During the trial of my divorce, I attended a church service where the pastor prayed over my young son and myself. He prayed over us for protection and providence and then moved on to someone else. Then, he came back saying that he felt led to give me a message from God.
Without even knowing my story or everything I was going through, he said that he “saw me as Hannah in the Bible” (his exact words). He shared that I could let my son go and trust God to give me the desires of my heart; that God would work everything out that I was going through. Less than a year later, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer, this pastor entered heaven.
This pastor was the vessel who delivered the message that has carried me through to today. I’m also faithful to share this same hope and God’s promises with other divorcing and divorced women.
Before this message, I didn’t know much about Hannah. Her story was very short in the Bible; just 2 small chapters in 1 Samuel. But to me, her story has become so profound. Many days I do feel like Hannah, crying out to God for the abuse I’ve endured, still, endure, and asking for my heart’s desire.
I know God keeps His promises, but how long will I have to wait? Even David asked this question as he waited to be King of Israel, a position he was anointed to (by Samuel, Hannah’s son) fifteen plus years earlier. I feel like if God can handle David’s and Hannah’s prayers, He can handle mine.
Hannah’s Significant Sacrifice.
Hannah wanted so badly to be a mother. She married Elkanah in expectation of bearing his sons. But after 10 years of marriage, as was customary during the 11th century B.C., the husband was allowed to take another wife to have his children.
Hannah’s story is not the same as Sarah’s and Rebekah’s in that Hannah trusted God with her barrenness and knew she’d eventually have children from her womb. Elkanah, not being so sure and took a second wife, Peninnah, who quickly had his children. And it was the second wife who was jealous and abusive toward’s Hannah, instead of the other way around. Elkahan loved Hannah and wanted to give her more but he had to be fair, even while his second wife ridiculed her.
What did Hannah do to defend herself or get back at Peninnah? Nothing directly! She just gave it to God. She had quiet patience as she knew God was going to fulfill her heart’s desire to show everyone that she could bear children. She would just have to sacrifice that first child, Samuel, back to the Lord for His service. But still, that would show them. She could have children; it was them with the problem and not her.
She prayed and asked God for her heart’s desire, to have children of her own, promising to give back the firstborn after weaning him. Samuel grew up to be a great servant for the Lord that would make any parent proud to call their own. But Hannah knew that children are a gift, not something to be owned for eternity. All children belong to God, they are His like everything else on this earth, on loan to us for a very short time.
Hannah’s Prayer of Thanksgiving.
In chapter 2 of 1 Samuel, Hannah gives thanks to God for His grace and mercy to give her her heart’s desire, a child. She praises and honors God with these words (paraphrasing).
“God opposes the proud and exalts the humble; despite human evil, God is at work; God makes people alive and raises them up; He lifts the poor from the dust and seats them with princes; they inherit the thrown. It is not by one’s own strength that they prevail, but He exalts the anointed.”
How Does That Apply to Today?
Many women want to fight hard when something is said to them or about them, especially if it comes from their ex-husband. The smear campaign that most narcissistic people have perfected. How dare he spread such lies, abuse, and get away with it? I’ve just learned there is a better way of handling this, from Hannah in the Bible. And it makes me so thankful that the pastor shared what he did with me before he passed.
Hannah was not weak or meek for keeping quiet when she was being treated poorly! She knew when to stand up and defend herself; when it mattered. She told Eli that she was not drunk. But she also knew when to have quiet patience as God worked things out.
The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm. – Exodus 14:14 AMP
This is something I remind divorcing women of all the time. Hannah didn’t know why she had to endure such poor treatment or why she had to wait to have children, something she wanted so desperately. But she trusted that she and her life were secure in God’s hands. She passed down the legacy of loving God and obeying Him, without question, to her son Samuel. They trusted the Lord with every trouble and trial.
As I recently shared, in the last seven years since my divorce I’ve learned a lot. I’ve sacrificed a lot, as well, just to survive these last several years and try to break the cycles that haunt my family. The biggest lessons and sacrifice have been about my children. I had to let them go. Let them experience things that I had hoped to protect them from. I had to remain silent when there was abuse. And let them decide what they believe about both parents, and God, because that’s the healthiest thing to do, even while others are lying or trying to send them in the wrong direction.
I have to have quiet patience as I endure the blame when my children stand up for the wrong that is happening. When they ride the fence and pretend they are okay with all that continues to happen. And when they believe the lies (or pretend to) that are said about me and side with their dad.
I know God will work it all out if I remain humble and faithful. I’m secure in His hands as well as my future and legacy. In the meantime, I am the healthiest person I can be, not defending myself when I know it’s not right. I want to be firm in my faith like Hannah was, enduring and trusting that God would give me the desires of my heart. I just keep praying and delighting myself in a Father God who calls me His beloved child.
Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 AMP
Our children are loved by Him too even if they’ve turned their back on Him and worship their earthly father. He loves them more than we ever could, that’s why He is calling out to them. They’re just not opening their ears to hear Him, as Samuel did in the Temple. But He will never stop pursuing them!
Note: If you enjoyed this blog article, you’re going to love my new Bible Study (book) to rebuild a stronger faith after divorce. We are working on the final editing and publishing; it will be out in early 2021. If you’d like to be notified when it’s published, sign up to my email list in the box at the bottom of this post. Subscribers will be the first to know.
What have you had to endure during or after your divorce? Has it helped you to build a stronger faith as you wait on God’s promises?
May God bless your healing and faith journey after divorce,