The Lowest Point of my Life
I don’t remember the date but I can recall vividly being on the floor soaked in tears and pounding the floor angrily with my fists. Why? Why? Why?
I was so alone. My heavenly Father didn’t really love me. How could He let this happen? I had devoted myself to being a wife and mother and now it was all collapsing.
I could see no purpose for my life. The phone rang and I absent-mindedly picked it up. My Mom could hear the crying and the devastation. I was her strong daughter and when I spoke of not wanting to go on as I choked and sputtered, I scared her. She got off the phone and drove 2 1/2 hours to be with me.
I’ll never forget the first days and nights of non-stop weeping. My very soul was wounded and I wasn’t feeling the presence of God.
What was going on? What were the events that led me there?
I’d done everything to be a good wife. I’d supported him through several job losses and even bankruptcy just as my own business was starting to be very profitable. I was exhausted from all the doing until I was emotionally and physically ill.
Whenever I asked for his support or expressed my needs, I was met with silence as the response to my tears. Oh yes, silence, at least a week of it.
The first time I asked him to get marriage help with me was 6 months after we were married. He never could see the need and refused to have an outsider look at our life. I didn’t believe in divorce even when a counselor I was seeing for stress, suggested I consider it. Instead, I put more effort into being a good wife, raised two sons, became an efficient homemaker, and ran my own business for enough income to keep us afloat.
Every 6 months, I’d beg him to join me in working on our marriage. Tears, silence and more loneliness.
After 21 years, I was depleted. I was ill, fatigued beyond belief and I had no ideas for doing more. Even my relationship with God was empty as I wondered why He wasn’t answering my prayers. I was ready to leave.
I asked my teenage boys for their input and they agreed it couldn’t continue. My oldest son asked me to give his dad 3 months to go to counseling. We asked him to leave (not so hard as he traveled for work), choose a counselor and make the appointment. He’d be welcome back when the counselor thought we were making enough progress. It was risky but it was my last hope.
He talked a big game of courting me and winning me back on the phone and we met once for a “date”. Just as the 3 months was about to end, he phoned to ask if I’d made the appointment yet and was very angry when I reminded him he had to choose a counselor and make the appointment.
I knew if I chose a counselor, he’d never be the right one and it would all be my fault.
With only a few days left, he made the appointment and I felt renewed hope.
During our first appointment, the counselor interviewed us and told him he had some serious work to do before we could even think of getting our marriage on track. He left in anger, reluctantly went to one session alone then phoned me to say he would never go back.
I was advised to file for legal separation so I could get child support but he quit his job, left the province, camped out with friends, and then collected welfare to avoid paying child support. I didn’t ask for much and nothing for myself. I still hoped he would come around.
Instead, he filed for divorce.
The Slow Process of Healing
Over the next 3 years, I cried often, especially in church. Oh, I still went out of habit or discipline but I was spiritually wounded and didn’t know how to heal.
I went through waking in the night with memories of terrible things my ex had done in our 21 years that I’d buried deep in my subconscious. Bolting upright in my bed and crying from deep in my heart all over again. Every time I was feeling better, another memory would shoot up to the surface.
I’d tried to make a happy marriage for so long and I can still remember some happy times. Now the dirt was surfacing and I couldn’t understand why. I now know it was God’s healing. He waited for me to regroup after each jolting memory before the next one. It was slow but it was working.
I came to a point where I was ready to socialize again. I was ready to let people back into my life. Only friends, of course. I was still ill and it was a long recovery both physically and emotionally.
I met a man who was a wonderful friend and helped me see myself again. I told him I only wanted friendship. I still had some religious beliefs about not remarrying and I’d made an agreement to live with my parents and look after them when my sons left home. Yes, I was still trying to be a good parent through all this.
His friendship was precious and did a lot to help me heal. It was my 16-year-old son who finally told me I was gaga over this man. I resisted the idea until it was painfully clear I was attracted to him. Now what?
I still couldn’t see God’s hand in my life and agonized over my budding relationship. Then I was engaged to him but still believing he was committing adultery by marrying me. I was so confused and felt abandoned by God. We talked about it but he couldn’t understand my anguish when we were so obviously happy together.
We continued planning our wedding even though my mind and my heart were in opposition and my spiritual life was almost dead. My breakthrough came from God Himself who knew I was ready to receive His forgiveness. Click To Tweet
The Moment I Heard From God
There I was. Crying in church again. Sitting beside my fiance who had brought me as a guest to his friend’s wedding. Engaged but not joyful because deep down I didn’t believe I was allowed to have another relationship after my divorce.
Guilt and shame flooded over me. I was a Christian. I had prayed for my 21-year marriage and I had worked hard at keeping it together. I didn’t believe in divorce but there I was crying in church, even as another couple were filled with joy and hope.
The pastor opened his mouth and everyone disappeared. It was as if God was speaking to me alone. I heard God’s forgiveness and felt His arms of love hugging me. Click To Tweet
Then it was as if He hit me over the head with a 2×4 of wood. He said. ” I have forgiveness for you, if you will only forgive yourself. Look at this wonderful man I have given you. Will you accept my gift and enjoy your life together?”
I cried harder, this time tears of joy and relief.
We drove home in silence. My heart was too full to talk, (amazing to all who know me). My fiance knew something had changed but he just smiled back at me.
The guilt and shame were gone. I was free to love again.
A child of God and I had my Father’s blessing.
The Dawn of Understanding
I now understood. I’d been living in that state of guilt and shame and unforgiveness for many years. It had poisoned me, my marriage and my spirit.
The harder I tried to change my husband and blame him for our troubles, the more shame I felt. The harder I worked at making a home and praying for our marriage, the guiltier I felt as he pulled further away from me.
I was so alone. Where was God? Why wasn’t He helping me?
I no longer felt the love we’d enjoyed in our early years. Friends? I didn’t even enjoy his company. No wonder I was ill and looking old far beyond my years.
I didn’t want to divorce. We‘d married for life and I wanted my role as wife. I valued my vows so I didn’t understand what God wanted of me.
It was a slow journey I’m still on as I repaired my relationship with God and with myself. I had to learn how to BE instead of DO.
I’ve spent a lot of time in reflection on my own mistakes, learned to forgive them and try to be in a new way. It takes a lot of support from God, my husband and my friends. I sometimes fail and have to pick myself up and try again.
Along the way, I’ve lost my relationship with my sons, strengthened my relationship with my Mom and had some interesting struggles with my new husband. Through it all, I’m rejoicing in every triumph and so glad to be alive and filled with love.
A New Purpose for My Life
I didn’t understand when I was prayed over and hands were laid on me by the presbytery for my spiritual gifts why one of them was the gift of encouragement. I now know how I can use this gift and all of my life lessons and formal education to help other Christian women struggling with marriage, divorce or remarriage find the health and happiness that leads to a magnificent marriage.
Wondering where to start? Download the FREE eguide 3 Steps to Reconnect and Reignite Your Relationship.