A Resurrected Marriage Story Day 6: Surrender
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, ESV)
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)
New Year’s Day is a day of new beginnings, and this particular year, that’s what I had in mind as we set out to celebrate the day with my kids, minus my husband/their dad. After he left home the second time just a few days prior, I finally let go. If things were ever to be reconciled, it was not going to be my doing—only God could do that. I had relinquished any control I had fought for previously, realizing it was never mine to begin with.
There was profound sadness in this short period of time, but also relief. Living under the same roof, disconnected and divided, was never God’s design for marriage. Sometimes, distance is necessary to get perspective, and it is best to remove yourself from living daily with stress and uncertainty. It’s a damaging atmosphere for your physical, emotional and spiritual health—and that of your children.
After celebrating the day, I posted a picture of our family celebrating together. It would soon be seen by my husband, and his absence in that picture, and in our day, had an impact on him. I had also been wrestling with something God had laid on my own heart: writing my story in hope that my own journey would be a help to others facing something similar. Opening myself up to this public scrutiny and vulnerability was a direct hit against my pride and my desire for privacy. Hiding was easier. And yet I continued to feel His whispers into my soul to lay aside those feelings and surrender to this calling.
I had been writing for a few months as a form of therapy for myself. But I considered sharing openly, using social media as a means of throwing out a lifeline for any sinking in their own grief and despair. This was terrifying to me, and I remember how long I sat that first day I tweeted my first post, the cursor perched over “tweet.” With pounding heart, I finally got up the courage to share what was on my heart, trusting God would give help and guidance with wherever this might lead.
Fast forward a few days, and my husband would return from his New Year’s trip feeling hollow, empty, and lonely for me—for us. The drive home was long and his heart already felt heavy. The next evening, he went out to eat dinner—alone. He saw that my location was so close to where he was, yet so far emotionally. He decided to “creep” on my social media to see what I had been up to. God clearly led him to do this, and it was sitting in a restaurant that he found my blog. Initially, he was so angry and couldn’t believe I would put this out there for anyone to see. But then, God spoke to him in that very place and said, “You did this to her.” His heart was immediately sick.
This led to a few days of spiritual turmoil. In many ways, it was similar to when God saves a lost sinner—a rescue from a place of despair. It will never stop amazing me how God led me to write a blog, giving me the words and courage to put it out there, and then used it to lead my husband to restoration. Even now as I write this, my eyes well up with tears, because that’s how our God is—intentional, intimately connected, and so gracious and compassionate. Why God would ever choose to love us this deeply will always amaze me. And then He gave me a front row seat to one of the biggest personal rescue missions I have seen, played out right in my own life.
One week into the New Year is one of the most precious memories of my life. Pulling into the driveway was the love of my life. Two broken souls met in that moment, and as soon as I saw his face, I saw the one I had loved and missed so desperately for the past 18 months. A face filled with God’s peace—peace that comes from repentance and forgiveness. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, it’s never too late for you to have a moment of reckoning with God. We are all prodigals—people broken by sin whom only God could redeem. Just as God has shown us grace and compassion, may we show it to those who have tried their best to break us. It may just be the catalyst they need to point them to Christ. It’s a big calling, friends, but man, I’ll tell you, don’t miss being a part of something this precious!