I know I’ve written about this before, but with more time, more life… I might have a new perspective.

Options for a little background:
from 8/29/13 “forgiveness”
from 4/9/13, after he’d moved out
from 1/25/13 when I knew everything in my heart but he hadn’t admitted it yet.  So angry and uncertain and heartbroken.

So.  Forgiveness.

Before Dec. 2012, I was one angry, hateful, mean girl.  We were both angry.  We were mean and hateful and hurtful, gossipy and mean spirited.  We liked to hurt people’s feelings, and do mean things to them.  We hated Christians.  Not so openly, but our air quote fingers and eye rolling were so enthusiastic.  We swore so much.  Well, mostly me.  I swore SO MUCH and the worst words.  And yes, in front of the children because “that’s the world we live in.”  No, I didn’t let them swear yet, but they heard it ALL.  Those sweet children were being brainwashed by Satan, as Satan worked through me quite literally, telling them ridiculous blasphemy about God, spreading lies about Christians to their young, open minds.  I had them well down the path I was on- hating Christians and pitying their ignorance through unkind actions.  (Understatement.)

Few days before Christmas, H’s lies all started coming out.  Barreling out in a horrible, painful, heartbreaking way.  Who knew I even had a heart?!  I’d done my share of awful, but this news… it took me down.

I was in such pain, such visceral, tangible, literal pain.  When he left for intensive therapy, I remember being on the couch just screaming.  My face was wet, but I wasn’t crying exactly.  Tears were indeed coming out, pouring out, just waterfalling down the sides of my temples as I lie flat on the couch…. but I wasn’t crying- I was just screaming.  Like I was being tortured or terrorized.  Like I was dying perhaps.  By that time, it had been 3 months of stupid “trying” and “seeing” and continued living together trying to see if we could.  1/2000th of my anger had come out.  I was being understanding and reasonable with his unforgivable indiscretions, but I didn’t let myself really get angry.  ANGRY to that degree might kill me.  I drank a lot, so I was able to get through it without feeling too much.  It helped me survive probably.

So now, on the couch, wet head, screaming through my entire torso and lungs, this dying scream coming out of my mouth, just total lack of control.  My chest just didn’t feel like it could stay up and off of my body, I really felt like I could not continue to live, even if I wanted to- I felt that physically, my chest wall was going to collapse to my back, as I lie there on the couch that day.  It was nap time.  The littles were sleeping, the big 2 at school.  The walls were blue, the windows were letting in so much light- it angered me.  I wanted a dark cave but the sun was shining that day in March.

I clenched my fists and gave up.  If my chest was going to collapse, it was going to collapse.  If screaming made it happen even sooner, so be it.  I couldn’t take it.  I wasn’t going to kill myself, but I felt that death was near, even without my help in the matter.  With fists clenched and body tight and hard and wetness all over the place from my snot and tears, I gave up entirely.  I just screamed out: FINE!  If there is a GOD, FINE!  Please!  Help me!  Please help me!

… or something of that nature.  I know there was anger along with the pleading, both towards a God that I denied and hated at the same time.

Then I got a little softer in my yelling.  Please God, Universe, whatever, please.  Be with me.  Help me.  I can’t live, I can’t do this.  Help me…….

So, that was that.

The anger had come out and I had surrendered. 

***

I am frequently asked 2 things… 1. How did I come to find God?  and 2. How did I forgive my husband?

The two are very very closely related.

That day on the couch, the screaming day in the blue room with the sunshine that made me angry with my fists clenched in the screaming voice that made my voice crack and throat hurt – I surrendered to God.  What does that mean?  It means I gave up on myself.

Harsh?  True.  So true.  I entirely, completely GAVE UP on what I wanted.  All I hoped for, was to exist, to not DIE in that moment.  In all the horribleness, I wanted the will and the physical gift of living.  I didn’t feel that living much longer was in my future.  I felt this very physical sense that my body could really physically entirely NOT TAKE IT and was about to just stop dealing with it, and die.  I have these kids that I love so much.  It wasn’t about “him” it was about the will to survive.

Maybe when everything comes down just to that: the will to live … maybe that’s when God can step in and let Himself be known.

It wasn’t a sudden I love Jesus moment.  I didn’t hear any angels singing.  God did not speak to me or show himself to me in big ways in my living room.  I was still lying in snot with nail marks in the palm of my hand and broken blood vessels around my eyes from screaming so hard.

What did happen was that after a few sentences to the ceiling in despair, I slowly propped myself up with my arms (a substantial accomplishment) to an upright position on that couch.  I remember rolling my neck around and it cracked.  I was still all wet but still not crying, and I said out loud that I was going to be okay.  I said it with an exhale and I repeated it.  “I’m going to be okay.”  I think I even thanked “the universe.”  Yes, I had just called out to God, by name, and when I had a moment of quiet in my head afterwards, I thanked the universe.  Stubborn girl.

I got up and stood around doing random nothings in the kitchen.  I poured myself some wine.  I may have come here to this blog and wrote something about being okay.  I’m pretty sure I did not write exactly about the screaming on the couch and asking for divine help.

The remainder of the afternoon that day until the kids got home, I was okay.  I was existing and alive.  Something in me was either super uncomfortable or super thankful for surviving the couch screaming.  It’s weird to think you are going to die soon and then get up and be normal and pour wine instead.

The big two got home and I was upright and remember that I was on my mom A game for that afternoon, asked them questions about their day and everything.

I believe now that that was the day the holy spirit came to me… or reawakened in me… the day that angels sang because it was my start of turning towards God..

***

I had a neighbor friend that I hated, M.  She was a Christian, and oddly enough, she was the only “friend” who came and checked on me when H left.  (Most of my other drinking friends had turned their backs on me when they learned that I wasn’t leaving H for sure yet.)  I put “friend” in quotes for M because I couldn’t stand her, really at all.  Neither H nor I could.  She was fodder for our mean spirited gossip, and always a topic of ridicule, but she was always around, being kind and showing up the way a real friend would.

She came over the next day for a short visit… she helped me get the children lunch and we chatted- she was pleased to see me upright and conversational.  When she left, I had this thought- one of the first thoughts with my new heart I now know– I wondered why I hated her so much.  I realized that she was actually quite sweet, thoughtful, loving and kind.  Really, she was.  Why, I wondered, had I loathed her so deeply over the years?

Hm.  Things…. little things started to “occur” to me… things that required a kinder heart, a softer heart, love in my heart instead of hate.

The next day again, she came.  She didn’t speak about anything Christian or church, but she left a tiny pamphlet on my kitchen table from her church.  It talked about different offerings throughout the week.  WEIRD, I thought.  I don’t believe in that God stuff… but the idea of church intrigues me a little, well since The Universe saved me from dying on the couch the other day… hm.

***

Fast forward 6 months and we’d find ourselves at a church.  We stayed at the first one about 6 or 8 weeks, then went to a *gasp* bible based church.  It was what I call a seeker church- one very high on entertainment and fun, with a good dose of biblical history and modern day interpretations.  We were there at Christmas of 2013.  We were skeptical but open… and that’s all God asks of us.  After a few months there, we (mostly me) found ourselves wanting something smaller, more intimate, meatier.  We tried several smaller churches of various denominations and landed at one in March of 2014.  It’s been one year this month that we’ve been at “our” church.  We were baptized, the whole family.  H and I were confirmed.  We love it there.  I look back through posts and I don’t see much reference to church… it just kinda of happened little bit by little bit.  Until I was all in, with no real explanation behind the change I don’t think.  It took quite a long time for me to transition from atheism, to “the universe” to God.  Many months, perhaps close to a year.  I remember one day probably several days or a few weeks after the couch day, that I decided to up and start praying.  To, of course, The Universe.  The children followed my lead.  We started just by giving thanks to the Universe.  I tried to explain to H how I felt about The Universe.  I said things like: The Universe is inside me.  It is always with me.  It cares for me and gets me through hard things.

He said “You know that’s how most people think of God, right?”  SCOFF!  NO!  Certainly I am not thinking that God thing is real!  I remember it and we laugh about it now…. stubborn girl… again.  It took me a while, but God’s timing is perfect.  Or, The Universe’s.  :)

How funny is that.  It’s just what we call it, but I choose now to call it God, and to believe in and fully trust God’s word to us- his gift of the bible.

***

And this last part… how did I come to forgive my husband for his tremendous indiscretions, hurt, betrayal, withholding of love and intimacy and kindness?

It really just came, through no work or planning or hope of my own.  I was perfectly happy, quite truly, to divorce.  I was very anti-marriage and was thrilled that I’d be able to keep the house, not have to move, and work just part time when H had the kids, to keep my very simple, frugal lifestyle.  The divorce papers were final, we’d agreed on everything and had our attorney and H had given me more than the required $$, so that I would be able to keep all of those things the same.  All of that was worked out before March.  I believe it was Feb. 11 that he went to the intensive, and had the first polygraph, he came back and then I couldn’t handle it and he moved out in March.

It was one day in June, we had been separated for 4 months.  We saw each other on Wednesdays and Sundays.  We corresponded daily.  Lots of pain, and my control issues were always making things worse (for myself) but his heart was changing too.  I later learned that that he too, was reading a BIBLE in his hotel room!!  So mid June, some magic happened with a lost dog.  God’s handiwork was in all of this, the lost dog led us to another person who was a neighbor and a realtor.  We did not know her well at all, but over the lost dog days, we became friends as she helped me deal with the dog.  She referenced a house that was coming onto the market down the road.  I said it sounded beautiful.  She asked if we were looking to move.  I said maybe!

Seed: planted.

I knew it was toxic to live in that foul neighborhood.  Satan’s work was in every direction.  I also knew I wanted my marriage to reconcile- only for the sake of the children, though I didn’t actually want to either be married to nor trust my husband again.  An odd predicament.

The next day that H came over, with absolutely zero thought or preparation or consideration for this, with divorce paperwork on the counter and finances written out and signed, I took his hand and led him to the red room in the front of the house.  He didn’t have a clue.  I felt something inside me, but had no idea what was coming.  If asked then, I probably would have said I just wanted to be close to him.  But it was more than that.

I sat down with him on the couch and told him that I could forgive him.  That if he still wanted to try our marriage, I did too.

There are no words for how beautiful this moment was.  God’s miraculous words came out of ME and suddenly H was in front of me beside himself with joy and gratitude.  I had no idea I wanted to or could possibly ever forgive him.  I had no idea or plan for those words.  I had not even begun to think about forgiveness!

And yet- there it was.  I had just told him, from my very own mouth, that I wanted to try to work on our marriage.  What?!  Furthermore, I told him about the house for sale.  We looked at it the next day and bought it later that night.  Full price offer with no contingencies.  Our own house was not for sale, we just took a leap, following the opportunities that God placed so perfectly in our path.  He placed them in away that we couldn’t have ignored, and gave me the words to be sure we wouldn’t mess up this piece of His beautiful plan.

And then it happened.  We moved in July of 13, and here we are.  That’s how I found God, and how I found forgiveness.  When it comes down to it, I didn’t have to work hard to find that forgiveness.  It just came, as I opened up to God, He put forgiveness into my heart and caused the words to come out of my mouth.  It really wasn’t anything that I did.

I was just going along doing my own thing, planning and looking forward to the divorce, when NOPE!  God had other plans.  And like nothing I had ever imagined, the words just came.  More words came in the weeks following- I think we had a sit down conversation that summer, when I told him that in case it wasn’t obvious to him, my forgiveness was complete.  It wasn’t God talking through me then, it was just me, making sure my husband KNEW and felt how deep my forgiveness went.

H knew that that day in the red room that it was not my plan and not my words.  I told him later.  And he was okay with that… sometimes God needs to give a little extra nudge.  And some words with the nudge.

 

 

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