In 2004, I discovered my husband had been unfaithful after 10 years of dating and two years of marriage. I didn’t see it coming. I did everything I knew to hold my marriage together. Divorce was not an option. I worked hard to be a loving wife with a forgiving heart. I was hopeful that things would get better. I trusted that we would be stronger as a result of this rocky time. We went to counseling. But nothing worked. He chose to leave the marriage to begin a new life. He simply held me by the shoulders and told me that what we had was “good on paper” but he couldn’t give her up. And he walked out.
It literally felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I thought that since I was a good and faithful person, I should receive blessings. I had followed the “rules” my whole life. I had been dealt a sorry hand and I felt it was extremely unfair. I didn’t deserve this.
I felt confused, wondering if he ever loved me. I felt lost without my “other half” right there. I knew people would see me as weak and judge me for not being able to save my own marriage, or keep my husband’s eyes from wandering. I felt ugly because she was prettier than me. I wondered what I could have done differently.
A bitter seed began festering inside me. I hated that he had damaged my heart. I hated that he was now the author of my story, forever woven into the fabric of my life. I hated that some days I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed. I hated that our plans were nothing but a shimmering mirage. I hated the big fat “D” I saw on my forehead every time I looked in a mirror. I hated that I had to mourn the future I was so desperately excited to share with a man who vowed in front of God, our friends and families that he would love me…for better or for worse.
After several months of trying to hold it together, I broke. I had no job, no home, no husband and a lot of pain. I remember falling to my knees, crying out in desperation. “Lord, I do not know what to do, what to pray or how to be. I’m just here.” I admitted that I was tired of being strong and laid all my burdens down. That’s where I met God. At the cross. A nail-scarred hand picked me up and said, “I know what it’s like to suffer. I will always be here for you. I am the Author of your life.”
As a result of this broken path, I have experienced an intimacy with God that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Looking back, I can see that the Lord has blessed me with sound friends to lean on, an amazing church to offer me a place to heal and a new heart for missions and women’s Bible study.
Of course I still struggle. I have very little patience with the path God has chosen for me. I worry about life passing me by and not living fully present in the NOW. I’m not content at times and way more selfish more than I’d care to admit. But each day is a challenge. I must embrace what God is doing in my life, but more importantly I must accept what God is NOT doing. That’s hard. But God never said it would be easy. He promised it would be worth it.
Instead of living status quo, I now strive to be more dynamic in my faith. My past serves as a billboard for God’s grace and mercy. I used to claim Christ and now I pursue Him because He pursues me.
The Holy Spirit reminds me daily that the big, fat “D” is not my story. HE is my story. And my story is far from over.
And for that I am truly thankful.