I’m beginning a new series every Friday through August 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, sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.
I hated him. Did I? The man I once loved, I now hated? Did I hate him or was I just hurt, and did I even love him? A year and a half after separation I was still begging God to just make him go away. It would be easier, more convenient. When my future husband that God promised me comes along…it will be easier for my kids if they just have one dad. Yep. God, get rid of him for me please?
He didn’t. He’s still around and that’s okay. God did a quick work in my heart in regards to forgiveness. With every action he made, buying the kids clothes, offering to help pay for extra things etc, I was skeptical and read through the lines over every little thing.
Six months ago I realized I was tired. Tired of overthinking and over-analyzing everything he did. Was there motive? No motive? What is he trying to DO! So I let it go. Luke 6:35 says “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” And Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” and so I decided to give it a try.
We were standing outside Walmart selling popcorn for Boy Scouts and I asked my ex if he and his wife wanted to come by and see his son and maybe buy some popcorn. While he was there he asked if he could buy them clothes. They needed shoes…and clothes so I reluctantly let him and he was genuinely shocked. He thanked me for allowing him to buy his children clothes. Wait, you’re thanking ME? Hmm…
But it continued. I stayed a little longer during drop off and pick up, we began having dinner together, me and my kids, his wife and her kids. I liked his wife. I saw the same patterns of behavior developing between them and I cried out to God one night, “PLEASE! I lived through this, don’t make me watch another woman be broken at his hand! Please don’t make me watch this.” And so they became a prayer burden for me. Tax season came and I allowed them to claim a child. There was an innocent mistake that cost me $800 on my return and I let it go in their favor.
Tomorrow, they move into their new house that they had contracted to be built 6 months ago. The entirety of their apartment aside from mattresses and small amounts of kitchen stuff is in my bonus room and garage. My ex has a key to the front door and he will be moving things out all this week. They will live a mile and a half from me. Tonight they will be over for a turkey dinner, and tomorrow night we are having spaghetti. We’re going to the movies together at the beginning of April…I’m still praying for them.
My neighbor across the street who still doesn’t know of the abuse said, “Wow, bet you’re ready to have your house back.” I told him yeah but it was only for a few more days. I said that helping them was the right thing to do. He agreed…said he was proud of me for the way I have been with them and thought it was pretty cool.
When we display Kingdom actions to those who have hurt us, the effects ricochet across the world. Undeserved Grace…it goes a long way. It’s been given to you to give away.
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