June 3, 2020 0 By Laura

I remember one of the first counseling sessions with a therapist that I saw during one of the toughest seasons of my marriage. She asked us a lot of questions and seemed much friendlier and more personable than any counselor I’d ever been to. Finally, toward the end of our time together, she asked if we had hope. Hope for a better marriage, hope for restoration, hope that we could be happy one day, hope that good would eventually come from this trying time. We both answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Years after that meeting, when my husband told me our marriage was over, he said that he no longer had that hope. He didn’t believe he could be happy being married to me or that I could be happy being married to him. I didn’t feel it then, but I feel it now. Nearly 15 months after he left, we’re no closer to being divorced because of financial challenges and the coronavirus pandemic, but I finally feel that lack of hope. I felt it for my marriage a long time ago, but it started seeping into other areas of my life, and sometimes I even struggle with a complete lack of hope on a day-to-day basis.

Deep down in my core, I know everything is going to be alright. The sun will rise tomorrow, the difficult seasons I’ve been trudging through will pass, and I will feel happy and carefree again. But that time is not now, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Life seemed pretty simple and easy for a long time, and despite going through the challenge of an unfaithful spouse and attempting to reconcile and restore a broken marriage, I felt hope and joy regularly. It was pretty easy at that time to dream of the best possibilities and see amazing hope for my future.

I still see that hope for a better future, but that future seems much farther away than it ever has. It feels incredibly distant and foreign. Before, I felt like I could picture what my amazing future would entail: a doting husband and a marriage that had been through the fire and come out refined, incredible kids who had seen their parents fight for each other and who had grown up to know the Lord, a thriving business that we built ourselves and poured our hearts and souls into, and a legacy that would be long remembered because of how we loved deeply, served humbly, and fought tirelessly.

But with the end of my marriage came the end of many of my future plans. Many were over before they even began.

And now? I have no idea what my future holds. I know I have my kids and I know I’m raising them to know the truths of God and His unconditional love. But my family? My work? My home? They’re all up in the air. So much is hanging in the balance, both in the near future and distant future. The uncertainty is killing me. It’s sucking my hope and my joy away. And not just my hope and joy for the future, but of the present. I struggle to find hope and joy in my story, in my future, in my present. My day to day life is full of challenges and struggles and to be honest, I’ve not been acting very victorious. I’ve not been claiming the “conqueror” status that God endowed to me.

Instead, I’ve been lying back while life slaps me around and I’ve been throwing myself recurring pity parties that involve me explaining to God how hard things are and how tired I am.

To be fair, I am tired and things are hard. And He knows that. And it’s okay that I’m telling Him that even though He knows it because He wants to know my innermost thoughts and feelings. After all, He created me to feel and think the way I do.

But there has to be a better way. There has to be a better option than trudging through life with one eye set on despair and the other focused on the current obstacles. I have to get my mind under control and make better choices about where my thoughts go during the day.

It’s okay to feel emotions, but I need to hone in on how I’m responding to those emotions and where I’m letting them take me.

Jan Silvious is mentioned in a book I’m reading called As Silver Refined. Jan is a radio broadcast host and has a lot of sound insight on overcoming “the blues,” as she calls them. She says, “our behavior is determined by our feelings, which are born in our thoughts.” She says that what we think about life and its various obstacles, seasons, and circumstances are the reason that we linger on “the blues.” Our thoughts about our situation cause us to stay stuck. She says that our interpretation of the events that take place in our life is the main thing that causes us to become overwhelmed with life. It’s not the actual circumstances themselves, even if they are incredibly difficult or traumatic or seemingly impossible. Instead, the way we see and understand and respond to what’s happening determines everything.

The sooner we accept that life is hard sometimes, the better off we’ll be. We also need to recognize that the way we view and tell our story determines so much.

I am striving to be better at how I tell my story and most importantly, how I view it. My internal perspective of what I’ve gone through and what I’m going through will determine my outlook, my attitude, and my joy. I know hope is there and I will find it and cling to it once again.