It's over, I survived.
In some ways it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. But it was just so, so odd and surreal. Outside the courtroom me, my mom and my attorney (my boss) sat waiting. Then Andrew arrived, I waved hello. I didn't know if I was going to have a chance to talk to him afterwards so I went over and sat on his bench. I'd been preparing a 'goodbye bag' of sorts, a goodbye letter, verses/thoughts I'd wanted to share over the past months, pictures of our trips I'd want if it were me. So I gave it to him and said he was free to look at it or throw it in the trash. I told him I wanted him to know that I had really loved him and I forgive him. He didn't say much, just when I asked forgiveness he said there was nothing to forgive. But he forgave me. And pretty soon it was time to go in.
I had been really nervous about the actual court part. You're not in there alone with the judge, there are other people waiting and listening. I imagined myself to be shaky and nervous and crying and hauled away by the bailiff. In real life, I was kind of bumbling, but calm. She asked me if I wanted to participate or something and I think I said something like "I don't know, I'll just stand here." Haha, you'd think I'd be more professional since I work in law... I just didn't know what she was asking me. Then she starts asking all the questions and I stood there while Andrew rattled them off like a robot. Want a divorce? "Yes." Marriage broken? "Yes." Hope of reconciling? "No." Bam, bam, bam. Next my attorney put it on the record that I did not want this divorce, I don't consent to the divorce, only to the settling of the property. All I was asked was if I was pregnant, or had questions. My only real question was 'how can you sleep at night!?' Here I am saying I don't want a divorce and then 'stamp' I'm divorced. But sadly, that's the law in Michigan. And even more sad, if someone doesn't want to be married to you, you can't do anything about it.
So then it was over. We all walked out. And I turned and waved goodbye to Andrew and walked away.
I cried a bit in the car, but I mostly cried beforehand when I had been sitting there with my boss and mom saying how I didn't want to sign anything, and I didn't like that I felt the judge was making me. My boss explained to me the papers were just about the 'property' and so if Andrew hit anyone on the way home or later or anything, they couldn't come after me. It didn't say anything like "yes, I agree to a divorce." My mom read them too and agreed. Then I turned to her and said she wasn't the one who would have to stand before God someday. That was my biggest thing. I feel like I already stood before the only judge that matters, and vowed to Him to spend my life with Andrew till death parted us. And I could not stand before another 'judge' and say the opposite. So that's when my boss said he'd put it on the record that I don't consent and don't want this, and that was that.
My mom came with me to the social security card place, and the secretary of state for the name changing. I really had not wanted to do that alone. It was fun going with your new husband when you're all excited about getting married (as fun as it can be waiting for government services), but not so fun going with your divorce papers. The woman at secretary of state asked me if I got married or divorced, and I answered. She said, "You seem sad? Most people are happy." And again I just thought I do not understand this world!!
When we got back to my apt there was a care package waiting from my sister.
My sister had written me a letter and shared when something had happened in her life and it didn't turn out as she hoped she was tempted to feel like all the prayers and planning were wasted. And I can see how the devil would love to make people feel that way. It is hard to think God could have saved this - but didn't. And I've talked a lot about this with my mom and Stan and others. The Bible is very clear God's thoughts on marriage and what He intends, but He loves us and gives us a choice, He will not force anyone to do anything. He wants you to choose to be obedient. And when someone chooses not to, it sucks, it does, no better word - you can't argue with what God wanted. We live in a broken world.
Then I went and met with Stan. It was good. I told him I felt worried because I wasn't falling apart. Was it going to sneak up on me later? He said he wasn't worried; we've been working on this for a long time. He reminded me Andrew had told me new year's eve he wanted a divorce, and when he said it then, his mind was made up. He did come to those few counseling sessions, but he never really actually tried after new years. We knew it was coming. And I do feel a peace about it. Not happy, or excited. But a peace. I feel I mostly did all I could do. I was able to finish my books I wanted to work through: The Power of Prayer to Change your Marriage, Fighting for your Marriage, The Power of a Praying Wife book and journal (amazing). I had written, or said, to Andrew everything I wanted to say. The only thing I feel bad about is that he moved out before it was over. It was really important to me that he knew I loved him and was committed to him and our marriage until the last day. And I wanted him there, even if that meant only making his lunch and telling him goodnight. So I do feel bad about that. But I think he knew I was, even though he was gone.
And there is a peace knowing that I gave it my all. And now I can truly 'let go'. My mom said she thinks I had been holding on to a hope, and of course I had. I committed to Andrew. I meant those vows. I stood there on our wedding day and I said to him those words from Ruth, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” And I meant it. And more so I believe in a God who can move mountains and bring dead people back to life. I knew it was possible for Him to restore our marriage, so of course I hoped for it. So yeah, I didn't want it to end, but now I can let go. I can put away my marriage books and move on to my healing from divorce ones. I can pray for God's complete healing and know that He will. I can walk on the new path God is leading me on.
This might sound wierd, but I'm really thankful for all that God has been doing in my life. He has shown me how big and how good He is. He can be trusted. I couldn't do it without Him.
"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Deuteronomy 30:19-20