“Forgiveness is giving up the answer to the whys.”

Here’s what the group asked Elnora, and what they heard her say:

Elnora and Louella connect.

Q. (From Dot) Is there one thing that people say or ask that never stops being hurtful?

A. It isn’t so much what people say, but what they don’t say; she deals with the feeling of being excluded. “Couples get together but they don’t invite you.” And it doesn’t really help to label people as “the divorced people.” Just invite them when you’re doing something together.

Q. (From Mim) Are there stages in dealing with your divorce — with the grief and challenges?

A. Definitely. In the first years, when the kids were young, she had to be careful about how she related to her friends’ husbands. Coming to a stage of identity in Christ was “a healing stage.” Mim says, “I had a clear sense that she’s very comfortable in her identity in Christ.”

Q. (From Carla) When people assume you have a husband, what is your response?

A. She’s learned that she doesn’t have to take responsibility for someone else’s offense (in this case, her ex-husband’s). Carla laughs as she repeats Elnora’s response to assumptions about her husband: “He lives with his other wife.”

Dot adds an additional possible response: “She can have him!” Turning to Elnora, she asks, “Did you have to move from feeling his rejection to ‘Well, I reject him, too!’ as part of your healing?”

Elnora says, “Absolutely. I could not even have said that (‘She can have him!’) ten years ago.”

Louella asks, “So you really do feel that you are over it?”

Elnora: “For the most part. I do dread the question my grandchildren will ask me: ‘Why doesn’t he live with you?'”

Lynette: “Do you use the phrase ‘over it’?”

Elnora: “I’m more likely to say, ‘It’s okay now.'” Her boys say their father is like a distant relative to them now. They also say “we wouldn’t be the people we are without this; we’re better.”

Q. (From Martha) How do you handle men’s advances?

A. She walks away or she puts an object between herself and the man. Once, in her work at the hospital, she wheeled a machine between herself and the patient on the bed who was behaving inappropriately. “She makes a conscious decision not to flirt,” says Martha.

Q. (From Naomi) How did you conquer the rejection and shame?

A. Naomi: “You conquered through your identity in Christ.”

Elnora: “It’s all about forgiveness . . . You have to give up the right to revenge, and also the right to know why.”

Naomi: “There is no answer to sin.”

Elnora: “Forgiveness is giving up the answer to the whys.”

Q. (From Sabrina) Do you have trouble trusting men?

A. She finds it easier and safer to trust married men, if their wives are supportive.

Later, Elnora reflects: “My identity is no longer in who I am as a divorced woman, but it is in who I am in Christ. That has brought freedom to me . . . Probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far in life is that life is not about me, it is about Jesus and who he is. For example, if I feel like I am hurt by something that happens, it truly is not about me, it is about Jesus. I can turn it over to him, and that is how I find healing and peace and joy — in him.”

Readers, what would you like to ask Elnora?

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4 Responses to “Forgiveness is giving up the answer to the whys.”

  1. Kristin Bucher says:

    Do you feel that people in the church treat you differently than people outside the church, i.e. at work?

    • Elnora says:

      In all honesty, Kristin, for a long time I did feel like I was treated “differently”, I felt like I had to “prove” myself. Or at times I felt like I was “the one to be pitied” and I didn’t like that either! Of course 25 years ago I was the only single mom at the church I attend, and they weren’t quite sure what to do with me. (I had left the church my husband and I attended together, so I was also new to the church). But overall the support I received from Maple City Chapel has been fantastic.

  2. Patricia King says:

    Elnora says[Elnora: “It’s all about forgiveness . . . You have to give up the right to revenge, and also the right to know why.”] Couldn’t agree more.. This goes for both sides of the coin though. The why’s about him and the why’s about you. ( like in your heart)
    Forgiving is about releasing and no longer holding onto… So that the Lord can have it and begin the process of taking what was meant for harm and turn it to good ( plz don’t ask me how He does that!) What I hear (as I read) is that you have forgiven him, your ex. What I want to ask is was there a period of time where you were not forgiving Elnora? And have you reached that place too?
    Is it okay to ask that?

    • Elnora says:

      Great question! Did I ever come to the place where I could forgive myself? Actually that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life!! For a long time I dealt with feelings of “if only”…. I would have been a better wife, said this or that differently, been more “spiritual”, be prettier, more loving, etc, etc…….. then my husband wouldn’t have left me and chosen other women, another lifestyle!! Eventually GOD got a hold of me, and convinced me HE had forgiven me, who am I to say I can’t forgive myself. By HIS grace I was able to do that. In some ways this was harder to do than to forgive my husband. But oh the freedom I received from HIM when I was finally able to do so. GOD IS SO GOOD!

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