How Divorce Broke Me

The road to progress isn’t always pretty. And many times, the things that are the most unexpected and unfortunate can be the things that create the greatest breakthrough.

I only share and write about what might give hope and inspiration to others. So as I share this very personal battle that I’ve been through, perhaps you will see a new perspective on the trials in your life, as I have.

Transformation is something people often only see after the fact. They see the end result, the finished product. And it’s these outcomes that typically become the focus. Because everyone want’s to see the positive changes.

But there is a part of transformation that is rarely shared or highlighted. It’s not pretty, not worth taking a selfie over, and isn’t something you’d typically read about in someone’s social feed. At least not in a positive light.

But it is a very humbling, yet necessary side of the process. This side that is seldom talked about is what I call, The breaking. 

I’ve overcome what I would consider to be a lot in my life. I overcame being a chubby kid and lost 100 pounds. I overcame my childhood poverty, my lack of formal education and built a business that I’m passionate about.

I work in a community that I love,, and am raising my kids in a better neighborhood and environment than I ever had. I could say that I’m living the dream.

I thought I knew what it meant to break generational curses. I thought I knew what it was to rise above. But I came to find out that as much as I thought I knew and as much as I had experienced in the past, my deepest revelation of transformation had yet to come.

At 23 years old I was married. 3 weeks later, we found out we were having a baby. At 24 I was a husband, a father, living in a 500 square foot apartment and coaching clients out of a garage in San Francisco. And I was loving all of it.

I thought I had already faced my tough times, and that it was only up from there. I thought I just needed to figure out the pieces, grind, and make it happen.

2010 Joshua and I.

I thought I had paid my dues because when life looked hopeless for me, I surrendered everything and made commitments to God. I said yes to Him when it looked like there was no reason to say yes. I overcame family adversity, personal identity struggles, and kept the faith.

And now it seemed like it was all coming together. I was married to a beautiful wife, and had a healthy son. We were living in the city I loved, and I was doing what I loved for work. So now I could just step into my calling and my destiny was on it’s way.

And that was the first mistake. I thought I had paid my dues, and that I could just do my thing now that I was on track. I didn’t realize that the very thing that got me on track, that gave my life a second chance, was God’s grace.

And that very thing that got me to where I was, was to remain as the center of my life, my marriage, my business. But I thought I was good now. I thought I had this, and that I’ll just take it from here, God.

Fast forward 10 years, and circumstances in my personal life were drastically unraveling. The accumulation of things that went un resolved over the years finally broke open.

I was suddenly facing divorce and a broken family. It seemed like an ultimate life failure. All the good that had happened up until that point seemed like a waste. I was devastated, to say the least.

I always thought the greatest thing that happened to me was finding my wife. The story of our family, and what we came from. And as challenging as it was at times, nothing was as inspiring as our story.

And because of that, I thought that losing her and my family separating was the biggest tragedy and failure. Because there was too much good to let the bad win. There was too much potential, for it to stop short. And everything in me was breaking, because it just couldn’t end like this.

The memories we made as a family, the trials and obstacles we had overcome, the life we built together. All to end in brokenness. And there was nothing I could do to change it.

And it was in this nightmare which had become a reality, I was forced to face my struggle with control.  And as I did, I realized how little control I actually have of so many things in my life outside of myself.

Control in many ways had been a key to my success. Because let’s face it, if you want certain things to improve in your life, you need to control certain variables. But my need to control became my downfall when I thought I could control outcomes.

I thought I could control my future. I thought I could and needed to control other people for the wellbeing of my family. And when I saw things and behaviors happening that I thought would potentially hurt my family, I went into control mode.

It’s crazy what a person can become when they let fear guide them. When they let the focus become what is going to go wrong. What is not going to happen that needed to. The things that will be destroyed if things don’t change.

When fear became my focus, I caused a lot of pain and frustration. There were hurtful things I said and did. And there were times I got angry and reacted. There were things I wish I did more of. There were important things I did not prioritize.

As I’ve gone through this season of personal trials, I’ve recognized the hardness that life’s misfortune can cause in a heart. It’s easy to justify, to blame, to begin to see the world through a darker lens when circumstances turn for the worse.

But I realized that It’s also life’s trials that can serve as an opportunity for our hearts to be purified. To break the chains that keep us from our potential. It’s a process of surrender that not many choose to endure.  

Because the pain of being broken and restored is not passive. It requires you to revisit the pain. To work through it. To forgive. To actively let go. To actively focus on what’s good. To choose to have hope for the future. To believe that even though it may look horrible now, what’s to come is worth it if you keep pressing on.

And during this process I realized that being broken was the greatest victory and gift of my life. That everything in me that would hold me back from the potential I was created for, was being broken and restored. Because if you’re going to reach your potential, you need a solid foundation.

I’ve been chosen to be a voice, and I will testify to how I’ve overcome. And as I testify to the goodness and transformation in my life, I do so to inspire others to overcome the giants in their lives.

So just like David and his 5 Stones, it started with faith, it ends with faith, and it was faith everywhere in between.

So as I leave behind and forget the former things that held me captive, I thank God for doing a new thing, and now I can perceive it.

30 Replies to “How Divorce Broke Me”

  1. Thank you for telling me about your pain as my youngest daughter is going through something similar! It help me to understand her situation! I hope this new year will bring new beginnings!

    1. I don’t think these things are truly understandable, if you haven’t been through them. But I am so glad that you found this helpful. I will tell you this, I truly realized who was for me during this season, by the people who stood with me in prayer and encouragement. Who didn’t just tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. Who didn’t just justify me. But who gave me a real critical look that’s the only thing that I could control, which was me. I hope this is helpful

  2. Such wisdom and insight! Congratulations on receiving the gift borne only in the breaking and may you abound in the joy that accompanies your new freedom !

  3. I am proud to be your Aunt, Thank you John for being so transparent. I am so happy that you are letting your trials help you grow instead of defeating you. You are a blessing to us all. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year. Looking forward to what God has for you and your family!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Had no idea and the truth will bring life to so many! You are a blessing. May 2020 bring even greater joy and wholeness to you and yours. #postureoffaith

    1. Lisa thank you. It’s a battle of kept quiet for some time. Because I was holding on to the fact that maybe if less people knew, it might be easier to turn around. But no more trying to control things. Just running full speed and accelerating into 2020

  5. Jonny! Don’t even know what to say—just full of good heart-feelings after reading this.
    Happy New Year, Man of God, motivator, nurturing father, conscientious brother, honoring son…. may we all decrease (willingly and joyfully) this year that He might increase in and through us for our good and others’. Thanks for this.

    1. Tim, thank you so much for the words. I appreciate you. And I receive that, I’m all about the increase he brings 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences Jonny! I especially appreciate that you talk about your relationship with God, which is so important to me too. The Boyds are sending love and support to you and your whole family. Hope to see you soon!

    1. Bratz thank you so much. The reality that God was the center of my life, and when I lost my way, my life showed it. Thank you for your thoughts and love

  7. Thanks for sharing, divorce is a horrible ordeal for anyone to go through, but you overcame and that is the victory. God has so much for you. I know you wanted your wife to share this journey and you did everything you possible could to make it work. One thing I learned as you have learned when all you have done all you can do you just have to stand. You stood, you fought, and you won.
    Now you take one day at a time. Because now you can speak life into others that are going through what you have gone through and give them hope. You will be showing them what God will do if you just trust him. Will be embarrassing yes, will the words hurt as you are saying them yes, but you are being healed every time you share this testimony. This shows who Johnny really is, a man of strength, a man of valor, a man of honor, a man who wants the best for all those he comes in contact with, a man like David in a cave laying before God and waiting for him to give him direction.
    You have overcome more than you think. You have shifted the spiritual atmosphere in your life and your sons life. You have built a legacy for your sons, you have shown them an example of a man of God. So my friend tell your testimony when God gives you the opportunity, and watch what he will do in your life and those you are speaking to. Get ready for the healing, even greater anointing on your life. You see you have put the adversary to shame, you have set him running , you have showed him you and Job have something in common, and in you vulnerability you have become a far better man than you realize.

    1. Lucille, what a heartfelt and Powerful response. Thank you so much for the empowering words. I appreciate you, and I’m so glad you’re in my life

  8. First, I am so sorry. The next years will be rough but at the same time they will mend your heart. Divorce is not easy, especially for the thoughts and failures that cross our minds. We think life is supposed to be a certain way but in reality life is how we make it to be and we become better people because of it. I still hurt over my divorce today and am happily in love and have a new baby boy. I am in the beat relationship I have ever been in. If I had not faced these feelings I would not be human. It gets so much better and you learn a lot about yourself. Please let me know if you need anything.

  9. Jonny, first of all I love all your posts on social media. You are a brother and man I respect and love. Thank you for your vulnerability and I’m happy to see the strength that has grown within you as continue going through your journey. I went through a pretty tough battle this past year with my wife also and ended up splitting for 6 months before getting back together and doing our best to make it work. It hasn’t been perfect and we both have a lot of work to do on our selves and with each other.

    I’m sorry you went through a tough time. You are inspiring and I wish all the best for you.

    1. Brother thank you for the kind words. And what an encouraging personal story you share. Thank you so much for the support. I appreciate you

  10. Wow, Jonnie. I have always admired how you are a self-made man in the most literal sense of the word. And I cannot wait to see how you use this in the most positive of ways. Good luck to you.

    1. Milly, thank you for such a compliment. But what I have come to find, was that I was striving to be self-made. To make things happen. And I completely removed the credit from God’s grace, I no longer kept that as my Foundation. And that’s when things began unwinding. But now, I have full confidence that he will turn this all together for good. I’m just like you, I’m excited to see what that looks like 🙂

  11. Hi Jonny, wow!!
    Thank you for being vulnerable to share your journey. You are a beautiful man of God!!
    God has so much more for you! Standing with you!

  12. Wow…just seeing this now. I so respect and appreciate your honestly! You have conquered a lot, you are a good person and you deserve nothing but the best! Thank you for all you have taught me in and out of the gym! You are an example, leader and dear friend. So appreciate you. Here’s to 2020….

    1. Katy, thank you so much for this note! I appreciate your kind words, and I’m so happy to have you in my life. Yes, here’s to a wonderful 2020!

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