Taken from my free Book on “Divorce & Marriage Breakdown,”
Reeling in pain and consumed by injustice, anger was frequently bubbling at the surface and seeking to break out. One very memorable day I gave myself permission to release just a tiny fragment of this dangerous emotion as I went to the kitchen cupboard and took out the blue striped mug, which I had previously bought for my husband, and I went into the yard and hurled it with all my might to the ground! On contact with the ground it shattered into many fragments and lay silently scattered as a small symbol of a shattered marriage and as a witness to the violent emotions of my broken life, broken promises and devastatingly broken heart! The pieces lay where they landed for over a year before I finally felt able to do the difficult task of collecting these shards and disposing of them more sensibly in the dustbin.
This was if I am perfectly honest, not the first or only outburst of my anger. In the early days a few ungodly words had passed my lips and I had given vent to my anger by throwing the phone on the floor on one particularly bad day and feeling immense anger at many of the small injustices that continually occurred. I did however, immediately ask for God’s forgiveness for doing so (and asking everyone’s forgiveness if I sinned against them or in their presence) and also kept asking for His help to not have fits of rage in this fashion. I realised early on that they were due to wanting things my own way rather than following God’s way. The above scripture tells us that in our anger we ought not to sin but put all our trust in the Lord. This was cutting edge Christianity. This was a life of extreme forgiveness. This was a true and thorough testing of my faith.
I found the following from Psalms to be relevant to this situation:
“You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the Lord Helped me.” Psalm 118:13
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” Ps 119:71
Oh but the Lord was good to me. He woke me with His precious word saying, “Do to others as you want them to do to you,” then also, “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”
I was seeking God’s help and he spoke in the night. I meditated within my heart on my bed and was still before the Lord as I pondered His word to me and His wonderful presence that filled me with all of His love and compassion for the very person who was causing my pain. The Lord answered my cries for help to change my reactions from anger and selfishness to mercy and kindness. What a wonderful God He is! He didn’t come to me with a rebuke for my sins but with His tenderness and His heart changing Holy Spirit presence and His life changing living words from the Bible. God Himself was using all the pain and anger that I was struggling with and transforming me by His love into a more Christ-like person; a person more able to help others in their time of distress, a person who was gradually learning to die to self and live more for Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. … If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me.” John 12:24-26
And also, in Mathew’s gospel,
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
So this is what “dying to self” felt like; feeling the pain, allowing the Lord to forgive me my sinful reactions, asking for His help and then being transformed by His word and His Spirit within me.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed …” 2 Corinthians 4:6-9
So, though I gave in to the impulse to smash my husband’s mug I was now allowing God to smash me; the sinful parts, the worldly parts, the fleshly parts. That included all my selfishness, pride, ambitions, my security, reputation and my rights. And yes, it has been very painful and yes it has taken time and yes it is a life-long process. But the biggest “Yes” of them all is my response to the question, “Is it worth it?” To allow the Lord access to the deepest core part of my life and to experience His love and power to change me has made these years of the rejection by my husband to be a privilege to be counted worthy of suffering for His name.
PS – Just in case you were wondering, I wrote the “book” just a few years after my husband left me, whilst the memories were still fresh in my mind but the pain had subsided somewhat. I am now almost ten years from the start of the process and as such feel it is a good time to finally take this testimony out of the archives and make it available to you. Please share it with any you may know who you feel could be helped by it.
I welcome your input so if you would like to share any comments please feel free to do so in the section below. Thank you.
You can find my full Comments Policy here.