Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Preface-- I knew!!

About a year ago, a college professor encouraged me to write a book about my life's journey, and the twists and turns and challenges and miracles I have experienced along the way.  I told him, that as a single mother, juggling 3 part-time jobs and full-time college, a book was out of the question.  He then mentioned starting a blog.  It felt good.  It felt right.  As I began to write, it felt cleansing.   I began with the day my husband left, after 20 years of marriage, in the pursuit of living an alternative lifestyle.  So, since the birth of this blog, 9 months ago, I have heard from people from many different walks of life.  I have also had opportunities to teach lessons in my church, and to travel and speak to both youth and adult groups about keeping a positive attitude in spite of opposition and challenge.  One thing I have been asked over and over again, was whether or not I knew of my husband's struggle with same-sex attraction, prior to his leaving our family in October 2010.  And so, after much prayerful thought and quiet pondering, I felt the need to answer that question via this blog.  I do hope to write a book, in the future.  And this post, will be part of the preface.  It is my hope and prayer that I can answer this question in the most sensitive way possible.  And, while you read, I hope that you will realize and feel how tender this experience really was.

It was a Sunday evening, in April of 2005, and I had just returned home from a meeting at the church.  My husband had been home with our children, who were, at that point, not quite 3 years old, 8 years old, 10 years old and almost 13.  The three older children were asleep and our little guy was toddling around downstairs.  I sat down on the couch, tired from the day.  My husband looked at me and said, "Have you noticed that I have not been very happy lately?"  I told him I had not noticed that.  He then said he was leaving.  I was so taken back and surprised with grief, that I thought it must be a joke.  He sat and looked at me blankly.  I went upstairs and looked in the garage.  Sure enough, there was his car, packed with clothes and belongings high enough to obstruct the driver's view.  I went back downstairs and asked him some questions.  I began to feel ill and ran upstairs towards the restroom.  I fainted on the stairs during that incredibly difficult climb.  He left as I lay there.  Moments later, I lifted my head, discovered our toddler still strolling around.  I held him in my arms, rocked him to sleep, and sat in the dark for what seemed like hours, just staring in the thick of the night.  I knew, from that moment on, my life would never be the same. 

The next few days were heavy with fear and question.  At first, he would not respond.  Then, email seemed to be our only means of communication.  I believe he remained away for 2-3 days.  I still did not know what was going on, but my mind was constantly racing with wonder.  I learned firsthand what it meant to always have  prayer in my heart.  I prayed for 3 days----- quietly and privately, in my heart, outloud as I drove, as I mowed the lawn, as I prepared and cleaned up meals, I prayed.  I prayed for peace.  I prayed for guidance.  And, I prayed for love, His love, to see my husband as He sees him, if and when he ever returned.  Finally, he returned.  We spent a few quiet nights, both in deep thought.  Then, one night, I asked the hard question, and he answered "Yes!"  His response sent a chill up my spine and I felt numb from head to toe.  As we talked, he told me he did not want to live that lifestyle and he loved me and our family.  He seemed sincere and like he really wanted to change.  I had a hard decision to make.  Probably the hardest decision I had ever made and ever will---- Do I stay in this marriage, knowing the risks, the shattered trust, the deep pain, hurt, betrayal and disappointment????  I finally told him that if he wanted to fight this, I would fight it with him.  We would walk this journey side-by-side, just like I had promised him I would, 20 years prior.  I knew deep down that I had made some sacred covenants, not only with my husband, but with the Lord.  And, I was going to be a Covenant Keeper, no matter what.  My children were not in danger.  Every day I could hold on, was one more day our children had a two-parent home.  Every hour I could hold on, was another hour my children had a full-time father.  Every moment I could hold on, was another moment of "normal" for them.  And, if I could make it a moment, I could make it an hour.  And, if I could make it an hour, I could make it a week.  And, with lots prayer and hard work, perhaps a week could become two and three and even more weeks of "family!!! 

And, so began, my 5 year walk to Zion!!!  I thought if it that way, as I knew, if we could make it, we truly would be of "one heart, and one mind, dwelling in righteousness."  I also knew that there would be many challenges along the way.  I stuck by him through the repentance process. And, I must say, I learned SO MUCH watching and feeling with him.  Don't ever be afraid to walk such a walk along side your spouse.  It truly is an opportunity to grow incredibly close to one another, if you go into it as a team, on the same team!!  So, to the many of you have wondered, yes I KNEW!!!  I did not have any clue prior to his departure that April night.  However, over the next 5 years, I tried to ask hard questions, to support, to help, to encourage, and to even help him up when he fell.  I also tried to never rub his nose in his mistakes.  I figured he probably did that often enough all on his own.  I decided that if all of our sins smelled like smoke, we would all smell about the same.  So, we walked, and walked and walked.  Often times, we even sang as we walked during the little triumphs.  However, as those of you who have followed this blog, I ended up burying my husband along the way.  He gave up.  My heart broke.  I never cried so hard.  However, I knew I had given it my best shot. Many of you have asked me if it was worth it?  To that, I would shout a resounding YES----- Our kids had a father in the home for 5 MORE YEARS!!!  5 more years to grow, to mature, to learn and to become more independent to make it through their father leaving.  5 MORE YEARS to be strengthened to be strong enough to withstand divorce and its aftermath.  5 MORE YEARS to be old enough to help a single mom, broken-hearted, sleep-deprived, financially strapped and emotionally broken, rise above it all, and realize life still has purpose and that God has a plan for us all. 

So, to those of you who have asked if I knew.  I will respond----  for 5 years I KNEW!  I KNEW that I would stand by him while he fought.  I KNEW I would support him through the ups and downs of that process.  I KNEW that our family was worth it.  I KNEW that I would be a covenant keeper, no matter what.  And, I KNEW I was not alone.  I KNEW that He would also walk with us on this journey.  And, that no matter what the outcome, I KNEW He knew.........and that was enough!!! 

Sometimes we see a rose and only notice the thorns, their incredibly sharp points and their potential danger.  Other times, we see a rose and are completely taken by its' beauty. My family was the rose!  And, I was taken by its' beauty and wonder.  Yes, I knew!!!

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