He left her. Not only that, but it was for a friend of hers. More her friend than his, but not anymore.

Walking with my friend through this most painful season of her life was hard. I didn’t have any answers. We both knew it was incredibly unfair. So often, she took the high road, focusing on how to rise up out of the ashes of a failed marriage rather than dwelling on the pain and ugliness she faced every single day.

When the Lord brought the situation to mind, I prayed for her. We kept in touch regularly, even meeting for coffee when we could fit it in our schedules. One of the first things my friend did was get herself a full-time job, which made it difficult to meet very often.

One of the things she stopped doing was attending Bible study and church. When all this first happened, she tried to keep going, but it was more than her emotions could handle. Even though it wasn’t her fault, the ensuing divorce left her feeling embarrassed and alone for a time. I was thankful when I’d hear about other Christian sisters reaching out to her, those times beyond a Sunday morning. She needed to hear from people supporting her as she pieced her life back together.

In texts and social media private messages, she’d give me updates, and I’d offer encouragement. I’d remind her of the hope we have in Jesus: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” -1 Peter 5:10

Months went by, then years. I knew my friend loved Jesus, and I trusted him to heal her heart. The timing of restored fellowship with her church family was in his hands.

One ordinary day, in the grocery store parking lot, I received a text from her: “Is Bible study still the same time and place?”

I quickly responded, “Yes!”

She visited our group again, and was met with hugs all around. It had been a big step for her to take, facing these women who knew the hard details of her story. She was met with grace.

A few months later, she agreed to meet me at church. It was one thing to join our small group gathering, but what would she find when she entered the larger church gathering for worship? As a divorcee. Was she ready for that?

Right away, another friend saw us from across the sanctuary, and came rushing over to offer a hug. Again and again, she was welcomed back by those who loved her.

She’d forgotten how much joy she found in worshiping with other believers. I’d quiet my own singing from time to time, so I could hear her lift her voice in praise. She hadn’t realized how much she missed hearing the teachings from a weekly sermon. Afterward, we got caught up, and she started making plans for bringing her children back to church with her on the weeks she has them. 

I could see it in her eyes. Jesus has done a healing. It isn’t complete, maybe it won’t ever be this side of glory, for she was betrayed. I’m confident she’s ready to fill those places she’s closed off due to betrayal with the love and mercy we find in Christ.

On her personal Facebook page, she wrote these words, “Time to get back to my roots, and to who I know I am . . . a child of God.” 

My friend is emerging as a beautiful work of redemption.

You may also like: 

To the Wife Whose Husband Loves Another Woman

Supporting Friends Through the Ebbs and Flows of Grief

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Traci Rhoades

My name is Traci. I live in southwest Michigan, somewhere in a triangular section connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids with all things Lake Michigan. My husband and I parent one daughter. We have dogs, cats, ducks, pigs and chickens. Their number is always changing, as farm animal counts tend to do. I enjoy watching sports, reading, cooking and all things Bible study. I am a writer. When I first started blogging, I wondered about what unique voice I could bring. I’ve landed on this one line: A country girl goes to church.