I have known Bre since we were little kids – she and my sister were pretty good friends growing up, and we were in the same ward. I have always admired her beauty, inside and out, and think she looks a little like Olivia Newton John ha. Since this series is a little different than my “Feature Fridays” I was a little hesitant to ask her if she’d be willing to write about her divorce, but she is an angel and told me that she had been thinking about asking if she could write something. The Spirit works in wondrous ways! Throughout her divorce she would post and share amazing, deep, beautiful insights to life and I was blown away by her love and wisdom. You’re going to want to keep reading for her story.
Bre is 24 years and currently trying to find a way to pack up everything she owns and haul it across the country to Massachusetts (which was now few weeks ago). She eats more junk food than real food, spends most nights watching Parks and Rec, and spends every other free minute painting. She got married when she was 21 but was divorced 2 years later. She was engaged to the man of her dreams just 5 months after her divorce was finalized. “I know, I know, totally insane and completely stupid. But who cares?” She’s now been married to her best friend for 6 months and she’s seriously the most blessed girl in the world because of it. All of it. The ups and the downs and the great and the hard.
I didn’t always feel this way. When my marriage was coming to an end I was completely devastated. I was more hurt than I knew was possible. My whole world was crashing and burning right in front of my eyes and I didn’t know how to stop it. But mostly I was confused. Why? Why is this happening? Why do I have to go through all this pain and heartache? Why wasn’t my marriage working? I obviously wasn’t perfect, I had made mistakes and done things to make things harder. But I truly had a desire to make things work. I didn’t WANT to get divorced. I didn’t WANT to give up on a commitment that was supposed to be eternal. Yet it seemed like every effort I made to try to mend the relationship and save our marriage made things worse and pushed us towards divorce. The more I prayed about it, the more I fasted, the more conference talks I read, the more time I spent in the temple, the more time I spent trying, the clearer it became that my marriage wasn’t going to work. But even after coming to terms with the fact that my marriage was ending and seeing that become a reality, I was still left with the hardest question: why?
This question consumed my mind for months and months after I filed for divorce. It just didn’t make sense to me. Wasn’t staying married the right thing to do? Isn’t it a good thing to do? The righteous thing to do? Wasn’t that what I had been taught to do? So why? Why why why? And how? How was I ever going to get through this? How would I ever feel normal again? How would I be able to hand all the questions or the stares? How would I ever date or even trust someone ever again?! (Dramatic, huh?) Slowly, but surely, I learned. Prayers, fasting, priesthood blessings, meeting with my bishop and seeing a counselor were things that helped me to understand the why.
I learned that God has an amazing plan for each of us. He knows us by name and knows our hearts. In fact, there is no one who knows us better than He does. And most importantly, He wants us to be happy. He doesn’t let us go through trials and hard things to make us miserable, there is always divine reason for our hardships.
Sometimes, when we don’t get what we so badly desire, we learn later that Heavenly Father was just waiting to give us something much, much better. Amidst all the drama and confusion of my divorce I thought every now and then that my life was over. I would always be seen as the “divorced girl” and I would never love or be loved again. (A few months of counseling helped me to see that was totally wrong, but those feelings were so real). I thought my fairy tale was ruined. But lo and behold I was wrong! Heavenly Father had something in store for me and it was way better than anything I could have ever dreamed of. I met Jarron and I was scared to death to be in a relationship. So I did my best to keep things as casual as possible while not completely shutting him out. And as we became closer friends I learned that Jarron had been in a bad relationship much like the one I was in. Our experiences helped us to bond in a way I’ve never had before and for some reason I was able to completely trust him. I knew it was the real deal when he stuck around even after I wouldn’t let him kiss me. And now we’re married! I look at him and could seriously cry tears of joy every single day because of how beautiful and amazing our marriage is. Sometimes I wish I could tell broken Bre that someday she’d be with Jarron and she’d feel pure joy and all the hurt and all the hard would go away. I’d absolutely go through my greatest trial 20 more times if it meant I ended up with Jarron. That’s the amazing thing about God’s plan, He just knows what we need. God knows what He’s doing. And wanna know the coolest part? Now it’s almost as if all of the hard and all of the hurt didn’t even happen. Sure, I learned a ton and became lots stronger through it all, but it seems like all of the negative feelings I had never even existed. The Atonement is so so real and can perfectly heal our hearts.
And sometimes, we just need to go through hard things so we can help others along the way. Going through hard things give us an amazing ability to mourn with those that mourn. We learn how to be sympathetic to things that we wouldn’t otherwise care about. I had confirmation after confirmation that the experiences I had during my toxic marriage and divorce would somehow help someone, someday. Just a few weeks ago my best friend was having struggles with a relationship and I shared with her some things that I learned from being in a toxic relationship. Her response, “don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you got divorced so you could help me.” Which was basically a dream come true for me. To know that the things I had gone through really could help someone was such a beautiful blessing! A lot of times we probably won’t know how we end up helping people, but we do! And isn’t that what it’s all about? To help others on their way?
Or maybe we aren’t granted the desires of our hearts to gain Christ-like attributes. I think the best way to learn humility, patience, long-suffering, can be through enduring a trial well. Jesus Christ suffered so much more than we can ever imagine, so when we experience suffering we catch a glimpse of what He went through for us. We can grow closer to Him and we can learn to rely on Him. For me, going through divorce strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior more than anything else I’ve gone through. I had to hit rock bottom to be able to rebuild a solid foundation on something that is constant and strong. Honestly, if that was the only thing I got from going through a divorce I would still view it as a blessing. My relationship with my Savior is the most valuable thing I have.
Life can be hard. Trials are tough. Divorce or infertility or illness of any kind can be devastating. Sometimes these trials don’t make sense. Sometimes we feel like we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do and we STILL aren’t getting anywhere. Wanting to work on a healthy marriage is good. Wanting to have children is good. Wanting to serve a mission is good. But sometimes these good things (and other good things) don’t happen for even the best of people. And a lot of times we don’t get an answer as to why, but I think we can always look around and see what we can learn and what we can become by enduring our trials well. All we can do is continue, keep going even when it’s hard, and do our very best. Rely on Christ and He will make up the difference. When things aren’t working out how you imagined please remember that Heavenly Father’s plan is much, much better, and His timing is perfect. God knows best and He will bless us in unimaginably wonderful ways. And I promise you that somehow, someway, everything will work out in the end.