Perhaps The Toughest Blog I’ll Ever Write
Every one of us has something in our past that is our darkest moment. Our deepest shame. A few people may know what we did and our reasoning behind it…but only because they were there or in my case I was compelled to share it with my husband. God has forgiven me. I have been a new creation for some time now. The devil likes to use our shame to bind us and shake our faith. I refuse to allow that to continue to happen in my life.
Bad Marriage, Hardened Hearts
My first marriage was a mess. Truth be told we should have NEVER gotten married, but we did. Two beautiful boys came out that marriage which made everything worthwhile.
I went into that marriage with a shallow faith that was quickly blasted away. The combination of hypocrisy in my first husband and the ugliness I saw in the leaders of the church we attended were enough to drive me away. I was away for a long time from church. You do not have to go to church to have God deal with you. I had a praying family and in some of my darkest moments, I believe their prayers kept me safe.
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I was blasted with accusations of being unfaithful. At that time, my ex, was the only man I had known. I had things thrown at me and I was called all kinds of names. Physical altercations were not uncommon, but they are not what sticks out in my memory. Someone playfully grabbing my neck will send me into a panic and I cannot stand the feeling of being trapped. I have to be fair about the physical altercations, I had no problem slapping or throwing a punch back then either. I was far weaker so the impact was minimal, but it still radiated with rage. With the explosive, negative reaction to my announcement…I decided the marriage was over. My friends and family helped me pack up and leave. They saw a glimpse of his true colors when he pulled a knife on Granny and I. However, he cut himself and ran off. A few months later with a failed attempt at counseling we were “working things out”.
Throughout my pregnancy with both my boys I dealt with depression and anxiety. Until I was 24 or 25 I struggled with thoughts of suicide. In fact, my death or my then husband’s death were the bulk of my fantasy life. I hated him. I hated who I had become. I was a selfish, self-centered shell of a person. I was miserably unhappy. We went through spells of short separations. We agreed to live separately at one point because we could not afford to live apart. I felt trapped, unloved and did not believe leaving him was an option. Divorce was not a quick fix solution.
During our separate but living together phase, I cheated. I justified it because we were no longer co-habituating as man and wife. I have called it everything but cheating over the years. I justified it because I was abused and unloved. I justified it because I was alone and trapped. Repaying evil with evil only births more evil. I am sure my family and ex-husband suspected, but I was never really caught. When I was outright accused of infidelity, I was no longer being unfaithful. I found little comfort in stepping outside of my marriage…even as bad as it was. I knew it was wrong, even in those conditions. My heart always went back to thinking what would happen if my children or family knew.
The breaking point of my first marriage was my ex snatching our oldest son by the arm in anger. Colton had not seen much of his Dad and at 5 years old he turned off the video game to get his Dad’s attention. My ex’s reaction to that child was the breaking point. All Colton wanted was a little attention from his Daddy. By the time my ex left and returned home the next day after work…me and the boys were gone. Even my family did not know where I was staying.
Bad Seed or Bad Season
There is a saying that some people come into your life for a season…Courtney was a friend for a season. She had a spare room that me and the boys shared. My oldest slept on the top bunk and the youngest slept with me on the bottom bunk. We were in a cramped little space and I had no idea how I could take care of them. The weekends the boys were with their Father, I hung out with Courtney. I wasn’t sleeping around, but I drank like a fish and my flirtatious behavior was far from appropriate, even for someone legally separated. This only lasted a couple of months. Fortunately, Courtney moved in with a boyfriend and I had a place of my own.
I was suddenly all on my own with two little boys. My focus shifted and I finally stepped into the role of being a more mature Mom. Every decision I made, every job I switched too was about providing something better for my boys. It was during this time I met Joe, my husband of almost 14 years. I would love to say it was love at first sight, but I would be lying. When I saw him it was lust at first sight. (Back then he looked a lot like Vin Diesel.) We dated briefly before we moved in together. The initial decision to move in together was far more about economics than love or lust. Neither of us were making it on our salaries. It worked on paper but it was not how I was raised.
The weight of “shacking up” was heavy for me. Although it was not often discussed, I felt the judgement and condemnation of my actions and choices. Once again, I tried to justify the sin. I said when I left my first husband I would never marry another man I did not live with first. I was true to my word, but it was not right. Eventually, I proposed to Joe. He had never really talked about getting married again. I can’t blame him since both his former wives cheated on him. Long before I ever proposed I was very honest with him about my first marriage. He knew about the abuse, the depression, the fear and the cheating. (There are still many things no one knows the details too, some forms of abuse are far too humiliating to share in detail.) He said yes anyway. A year later we were married in a small ceremony with our children and closest family.
Things were bumpy for a long time. Struggles with ex-spouses, struggles with children, jobs, finances and just about any other struggle you can imagine. Joe has always protected me but gave me room to grow and encouragement to pursue my goals. Joe and I have always been there for one another. It is different now. It is better now. No, all things have been made new.
Sometime since we have started attending our church, Centerbranch, things have drastically changed. I rededicated my life very early in the year. I’m not sure when the precise moment was for Joe, but what a difference Jesus makes? We are both calmer, more loving, and more patient. We are doing devotion in the morning and praying. Our marriage went from good to amazing in this last year.
What was the purpose of telling you all the dirty laundry? Why do you need the dirty details from my past? Truthfully, you don’t. This blog is not so much for my readers but for me. I have been praying for certain breakthroughs in my spiritual life, as well as, breakthroughs in my finances and career. This has been a lie of omission in my life. I am guilty of judging others harshly for making the same sinful choices I made. It has been the skeleton always there…almost falling out of the closet at the worst moment. I had not even thought about that chapter of my past since the rededication my life. But the enemy uses those moments of doubt to fan the flames of everything you have ever done in the flesh…in sin. The enemy wants us to feel unworthy. He wants to take our past transgressions and use them as leverage to pull us back into sin.
This is putting the devil on notice. He is not welcome here. You are rebuked in the name of Jesus. You have no power in my life, in my family, in my home, or in my church. In other words, devil, go back to hell where you belong. No one here has reservations with you. You no longer have leverage over me, because of Christ I am a new creation. With this post I close the door on the dark chapters of my life. I live in the light of the Father’s love. I am forgiven because of grace and mercy. Be gone, Devil, be gone.