DivorceCare helping to heal, restore lives
FAIRMONT — For many people, separation and divorce are some of the most painful things they will ever face in life.
Very few enter into a marriage expecting that it will end in abuse, infidelity or other terrible experiences. Hearts are broken and spirits are crushed under the weight of fear, anxiety, guilt, self-doubt and depression.
Fortunately, there is a group of people in Fairmont who want to help.
Pastor Jim Flemming and others of Bethel Evangelical Free Church have brought to the area a unique program known as DivorceCare, which is designed to help those who are hurting. Hosted in a group setting, the program is meant to convey that divorcees are not alone, and that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things do get better.
Flemming was available to share how he first learned about the program, why he brought it to Fairmont, and some of the results he has witnessed.
“I had heard of it at another church where we served,” he said. “I was drawn to it because of my parents’ divorce. We went to Russia in August of 2015 and the church over there was reaching out to people with addictions and people who were broken through divorce and abuse.
“We were literally standing next to what used to be a Russian missile silo, and the Russian pastor asked us to pray for that time and I just really believe the Lord said it was time for me to do more to reach out to these people that are going through pains and trials and tribulations.
“So I did a web search, and started reading their [DivorceCare] material on their website. They’re biblically centered and they really have a good understanding of what divorce recovery is about.”
The program is set to begin Thursday, but it isn’t the first time. A group has met already in the early months of this past year, and Flemming said he has seen good results, though it does take some people more time than others to heal. Flemming shared some of the benefits he feels the program has for those who take part.
“Like any other thing, people realize they’re not alone in the process they’re going through,” he said. “What I noticed with the last group was just hearing people share stories and seeing them be able to relate to each other. The community that brought was so critical for them, to have someone to talk to about what they were going through was just so powerful.
“The other benefit has been that our church has been growing in this area that there are people who have struggles, and we want to be available to them. So instead of church just being for us, it’s that we’re here for other people, and I love that aspect.”
Flemming also shared some of the unique interactions he saw in the group. He said there was a man who was divorced for years who was able to help others out of his brokenness, a woman who could share empathetically from her ongoing experience, and another who buried a lot of things that happened many years ago be able to face those problems and find forgiveness and healing.
One man had faced down attempted suicide, and shared his story of what happened for him during his time in the group.
“It was real difficult at first,” he said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going in it, but the more I did I understood the need for forgiveness. Then after I was able to work through that, I was able to experience healing like I hadn’t yet before.”
“There was a lot of healing, and I just thought that there’s more to come,” Flemming said. “I think some people are still in the process of healing, but it was neat to see God doing that through a community of people. I felt there was a lot of hope that was given.”
For those who are interested, the DivorceCare group is set to meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Oct. 26. For more information on DivorceCare, people can check out the website at www.divorcecare.org
Flemming also said there is a dinner at 5 p.m. Thursdays that people are invited to, with a suggested donation of $3. Then there will be variety of groups meeting at 6 p.m. for some worship time, and at 6:30 p.m. the DivorceCare group can break off and meet on its own, though Flemming noted that if people just want to show up for DivorceCare at 6:30, they are more than welcome to do so.