This is a continuation of a new series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. I sent out the call for stories that answered either ‘what is one lesson God has taught you?’ or ‘what is one way God has healed you?’ through their hard marriages, their separations, their divorces, their single mothering seasons, their forays into dating post-divorce, or even their remarriages. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.
I met my husband when I was 22. We were in college together, and we were both relatively recent escapees of The Dysfunctional Family Unit. My childhood was a nauseating whirlwind of abuse, neglect, parental abandonment and alcoholism, trauma, and the appearance of the perfect family. I spent most of my teens in various stages of suicidal ideation and thoughts, nearly taking my own life one night when I was 20 years old. You see, I didn't even realize my life was so messed up until I filled out a Stress Assessment in our high school Health Fair. My counselors and teachers were so shocked by my answers that I began to question everything I thought was “normal.” Up until this point, my parents had done a bang-up job of convincing me that I was the one with all the problems. I left home and spent the next few years trying to make something of myself and overcome my past through hard work and perseverance, trying to prove my parents wrong about me. I enrolled myself in college while working full-time, and during my last two years of study, I met my husband.
We hit it off like a narcissist and a co-dependent. 😉
We were inseparable. We started a family, graduated college, and got married. In that order. Oops. Not long into my marriage, I came to the saving faith in Christ Jesus, and I gave my life over to Him. I took every rule and mandate of the Bible very seriously, being the good co-dependent, abuse survivor that I was. My husband took full advantage of this, emotionally controlling me with Scripture, and when that didn't work, he used his size against me. Still, I believed I wasn't being “good enough” and I tried harder to be the perfect wife. Again, my husband took full advantage.
Fast forward a decade. I began to hear of a different plan for me – a whisper in my heart, a longing in my soul – a love song, if you will, from the Lover of my soul. He began to speak to me. And looking back, that voice was timed as only God can time things. Because not long after that, my husband had an affair. And God was there for me. Not only did God show me the truth about the affair – even while my husband denied it – but He strengthened me to endure what the truth would mean. And then, He whispered my value to me daily when I wanted to give up on life. All of my suicidal tendencies came flooding back and the Holy Spirit helped me counter them. I wrote affirming Scriptures and truths on my mirrors and on Post-It Notes, I denounced the lies of the enemy out loud, and I overcame my ever-present suicidal nature. Through my husband’s affair and the abuses I had suffered, the Lord healed my heart and I have never battled feelings of worthlessness like that since then.
A few months later, I had a chat with God and He whispered that it was because of my marriage that He was able to heal me. The fire was hot, but it was for my own good.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/elisabethkleinfisher.
If in a difficult marriage:
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom:
Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store