By Gretchen Smith, LMFTA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC
In my previous articles, I pointed out that divorce is an alarmingly common occurrence in today’s society. The statistics show that there is a lot of heartache going on out there, even among Christian couples. But, while divorce does bring tremendous loss, it does not have to be the end of everything for you. There is life after divorce and you can begin to live again.
The purpose of this three-part series is to provide help and support for those in the midst of a divorce. In Part One , I discussed the importance of establishing a support system and allowing yourself time to grieve. In Part Two , I discussed the necessity of pouring your heart out to God and practicing good self-care. And in this final article in the series, I discuss the importance of making your home your true sanctuary so that it can represent your new start in life.
Make Your Home Your Sanctuary
Home should be a physically and emotionally safe place for you and any children you have living with you. If your home is or has been a place of strife, violence, or other trouble, now is the time to restore it and make it the place of peace, pleasure, and safety that it is meant to be for all who dwell there. I have several ideas for tackling this.
Pray Over Your Home
First, pray over your home. Ask for God’s presence to fill it and pray for His provision and protection. This can include the symbolic act of anointing the door posts with oil, serving as a point of contact to invite the Holy Spirit into your home, command all evil spirits to depart from it, and proclaim the sanctification of the home. In Exodus 12, the Jews were instructed to anoint their doorposts with blood so that the death angel would “pass over” their homes and no harm would come. Sanctification and holiness are no longer obtained through the shedding of the blood of animals, for the blood of Jesus has been shed for this purpose once and for all. It is the Holy Spirit, represented by the oil, who is the seal of this fact and of our redemption. In addition to anointing the outer doors, stand in every room and pray over it. If it is a bedroom, anoint the bedposts with oil and pray for the life, the healing, and the specific concerns of the person who sleeps there. If it is a living area, pray for all who come in to sense the sweet spirit of the Lord.
Reach Out for Help
Making your home your sanctuary may also require getting help and support for yourself and/or your children if anger and acting out have become a problem. Disrespect and disciplinary issues are common and should be addressed, yet without withholding undermining or denying people’s real feelings. Books, videos, articles, blogs, and other materials abound with suggestions for dealing with negative emotions in healthy ways. Support groups for both children and adults are available in many churches and communities, and professional counselors often offer individual or group counseling for those impacted by divorce.
Consider Changes to Your Home
Finally, now may be a good time to make your home look and feel the way you like it, if it isn’t already what you want it to be. If you have children at home, ask them how they would feel if you make some changes—some children derive a much-needed sense of continuity when as many things as possible stay the same, while other children welcome the idea of changing things up. Whether you have the financial resources to do a complete overhaul, are able to start with only one change at a time, or have moved to a different residence ̶ if the light is green, this is a chance to tailor your surroundings to your own personal tastes. If you like light, get rid of the dark. If you like dark, get rid of the light. Plant flowers or get rid of the flowers and put in beauty bark or gravel. Modify the décor or the furniture, or paint a room a different color. Swap out the bedding or get a new bed. Clean the carpets or get new flooring. Hang up different pictures. Dispose of the curtains and install blinds, or replace blinds with curtains. Put things where you want them and get rid of things you don’t want. If you’re a man, want a man-cave and haven’t had one, make one. Fill your home with sights, smells, and sounds that are pleasing to you and are an expression of who you are to all who enter in. The changes you implement can represent a fresh start and a new beginning.
Christian Counseling Can Help You Heal from Divorce
Divorce is a traumatic, major life event and should not be shouldered alone. Working with a Christian counselor can be a vital support at this time. A trained Christian counselor will listen with empathy as you sort out your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. If you or someone you care about is going through divorce or struggling with its aftermath, I have personal and professional experience to help. Together, we can explore ideas and strategies for getting through such a painful experience, regaining clarity, and moving toward goals for a fulfilling future. To reach out for understanding and compassionate care, feel free to contact me.
“Encore,” by Charisma Jonesford, Flickr CreativeCommons, (CC By-SA 2.0);
“master bedroom redo,” courtesy of anneheathen, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)