Several months ago, someone told me about a woman from my former church, who having seen me and my current husband together decided that maybe I do deserve to be happy.
At the time, hearing about that made me happy that finally, after all these years, this woman, whoever she is, realized it was okay that I was not with my ex, but then I begin to question why this woman would even say such a thing. Why even bring that up now? And honestly, what did I really care about what other people thought? I had decided a long time ago that it just didn’t matter, there were too many critics and too many not even willing to ‘take sides’ and get involved. Yet, as I thought about what my friend shared with me, I’ve decided to write response to this woman:
“Thank you for finally showing support to me after more than nine years since my abusive then-husband walked out on me and our two sons, and who I decided to divorce after 20 years. As you can tell, I never took divorce lightly. It took me two decades of my life to finally get the courage to leave and never go back, and it would take two more years after that for the divorce to be finalized.
As far as deserving to be happy, I’m not so sure about that. God never promises us happiness in this life, but He is faithful in providing and caring for us when we turn to Him, and we can choose joy no matter our circumstances because of His love. And that’s what I did almost 10 years ago when my ex walked out and many from my former church turned away, or just showed indifference — I turned to God and sought His will for my life. He was the only constant that I could depend on at that time in my life, and always.
So, do I really deserve to be happy? Let me tell you what I, and my boys, deserved — we deserved to live in a household free from abuse. That’s really all I deserve and that is what I have today. And the only way I was able to make that happen was to divorce a man who chose to make our home a battlefield. My boys and I were always on alert, walking on eggshells and waiting for the next shoe to drop, so to speak. When it was good, it could be really good — but it never lasted. And I knew that, and my boys knew that.
I don’t know that I deserve to be happy, but my boys certainly do. While many judged me for making a decision to leave an abusive marriage, because heaven forbid a Christian should divorce — I judge myself for staying as long as I did, because my boys didn’t have a choice. My sons had to learn to live with the abuse, learn to navigate that battlefield that was their everyday life.
I’m glad you see now that perhaps my leaving that marriage was good, that yes, I am happy and living with a wonderful, loving man who is the total opposite of my first husband, but I don’t deserve happiness — I just deserve others’ to stop judging and condemning me.”