Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A View from Elisabeth Klein Corcoran's Window - Unraveling

A couple of weeks ago, God placed Elisabeht Klein Corcoran's book in my hands and heart.  Unraveling has been a very healing book for me at this point in my life, and I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to interview this author and talk about her work.

There are many "walking wounded" in our church families who are struggling to survive the ravages of a failing or failed marriage.  Elisabeth's book offeres a view from the inside and a testimony of God's faithfullness to His children as they navigate one of the most painful  events known to the human heart.

Please join me and welcome Elisabeth Klein Corcoran to my Window!
What was the genesis of Unraveling?  At what point in the entire life episode of your marriage unraveling did you know God was asking you to share what He had done in your life throughout this process?

About three months after my separation started, I realized that I was being asked three basic questions.  Non-believers wanted to know why I had stayed married so long, why I didn’t just go out and get happy.  Believing women in difficult marriages wanted to know what I had done to stay married so long.  And all other believers wanted to know why I wasn’t staying married forever.  So I wrote a four-part article for Crosswalk.com and things sort of changed for me.  It received many comments and stirred up some controversy and I realized that this was a topic people wanted and needed to talk about.  I had been blogging for a couple years by that point but I wrote about motherhood, social justice, pretty much everything except my difficult marriage.  Right around that time, that all changed.  I’ve now spent the past two years with a laser focus writing about difficult Christian marriages, divorce, domestic abuse, and how the Church handles it all.  Unraveling came out of my separation and divorce but I only had the nudge to try to publish it after seeing that there is a need.

Why are people of the church so ready to remind those of us facing divorce that God hates divorce – like we don’t hate it too?  Why do they want us to feel as if choosing to divorce makes us the object of God’s hatred?

I can only answer this for myself.  Deep down, any time someone in my life talked about divorcing or actually being divorced, while I was still slogging through my hard marriage, I would think to myself, “If I have to stay married, so should you.”  I’m not sure if that’s what anyone else is thinking when they pass judgment, but that’s what I was thinking. 

Also, for the most part, though I have been harshly criticized and really just outright hurt by the words of strangers’ and supposed friends alike, I don’t think most people have evil intentions toward us. I think they just don’t know what to say, so they say nothing or the wrong thing. 

There are many ministries based around the family, marriage etc…with the sole purpose of restoration and healing.  Many of them excellent!  How can churches best minister to divorced men and women without making them feel like some kind of outcast?

DivorceCare, Celebrate Recovery, all these things are amazing and I’ve been to them.  But I think there is just a stigma attached to them no matter what we do.  And I’m not sure the Church themselves can do anything about it; I think those of us who need these programs just need to go, need to participate, and need to tell others how they’ve helped us.

Do you feel that there is a huge debate going on about remarriage? Why or why not?

I asked the above question, because since my divorce I’ve received as many opinions about re-marriage as I have about divorce. (never knew there were so many!)  Why do people assume that remarriage is THE answer for divorced people, when, in fact, the rate of divorce in second marriages is even higher than in first marriages?

Interestingly, I get a little bit of both ends of the spectrum.  In one day a few weeks ago, I had four people ask me if I had started dating.  And then I know that there are people in my life who believe that remarriage is considered adultery and I had better be planning on staying single for the rest of my life.  Part of me thinks we’d all just get along a whole lot better if we focused more on our on planks; and yet, community is an amazing thing and Jesus wants us to live our lives together to hold each other up and to keep us going on the right track.

Can you recommend anything about how to effectively minister to your children during this process?

I’d recommend counseling for the kids, or at the very least, make sure there is someone in their lives that they can talk to other than you who will help them navigate this really hard time. 

Thus far, what has been the most significant (well in the top ten anyway) thing that God has taught you about Himself? About the way He loves?  About His heart?

I think I thought somewhere deep down that God loved me because I was a good girl.  And then I went through this thing – what I would consider the biggest failure of my life even though I didn’t initiate it – and I found his love still there on the other side.  I think I had a harsher view of God’s love for me, as if it were conditional maybe, or could be swayed by anything I could say or do.  And now I just realize how crazy and huge and perfect and unmoving it really is.

What has been one of the most significant changes in your heart toward God?

I’m letting him love me in my failure and non-performance.  I’m trying to let go of the guilt of all the ways I’ve messed up and of living a slower-paced life.  And trying to just be. 

What has been the biggest take-away in your life about this book becoming a reality? The process that made it a reality?

My divorce broke my heart and it broke my life.  But the redemption that God has allowed through Unraveling, and many other things - like speaking, radio interviews, guest-blogging, articles, small groups in my home, moderating private Facebook groups for women who are hurting – has helped to put my life back together.  It’s still fractured, don’t get me wrong, as I’m still early on in my healing (my divorce was final just a little over a year ago), but I’m definitely on the road to healing, and God using me to help others has been a huge part of that.

What do you hope that readers will take away from the pages of Unraveling?

I just want each sweet reader who is separated or divorced to feel not alone, to feel understood, to know that every emotion is acceptable, to know she can take as long as she needs to get through this, to not feel shamed, to be reminded that she’s loved.

And I would love for Unraveling it to get into the hands of pastors and ministry leaders so they could get an insider’s view of what it feels like to walk through this, in the hope that empathy and compassion would rise for this hurting segment of our Christian culture.

You can read my review HERE and purchase you own copy of this fabulous book HERE!

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