My divorce was final December 27, 2014.
I moved out of the marital home December 31, 2014.
My marriage is finished. Over. I'm no longer a "Mrs." but a "Ms.". I am a single woman, a single mother of 5, legally and relationally free and clear.
Honestly.. I noted the date, but I never felt any different. It was anticlimatic. I had already felt divorced, known that my marriage was over, and been acting as a single woman for over a year at that point. It was just marking on paper what was already a reality.
But the words are necessary. The words are what made the reality official, legally. It was getting that piece of paper, signed by the judge, that declared me a single woman, that turned my temporary separation into a permanent one.
Legal documents change lots of things. Anyone can write anything on a piece of paper, but have it stamped and sealed by the judge, and suddenly that piece of paper has official, legal status, carries weight, and changes things. With a piece of paper, two individuals become one unit in marriage. With a piece of paper, more money (or less!) is taken off a paycheck, or added to a tax credit. With a piece of paper, someone can be arrested. With a piece of paper, a person is given a license to operate a vehicle. These little pieces of paper only mean something because they are signed by an official, who in turn has a piece of paper making him official.
Who knew words on paper had such power?
Yet, for all the power these words have, the Word has more. "God means what He says. .. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it -- no matter what." (Hebrews 4:12-13, Msg)
The most powerful words in the Bible in my opinion? "It is finished." With these words, Jesus ended millenia of war between God and man, ended centuries of pain and suffering, ended years of disease and disorder, ended the reign of death in this world. When Jesus said this, He completed the task necessary to set us free.
We forget that, sometimes. We forget that we're on the winning side, that God isn't angry anymore, that our debts have been paid for, that the offenses have been wiped out. We forget that death is defeated, that sickness and disease are no more, that all the disorder of this world is done, and we now have the power to make things right. We forget what Jesus meant when He said, "It is finished."
One of the most healing pieces of paper this world can offer is that of adoption. With a piece of paper, a family is created and a child, who suffered from trauma no child should ever suffer - separation from their parents, no matter the reason, is united with parents who promise to love and care for them. It is a beautiful thing, and when it works, when the bonds created by that piece of paper are cemented, everyone around is changed for the better.
The words Jesus spoke are our adoption papers. The separation is over. The new family is created. The children of the devil, traumatized, are united with a Father who has promised to love and care for them, and unlike earthly parents, this Father never fails to keep His promise.
It is finished. We're home. We're free.