This is hard to write. My original post was actually three posts long, telling you of my failed marriage, the separation, and the healing. They, too, were hard to write. I mentioned some details just so you’d understand the pain of what I lived with but held back a lot of it as it is too much to relive again.
But I read something recently, an article concerning gossip that is very well written and fully supported with Scripture. But something the author said about the subtle side of gossip had me thinking about my first three blogs. I don’t want my story to be stepping into the realm of subtle gossip and sowing discord.
So, here’s another stab at it.
My first marriage failed. My husband was abusive to me, verbally, emotionally, and physically though he never hit me, just the walls and furniture. This abuse was very subtle at first and I became used to it. It became my normal and I thought everyone lived that way. It wasn’t until I was visiting my family back in 2003/2006 that my sister and brother-in-law put names to the abuse and told me this wasn’t normal.
Though I had tried to leave my marriage in 1990, 1996 and 2007, I just couldn’t bring myself to follow through. Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Til death do us part kind of commitment. Besides, God hates divorce. So I stayed in the marriage, did my very best at being a good wife, I attended womens Bible studies learning about my home ministry being a good helpmate and all that. The only thing was, it was me doing it all. He wasn’t a Christian, didn’t go to church, and didn’t think we had any problems. So I tried harder. In his mind, he did no wrong. Everything I did was wrong.
I would often cry out to God for more rope as I was slipping off the end of what I had. God never failed me as He extended my rope. Sometimes that was a daily cry to Him. I remember many times on my drive home from work I would cry to God asking for another inch of rope, telling Him everything that was happening even though He knew it all. By the time I would get home, I had more rope to hang on to. Day after day after day. Year after year.
Finally, in 2010, the same job opportunity that I had back in 2007 was up for grabs again. Once again I applied and had an interview. Once again they wanted to hire me. Once again something held me back from taking that job. The difference this time though, was I finally realized that I didn’t have to leave town, I only had to leave my marriage.
No woman (or man for that matter) ever gets married with the intention of leaving their marriage at some point.
A marriage, a union between two people, is a huge investment of emotions, intimacy, love, commitment, children, family, finances and everything else. It isn’t easy to pull away from that. Everything is so intertwined, woven together so intricately and when breaking this apart, it hurts every aspect of the relationship. It simply hurts.
I found an apartment and it was the very one that I had been telling God that I wanted for six years! Every day I’d drive by (twice a day) and look up at the apartment building and tell God that I wanted that place.
That Sunday I moved in and cried and cried. My marriage had ended. I never ever thought it would. It wasn’t my plan. It wasn’t my dream. None of it was. I want you to know of my past hurt and of my heart when I say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!
I will tell you that I wasn’t alone. Through the 29 years, God was with me every step of the way. He knew of my hurt, my pain, my tears. He covered me with His love, He gave me grace. He wiped my tears. He never failed me.
After signing the rental agreement, I headed back to the house to pack the jeep. I was on pins and needles. What have I done?
At the house, I called my sister to tell her and she said, “in case you only have one chance to take anything, take everything you want that will fit in your jeep” or something like that. So I did. I packed quickly, not knowing when he’d return from his parents’ home. Packed my clothes, my bread maker (ha-ha), my jewellery, personal things and stuffed the jeep, which really wasn’t a lot of room. Headed back to town to my new place. Had no furniture, only a folding camp chair that smelled like cat pee. Ugh!
I remember crying as I was cleaning the sink and counter. I called my sister, Denise, (I know, you wanted to know her name) and told her that maybe I should just go back, he wouldn’t know I’d left yet. I was so confused. Did I do the right thing by leaving? How could I leave? Would God still love me? Denise reminded me why I left, how abusive he had been for my entire marriage, and that I had to leave for my safety. Okay, crying jag over.
He was home when I returned to get another load of things. Oh boy, now to face him and tell him I was leaving, that I was moving out. This is going to hurt. He did not take it well but he did allow me to take my things. So I packed the jeep again and left. I didn’t take anything that he would need to replace. He didn’t have a job, he had difficulty walking, had quit his job months before so I wasn’t going to make it any harder on him.
That July was very difficult. I cried a lot. God heard me every time. Once I was crying because I had no one to talk to and within minutes of drying my tears, the phone rang! She called to talk with me. Help was being put into place for me. Counsellors, the medical profession, workplace. All because of God.
I had left home on Sunday and on Tuesday, the police were at my workplace wanting to search my apartment for a weapon. They searched my office too. You see, I’d told someone that back in March I didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to get out of this marriage, that maybe suicide was the only answer. And because I had a shotgun, the police needed to ensure I was safe. They didn’t find anything but I was admitted to the ER department, then placed on sick leave with a diagnosis of depression. Boy, oh boy, what a time that was!
Through it all, God was with me. He showed me in so many ways how much He loves me. I was so relieved! My Christian friends and co-workers rallied around me, supported me with their acts of love whether it was hugs, gift cards, gifts, and food. Through their love, I saw how much God loves me.
I had phone conversations with my husband and he kept asking me to return home but he wouldn’t acknowledge that he’d done anything wrong. I continued seeing my counsellor for a year plus I was counselled by the hospital Chaplain for two months who, when he discharged me, said I held no animosity towards my ex, in fact, I was very considerate of him given the situation.
The healing was beginning. God showed me, both in practical ways and through His word that He loves me. I needed to believe that. After a few months, I didn’t cry as much. But I was still scared to see my ex around town. He couldn’t run after me but his physical size and booming voice scared me. I would leave the grocery store if I saw him there and return later.
Do you believe me when I say that God loves me, even though I left my marriage and initiated the divorce? I know He hates divorce. He said so in His word. But I also know that He does not want His children to suffer abuse. Believe me, if there was no abuse in our marriage, I’d still be married to him. When we got married, I loved him and wanted to grow old with him. I did not plan for this to happen. God knows that. He knows my heart!
The healing began the day I moved out. The crying, the confusion of “did I do the right thing”, all of that needed to happen before I could move on.
I’m so glad I serve a faithful God, One who never leaves me or abandons me. Through my turmoil, my questioning, my despair, He was right there with me. He answered my prayers, my cries, in such wonderful ways that I could not doubt His love for me.
I was alone a lot that year. I spent a lot of time thinking, reading my Bible, praying. I “drew nigh” unto Him, (yes, I like King James Version) and He came close to me too. I never lacked in “things,” in fact, I was blessed with so much that when I moved out, I gave away practically everything!! The goodness of God shines through! Solitude. Answers to prayer. The apartment I wanted for six years was mine, a gift from God. Everything I had comes from Him.
In May and early June 2011, I remember saying to the Lord, “I’m lonely, I’m ready to meet someone, someone who is a believer, someone who loves You.”
And meeting potentials began.
I met Steven. He intrigued me. Said he believed in the Ten Commandments but he didn’t go to church nor was he a believer. Initially, I didn’t think this was going to work.
We met, had a dinner date and I thought that was it.
I didn’t understand this because he wasn’t a believer.
We met again. He came to church with me. I shared Christ with him. He listened and eight months later, he surrendered to Jesus and became a believer. He was baptized a few months later, and we were married in December 2012.
God is good! It is so wonderful to have a believing husband! I always wanted my first husband to surrender to Jesus but he wouldn’t. This man, Steven, let his heart rule and surrendered it to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I am so thankful!
We serve the Lord together with a ministry of giving. In fact, God gave him this ministry before he was saved! He began to work in his heart back then. So, we serve Him together plus I lead a women’s Bible Study which I call DIG (Deep in God) where I teach the women how to study the Bible using the Inductive Study approach. I’m also the WM Leader for another term as well.
Do you believe that God can and wants to heal you from past hurts? Does He really forgive you for your part in sinning against Him or does He remind you of your sin again? Can He even use you in ministry after such a sin?
Penny for your thoughts? Leave a comment below as I would love to hear from you. We can encourage and support each other on this journey we call life!