God gave me His incredibly powerful Word to guide me and speak to me, but He also gave me His Holy Spirit to guide me.
God gave me wisdom and courage.
For years I suppressed who I was because I believed God wanted me to look a certain way. It was through the demolition of my original family and the construction of my current household that I have learned to trust God moment by moment. I cannot contain the blessings.
It was unsafe to leave. It was risky for me, for Bryan-when he had to go, and for King George VIII, but staying was propagating a false sense of security. Staying was right in the eyes of man and of the church, but clearly, God had something far more significant for me -and for you as you watch what He can do with a heart that trusts Him.
Doing soul work delights the heart.
I am on a mission to inspire others to do soul work to bring
Wholeness for your Soul through Balance.
Through coaching individuals one-on-one, I help them see how God loves them and is working for their good!