I think it’s fair to assume my new book is one you never expected to need. To put it bluntly, it’s the book I never wanted to write. Having my life upended by divorce and heartbreak was not on my bucket list.
The first thing I want you to hear is I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for your heartache. I’m sorry for your shattered dreams. I’m sorry you’re putting the pieces of your life back together.
Next, I want you to know you’re not alone.
Walking through a divorce is annihilating, even when you’re surrounded by a loving support system. Your heart is broken, your marriage has ended, your next steps are unknown, yet the lives of the people around you continue as yours is falling apart.
If we could, I’d sit across from you at a quaint little coffee shop in my hometown and listen to you share your disappointment, hurt, fear, and anger. The opportunity to sit across from you and say “me too” would be a gift. To hold space for you to share how you arrived at this undesirable title of “divorced.”
I don’t know you, but my heart aches for you and what you’re walking through. You never walked down the aisle expecting to divide your household items a few years later. You never had children expecting to parent them part-time based on a court-ordered parenting plan.
And while I empathize deeply with what you’re facing, I also want to pour a healthy dose of encouragement into your hurting heart. You will survive your divorce and come out stronger. Trust me. I want you to say that to yourself.
I will survive my divorce and come out stronger.
Again, this time like you mean it.
I will survive my divorce and come out stronger.
Better. One more time.
You will survive your divorce and come out stronger. You will, I know it in my bones. There will be days you don’t want to get out of bed. Days you feel like nothing is going right in your life. Days the grief hangs heavy over your slumped shoulders. And also.
There will be days when you begin to see glimpses of yourself again.
Days you recognize how far you’ve come. Days you celebrate the hope you begin to feel. Days when tears don’t roll down your cheeks, and (believe it or not) you catch yourself laughing again. I’m sorry these are the circumstances that introduced us, but it’s an honor to whisper hope into your heart.
The year 2016 was the year my husband walked away from our marriage. It was a doozy of a year, to say the least. A year I never expected to experience. Let me give you a quick glimpse into my life pre-divorce.
I married my college sweetheart.
Very early into our marriage we planted two churches, the latter being Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The church boomed in growth and so did my pastor-husband’s career. In fact, the church spent numerous years listed as one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. Nashville is a city of dreamers, young and old, and the church matched the environment and atmosphere of Nashville perfectly. As the church grew, it expanded to five campuses across Middle Tennessee.
In 2016, my then-husband announced that he was resigning from the church. His departure from the church and our family played out on the front pages of local, state, and national publications. The first paragraph of the news story in The Tennessean put it like this: “[The pastor], who founded Cross Point Church 14 years ago, said he resigned as senior pastor of the Nashville-area megachurch because he is tired, broken and in need of rest.”
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I was dealing with some painfully private things that the readers of The Tennessean weren’t privy to.
The narrative being repeated was about an overworked pastor who was burned out. The reality was I’d been sleeping alone, not by my own choice, for more than six months. In my heart I was sure my suspicions were correct; the brokenness went much deeper, trust had once again been broken, and I was experiencing devastating heartbreak.
And the reality is I didn’t just lose my marriage and family unit; I lost my church family. The people I’d spent the last fourteen years leading and loving. The staff I shared a meal with every week at staff meetings and regularly invited into my home. The ladies whom I’d had babies alongside and raised our children together. The church that wasn’t just a job or role to me, but a spiritual extended family that I loved and was honored to serve.
One Sunday I was at one of our campuses hugging people, and the next Sunday I was hiding out in my home telling my kids their dad didn’t work at the church anymore. It wasn’t just my marriage that unraveled. Life as I knew it had ended. I’m aware that my divorce was more public than most divorces are, but I’ve talked to enough women to know divorce always plays out in some public way for everyone, even if it’s just in the neighborhood, the family, on Facebook, or under the steeple of your church. The unraveling of your family unit is traumatic, and it can often feel like all eyes are on you.
Because my divorce played out in public more than I was comfortable with, deciding to write about it publicly took some time. Do it too soon and I’d be writing out of wounds, which isn’t healthy for anyone. I decided to take some time to heal. Writing from my scars allows a level of empathy anyone walking through a similar situation deserves.
I’ve written a book, but it isn’t about why my marriage ended. It’s about what God chose to do in me as I chose to begin again. It’s about mending broken hearts and stepping boldly into a new identity. I’m not writing about what happened to my marriage—but about who I have grown into. I’m not writing about what was lost—but what I’ve found. I am not focused on what was taken from me—but what remains. Better than okay is a life where you’re not the victim but the victor.
Not only was writing a huge part of my healing, but hopefully my words will allow you to feel a little validated in your own journey and emotions. You’re not alone, and you’re gonna be better than okay.