One day, seemingly without warning, Sue Birdseye’s husband came home and announced that he no longer wanted to be married. As a Christian woman, divorce was never considered an option so this news was shocking to Birdseye. In “When Happily Ever After Shatters: Seeing God in the Midst of Divorce and Single Parenting”, Sue Birdseye shares her unintended journey from marriage, through the divorce process and into her post-divorce reality of single parenting.
Birdseye felt blindsided. Although her high-profile husband denied any interest in another woman, the news media soon exposed his infidelity. Birdseye was immediately surrounded by a tight-knit support system of friends and church members. Her pastoral leaders were supportive of her decision to file for divorce and provided her with advice or referrals to Christian businessmen who could assist her as she navigated the legal waters.
In “When Happily Ever Shatters”, Birdseye discusses many topics. She writes about her husband’s lies and deception, her feelings toward the other woman, and her anger and grief at the loss of her marriage. She also writes about the ways the divorce impacted her five children and how challenging it was to walk each of them through the twists and turns of the unfamiliar territory.
There is one powerful underlying theme in this biography. It is Birdseye’s personal relationship with and faith in God. The strength of this relationship is made clear through the generous use of scriptures that she discovered and held onto as a source of encouragement and strength. As a help to the reader, Birdseye also shares selections from her personal journals and transcriptions of prayers she used in seeking God’s help. She whole-heartedly testifies that without God she would not have been able to come through the divorce as she did.
I do have one concern. What I expected but did not find was any struggle or questioning within herself about any role she may have played in her husband’s decision to leave. I am not excusing his behavior or decision, but at the same time I am not able to convince myself that she was perfect in her role as a wife and mother of five children. We live in a fallen world. As a reader, I wanted to know that she at least struggled with a measure of self-doubt. I think this omission may discourage women who know that they are responsible, either fully or partially, with the breakdown of their own marriages.
Birdseye doesn’t claim any professional credentials. What she does offer, and successfully delivers, is her experience as one who has survived the journey and now finds herself on the other side of divorce as a whole and happy single parent. I recommend this book to church libraries, Christian counselors and women seeking a spiritual means of hope and comfort during a very difficult and trying experience.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Author Biography: Sue Birdseye unexpectedly found herself walking the difficult path of single motherhood. But God took the tragedy of divorce and opened up a ministry to others facing similar challenges. After being a stay-at-home, homeschooling, foster, and adoptive mom, Sue is now a working, single mom with five children. With hope and humor, she writes as a columnist and blogger for print and online magazines and websites, including Family Life’s MomLife Today, Family Matters, Flourish magazine, Thriving Family magazine, Fredericksburg Parent magazine, and Charisma magazine. Sue’s inspiring message is filled with practical insights for all women on their journey of faith. Her personal website is http://www.uptomytoes.com.
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Focus (February 16, 2013)
“When Happily Ever After Shatters: Seeing God in the Midst of Divorce and Single Parenting” by Sue Birdseye is available for purchase at amazon.com, The Book Club Network, christianbook.com and other fine retailers. For an excerpt and discussion guide, please see the product page at Tyndale House Publisher’s website.