She had been fighting an unseen battle alone. When she went in to be checked, the “professionals” got the diagnosis wrong. So she continued to fade away, slowly, over the course of a very. long. time.
Oh, it wasn’t like she didn’t try. She went to professional after professional looking for help. She spent hours researching her symptoms and explaining them in every way she could think of so the professionals would have all the information. So they could have the best possible chance of putting the pieces together and solving the puzzle of her life.
But nobody could help her. In fact, they all sent her down painful rabbit trails, trying this medication and that natural remedy and this healthy life style practice and that Bible verse therapy. She tried Faith Healers and Bible Bangers and Spiritual Gurus. They all gave her lots and lots of advice.
And they all sent her away more confused than ever.
When she tried to tell her friends, they looked at her like she had a horn in the middle of her forehead. Some tried to tell her she was imagining things. They could only see her through the lens of their own experience. So she learned to keep her mouth shut and her head down. She’d have to deal with it on her own.
Once, she checked herself into a three-day “hospital” stay where a religious professional combed through every part of her body, unveiling the darkest parts of her soul. He pronounced her “healed” when it was over. And she left feeling better and hopeful. Until a few weeks later it all crashed in on her again, crushing her with a double load of pain. Instead of healing her, the religious professional had only severed something deep inside. Something that she couldn’t come back from.
She was bleeding out, now. It was just a matter of time. She could sense it. She began to prepare for the end. She put her finances in order. Got her kids set up with counseling. Read through the journals of her life, looking for clues. Wanting some kind of closure before the end.
The closure never came.
As the end drew near, she continued to make life work for her kids. She drove them, through the cold, grey world, to their jobs. To school. To therapy. To the doctor. To practice. To the store. She was numb now. Not really living, anymore – but doing what she could so her children could live.
Nobody saw her. Nobody wanted to. She was an outcast. A pariah. They whispered new names for her behind her back. “Rebel.” “Jezebel.” “Bitter woman.” “Unforgiving woman.” And they told their children they couldn’t play with hers.
She had never felt so desolate in all her life. So unloved. So worth absolutely nothing.
She had given up. It was over. And one day…
She filed for divorce.
Her death, relatively speaking, was just as slow as her terminal illness had been. She gasped for every bit of breath. She clutched at her stomach in agony. She writhed on the floor with her fists pounding into her head, hoping she could somehow speed it up and get it over with.
She screamed. But nobody heard her. She was alone in her terminal illness, and she would die alone as well.
Outside her death room, religious folks cursed her under their breath and gathered up the illness that had killed her—drew it up like a soft kitten, cuddling it and putting it in a cozy little box where it could stew and get strong again. One day they would let it out to infect another unsuspecting soul.
Some of her children gathered around her, looking on in curiosity, not knowing she was dying. Some watched with suspicion, believing she had chosen to neglect them and commit suicide. Others wouldn’t even come into her room. They hung back with the crowd outside. Waiting for her to die. Silently cursing her, saying she was not the mother they thought she was – and they would have nothing to do with her in her death.
Finally, she breathed her last, and she was gone.
All was silent – and then the crowd outside rushed in to grab her body and fling it unceremoniously out the back door into a pile of garbage. “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!” some sang out. And they reached for the illness in the box and loved it.
Loved it for killing her.
One of her children came out to look at her body. He kicked her back—and then turned his.
Everyone walked away. Everyone disappeared. It was dark and silent on the garbage heap.
A figure quietly appeared and walked over to her still form. It bent over and reached out a gentle hand to touch her tangled hair.
Then, out of the silence—a sudden, desperate, loud gasp for air. A shudder ran through her body.
She was alive.
The figure gathered her up in His arms, cradling her like she was five years old. Back and forth, back and forth, He rocked her, whispering “I love you. I’ve got you. I love you. I’ve got you. Rest. Rest. Rest.”
And as they rocked, she felt something strong and powerful course through every nerve, every vein, every bone. She felt a growing urge to stand up and walk and run and jump and dance. The resting accepted, now she wanted to do more. She felt strong enough to fly. She believed she could actually fly – if she tried.
Laughter rippled through her lungs and broke out in waves of joy as she grabbed His hands and danced. He laughed with her. She was not alone! She was not dead! She was more alive than she had ever been before. The sickness was gone. Completely gone. And she was free. She was strong. She could fly!
So she decided she would. She would spread her wings and fly. She would fly free.
And she did.
Jesus said to her, “I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in me will live even if they die. John 11:25
P.S. I wrote this for every woman whose only way out of hell was divorce. I wrote this so you’d know you aren’t alone, and you are deeply loved, and your divorce doesn’t define you. Jesus defines you. He gives you back your dignity and your personhood, and anyone who tries to take that away from you isn’t working for Christ. They are working for the enemy of Jesus. You can (and should) safely ignore them.