Like others who have endured it, I never planned to go through a divorce. I also knew that once I was open to talking to a church about a ministry position, it would come up.
We were separated for about four years before the divorce was final. Our close friends knew what was going on, but it was never on social media or even alluded to. So much so I had Facebook friends ask what was going on after they realized I was living in a different state than my ex-wife.
I had to come to grips that my divorce would limit where I’d be able to serve, but more importantly, I had to wrestle with the issues to ensure that my experience would not hinder my service.
I have always known that I wasn’t perfect and I had many shortcomings despite the good things I’ve accomplished. But my divorce had a different kind of guilt and burden to it. I was able to be part of a DivorceCare group in my town. They are a nationwide ministry that does a wonderful service. The best thing they provided me was helping me realize that others have gone through it and eventually recovered and there was hope for the future.
I’m not writing this to give a theological manifesto on divorce and serving in ministry. I’m sharing my experience to offer hope for those who may be where I was. I had to own all my faults and shame while also eventually seeing myself as Christ does.
God has a long history of redeeming people and using their stories to help others to realize that his purpose perseveres. It still hurts to think about it, but the difference is, it’s not like looking at a scar rather than picking at a scab. That scar also gives me a stronger voice when encouraging people today because of that experience.
So whatever ordeal you are going through right now, know that God has not given up on you even if you’ve given up on yourself. It will probably take longer than you plan, to be in a better place but you can get there, and God’s faithfulness is still true even when you can’t see it. My cousin, Tony Evans, once said, “God may be silent, but he is not still.” Hold on to that statement because it is true and he can still use you.
Len has been in ministry for over 25 years and has written more than 100 articles for various youth ministry publications. He’s served as a convention pastor for youth leaders and has also led a nationwide pastoral care service for those in youth ministry for over two years. He walks with a limp but joyfully walks alongside youth leaders.