Prodigal Magazine

My Divorce and The Lies I Believed

 

Editor’s Note: Today’s story is by Tara Madrigal, a writer and blogger from Ft. Worth, Texas. You can follow her at journey at her blog HERE. Want to stay up to date with all things Prodigal? You can have daily posts sent to your inbox. Subscribe now!

When I was in the fourth grade I had the biggest crush on Alex. He was smart. He was funny. He was cute. And I was fairly certain he was going to be my first boyfriend.

Only, it didn’t happen like it does in the Disney movies. Actually I’m pretty sure Alex never even knew I liked him.

See, I told one of my classmates — a girl I was trying to befriend — about my “Alex+Tara sitting in a tree” fantasy and was met with ridicule, laughter, and a straight-up “you must be crazy, because there is no way a boy like Alex likes a girl like you” answer.

And I believed her.

She is right, after all, I thought to myself.

I am way too tall (in 4th grade I was already the tallest girl in my class and maybe even the tallest person in my class). I’m awkward. I’m at least a month behind on the “right” clothes. I would rather be reading a book than just about anything else.

Last week I sneezed and farted at the same time and Jason announced it to the whole class.

I’m just not the kind of girl boys like.

I bought the lie that I would never be loved by any guy just the way I was.

This was the first of many lies I would allow to define my identity. Another major lie I believed was I would only be lovable if I did the right things.

I sought the approval of my parents, teachers, and church leadership by being the “good” girl. I followed the rules (mostly). I turned in my homework. I did well on tests. I was heavily involved in the youth group and church choir. I was lovable because of all the lovable things I did.

That is, of course, until these two lies collided during my divorce.

The guy who was supposed to love me unconditionally decided I wasn’t worth the effort. Divorce was about the “worst” thing I could do, right up there with clubbing baby seals. No guy was ever going to love me enough to put up with me. And I was no longer the “good” girl who was worthy of being loved.

Its hard not to believe the lies you’ve been told when it seems like they’re being confirmed.

To this day I still struggle with these two lies in my walk with Christ. There are days when it seems impossible for me to believe that God would really truly love me just as I am, especially after all the horrible things I’ve done and the life I lived in absolute rebellion.

This is immediately followed by a need to prove my worth by doing all the “right” things. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But, when I believe these lies, I place myself above God. I judge. I sentence. I condemn. I minimize the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I spit in the face of my Savior and say:

“Your condemnation, your humiliation, your torture, your bloodied body, your nail-pierced hands and feet, your ridicule, your separation from your Father, your death wasn’t big enough for me.”

In order to talk myself out of the lies, I have to start telling myself the truth again.

I am the reason Jesus had to die. I am loved.

My sins nailed him to the cross 2000 years ago. I am loved.

He died for me before I even existed. I am loved.

And he died so I would be free. I am loved.

So I would be forgiven. I am loved.

So God would look on me and see the righteousness of his perfect son. I am loved.

So I would not have to live in a spirit of condemnation. I am loved.

This is my identity. This is the truth of who I am in Christ.

About The Author

I’m a mess, a receiver of God’s ferocious grace, and beyond humbled to be a part of his work in restoring a broken world. I live in Fort Worth, TX where I attend The Paradox Church and teach high school students how to navigate this crazy world.

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    Hi Tara- Thank you so much for sharing your journey here. I think it is something many, many women can relate to.

    When I was in 8th grade on a way to a field trip, an entire busload of my peers discovered who I liked and started chanting “Stephanie likes Grant, Stephanie likes Grant.” I was overweight, awkward, and his neighbor. He avoided me like the plague after that incident.

    My parents were going through a divorce at that time, too. Those questions of “Won’t anyone choose me? Won’t anyone love me?” sank deep into my soul.

    I am so sorry that you have gone through a divorce. What a terrible ache for a heart to bear.

    I think your response is wise. Reaffirm God’s truth. You are not the sum of what the world says: you are the sum of what He says. Created. Cherished. Chosen. Loved.

    One thing that helped me on this journey was putting Scripture passages into 1st person, and inserting my name. It helped me see what God says to me. Not just people in general, but to me.

    Have you ever done that? Here are just a few examples. God says,

    Tara, I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jer 31:3)
    What great love I, the Father, have lavished on you, that you should be called a child of God! And that is what you are, Tara! (1 Jn 3:1)
    You are My handiwork, Tara, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which I prepared in advance for you to do. (Eph 2:10)

    I pray that you are able to keep talking yourself out of the lies. You are valuable, beautiful, and loved.

    • Tara

      Stephanie,
      Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words. God has done tremendous work in helping me solidify my identity in HIM. While I sometimes still find myself questioning the “whys” of the path my life has taken, I am quickly reassured of God’s grace and sovereignty in all things. I have no doubt that I would not be where I am without the experiences of my past and it’s an overwhelming experience to see how God is using these experiences to bring about His glory. God is good!

      Tara

    • Tara

      I am not the Tara that wrote this wonderful article, but this reply was so powerful for me…especially since I do share a name with the author. I so needed these affirmations today. I like the idea of putting passages into first person. Thank you, Stephanie, for your input. :)

      • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

        So glad it was helpful for you, Tara! I will actually be doing a give away of personalized Scripture on my blog tomorrow, if you want another dose ;)

  • http://gopherjenny.wordpress.com/ jenny

    I can so relate to believing lies just like this, and then getting freed from them. And I can’t think of a better experience. I really think that the bad stuff that happens to us is just God’s foot in the door, so to speak, so that He can redeem it all. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Tara

      Jenny — I praise God that He redeems us from all that we experience in this broken world! And women in particular seem to be attacked by lies about our identity. My prayer is that more and more women are able to experience the freedom found when we rest in who we are because of Jesus.

      Thank you for reading and thank you for your encouragement.

      Tara

  • Kathy Hines

    Awesome article, you did a fantastic job!!! What a wonderful witness you were & are for our Lord!!! You are loved!!!!
    Love ya, Kathy

    • Tara

      Kathy! Thank you so much! Love you!

  • Brittany Cornett

    Tara-
    Thank you so much for being willing to share your story. Let me encourage you that as a woman who’s story is rooted in truth versus lies- it is a process you will keep walking out. The one and only thing that has kept me walking and trusting Him is knowing without a doubt that He calls me worthy. The same is true for you.
    You are worthy to be loved.
    You are worthy to be seen.
    You are worthy to be known.

    As He puts it so beautifully “I have rescue you because I delight in you.” 2 Samuel 22.20.

    Brittany

    • Tara

      Thank you Brittany. There is no such thing as being reminded too much of who we are in Christ!

  • http://theorganicbirdblog.com andrea

    thank you for this.

    • Tara

      Andrea — thank you for reading.

  • Shalom

    “But, when I believe these lies, I place myself above God. I judge. I sentence. I condemn. I minimize the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross.”

    Wow! These words are just what I need! Thank you, Tara, and God bless you! :)

    • Tara

      Thank you for your encouraging words. I hope you can rest in the truth of who you are in light of the cross.

      Tara

  • Tara

    Such an important message, thank you for writing!

    • Tara

      Thanks! I appreciate the encouragement.

      –Tara

  • Brendon

    So far all I see is men responding to this, and I can understand why. But it’s not just men women who go through this story. Here is a bit of mine.

    I, like many other young men and young women, never fit in. Early in my life, in elementary school and up, I watched as people started to explore and engage in relationships, wanting to engage in them, but never having the opportunity. I was awkward, I was different, I lack the looks or charm or social grace to be eligible for anyone’s affection. Or at least thats the lie I let myself believe and held on to.

    Finally, in high school, there was a girl that gave me the time of day, and with my low self esteem, I didn’t feel I had any room to be picky, so I dated her. I dated her for a solid 3 1/2 years. I brought her through the loss of her mother and the resulting depression. (It happened in high school, so it was particularly rough). I cared for, respected, and loved her, but I didn’t do that for myself, and in the end neither did she. While I was planning to propose, she was seeing another person. It fell apart fast.

    I totally agree with the conclusion that you have come to. My life fell apart because I was judging myself by putting myself above God. I let myself get into a bad situation for years and years because I had no self worth. After this bad experience I had to learn to let myself be loved by God and be taught to live in his Grace. I am loved. I am loved I am loved I am loved. In that light, I can live with respect for myself, and I can live for Him.

  • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

    THIS. this resonates with me so deeply.

    just… thank you.

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