He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles. – Harry Emerson Fosdick
Life can be tough. Tougher than tough sometimes, and it’s during those times that we are made aware of who we are, what we believe, and why we’re here.
Most of you have probably been wondering where I’ve been for the past seven months. As my blog went silent, my writing dried up, and my presence on social media became nil, I slowly sunk into the shadows, busy fighting through a personal hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I was going through divorce.
Seven months ago, my wife left our apartment, and the path toward divorce began. The reasons surrounding this aren’t all that relevant, aside from the fact that the divorce was not mutual. I fought hard to save it, but in the end, it was a valiant but in-vain attempt because both parties didn’t mutually want to work on things.
Nonetheless, the process of my wife separating from me, my son being split between the two of us, and me having to go back to a 9-5 job to pay my bills has been a life change for me. A whole set of them, actually. I usually have a hard time adjusting to one major change, let alone a half dozen of them.
There are some people who take joy in divorce. But I don’t. Never have and never will. It’s been the most heart-wrenching experience I’ve ever had to go through. Not just for me, but for my son as well. Watching him have to cope with having two homes, a split family, and the confusion surrounding all of this has broken my heart into more pieces than I care to count.
It took long, painful months to get the whole divorce process over and done. Long, painful months of being in limbo, on the fence, in purgatory, where you can’t move on because you’re still technically married, but you can’t go back to the marriage because your partner has checked out completely. I’m not a gray-area kind of guy when it comes to this stuff – you’re either all in or all out. And having to be all in to something that only I was all in to was maddeningly frustrating.
I had a friend ask me one day, if my wife were to come back, completely regretful of her actions, would I take her back.
And I answered no. I had reached a point of no return.
Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand the covenant that marriage is, of God’s law regarding marriage, and what a marriage/divorce does to children. But I had received peace from God that it was time to move on, and peace that I had done everything I possibly could to save the marriage.
A couple weeks ago, my wife and I sat in a divorce hearing, agreed on all of the terms, and officialized the severing of our marriage vows.
These last couple weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve stepped out of the darkness, out of the long, dark tunnel I’ve been traveling through the last few months, and into sunlight. Warm sunlight, the beams of which are revealing who I am, what I believe, and why I’m here.
Who I Am
During the last few years of our marriage, a lot of ‘life’ things happened. We moved to San Francisco to start a church plant. Two years later, we moved back to Arizona from San Francisco when the church plant didn’t work out for us. Shortly after, my grandfather killed himself. It was a kerfluffle of emotional devastation for me, some of which took me until now to recover from.
In all of that, I lost part of myself. My love for writing fell through the cracks. My motivation to live life to the fullest fell by the wayside. I fell into depression, and my anxiety nearly choked the life out of me.
During all of this, I believe – now looking back on it, that my wife and I were drifting apart. The spark went out. That wasn’t enough to stop our marriage, but it did contribute to the issues I was already dealing with.
I started to find my love of writing again shortly before the announcement of divorce, and was actually working on the third novel in my Expired Reality series – a manuscript that has been in hiatus for over eleven years now. But once the divorce came to light, I shoved my writing back into the shadows and felt those same shadows consume part of me as well.
There was a point during the divorce process that I took on identities that were not mine. I believed I had been a horrible husband, an even worse father, and an all-around failure at life. I felt – and was convinced by some of those close to us – that the divorce was my fault. It took those closest to me, and God Himself, to slap me around a bit and remind me of what was actually going on around me.
I was a great husband. I may not have been perfect, but I certainly tried my hardest.
I was and am a terrific father. My son is the apple of my eye, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
I’m not a failure at anything. Just because there were rough patches in our marriage, the fact that I stayed in the marriage is why I never failed at the marriage.
What I Believe
It’s funny when you go through things in life and everyone – EVERYONE – has an opinion on how you should be feeling, how you should be processing, and what you should be doing during the tough spots.
This has never been more prevalent for me until I went through my divorce.
Regardless of the goodness of intentions, I received wayward counsel more than once during my fight for our marriage. I was told many times that the issues surrounding the divorce were all my fault – completely, and very few people – save for a few good friends – actually confronted my wife on the issue of divorce. At one point, I was even told that I should close up The Crossover Alliance (my publishing company) to save the marriage, even though the very existence of The Crossover Alliance had nothing to do with the why of the divorce.
It got to the point where I had to break through the mist and use discernment to determine what was Godly counsel and what was pure nonsense. It wasn’t enough to adopt all of the counsel buzzing around me, I had to figure out what it was that I believed and what convictions I held to and let those guide me.
I’ve been saved since I was six years old. I’m now thirty-eight, and I’ve been around the block of life enough to be able to discern what God’s will for my life is. I’ve refined my discernment to the point where I don’t need to second guess God on every little thing that I feel. Do I sometimes mix my emotions in with my Godly discernment? Sure do. But for the most part, I’m able to sift my emotions from the core of what God is telling me. And there was a very clear point during this process where I clearly heard and felt from God that I had the OK to move forward with my life, without my wife. She had already divorced me in her heart – which in my opinion is more severe than simply divorcing someone on paperwork – and I was given permission to move on.
I don’t discount what the Bible says about anything. And I know there are certain situations where divorce isn’t really the end for couples, but for me, going to divorce court and signing the decree was simply a technical action that put to rest what had already been established months earlier – that my wife wanted nothing to do with me or this marriage and had decided to break the covenant.
When it was clear that there was no salvaging the marriage, I started packing up stuff around the apartment, I started embracing the very changes that had suddenly rocked my life, and I moved forward in a new freedom that only God could give me, regardless of the opinions of those around me.
Why I’m Here
Through this whole process, I had to rediscover who I am, not just as a human, but who I am in God, and more importantly, why I’m here.
Before the divorce, my focus was clearer. I knew I was running The Crossover Alliance publishing company, I was writing my books, and I was raising my son. During the divorce, I had no idea what I was doing. My vision became clouded, and the shadows pulled me down into a new darkness I had never experienced before.
But now that I’m back in the sunlight, I’ve realized who I am, what I believe, and why I’m here.
I’m here to change the world.
I’m here to guide a publishing company to change the face of Christian publishing forever. I’m here to write stories that engage readers, showcase my faith, but don’t politicize the Christian faith. I’m here to raise a young boy in to a young man who will himself change the world.
I’m back, and it feels good being out of the darkness. Feels good to feel the sunshine on my face. Feels good to have my focus clear once again.
Divorce has been the toughest thing I’ve ever been through in this life. But it certainly isn’t the end for me. God – as He always has done – is pulling the good out of every single situation, and He’s rebuilding my life into one that will continue to glorify Him.
Out of all of this, my son and I will be stronger, my writing will be deeper, and my spirit will be fuller.
I’m back, and the future has never looked brighter.