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You never thought divorce would happen to you. But it did. You may feel traumatized, relieved, hopeful, afraid, or all of the above. What choices will help you heal? How can you minimize the trauma for your kids? When is too soon to date…and what about sex? How can you learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them? And where is God in all of this?
Michelle and Connie have been where you are. They’re Christian women who are a little ahead of you on the journey. Michelle was divorced seven years and now is happily remarried. Connie is ten years into the journey and at peace with being single. They’ve each made good choices and their fair share of mistakes. In this book they rally their collective experience to help you navigate some of the twists and turns of the post-divorce journey, avoid pitfalls, and emerge stronger and more confident.
This is not one of those authoritative, “do as we say” tomes. It’s a woman-to-woman, been-there-done-that, faithful, and hopeful approach to such topics as acceptance, forgiveness, loneliness, online dating (or “CON-line dating”), sex, money, respect, finding friends, and caring for your physical, financial, and spiritual health. Most of all, it’s a powerful reassurance that no matter what has happened or what may happen next, God still has good plans for you. You will live and laugh and love again. This book can help you do it.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Michelle Borquez hosted and co-produced I-Life Television's SHINE with Michelle Borquez on INSP in 2005and is creator, producer, and host of a new 8-week DVD series for women," Live Again--Wholeness After Divorce," releasing in June 2013. Michelle, also the national spokesperson for Beth Moore’s "Loving Well" television special and "GLO" Bible, has authored several books. Michelle lives with husband and author Michael Thornton and her almost grown, four children in Nashville.
Read an Excerpt
THE YOU PLAN
A CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S GUIDE FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY LIFE AFTER DIVORCE
By MICHELLE BORQUEZ, CONNIE WETZELL
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Michelle Toholsky Borquez a/k/a Michelle Borquez and Constance Marie Wetzell a/k/a Connie Wetzell
All rights reserved.
THE REAL LIFESTYLE LIFT
It's the latest fad. This lifestyle lift only takes an hour, and out you walk, looking younger, wrinkle free, and just a tad different. It's a whole new you. Wow!
Wouldn't it be great if you could walk out of your divorce and get a lifestyle lift? Not plastic surgery, but a makeover that would completely transform your pain, sorrow, and new reality into joy, happiness, and a whole new you? Transforming a life after divorce is much more difficult than transforming an aging face. While the idea of getting older can take its toll on some, it's definitely not the same in terms of what you have to deal with being newly divorced.
A forty-year-old face as opposed to a twenty-year-old face is much easier to accept than the idea that your husband no longer wants you, cares about you, or even desires to be in the same room as you. While both are harsh realities we must face, the solutions are totally different.
So what are the first steps of a real lifestyle lift? Most of us are pretty low to the ground after our divorces. For some it would take a construction crane to lift them out of bed. It's okay; Connie and I (Michelle) have been there and understand. It's not easy to have the reality of where your life has landed staring you in the face every day. Not to mention the constant painful reminders and memories you have to deal with, among a slew of other things.
Where does this journey to wholeness begin? How do we move from pre-lifestyle lift to the real deal? Skipping the steps to wholeness is like getting a face-lift from someone who is not a doctor. It will end up being a botched job, and those are not fun. You can't make over your life overnight, and you certainly cannot skip the steps necessary in the process of moving toward wholeness.
We are here to help you navigate the steps and to walk through this journey with you. You are not alone. We cannot say that too many times. You no longer have to feel like you are in the hospital waiting room, staring into space, wondering what the process of rebuilding your life is going to be like. We are here to give you the inside scoop that will hopefully keep you from any possibilities of a botched recovery. The last thing we want is for you to have to go through more pain, damage, or grief. We are here to lift you up and walk with you.
Step one of the journey is acceptance. Yep, it's accepting the reality of where you are right now with the understanding you are just passing through. You won't stay in the stages of shock and grief, so hang in there. Remember, be patient and realize there is no quick recovery.
To see where you are on your journey toward acceptance, answer these questions:
1. Are you still living in the past?
2. Do you find yourself dwelling on things your ex did?
3. Are you still trying to figure out who was wrong?
4. Do you look for ways to get revenge?
5. Do you feel you have unhealthy boundaries with your ex?
6. Are you harboring resentment or bitterness?
7. Are you seeking out a relationship or new marriage to replace your ex?
8. Do you find yourself self-medicating or demonstrating extreme behavior?
9. Do you feel stuck or in limbo?
10. Do you look for ways to find out what your ex is doing, even if it means using the children?
These are just a few questions to get us started. If you answered yes to any of them, acceptance is still something to continue working toward. It's definitely not easy. When we say it's a process, we mean it's a process. Some of you will never fully accept what has happened, but if you can at least move beyond it and begin getting healthy, it will be a huge step in the right direction. The moments of not accepting reality will become fewer and fewer. It seems hard to imagine now, but you will get there. We definitely felt just as you do right now. The mountain in front of you seems almost impossible to climb, but you must go over it or you will remain stuck, and this is where resentment and bitterness can take root.
Every day you spend living stuck in your past, stuck in your unforgiveness and bitterness, is a day you are taking away from you, your family, and those who you love and are closest to you. But no one just walks out of a divorce and is "fine." The initials for "fine" in your situation most likely mean frustrated, insecure, narcissistic, and emotional, and you have every right to be—at least until you can find the strength to accept where you are and begin to take the steps to wholeness.
Holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. It hurts only you. Accepting, forgiving, and leaving the outcome of your life in God's hands is what helps you more than anything to get to a healthy place so the "holeness" and emptiness you feel right now will be exchanged for wholeness.
BABY STEPS TO WHOLENESS
It took me a year to accept the fact that my marriage was over. At first, I couldn't grasp that what was happening to me was not only very real but forever life changing. I remember many mornings waking up wondering if it was all just a bad dream. I'd look around my room and then remember what my reality truly was. It was so heartbreaking. I cried for two years after my divorce. I didn't know so many tears could come out of one person. I didn't think I could ever feel normal or whole again.
It's all about taking small steps toward the wholeness you desire. I talk to women weekly who have been through or are in the process of divorce. My heart aches for them, and I wish so badly I could just pick them up and move them to the other side of their heartache, but there is no way around it, no way under it, no way over it. You can only go through the pain to get to the other side, one step at a time.
What did moving through the pain look like for me? Not having anyone to help me navigate through the muck was difficult. I was very much naive to the process and went on instinct. It is really about getting to the place where you are willing to say, "Okay, I accept this situation, as unjust as it is. Lord, I surrender it all to You regardless of the outcome. I trust You with my life, my heart, my children, and my future." This is so difficult to say, yet the first step to moving toward wholeness is accepting and trusting God in the process.
Divorce is not final when the papers are signed and delivered. The outcome and consequences are never ending. There are those few who never see each other again; but for those who have children and those whose marriages were their very identities, their lives were intertwined on so many levels, a divorce is just the beginning of a long life of sorting through issues and managing children, property, and anything else related to the marriage.
I received an e-mail from a woman about her divorce. She and her husband were closely intertwined financially, personally, and even in the community. They owned a chain of health clubs together, were well known in their community, and had been married for thirty-five years. He met a girl not much older than their oldest daughter at their place of business and fell in love. I could go on to tell you the details of this relationship, but I will spare you the agony. After the divorce was over, instead of his life falling apart and him losing everything, he continued to prosper—at least for now. I do believe wholeheartedly that you will reap what you sow.
Even after several years of their divorce being final, her ex marrying the girl who worked for them at their business, not to mention the many affairs he'd apparently had during the marriage, this woman was still struggling with acceptance. She didn't want him back—if he had asked, she would never have taken him back. But she had difficulty accepting this was her life. Accepting she was alone. Accepting she no longer had someone to go to sleep with at night, to help with the kids, to hold her, to feel the strength of. Accepting the possibility of dating again if she wants to be with someone—something that to a newly divorced person is frightening.
I felt the same way about dating as this woman. I even hated dating when I was a young single girl—the whole process of going on a date, seeing if there was any compatibility between the two of you, and then finding a way to tell the person you weren't interested, or vice versa. Dating is not something we suggest you do right away, but this is one of the first things newly divorced people tend to do. However, we stress that if you have not yet reached the stage of acceptance of your divorce, then dating is absolutely the last thing you should do.
I had people trying to set me up with Prince Charming. I was so broken inside and was in no shape to carry on a conversation, much less a relationship; but I found myself going down that path just to have some adult company. While Connie and I want you to get to the place of acceptance, we definitely don't associate acceptance with dating again. Well-meaning people may encourage you to "move on," yet in your heart you are not ready to do that. You can barely move.
It took me years to get to the place of acceptance. I had moved on in every way—new man, new car, new life—yet my heart was still in a million pieces. What I should have done was allowed my heart to heal and then allowed my healed heart to lead me forward, realizing that changed circumstances were not going to take away the pain or the reality of my life.
Oh, how I wish—oh how Connie and I both wish—we would have had someone helping us navigate through the decisions! That's why we are writing this book. We desire more for you and want you to be as successful as possible in walking through one of the most devastating circumstances you may ever have to face. Onward we go!
GOD, GRANT ME THE SERENITY
If you've ever gone to any kind of addiction meetings, they often say the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." You are not only asking God for His help to accept the tough stuff life brings your way that you can't change, but you are also asking Him to bring you a sense of peace in the midst of it. This peace is achieved when we decide to surrender to God. It's going past the bargaining stage of grief. (The five stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.) When you realize you can't change what is and understand that God is in control and He is sovereign, you can experience peace. Surrendering produces the serenity you're praying for. It's trusting God explicitly that everything's going to be okay. That He's going to take you to a better place.
Have you gotten there yet? Have you faced the fact that you're divorced ... that your husband is not coming back? Have you faced the fact that the dream you had can't be fulfilled any longer? Are you looking at your reality? Are you looking at the cards you're holding? Because you need to be at that place before you can move on to the next step. The good news is that there are things you can change. But they don't have anything to do with changing anyone else. Change is about you and comes from within. When you've arrived at the land of acceptance, you're able to begin carving out a new life for yourself.
Let's say you are lost, and you want to get to my house. So you call me and ask for directions. I ask you where you are, but you don't know. If you don't know where you are, how can you find your way to my house? Sometimes it's too foggy or the storm is too blinding. You can't see well enough to know where you are. Don't fret. Soon you will see clearly and be able to find your way.
Acceptance is the opposite of denial. That's why denial is the first stage of grief, and acceptance is the last. When something major occurs in your life, particularly a loss, it takes some time to come to terms with what has actually happened. You have to grieve your loss before you can ever get to the place of acceptance. Let yourself feel from the depths of your soul. The only way to get to the acceptance stage is to be totally honest with yourself about what is, not what was or what you hoped would be. Acceptance is the beautiful doorway to new hopes, dreams, and possibilities. It brings peace, healing, and freedom.
I can only speak from experiences in my own life. I remember when my husband left. He moved out of the house for a month before he made his decision to file for divorce, and the entire month he was gone, I prayed and believed that he'd change his mind and come home. I kept thinking that I was in an ugly nightmare. Surely I would wake up and find him next to me. But after he filed for the divorce and I was served the papers, I knew I wasn't dreaming anymore. He wasn't coming back. Gone was my dream that we'd grow old together. That we would be a close-knit family, and our kids and grandbabies would be in church together followed by a big Sunday dinner at our house. Birthdays and Christmases all together would not be.
That dream died, and I had to face my new reality. I tormented myself with all the lies: I'm not good enough, pretty enough, this enough, that enough, or I'm too much this, that, or the other. Through prayer, counseling, and being loved and nurtured by good friends, I finally was able to accept the truth about myself and my situation. I didn't like where I was, but realizing the truth opened the doorway to new things. And I'm here to encourage you. If you're taking the right steps to take care of yourself, you will get to a happy, healthy place all in good time.
Let's fast-forward ten years. That's how long it has been since my divorce. Here is my new reality. I am a divorced woman, currently not in a relationship with another man. I spend a lot of time being alone, though I do much better when I'm around people regularly because I'm a people person by nature. I've just celebrated another decade birthday, and as a woman who deals with anxiety issues, this one was tougher because the window of my life is getting smaller. My two grown daughters have gone through more heartache and pain than many women their age ... some because of the choices they've made in their lives and some because of circumstances out of their control. The four people I love the most in my life, my two daughters and my two grandsons, live twenty-four hundred miles away from me. They live in the same city their dad and the woman he left me for live. My children and grandchildren get to see his wife more than they get to see me. It took me some time to come to terms with this. Do I like it? No, I don't. That's the way it is, though.
But here is the other side of my reality. I am a single woman living in a great city. I don't have any family members here, but I am exceedingly wealthy in relationships because of all the incredible friendships I have. I attend a wonderful church. I'm in good physical health, thank God, which is why I was able to celebrate another birthday. I love the work I do. God has blessed me with the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere in the world. This affords me opportunities to go frequently to the city where my children and grandbabies live for extended periods of time and have quality visits with them. My daughters are doing much better. I firmly believe this is because God is so tender toward the prayers of a mother's heart. My grandsons are crazy about me, and no one can ever take my place in their lives. I am in a position where I can choose to move where they are or continue to go back and forth between the two cities.
I told you all this because I want you to see the cards I was dealt. There were some tough cards in my hand: singleness, living alone, kids dealing with major stressors, bouts of anxiety, which is a far cry from the debilitating panic attacks I suffered from years ago, being far away from my family, and the hurt of the kids and grandkids seeing Fred's wife, Wilma, more than they see me.
Now let's look at the good cards: close friendships, living in a great city, a wonderful church, good health, a job I love, the flexibility to work anywhere, beautiful daughters for whom I see God is answering prayers, sweet grandsons, and being able to go back and forth between two cities. My good cards outweigh my bad cards.
When I can see the full hand by accepting the good and the bad of what is, I can proceed to change some of the situations that are not desirable. I will not be able to change all of them, but some of them I can.
It dawned on me the other day that the reason I've had such a difficult time accepting my new reality is because of the expectations I had for my life. When I was a much younger woman, right after I accepted the Lord at the age of twenty, I went to college on a music scholarship and sang with an incredible show band. Life was good. I loved my school. I loved the kids on campus. I loved music. I loved being young and free. I remember saying, "I'm going to meet a fabulous man with all these certain qualities, we're going to fall deeply in love, I'll be married before the age of twenty-five, I'll have two children before I'm thirty, and life will be almost perfect. We won't have financial problems, and we'll all be in church and live the great American dream. I'll be a stay-at-home mom with a perfect house and home-cooked meals every night. We'll have a beautiful family and lots of friends." And do you know what? It happened just as I said it would. Everything fell right into place.
Excerpted from THE YOU PLAN by MICHELLE BORQUEZ, CONNIE WETZELL. Copyright © 2013 Michelle Toholsky Borquez a/k/a Michelle Borquez and Constance Marie Wetzell a/k/a Connie Wetzell. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Dr. Tim Clinton xi
Where We Are Now xv
1 The Real Lifestyle Lift 1
2 YOU and Forgiveness 21
3 YOU and Being Alone 45
4 YOU and Dating 64
5 YOU and Sex 89
6 YOU and Money 113
7 YOU and Respect 128
8 The Ultimate YOU Plan 154
About the Authors 179
Scripture Index 183
Subject Index 185