This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
God’s kindness has permeated my life! His grace has transformed a smoldering garbage fire — my wrecked family — into a priceless treasure of hope.
My family started with an unexpected pregnancy and a shotgun wedding. The marriage lasted 16 years and was mainly about having babies and trying to engage a distant, emotionally abusive husband.
But God had given me hope that one day my husband would know Christ, and fourteen years in, that day finally came. One evening, in a nondescript hotel room, I saw Jesus change my husband from a formless apparition to an alive, awake child of God. It was a beautiful miracle.
But as glorious as it was, it did not heal the depth of dysfunction in my husband’s heart. In fact, this awakening ripped the lid off the tightly closed box of pain and abuse from his childhood. It was overwhelming, and he struggled to face it all. Long story short, he took all this out on his family and things became intolerable in our marriage, evolving into spiritual and physical abuse.
This was totally disheartening to me, to say the least. I didn’t understand how this could be happening. “But our family is supposed to get better, not worse!’ I thought. It was so confusing! I felt like I was losing my mind, but the Lord met me there, and he became the one and only voice I could trust — beyond my Christian husband, above the pastors who said it was my fault, and greater than my own heart that didn’t know up from down. He came close and spoke to me gently. During these harrowing months, I felt as if he were looking me in the eyes, assuring me that nothing my husband or anyone else said or did could separate me from his love. He held my soul steady as my family, identity, and whole earthly world crumbled into despair.
After two years of living in my Christian marriage (that was anything but), I sensed God was finally leading me out of this awful season. I decided to move out. A few days later, my husband died by suicide, and my children and I were left to deal with the fallout.
But the Lord did not leave us there. Never have I felt so tangibly the love and presence of God as I did during the first few months alone with my kids. Our home seemed totally bombed out and devastated; like the aftermath of war. God provided loving people and unexpected resources to lift us out of the rubble, and I felt continually sheltered by his kindness.
Since then, so have many issues have come to light regarding my children and their hard childhood. More than ever, God stands with me and helps me raise my teenagers. He is the husband to the widow and father to the fatherless for us. There’s no other explanation for the peace I have and the healing we have found.
I’ve grieved deeply the loss of what I thought my life and family should be. God has shattered my false notions of what Christian living looks like, and shown me my true identity – a daughter of God whose worth has nothing to do with how stable or ‘Christian’ my family looks. Our identities are in Him, and our worth is measured by who he says we are — not in an intact family, or in supreme emotional health, or being a perfectly adjusted Christian unit. But only and always in Him.
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 my closed Facebook group called Hope & Healing, you can find it here.
If you’d like to receive my free resource “Is Your Healing Halted?”, sign up here.
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my coaching courses.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: 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 in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books