Divorce And The Stronghold Called Shame

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“Guilt is seeing what you have done; shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done.”  Larry Crab

Divorce is fertile soil for growing a stronghold of shame.  People often get lost in feelings of regret, failure and rejection following divorce, but it is shame that seems to be the strongest hold of all those feelings and results in preventing us from intimacy with God and with others.

Shame says to us in our negative self-talk that we are bad or unworthy.  Forgiveness say to us in our positive self-talk that we are loveable and valuable.  Yet, it can be so hard to hear kind and encouraging words and seems easier to keep beating ourselves up for the divorce.

Let’s take a look at 3 ways in which shame shows up in a person’s life who is either going through divorce or rebuilding life after a bitter divorce: 

  1. Get lost in the blame cycle – blaming ourselves or ex-spouse.  Here the focus is on blame and not on the growth potential that acknowledgement and change produces.
  2. Get lost in negative coping skills – drinking more than we should, buying more than we should, and sleeping more than we should…and not on the growth potential of calling out the feelings of shame and identifying healthier coping skills.
  3. Get lost in the powerlessness – believing there is no hope, no way out, no signs of a future and this place of despair is paralyzing.  Your growth potential comes when you become active and intentional in seeking guidance and new tools to help you.

When we read the scriptures we can find hope in knowing that God knew the holds of emotions like shame and so he has left us with truths that have the power to overcome the lies that we may believe.  He sees us as worthy and His children who are covered in His grace.Life After Divorce

Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”

How we deal with our past, how we live out the present, and how we look forward to our futures are seeded in our ability to shun the strongholds of shame.  Today is your day to close that chapter titled “shame” and begin a new chapter and start writing a different story in your life.

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Changing Season

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“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.”  Daphne Rose Kingma

Fall season is absolutely beautiful here in the Carolinas where I live.  I always look forward to seeing the vibrant and intense colors as the leaves change into some of the most fallbeautiful scenery imaginable.  These leaves don’t hang around long though and over a short time the trees begin letting go of their beautiful colors and leaves.  I wish they would stay around longer, but God so wisely created the trees – he knew the old would have to fall for the new to grow.

This process makes me think about taking the energy and time to inventory our own lives.  What is it – that you need to let go of – to embrace something new in your life? Continue reading

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Moving On

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“The past has no power over the present.”  by Eckhart Tolle

I have started to see the “back to school” ads and school buses back on the roads again.  School is starting up all over the country.  I remember when my now grown children were still in school and it seemed like the new year began when school started again even more than New Year’s Day.  My kids would be excited about seeing old friends, wearing their new outfits and buying the latest fad in bookbags.  However, when their school teacher assignment arrived in the mail prior to the first day the mood would often change.  They Life After Divorcewould begin defining the new school year and teacher based on past comments learned from other friends or siblings that been through that grade.  To try and bring some calmness to the anxiety – rising more and more with each new story – I would launch into the coach role and would remind them to give the teacher a fair chance and look at the year as a blank cavas waiting for them to put their own unique prints and story on it. Continue reading

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Letting Go – Letting God

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“I remembered that the real world was wide,
and that a varied field of hopes and fears,
of sensations and excitements, awaited those who
had courage to go forth into its expanse…”
By Charlotte Bronte

When I read this quote I immediately connected to what it is saying and wanted to share it with all of you.  It also prompted me to remember the first year following my divorce when I was experiencing some tough battles with my son.  He was driving age at the time and I was so worried about where he was going and what he was doing.  Before he would leave I would franticly remind him about driving safely – do this, don’t do that.  When he pulled away one night I realized he isn’t hearing me when I do those last one minute lectures.  My son’s thoughts were on the “fun” he was about to experience and my words were just sounds. 

 When I went back into the house, I turned to shut the door with tears (sad tears, fearful peacetears, … tears) and I looked up at the clear dark night – it was so big and so dark.  A feeling pulled me back onto the porch and I started talking to God, to my Comforter and my Strength.  Lord, I don’t know how to protect him (my son) and I don’t know how to reach him, I am so afraid. 

 It was one of those moments when we sense God speaking directly to us with those audible yet inaudible words.  Still gazing at the vastly huge sky this is what I understood, “Sandra you have to do your part and I will do mine.  I first loved him and still love him.  Give him to me.  You can’t control everything – you have to cover him in your prayers, you must parent him, you must love him.  You can’t protect him from everything.”  Continue reading

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The Next Steps Community

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We would like to introduce The Next Steps Community – an ongoing resource – where our prayer is that you find hope, encouragement and empowerment to live purposely and passionately when divorce is a chapter in your life story. Take some time for yourself, get a refreshing drink and visit each month to keep in touch with our community.  Each month we are going to post new material that will be helpful to your journey. Together with the leading of the Lord we can learn to step forward with hope and confidence.
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Divorce Mediation

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What is Divorce Mediation?

When you hear the word mediation in today’s world you probably first think in terms of disputes in business, partnerships, governments or even disputes between family members.  You may not be as familiar with Divorce Mediation – an alternative dispute resolution of settling a divorce that can be a much healthier approach than the traditional adversarial litigation route we have become accustom to when dissolving a marriage.

Mediation offers significant advantages to divorcingdivorce-mediation couples who have the courage to dialogue with each other regarding conflicts and mutual interests as they define what is “fair” as they negotiate their own settlement.  The couple collaborates and each gives up the option of blaming attorneys or judges for imposing an unfair settlement upon them because THEY held the power to create their settlement.  The process helps a couple to put their divorce pieces in perspective as they make choices about their future and their family’s future. Continue reading

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My Divorce Attitude

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Do you know what your divorce attitude is – or have you even thought about the concept?

We all have attitudes – some better than others, some change more frequently than others – but they are our daily companions.  We also have attitudes that we subconsciously assign to certain situations, life’s events, work, “people”, etc.  Given that divorce is such a defining life-event and it comes with so many emotions there is no question that you have an attitude toward this piece of your life – that seems to take over your life.

From the time we are young we have heard others tell us all the benefits of having a positive attitude.  Well, divorce is no different, but am I trying to tell you to be positive, happy and at peace with your divorce?  No!  I am telling you the importance of checking your attitude during this time.  You should allow yourself to experience every feeling you have – the anger, frustration and hurt…they are all key to your grieving and healing process. Continue reading

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Women Over 50 – Facing Fears After Divorce

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Women in their mid-life stage who find themselves facing the daunting task of rebuilding their life after divorce have unique challenges and fears regarding their future.  The three fears most often given by women at this stage of life are:

  1. Fear about the impact the divorce will have on their adult children (and grandchildren).  For women it doesn’t matter if their children are grown, they still tend to be very concerned about how divorce changes the family dynamics and life as they always knew it to be.
  2. Fear of being financially destitute.  It is difficult to accept that you may have to take what was saved as a couple for your retirement and now have to split it – and trust that there will be enough to live comfortably.
  3. Fear of being alone.  Beyond the companion perspective, it is scary to face future health issues alone.

fear of divorceIdentifying your fears won’t automatically provide you with a calming resolution, but acknowledging the fears has power.  The kind of power that helps you know where and what to pray for; to know what kind of help and support you may need (i.e. financial advisor, CPA, coach/counselor, resume or new job skills).  The best “fear busters” are education and having a strategic plan.  They both help you to navigate these unchartered avenues you are embarking upon.

You already know that the opposite of having fear is having peace.   So, let’s look at some steps you may consider to help you find peace for these fears: Continue reading

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Divorce Over 50: Women Learning to Grow Beyond Divorce

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Life has certainly provided you with many memories, lessons, joys and losses and now Mid-life Divorcethere is one more life-altering experience to add – going through a divorce after the age of 50.  Your life-plan was probably to reach a point of reaping the benefits of years of hard work; the children would leave the nest and there would be time to relax and focus a bit on yourself and husband.  However divorce interrupted those plans and that vision.

I have been a divorce mediator and divorce coach for fourteen years now and I certainly have seen the shift in the ages of the people seeking divorce.  For years I heard people share thoughts on how hard it is to divorce with small children.  No doubt, it is very difficult to be single parents and for children to have to go through a divorce.  However, I have to say there is NO good age to go through a divorce.  This isn’t an area where we can compare the battleground and pick a time to divorce that will have the least casualties.  Divorce is life changing, very painful and the fears of the unknown are huge and this is true for all ages and stages of life.  Now, not every woman experiences the same emotions or fears, but there are recognizable threads amongst almost all.  Continue reading

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Divorce Process Options

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If you just found out you will be going through a divorce and you have no idea where to begin in choosing the process in which to legally divorce – you are not alone as it is very confusing and overwhelming.  In fact many people do not even know they have divorce process options.  This was the case when I went through my own divorce fourteen years ago.  I thought everyone had to hire an attorney and go to court.

Which Path Will You ChooseSo I thought it would be beneficial to write about some options and encourage you to review each one with a wise person who isn’t attached to the outcome of your divorce nor enmeshed with the emotions of your divorce.  That person will be more subjective in hearing your concerns and reviewing the processes and can offer clarity and perspective that you may not have during this time.  Which path will you choose?

1.     Do-it-yourself or on-line divorce.  This process has become more and more accessible with the internet.  Be careful about just downloading divorce forms.  You need to know if these forms are honored in your state, do they cover all the important details for your divorce situation and will they hold up in court if you should ever need them to be submitted.  Choosing to do your divorce yourself will also require you to work with your spouse without third parties.  This is often very difficult because:

  • trust is usually very low when divorcing and now you are having to trust one another to be honest and forth coming with information such as financials
  • communication is almost always an issue when divorcing and you must now be able to communicate in order to negotiate your own divorce
  • you don’t know what you don’t know, which means you may not address many key issues regarding your needs, your children’s needs or future needs Continue reading
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