Photo from our wonderful wedding photographer: Sharalee Prang
Today was the anniversary of my grandma’s passing.
She was the woman that raised me as her own when no one else wanted me. August 31 2005 was one of the hardest days of my life.
On this day however, many years later something extraordinary happened, something I will never forget.
So August 31st 2017 will always be engraved in my mind as a day to remember the loss of a loved one as well as the discovery of a lost one.
What I mean by the discovery of a lost one is a pivotal moment I shared with someone, years of confusion and darkness was finally brought to light.
I can’t quite describe to anyone what it felt like to have my eyes opened after years of blindness. Unless someone has experienced this first hand, it’s almost impossible to comprehend.
I have permission to say who and that person is my husband.
For the past several years, to be more specific, it’s almost been 4 years now, my husband had been battling a lot of things that no one was aware of, not even me.
For years his lies, struggles and addictions seeped into every area of our relationship as well as the lives of others.
Despite my suspicions, I allowed poor advice from unqualified friends, my own lack of self respect, poor self esteem and other influences to replace the very thing I should have trusted, my intuition.
It was my husbands responsibility to be transparent with everyone, me and more importantly himself, yes, however I should have gone to God rather then ignoring the discernment that would flash in my mind.
I hope one day he can share his version of the journey he has been on the past few years, but I can only speak from my perspective.
Due to the way I was raised, friendships I had and my experiences, I always battled with self esteem and lack of respect for myself.
That in combination with dating/engaged/married to someone who isn’t being honest and had no problem blaming me for every issue is a recipe to doubt intuition and believe everything someone is saying.
I had my suspicions, God even spoke through people who warned me, I didn’t listen.
The truth is, I idolized my husband, even before he was my husband.
I always put a guy first before God. I always knew I had, yet I ignored every warning.
It’s so dangerous to allow a person to take God’s place, because God is a jealous God, he yearns for us to rely on him completely.
I can honestly say no earthly person can replace the love of God nor complete us.
This isn’t to put down my husband in the slightest, It’s merely to paint a picture for people to see what I was undergoing as well as what was going on in his life.
In hindsight, we definitely should not have been dating, we both can agree on that.
He needed to come to terms with his guilt, shame, sins, lies and be more transparent with a safe and godly person.
I needed to gain self respect, self esteem and put God first.
However our lives didn’t go the way it probably should have and that’s OK.
We are married now, a lot of darkness has come to light and the option of fleeing from these hurts isn’t currently an option.
As much as it would have been ideal for everything to have been put out on the table prior to marriage, it didn’t happen that way.
I fully believe God can turn the absolute most horrible of situations and use them for his glory.
I’ve witnessed it in my own life, especially within my own marriage.
I never knew how far and wide lies spread. Like a poison it quickly found its way within our church, our friendships, it compromised people’s opinions of me, I lost friends, I was hurt, I was alone and it was there where God found me in shambles.
He picked up every broken piece and slowly began mending them together.
While my husband was on his own and still is on his own journey, I was on my own as well.
This time I had literally no one to turn to, except God.
I don’t believe God removed the people in my life as he did, he did not cause my friends to doubt who I was, he did not cause my husband to lie to me, he did not cause my congregation to question my integrity, he did however use those horrible situations to draw me closer to him.
This past season of my life I never felt so close to God.
My biggest fear, as well as prayer, is that when I overcome this difficult season of life (because the bible promises every season will come to an end, thank goodness!) that I press into God when things are great just as much as I am when things are hard, like now.
God isn’t a magic pill that we can take when things get tough, we aren’t to use him for our own selfish benefit.
It’s a trap I think we can all fall into. When things get hard we want a quick fix, then when things are easy we tend to not seek as much help, which unfortunately means we don’t go to God as much.
I know I have really struggled with this for my entire christian walk.
This past summer although I did not hear the actual voice of God or see angels, I did feel God like never before, I actually received verses from scripture, I got words in my mind and I watched truth be uncovered in ways I never expected.
A few days prior to my husband confessing absolutely everything to me, I almost made a decision that could have potentially ruined my life, my husbands life, our lives and the lives of others. It has nothing to do with adultery. I had prayed about my decision that weekend, I received no answer and I admit I was frustrated. I took things into my own hands on my own timing because of my impatience. God used someone to stop me from making this decision which was by no coincidence, it could only be explained by God.
I took a step back and confessed to him my sin of taking things into my own timing and not being patient.
The following day I was doing devotions, listening to Bethel music and the song by Jenn Johnson came on “In over my head.
The song is essentially about being beautifully in over your head, which I was. (Although I am not so sure I looked “beautiful” through the mascara smeared tears streaking my face, but over my head I was!)
Yet it was beautiful, because despite me not understanding why things were happening to me as harsh as they were, God had me in his care and he had a plan.
While listening to this song a word came to my mind.
A word that is so random and not a commonly used word in my vocabulary.
I googled what the word meant as well as it’s synonym.
To my shock, the synonym of the word hit me hard like a ton of bricks.
It confirmed for me something that I had my suspicious about my husband for many years but was told that absolutely was false, I was crazy. My friends even told me I was crazy.
I immediately started to cry, weep actually. I was so scared to face this truth. I instantly got an image in my mind about being at a park bench, I almost saw myself as a child looking up at God and he held my hand. He told me it was going to be OK and he was right there with me.
I was ready.
Ready to hear the truth.
After my devotions, I meandered over to my laptop to start writing about a post about God’s timing or something, the post wasn’t really making any sense.
It was also the long weekend, I didn’t have any shifts scheduled, I told God I was lonely.
Not even a millisecond after, my husband texted me and told me we needed to speak immediately.
Again, without going into too much detail, due to certain circumstances, we had not been talking unless it pertained to anything business related.
My heart sunk because I knew without a doubt that God was orchestrating this entire meeting.
I was scared yet excited because I knew it would be positive, but also I knew I was going to hear some things that would hurt and hurt bad.
Sure enough, my husband suggested a park to meet at.
Exactly how my vision was.
Once we met there, I heard it all.
Four years worth of “junk” poured out of my husbands mouth.
He sobbed. I sobbed. We both held each other and sobbed.
The craziest part was that I wasn’t even angry.
I truly believe it was only by the grace of God I repaid my husbands confessions with love, compassion and most importantly forgiveness.
I think I was so relieved to hear that I was not crazy, my reactionary anger was understandable (not excuses), my doubts, my confusion was all real. My intuition had been working well the entire time.
I’ve been asked, even by christian friends, how in the world I was able to forgive someone that not only committed some hurtful deeds, repeated some of these offenses, lied, look me in the eyes, tell me and others that I was crazy for thinking the things I was thinking and worst of all, lie to others to benefit himself even if it meant ruining my reputation.
I’m not bragging by saying I’ve been asked how on earth I’ve forgiven, I’m not the only person who’s able to forgive. I am however saying I was asked by a few people and to be honest, I had absolutely no idea how to answer them!
Again, it’s only because of God.
The gist of all the things I just described, to the worlds standards, are unforgivable.
Truthfully it made me feel good to forgive, doesn’t mean I am free from temptation. I get jabbed with memories, thoughts, ideas, images and lies from the enemy that I have to work hard at ignoring. I didn’t accept my husband back out of desperation, more so out of obedience to God. We are called to forgive as much as God forgives us, no matter the sin.
It probably threw the enemy way off when I did forgive, he had a whole plan set out for me to be bitter, then that would make my husband feel worse and never feel God’s love. My husband would have recoiled more into loneliness, I would have probably made decisions based on false justifications, the list could go on.
All plans of the enemy are to kill, destroy and steal.
The plan to tear down my marriage even further came to a great halt the moment I forgave.
Doesn’t mean the battle has been won though, it had actually just begun.
This moment we both shared was just the beginning.
A lot more steps and work have to be done on both ends.
As I mentioned in regards to this battle that has now begun, I knew this season of spiritual war wasn’t over yet (Great).
I’m sure many more posts pertaining to marriage are on the horizon when it’s time, for now though, I wanted to share a small window into my marriage.
I wanted to share how insane God’s love is, he orchestrates everything perfectly in his timing, when we can handle things and he knows peoples hearts so so well.
This story is proof of that.
It was so incredible, it almost made me forget all the heartache I endured over the summer.
I always wanted to experience God deeper then I had and I finally did.
He has become #1 in my life, my husband 2nd and me last.
Although this day reminds me of such a great loss, it now shares the day I also experienced my husband being found.