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 was in an emotionally destructive marriage for 25 years. God graciously blessed me with four wonderful kids, and things looked pretty good on the outside. Sadly, much of our life was a facade.
Behind the smiles and the seemingly beautiful home, was a marriage that was dying a slow, painful death. My former husband looked like a Christian, went to church, even led Bible studies; but at home, he was very controlling, angry, and verbally and emotionally abusive. For years, I worked hard to love him unconditionally and to show him grace. I can’t tell you how much God taught me through those years.
He brought godly friends into my life to guide me, do Bible studies with me, and to pray with and for me.
He showed me how to depend on Him alone for my peace and security.
He gave me a true identity in Him that couldn’t be shaken by my husband’s cruel words or behavior.
I gained a strength that I would eventually need to someday be on my own.
I don’t regret those years, or feel at all like they were wasted. It was a season that the kids and I needed. We were learning to really and truly trust God.
But right around the 25 year mark, God took us down a different path. I was in counseling and was also reading books by Leslie Vernick and Lundy Bancroft. God was opening my eyes to the destructive nature of our condition, and I began to see that it was unhealthy to enable my husband to stay in bondage to his sin. God showed me that I should live in the light of the truth, rather than continue to hide our brokenness and pretend all was well.
As I began to live this out, my husband’s anger and abusive behavior escalated. He became physically violent, and I had to take the kids and leave. Our church led us through two years of multiple separations and reconciliation attempts.
All through this process, I felt God clearly leading me away from the marriage. The story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt was the analogy that God kept bringing to my mind. His call to me, again, was to trust Him. Sometimes I would think about the financial security that I had had in the marriage, and I’d be tempted to “look back to Egypt.”
God would immediately remind me to keep my eyes on Him and keep moving forward. He miraculously led and provided each step of the way, and I could write a book about all the crazy things He did. It was mind-blowing, and faith-strengthening. Three years after the final separation and eventual divorce, I had settled into a new life, had a great job, and had bought my own house. The kids and I were feeling secure and stable, and I had absolutely no interest in dating or ever remarrying. I was involved in ministries and missions, and was finding my security and satisfaction in my relationship with God.
Then, very unexpectedly, God brought my junior high school sweetheart back into my life. He, too, had been through a painful divorce, and we immediately knew that God was bringing us together. We got married last October, and I could never describe in words how amazing it is to enjoy this kind of love after so much pain and disillusionment. It is so wonderful to pray together, study God’s Word together, and grow spiritually together. This whole journey has been an experience of learning to trust God, and to witness firsthand His incredible faithfulness.
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/books
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/books