We'd fought for years. In fact, it started when we got engaged. I mean, the very day we got engaged. Before then, when we were just dating, we talked about things. Rationally, calmly discussing issues and sorting out differences as they came up. After deciding to spend the rest of our lives together, it changed. He said suddenly there was more at stake in the relationship, more to lose, which made the issues and differences seem more critical.
I'd like to say I didn't get it, but I did. It's much easier to put your heart out there when it's still safely tucked away in the palms of your own hands. But, giving your heart to someone requires trust. Trust they won't smash it into a million broken pieces...burn it with lies...toss it in the trash on the way out the door....or abandon it before you have the chance to get it back.
We both pretended attempts at trust for almost eight years. I say pretended because neither of us actually trusted the other one. He was afraid to make decisions that might displease me. I tried to control everything to make sure things turned out the way I thought they should. We both made grave mistakes, and tried in vain to step over them, as we continued to limp forward in our relationship.
Until Valentine's Day, 2006. He sent me a text saying he was moving out. Yes, on Valentine's Day. Yes, a text. A nine and a half year relationship, an almost eight year marriage, reduced down to a text.
Famous last words later the next day...he looked at me and said, "why can't you just say you're hurt?" I glared at him, with hate in my eyes, concealing the pit of despair that had become my heart, and snarled back, "I don't DO hurt. I do 'pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on'."
Sure, I had "done" hurt in the past....but I had convinced myself I had become impervious to it. I believed his decision to leave was for the best and that it wouldn't actually cause me any pain. In fact, I believed his absence would allow us to work through our differences and come back together, stronger....able to finish the rest of our lives together.
On the day he moved out, I took my two kids to their dad's house for the weekend. On the way home it started to snow. Like some work of classic fiction full of symbolism, it snowed almost a full foot that night. When I walked into the house, it was half emptied of furniture, fully emptied of him. I was completely alone.... and God reintroduced me to hurt.
I walked in the house and fell to my knees crying. I alternated between rearranging furniture to fill in gaps, and sobbing uncontrollably.
For the first time in my life, I found the end of myself. I was trapped by the snow, in our house, surrounded by our memories. I couldn't overlook the pain I felt. I couldn't do anything to change the situation, so, for the first time, I made the choice to seek solace in the shadow of His wings. ...and He was there, as He always had been, waiting with arms wide open beckoning me home. I opened up my Bible, highlighter in hand, and marked passage after passage that had any comfort to impart (too many to list here).
Faith is not a state of having no doubt. It's a choice to believe, or act on the belief of something we are not convinced of. When faced with a horrible event (such as the abandonment of a spouse who said he'd never leave), we are also faced with the incredibly hard decision of whether we truly believe that God is worthy of, and capable of, guiding our universe, or whether we believe we should be in control. I had finally come to the place in my life where I could no longer live in the illusion I was in control. I had said for years that I believed in God, believed His Word...now was the chance to step out in faith and behave in accordance with those professions.
If God was in control, and I believed (still believe) He was (is), and His Word says He doesn't have plans to harm me, but plans to give me hope and a future (Jer 29:11), then even if things seemed bad, I could rest in the knowledge there was more in store for me, one way or another.
I had not ever entrusted my heart to my husband, out of the fear of being hurt, and ended up being hurt anyway. I made the choice the night he left, to entrust my heart to the God of the Bible I had professed to believe. As I said earlier, giving your heart away requires trust...I made the choice to give my whole heart to God and to trust that He would never leave me or forsake me (Deut 31:6,8).
I'll never say his leaving didn't hurt, because that would be a lie. But I would gladly repeat every minute of the pain over losing the damaged relationship with my husband to have gained the perfect relationship of my heavenly Father. I hate that it took such drastic circumstances for me to seek out the love that never fails....but at the same time, I'm thankful every day, not that he left....but that I stayed...and for what I found in that half empty, snow covered house.