A few months after the divorce was final, the marital home was sold and my children and I moved to a new house. In addition to selling the home where we had lived for more than a decade, I also got rid of most of the furniture via discard, dump or division. I was quite happy to see the furniture go, along with the memories attached to it, and looked forward to staging my new house with new furniture that reflected my taste and the new chapter in my life.

So here I am, nearly a year after moving in, still decorating and furnishing my new house, because as you probably know, outfitting a new life takes time and money. So when I saw an end-of-the-season sale on garden furniture online, I jumped at it.

When the furniture arrived a few days later, in boxes, requiring assembly, I nearly cried. REALLY?!  Nowhere did it mention I had to work to get what was shown online because if it had, I wouldn’t have bought it, sale or not.

You must understand that much of the new furniture for my new home is from Ikea, and I admit I rather enjoyed getting a drill and putting together those first couple of pieces. It made me feel capable and empowered. But now…not so much. Jesus, take the drill because I am suffering from chronic assembly fatigue syndrome. Become flesh once again and bless your child with your carpentry power.

To make matters worse, the furniture came with poorly illustrated instructions. I spread the pieces out on the ground, and turned the picture this way and that, trying to match the right pieces together and make sure I have the right screws in the right holes. I then went to YouTube to see if I can find a video that explains what I cannot seem to glean from the instruction manual. YouTube cleared things up a bit, but I had to go back to the manual and really take my time and examine it, then it was obvious what I needed to do. I had everything I needed right there. And with some effort and following the instructions closely, the furniture I was promised in the picture was before me.

I learned an important lesson while assembling the patio furniture.

Just as I was sold on an image of the finished product, sitting pretty with a beautifully landscaped background, so it was with my new, post-divorce life. So many people said I’d be better off without him. That I’d blossom and thrive. They failed to warn me, however, that this new life had to be assembled. That the reality of a new life with me in full bloom and thriving means gathering all of the parts, following the instruction manual – the Bible – which promises beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), healing for the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3) and assurances of God’s plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). 

I’ve survived the destruction of my marriage and my old life, and I’m working on the new one. But it’s not just going to happen. Some assembly is required.