Chapter 7 – Acceptance and Moving Forward – Exodus 3:14
So, we have experienced shock, denial, anger, bitterness, guilt, depression, healing and holiness; how do we accept our situation and move forward? It’s not easy. It was not easy for me and as I said earlier these stages do not have seemless transitions whereby we move through and out of each stage into the next. The stages overlap and we can backslide. I know I have and continue to do so.
How do we finally accept our circumstances?
Maybe the best advice is given to us by Almighty God himself in Exodus 3:14 – “I Am Who Am”. I am who I am and it is what it is. This still does not make acceptance any easier. Unless you were in an abusive marriage and the only way not to be physically, emotionally or mentally injured was to leave, which may have been a relief and even necessary, acceptance and moving forward is very difficult.
Let me explain further, when one spouse has decided the marriage is over from “irreconcilable differences”, but the other spouse has not really done anything deserving of the marriage to end, nor wants the marriage to end, it can be so difficult to accept, especially if you have not had marriage counselling and you are willing to go to marriage counselling.
Let me stop here and address any person or couple whose marriage still has a chance or even a young couple who may be reading this who is happily married; never stop sharpening your “axe”. What I mean by sharpening your axe is work on your marriage continually. Spending time together and having date nights, whether you have children or not is very important, but even more important, I encourage you to attend an annual marriage encounter retreat for an entire weekend together.
If for some reason you are not very religious or not religious at all and you are still reading this book, thank you! And I advise you go an annual non-religious marriage encounter weekend. If you are contemplating religion, even better; I hope your spouse is as well. Go talk to a priest or clergymen.
Back to acceptance for those who cannot accept their current separation or divorced circumstances, lean on St. Paul , who preached and lived this, under all circumstances, good and bad, he gave thanks to God and made the best of the situation.
I don’t like to use the term “move on”, I prefer moving forward. Even when we cannot understand where we are going and why, keep moving forward. That means, keep working your job. Keep exercising and eating right, keep meeting with friends. First and foremost, spend lots of time with your children, even if you don’t live with them. Get creative, pick them up from school, sports and activities. Offer to drive them and their friends places. Go shopping with them. Go for ice cream. Do whatever you like, or they like or you both like.
Get involved with some activity or group you have been planning to join. Serve the community or less fortunate. Boy does that at least make you appreciate what you have, not what you don’t, as my Pop always used to say.
Make new friends, connect with old friends. Don’t be out just for having a relationship with a person of opposite sex. Stop focusing on your needs, wants, desires, seek God’s will for your life!
You may learn to accept your circumstances, or you may not, but you will keep moving forward and learn better how to discern God’s will for your life and you will become “who you are”. Never forget you and I are a work in process until the day we die!