In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
-Psalm 18:6, 16-19, 28
I hadn’t planned on posting anything today. If I planned anything it was to keep myself so busy that the day would pass me by so that just maybe I wouldn’t notice that ache, that ever-present ache that I’ll never fully be able to understand or explain. Most days I choose to ignore it, push it aside. But there are those moments it shifts its unbearable weight right back down on top of my resolve forcing me to look at it yet again right in the face. I can’t even type these words without shaking. Will my body ever forget?
A year ago today, I left. Sometimes those words still make me cringe. We have so many preconceived notions and assumptions associated with them, don’t we? I certainly did. I also knew that leaving wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary and never would be…until it was. And everything I thought I knew about myself completely unraveled. Everything I knew about anything suddenly became one big question mark. Surely this wasn’t my life.
See, the “my life” I knew was the one where I married my best friend, the one I had written letters to for years before we met, the one I laughed til I cried with, the one I had to say, “Ok goodnight for real.” to about 12 times because we could have talked all night. My life was the one where we were going to be the most clueless but best parents together to the most perfect little girl, the one where we had dreams and plans and talked about the trips we’d take and growing old together. My life was the one where we said goodbye only because we knew we’d get to say hello again. But then, 2 days before our second anniversary, there were no more hellos. And I had to look back on what I thought had been my life and look again, look deeper and under and over and in between, and slowly peel back the layers to see what I never would have seen before.
Have you ever been so disillusioned that even when the truth was right in front of you someone still had to point out that it was there? I’ll never forget the first time someone very close to me explained that my life wasn’t what I knew it to be at all. It was both terrifying and freeing. What I could never put a finger on or make sense of before was finally becoming clear. It wasn’t in my head. My body had been reacting to what my mind had not yet understood. For months my physical body had been spiraling out of control. I literally lost the strength to care for myself let alone my child. I kept face as much as possible. I smiled on the outside. But on the inside I was dying. I had no desire to live and I had no idea why. And after so much convincing that I just had to keep trying harder, I finally heard the words that changed everything for me, “It’s not your fault.”
One of the sobering things about the Lord is that He only allows secret sins and deeds done in darkness to be in the dark for so long. Luke 12:2 says, “There is nothing that is covered up which will not be uncovered, nor hidden which will not become known.” We can be sure that at some point what has remained covert will remain that way no longer. Indeed, what a year of unraveling and uncovering it has been.
These words I’m about to say you may have never heard before. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I believed them at first. But for anyone resonating with my experience, they might just be as healing for you as they were for me. Here they are: You are more important to God than your marriage. Yep, you heard me. God cares more about you as an individual (your well-being as a person and child of God) than He does a marriage staying together at all costs. While explaining this more in depth would require a whole other blog post I’d just encourage you to check this one out for now. But for the dear wife who just feels like they’re going crazy and they have no idea why, hear me: You are not crazy. Everything you feel (even if you don’t understand what you feel) is valid. And God loves you more. He loves you more than what you think He hates. He does.
May 28th, 2016 used to be the day I referred to as the day my marriage ended, the day my dreams died, the day that would forever mar the rest of my life. But you know what? The Lord has since shed light on those lies too. My marriage never ended because marriage wasn’t something I ever had, not in the way God intended it to be. My dreams never died. My plans certainly rerouted and maybe they’re completely not what I envisioned. But my dream was only ever to glorify God with my life, whatever that looked like. And this day will never mar the rest of my life. In fact if we think anything in our lives has that power then who are we putting more faith in? Isaiah 54:17 says, “No weapon the enemy forms against me shall remain.”
Yes, today is the day I left. But it’s also the day the Lord rescued me, rescued me from a situation I didn’t even know at the time I needed rescued from. The ache might be heavy. But my Savior is strong enough to hold it, today, and every May 28th here on out.