Favor in the darkness

Weekends became really hard. I felt almost “kicked out” of his life. I don’t know that anyone has ever termed it that way. But when your husband leaves you and you had an amazing, loving accepting family of in laws, it’s like you were thrown out; like you were uninvited to the Sunday lunches and Friday movie nights.

But oh the favor of God. In my pain, my anger towards God, my doubts, my fears – I  gained a mustard seed of faith to ask God for a few things for the year I was about to face. I knew it would be a hard year.

I asked for very random little things that hit me the moment he left:

I asked him to help me with financial security. I had my own business and I didn’t have a clue how I would support myself.  I believe my husband always wanted to do the right thing and follow good counsel (aside from cheating on me with a man, or course). But tithing was more of a hit and miss. It was only done when it was comfortable. It was never given in our need, only out of a comfortable buffer. So, I decided that every Saturday morning I would tithe my weekly income. This may be the most boring sermon every Christian hears maybe once a year from their pastor…but this – this has come alive for me this year. I give. I give out of my need, not my comfort levels. It is actually pretty scary sometimes. And He has shown himself to be true in this. There are still many things I question Him on through this journey, but this promise is alive and well in my life today. I have a wandering husband who is still paying for my home. I have an income that is higher than it’s ever been. He’s listening and He’s providing.

I asked him to help me potty train a 2-year-old boy by myself. I don’t know why this stood out, but as the list of challenges that faced me were running through my mind every night, this one gave me anxiety. I heard from other mommies for years that boys are the hardest to potty train. Just a few months into this journey of single mommy-hood…I came to grandma’s (my mother in law’s) home to find that grandma and auntie had made it their mission to potty train my boy. And within a week’s time, he was trained. It was mommy’s little miracle, and God’s reminder that He sees the little things and the little worries. He was going to have my back this year in the big things and in the little things.

I asked him to help me get used to staying in my home alone. I’m one of those wives – the ones that feel so much more secure when the hubby is home and in bed next to you, or even in the next room. God gave me a peace about being home alone that I’ve never experienced before. He gave me peace to know that He is my protector. And I have never slept so soundly in an empty house as I have this past year.

But there was one gift He gave me that I never right out asked Him for. It was the love of a family of in-laws that was second to none. It was the support of a family who isn’t blood but carried me through this year with family getaways, meals, and help every time I needed it. I’ve heard horror stories of friends who’s in-laws completely disowned them the moment divorce hit. This wasn’t my story. Somehow God used and continues to use them to carry me through this nightmare. The door is still open to their son (as it should be), but it remains miraculously wide open for me too.

I’m not sure this phrase has ever been written, but my mother in law was my rock. I could count on one hand the people who heard my cries and let me say, “God is still big and He can still do miracles,” without a twitch in their eye. She reminded me that it was ok to believe that God is still big. I didn’t need “move on,” the “let’s just be realistic,” the “you have to let him go.” Regardless of how this would turn out, this year, I needed to hear that my God was big. And no one shouted that louder than my mother in law.

I was reminded that my husband didn’t steal away this new family from me. They were there to stay. God’s favor would rest on this relationship with this family. My husband may have chosen to leave, but God wasn’t letting anyone else leave me right now.

My last little prayer was that He would let me escape mentally as often as possible this year.
There was a vacation at least every other month.

He was listening. He was listening to the details. He heard past my tantrums and my anger and He gave me the little things that would carry me through this valley.


The beginning of a long year

The next morning, I woke up numb. We both got up and followed our routine as normal. I watched him get in the car and head to work that day without a clue if he was coming back. I’m not sure how I made it through the work day. Thank God I work from home, because there was not much work getting done.

I followed routine and started cooking dinner that afternoon. It wasn’t until I was wrapping up the cooking that I stopped. I put my hands on the counter, faced my head down and realized, there’s probably no one coming through that door to eat this food I’ve prepared. How would I ever get used to preparing a meal for one (and two little ones)? No one would come through the door, relieve me of the afternoon chaos of kids, sit at our table and gratefully eat the meal I’ve prepared. I’m not the best cook in the world. I’m actually getting better at it now. But he was always so thoughtful. He would tell me all the “good” about the meal and reassure me that, I’m getting there. Not quite at his mother’s level, but I was getting there. And that alone was reassuring. But today, his chair would be empty.

I texted him and asked him if he was coming home. I told him I had prepared a meal out of second nature and that he was welcome to it if he planned to come home one more time. He said he was. He didn’t really have anywhere else to go, yet. Dinner was silent. I didn’t see it coming, but it was the beginning of very long year of silence. (To this day, we can’t look each other in the eye. I can’t look at my husband in the eye).

He stayed for the rest of the week. I had a trip planned to go see my best friend out of state so he decided to stay with the kids at home until I returned. I will never forget that rainy morning when I pulled out of our driveway. I was holding in the tears. Something in me knew this was the last time I would leave my husband with the kids – at home. Somehow, my precious daughter knew things weren’t right. She didn’t want me to leave. I didn’t’ want to leave them. She was in tears. I looked at my husband, and the look on his face told me I was not allowed to cry. I was to hold it in and avoid any emotion because we didn’t want to affect the kids, of course. For the first time, I was told to hold it in and forget that my world had just been torn apart. This was all going to play out his way and I was to follow his lead.

I drove two hours South. I survived a friend’s wedding that weekend. Perhaps it could have offered some hope that happy re-marriage exists. It didn’t feel very happy. But I held it in. After my stay with their family, I was to fly out to my friend’s house out of state. The moment I arrived, I dropped my luggage and fell into the arms of my best friend. Everything I held in that weekend came out on the curb of that airport arrivals driveway. What else do you do when your husband leaves you and you’re scheduled to attend a wedding a few days later? You hold it in. That’s what you do. And then, you lose it when you’re finally in someone’s arms.

I was gone for a week. Within that week, he managed to reconnect with the same man who pulled him away from me a year ago. The man he gave himself away to as his pregnant wife sat on the couch at 11pm, wondering why a workout at the gym could take this long. His full force dive into the world began and there was no one holding him back. I was destroyed. I was helpless.

At the end of that week, I had no idea what I was coming home to. Would his bags be packed? Would he already be settled somewhere else? Would there be divorce papers? I had no idea how fast he was going to move with this. But when I walked in, all looked the same. He hadn’t moved a thing.  His clothes were still in the closet. There were no boxes. He did however share that he would move to his mother’s house five minutes away within a day or so.

The next few months, I learned the beginning ropes of single motherhood. I would prepare and drop my children off every morning to school and daycare. (Mind you, daycare was at his mom’s.) And on the way, I would see my husband’s car, driving to work from his mom’s. I looked for him every morning. In a weird way, I looked forward to seeing his car every morning. It was almost my only connection to him. That was the only time I would get to see my husband who I missed so much. I was angry at him. But I missed him. I wanted to see him. If I wasn’t allowed to hold him, I just wanted to see him.

No woman ever knows what they’ll feel and how they’ll react when their husband tells them they want to leave. We like to jokingly warn about “every horrible thing we’ll do to this man if he were to leave me,”…until he leaves. Until your world is ripped from your arms and every female fiber of your being wants to save everything you’ve ever known. No matter how much betrayal or how much rejection, you just want to save your family and save your husband. No one will ever get that until they are in these shoes. No one.

Those first few months, I pleaded with God every morning. I pleaded with Him to miraculously open my husband’s eyes and bring him home. But little did I know that I was just at the beginning of a long year of a hard lesson on “free will.” It rocked my world. It made my whole Christian faith feel like one sick joke. It forced me to understand how God really works. It forced me to question this God who’s will would never be divorce, yet He lets someone choose it freely. I questioned a God who hates divorce and quietly watches America turn it into an acceptable, every day family thing. I was walking into a year filled with questions. But, there was also a year of favor ahead of me. Yes, lots of pain and rejection. But lots of favor too. He’s just mysterious that way.

The worst night of my life.

It was on a fall October night in 2013. Maybe I should have seen it coming. He was with us, but so distant. For a while now, he was so far from present. I endured months of wondering what was going through his head. That night, he came from work. We followed our usual routine. We ate dinner, bathed the kids, sat on the couch – lifeless. Our evenings were quiet by then. He didn’t have much interest in me. So, the quietness was kind of the new normal. I asked him where he stood. The distance (now adding up to about a two-year span of distance) was killing me inside and I needed to know where his heart was. It was then that he began to explain that he was done with “us.” He was done feeling disgusting in the midst of three-point sermons where his sin always made it to the top ten. (As if sins should ever be measured in levels. They’re all the same to God). But I got it. Yes, his struggle was real. And I knew it was killing him inside. But leaving….I never thought he’d come to that. Leaving the one person who heard his every confession; the one person who stood by his side through it all; the person he claimed he still desired because after all, he was sure he was “just bi.” I never thought he would go that drastic. He said he was done. He would move to his mom’s for a while and eventually find his own place. I was destroyed. Through sobbing tears I pleaded, “You are my everything. Please don’t leave me. Don’t leave us.”
It was clear that my tears didn’t have the same affect on him that they used to. They used to tear him apart. But now, they didn’t seem to phase him. I ran to our room and sat in my empty bed that he had been absent from for months now. I had no words. Just endless tears. I didn’t even want to call and speak to someone audibly. I didn’t want him to hear it. so I texted my best friend, thousands of miles away. She consoled me. Cried with me. Screamed with me….through words. Words that carried me through the bright iPhone screen as I tried to make sense of the blur – making out what I could through the heaviest tears of my life.

How did we get here? A couple who vowed never to utter the word “divorce” in our home. We promised it would never be an option. But the world had a hold on him so much stronger than I could ever compete with. His confusion pulled him in this direction and there was nothing I could do to make him stay. I had no solution. The world says it’s an option now. It’s the norm, right? No matter how much it destroys a human soul. He said I was a “perfect wife.” The best wife anyone could ask for. But that he couldn’t do it anymore. “Perfect” wasn’t enough.

We were raised to believe this path was wrong. He knew it. How it broke my heart to see him walk through life being told that everything he was made of, or better put: involuntarily made of – was wrong. More than anyone, I understand the unfairness. I remember the days we sat in marriage counseling and he chose to “walk out his freedom with me.” What an honor I felt to be chosen to walk this out with him. I won’t pretend to have all the right words to argue God’s stance on homosexuality. I won’t even try. But all I know is that maybe, just maybe: something that wasn’t a part of His original plan inevitably causes pain, confusion and discomfort. Somehow, this was not a part of his original vision for marriage and somehow humanity veered off. We decided, instead of understanding it for what it is, we’ll just accept it, cater to it, glorify it. And everyone will “feel better.” So this is where we are. I know more than anyone that this struggle is real. And a struggle it surely is. Yes, Christians, it quite often isn’t a choice. But His plan? Not likely. While it is now praised and accepted in an effort to sooth it…it will never cease to be a “struggle” for anyone who lives it. Perhaps, because it wasn’t the original plan.

I read his open book. He knew most of this came from his experience with molestation, rape, abuse. He knew the roots. He knew where it started and where it often starts for most people. My heart couldn’t be more broken for him the day he shared those endless years of invasion with me. He told me where it would take him mentally. The questions it caused that no one could answer for him.

I walked every low moment with him. I loved patiently as he confessed every time he “failed” me. I forgave. I showed mercy. I claimed my commitment. And we moved forward.

But all of that wasn’t enough. Somehow, those recent two-hour nightly trips to the gym, the secrecy with his phone, the unbearable distance were all a part of his slow decent. But I never thought he would leave. Never.

I cried myself to sleep that night. God was so merciful that night to give me just a small window of peace – to sleep.

My Story

This is my story. It’s the story I never thought would be mine. And instead of spending hours on a lonely couch in front of a tv or browsing Christian Mingle profiles, I choose to write. There is a season for everything. A season to mourn, a season to cry , and for now, a season to write. To write about something no one talks about. “Everyone talks about divorce,” you say. You’re right. In fact, one of my biggest inspirations to start this blog (aside from the need to release everything that is in me), is another precious Christian wife who has successfully shared every nook and cranny of her experience without sugar coating it. Her name is Leslie and days after my husband walked out the door, I was glued to her blog, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce.

Thank you Leslie, for being real. For reminding me that this is not our home and just because we bear the name of Jesus, we are not exempt from this world’s trials. That our bubbles burst. Our “Happily Ever After’s” turn into “Happily Ever Reals,” no matter how much we invest. But what DOES set us apart is what we do with it. Every depiction of her emotions, all the thoughts of doubt, of anger, those first cuss words coming out of the church girl’s mouth. I felt it with her. (I’m sure he covers every blurt with His mercy. Haha!)

But there was something missing. My story has it’s own taboo cherry on the top. Yes, it’s a story filled with sadness, deceit, rejection, disillusionment, and anger like all the others. But add my cherry: homosexuality. Yes, my husband walked out of the closet and then walked out on me.

I know. This blog just got much more controversial than Leslie’s. So wish me luck Leslie. I won’t even begin to create a blog that argues the theories of God and what His original design truly looked like for marriage and love. I am the least controversial person out there! I can’t hang up on sales calls. I can’t shut the door to the solicitors at the door. I just don’t like arguing or debating. It makes me so uncomfortable. But what I can do is tell my story. Through my eyes. Through my heart. I am not here to judge or bash. It is simply my take on where my life brought me and how it affects my heart and view of God. It is my journey as I watched my husband give in to the pains of this world and the hurts of his past. I will never have all the answers, but what I have is an experience that many walk and never talk about. I have a journey that is taking me through the highs of faith and the lows of rejection. And if it helps just one wife out there who couldn’t possibly bring the topic up, (because in our Christian world, it is the epitome of taboo), every word will be worth it. If it helps her remember that God is still in control, He sees our pain, He will never abandon us or leave us in the closet our husbands left us in, then none of this is a waste.

It takes everything in me not to blurt out the whole story in this first post, because it all just wants to come out at once! But, my next post will start with where it all began, that night when my deepest fears came true.