scarlet letters

I'm divorced.

::Deep Breath::

That's the first time I've actually said that word out loud.

Over the past two months, I've used varying versions of "my divorce was finalized", but I've avoided saying the actual word.

I feel a shameful sting in the word divorced. I hear unspoken judgments, like What's wrong with her that made her husband leave? and She's used goods and even simply a sigh of disappointment.

I hear them because my heart has also condemned others that way.

My good Christian upbringing left me judgmental. Pious. Spiritually stuck-up. I've unconsciously viewed divorce as the ultimate failure.

And now here I am, walking around with a red D on my chest for the world to see. And I feel not only the weight of others' judgment, but also the historical weight of my own.

Oh how arrogant I have been...

A friend recently spoke some healing and freeing words for my heart:

Divorce is no more a sign of relationship failure than marriage is of relationship success.

And even just typing those words out, my breath catches in my throat. Because I know it is true.

Even when it is hard for me to believe.

I hope someday I won't feel completely defined by my divorce. And that I can eventually say the word without hanging my head in shame, or feeling the need to justify it with an explanation, or wincing as I hear it megaphone my insufficiencies.

Because though it feels like divorced has been written on my heart in permanent ink, I need to remember... So has beloved. Chosen. Loved. His.

And those are my true scarlet letters.

[Originally posted at Deeper Story...]