By Dr. April Minatrea - Clinical PsychologistAug 21, 2017

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events—often considered secondary only to death of a spouse.  Unfortunately, Christians face divorce just as often as everyone else, but frequently with added guilt, condemnation, and stigma brought on by religion.  The purpose of this article is to bring freedom, hope, and healing to those who find themselves facing divorce—especially those weighed down by fear of what God, the church, or other Christians will think of them and those struggling with judging themselves.  Here are 5 truths to set you free:

God still loves you.

God doesn’t hate divorced people.  Yes, God hates divorce, but that’s partly because He’s been through it (Jeremiah 3:8).  He’s had his heart broken, too, and He knows how hard it is.  If you are facing divorce, He wants to love you through it, not condemn you for it.

You are not a failure.

Having a failed marriage does not make you a failure.  Maybe you did everything you could to fight for your marriage, but the other party wanted to leave.  Maybe you exercised great courage to leave a dangerous situation—a victory to be proud of, not a shameful defeat.  Or maybe neither of those is the case.  Maybe you really screwed up.  Even so, you are not defined by your mistakes.  Your identity and character are forged and expressed as you are resilient and move forward in spite of mistakes and adversity.

You can still be accepted by Christians and the Church.

There are Christians and churches that offer help and support to people who are hurting, who will walk with you through the process, and cheer you on as you heal and rebuild.  If you need help finding such a church or a group of people who will love and not judge you, you might try DivorceCare (divorcecare.org).

Not all losses are bad.

Grief is part of what makes divorce so difficult, and in some ways, it is harder to grieve the loss of a relationship with a person who is still alive because you may still interact with them and perhaps even hold out the hope of reconciliation.  As you process the loss, you can soften the blow by focusing on the good.  What pain or dysfunction will you no longer have to endure?  Are there parts of yourself that you lost and now have the opportunity to recover?

The end of a marriage is not the end of life.

It’s actually a new beginning.  There is hope and healing and a chance for a fresh start.  You can learn to be happy again.  When we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and we get to see Him in new ways.  He is Comforter, Healer, and Redeemer—one who gives us beauty for ashes.  God keeps His promises even when people break theirs.  His plans for you are good.  Your best days may very well be ahead of you.