Facing trials with faith: Divorced at 21
Editor’s note: This powerful (and poignant) post left a lump in my throat. This is dedicated to all those out there whose marriage and family (or other) dreams feel currently unreachable. I hope Kenna’s sharing and testimony will strengthen you. Many thanks to Kenna for writing this essay for Mormon Women: Who We Are.
You can read more about Kenna at this Deseret News article: Open, honest, and vulnerable: one blogger’s journey. Or visit her blog at http://ileftmyheartinnz.blogspot.com/. (You’ll see that the links in this post take you to more reflections at Kenna’s blog.)
My name is Kenna Christensen, and at the age of 21 I was divorced.
Growing up I witnessed lasting marriages in my life. I was raised being told marriages meant forever. I went into marriage believing that no matter how hard it got, love in a marriage always persevered.
My short-lived marriage was no walk in the park. We were poor. We were learning to somehow morph two-former lives into one – values, beliefs, habits, bank accounts, you name it. I now had a permanent roommate, which took some getting used to, but despite all of that – there was not a thing in the world I wanted more than a successful, happy and lasting marriage, and there was absolutely nothing I wouldn’t have done to earn that, so when my former husband decided to throw the towel in, my whole vision of marriage, as well as my world – were completely and entirely shattered.
Looking back a year and a half later, I can confidently say that there were two specific things that got me through it: time, and knowing with every fiber of my being that God loved me, He was there for me, and He would never leave me – even if at times it would feel that He had. I was not in it alone. My Savior had felt this pain – He had felt this pain so He could help me overcome it when it was my turn to experience it. The betrayal, the agonizing confusion, the endless questions. The dismay, the disbelief, the wet pillows, and the darkest most hopeless moments. He knew this feeling, He had walked this path before, and He was prepared and waiting patiently to walk me through it now.
I needed peace; He blessed me with it. I needed to know the answers; He extended me faith so I no longer did. I needed to find forgiveness; He lent me His so I could lend it to someone else. I needed hope; and He has reminded me every day that He lives, He knows me, He loves me and God’s plan is far, far better than my own.
I am a Latter-day Saint. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony that God lives, that He loves me, and that if I live worthily – my blessings in the next life will greatly exceed my trials in this one. I know my Father in Heaven lives. I know He sent His Son to die for me, and I know that They are lovingly watching me, constantly cheering me on, and perfectly guiding my each and every footstep.
To those who have experienced divorce or currently are, whether it was your own or a loved one’s, to those of you who have been married for any length of time, to those of you who have felt the blessings of an eternal family jeopardized, whether that loss was within or without of your control: God loves you. He knows you individually. He knows your pain. Go to Him with your anger. Go to Him with your broken heart. Tell Him you can’t do it anymore. Ask Him to take your load for a little while. He will carry you. He will walk beside you. He will never leave you. Always remember and never forget that in your most hopeless moments, the moments you are lying on the bathroom floor, physically ill with absolutely no desire to go on, remember that those are the defining moments of your life, those moments God gives you in love, because only He sees who you can become.