Karen's Story

He left Thursday, September 9, 2010.  I don’t remember very much about the first holiday season other than being mad, hurt, broken and confused.  My marriage of 24 years was over.

I saw an announcement about DivorceCare on the screen at church, and I signed up right away. That was the Spring of 2011.  I attended all the sessions, but I still was angry.

I enrolled in the Fall session of DivorceCare, and that is when my healing process began.  It was my second holiday season with a broken family, but I knew it was important to start making changes and creating new memories.

That Thanksgiving my eldest son was away at college in Oklahoma, and it was tournament season for basketball, so he could not come home.

This was his first holiday away from home, and he was spending it with strangers.  I couldn’t afford to travel to see him, which hurt and made me feel more like a failure.  I missed him and my marriage terribly.

My youngest son and I celebrated Thanksgiving at my mother’s with the rest of my family, like normal.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas I bought a new artificial tree, new decorations, and put the tree up in a different area in the house.

I knew it was important to make changes, but Christmas of 2012 was heartbreaking.  Earlier in the year my ex had introduced his new girlfriend and her family to my youngest son.  He spent part of Christmas Day with his father and her.

The pain was immense.  Fortunately, God had answered one of my prayers; my oldest came home to visit for Christmas.

Making changes helped, but prayer is what got me through that dark period of my life.  I remember feeling at times I couldn’t survive the hurt.  I would get down on my knees and pray and cry out to God to get me through just one more day.  He did.

God is so faithful.  Day by day, minute by minute, hour by hour I got stronger.  He led me, and I followed.  He alone is my source of strength.  I was so broken, and I didn’t try to hide it from Him.  My wall of pride had come down, and I was vulnerable.  He is my Rock.

DivorceCare, Celebrate Recovery, COSA, and Step Study have given me the tools I needed to help me grieve and move on.  I have also learned to share my feelings and struggles with others.  That is real growth for me because I am a prideful person who isolates and keeps others at a distance.

Over the years, I have been able to celebrate holidays without the pain that I once felt would destroy me.  I will always have my memories of what was, and I look forward to what will be.

If divorce or the loss of a loved one has you dreading the holidays, join us for a Surviving the Holidays seminar on Friday, November 17 at 7 PM at 3330 E Miraloma Ave in Anaheim, CA.  Contact garbues@eastside.com for more information.

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