Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13, NASB)
Divorce changes a person's material circumstances. When I was a child, my family lived a comfortable middle-class life, until my parents divorced. Then life became a struggle financially for my mom, who was left to raise four kids on her own.
During my first marriage, my then-husband was employed only seasonally, so I learned to live frugally and to spend the abundant season preparing for the lean season. I can't say that I was always content with this situation, but I coped and learned much from it.
During my second marriage, I was blessed with a husband who earned a six-figure income. He never allowed me to know our exact financial situation, though, but always told me we could afford whatever I asked about. Then a few years before his affair, I discovered in a most embarrassing way that we had been living beyond our means, and I insisted on being a part of the finances from then on.
When he left, the amount that I had to live on was cut by more than half, yet I still had the same house with the same mortgage and only one less mouth to feed. As prices have gone up, the support has not kept pace, and I have to admit, I struggle at times to keep the bills all current.
Yet despite this, I believe that I can truly say with the apostle Paul that I have learned to be content, no matter whether in want or in need.
However, learning to be content in my marital state has been more of a struggle. I am still learning to be content to be alone with my kids 24/7, to be content when I long to be held and loved but there is nobody there, to be content when the burden of single parenting is almost crushing and I have nobody to help carry my load.
I am making progress. As I look down the road to school beginning in September, I am realizing that maybe God has kept me single so that I can focus on my education and pursue His calling with a single-minded devotion. Even though it would be wonderful to have someone to come home to after classes, maybe God knows that I need one less distraction.
At any rate, I am learning to be content in this single circumstance in which I now reside.