In a matter of 12 hours last week, one of the biggest chapters of my life officially closed.
My ten-year marriage.
Conference calls. Zoom meetings. Breakout rooms. Settlements. Docusign signatures.
Cordial. Amicable. To the point.
A miracle mediation.
I am not sure when this will fully resonate with me, but for now, I am just sitting here with the book open, staring at the next chapter, the chapter page, having a hard time reading it and a fear of turning the page. Is this really my next chapter?
I see the fresh chapter and the intro paragraph but, it’s blurry and I can’t yet bring myself to put my glasses on and read it clearly.
It feels surreal.
And it feels immensely sad. Sadness that almost paralyzes.
The death of a relationship, of beautiful memories, of intimacy, of dreams, of hope, of laughter, of family, of a future that is no more.
The dissolution of a marriage. The separation or dissociation from someone or something.
In many ways, we divorced years ago. Circumstances beyond our control, leaving us in a new territory that we didn’t know how to navigate. Leaving us separated. Leaving us in a state of dissolution. While still married. While still working at it. While still praying for miracles.
But in the world, divorce as we know it requires a legal procedure. It’s a document that you sign. And there is a finality to that. To the signatures. To this legal process. It’s the burial at the funeral. The closure.
But here’s what we know about death. The resurrection proceeds it. And there is, without fail, new life.
Death. Burial. Resurrection. Life.
This is the story of Jesus.
This is the good news. The hope of the world. And I wonder if that story - that miracle I’ve read countless times in the bible - the knowing that death produces life is what I must hold on to in every single death I have in my life. The death of a job, a friendship, a dream, a marriage, a person. All of the deaths.
When I view this divorce from that lens, I am unable to feel anything but peace and hope and I do start to see more clearly. I begin reading my new chapter page, having the confidence that if Jesus rose from the dead to save the world, he certainly can resurrect something beautiful from the ashes in my life right now.
Of course Jesus can.
And even if my faith is small, He still can.
And even if I don’t see it, He does.
And even if I don’t want it, He will make it all good.
And even if the pain of death is unbearable, the joy that follows is unthinkable.
And even if it takes me weeks or months to be able to turn the page and begin the new chapter, God has already written my story and there is real peace in that.
And even if I have scars that bleed more than I’d like, He will heal.
And even if I falter, He forgives.
This is the good news. This is what it looks like to walk with Jesus through the storms of life. I’m held, loved and forgiven no matter what. Divorced or married or single or widowed or any of it. We all get access to this great love, regardless of our relationship status, regardless of how the chapter ended.
I don’t have to be afraid of this death – or any death - because the new life that follows is immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine.
Maybe we all are just living resurrection stories. And maybe the one story we must continue to point to is that of Jesus. I don’t find it ironic that as I type, Easter is around the corner. And Spring will be here soon and the way the sunlight hits my home will be different. Spring represents new beginnings, birth, new life. An awakening. Rejuvenation. Coming out of winter's hibernation with energy and enthusiasm for what comes next.
Always, we begin again.
We begin a new chapter.
There will be many words, characters, sentences. People, places and things. Periods and exclamation points and question marks. And God will direct it all, put us on a path, redirect our detours and never leave our side. This is the hope. The hope I have, despite feeling sad, despite continuing to heal, despite how my last chapter ended. I would be remiss to only focus on the ending while the beginning and middle were riddled with beauty and adventure and joy.
This is the essence of our stories.
They can be – and will be – a potpourri of messy and beautiful. We will fly in the peaks and stumble in the valleys. There will be immense pain and immense good. We will fight and we will release. There will be death and life.
And there will be a resurrection that reminds us it’s not about the path, it’s about the person. Jesus. Wherever He will lead, I will follow.
Spring is upon us.
Easter is upon us.
A new beginning.
And I’m walking expectantly into this new chapter and this new life ready to see how God will make a new thing.
Because He will. He's done it many times in my life, He will do it again. He always does.
The best is still yet to come.