I looked in the mirror that morning and I’m not sure who I saw or how in the world I got here. But here I was, and no makeup could cover what I was feeling. No wardrobe that would lift me out of this depth. How had this happened? Divorce. I was beaten down and could not find my value. I was in survival mode, just not sure I was surviving.

One of the worst effects of divorce is how we feel about ourselves after we have been left or after we have left our spouse. Yes, the person who leaves grieves as well. The “leavers” may have done much of their grieving before they leave. No one goes unscathed.

You question your value; you may even get to the point to where you question your life. Understand this is your pain speaking and seek help. Tend to this critical need if you are at this point; find help in getting your perception back to some normalcy. Your value has nothing to do with this divorce. Your value, which you are unable to see right now, is held tenderly by your creator God. Your value is not in question in His court. It stands indisputable.

When my former husband asked to come back the day our divorce would be final, I embraced the idea. And I embraced him. I thought it confirmed I had value because he was coming back to me. Then, after the second time, he left. Devastation followed but so did resolve. I was done. Now instead of being sad and in despair, I felt a power boil up in me—determination and fight. And this spirit of survival is a necessary thing. That final straw was empowering to me. Finally, I was done and I knew this time, there was no going back.

Time taught me many things. One of the greatest was perception. For me, it was an incredible growth period after my divorce. A time of discovery, experimentation, adventure into self, and figuring out life. As part of my healing, I had to figure out what lies and truths I told myself, to develop a new self-perception.

My former husband always thought I should lose a few pounds. This non-acceptance of my body did bad things to my self-image. It interfered with many things in my life and made me believe I was not as good as those who were thinner and more attractive. When you live with and repeatedly hear negativity and when you are weak and not grounded in the Word of God, you can believe anything if you are told it long enough.

I fought to know the value of who I was. Unfortunately, I still allowed other people, primarily men determine that. I pity myself for how I thought back then. It was unhealthy and left me in a tremendously vulnerable spot of needing affirmation.

After my divorce, I met a man who thought I was the greatest thing ever, quite the opposite of what I was used to. While my husband thought I could do nothing right, this man thought I could do nothing wrong. I thought his affirmation made me more beautiful. I was wrong. I was always beautiful. My definition of beautiful just had to change. Most importantly, the source I listened to had to change.

Years have passed (twenty-two in fact). I still check the mirror, I still struggle with ten to fifteen pounds. But I’m more trusting of God. I believe His perception of me. I am the most beautiful because I am in Christ. I am His handiwork, more lovely than words can speak, more valuable than any human can define. My true ugliness was placed on the cross of Christ. Now there is no condemnation when I am in Christ Jesus. When I have my self-doubts and insecurities of my body and value, I remind myself and quiet the inner voices that tell me I am not enough. It is in the cross of Christ where my freedom is, from the self-perception trap and from being truly unlovely.

You must know where “here” is before you can reach the “there” God has in store for you. Download your free self assessment now: http://davidccook.org/suddenly-single/