7.10.11

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On July 10, 2011, Ben and I almost ended our marriage. The last year of our lives had been a whirlwind of horrible decisions and rebellion against each other and our relationships with God. If I ever turn this blog into book form, I’ll go into more detail about what triggered this chain of events, but for now, even 8 years later, it is still hard to talk about. Neither of us were blameless. We both said and did some awful things.

A gigantic fight between the two of us led to Ben storming out of the house that night, shouting:

“This marriage is over!”

I remember that I felt relief. Finally, the hard work was over. Finally, I was free. But then, he came back and told me that he was taking Lucy with him. I remember leaping up from my bed and chasing after him shouting:

“You leave her the hell out of this!”

He almost got in the car and left that night, and in that moment, I would have been glad. If he hadn’t, I was considering doing it myself. Thankfully, my aunt was staying at the house that week and she talked him out of it. Instead, he stood outside in the middle of the night, in the middle of the countryside of Clovis and started to chain smoke. He knew I hated it when he smoked.

I was sitting on the bed in my room in a state of shock. I don’t remember feeling sad or hurt or …. I wasn’t feeling anything really, truth be told. My mom rushed in the room (oh yeah, we lived at her house- real neat) and began ranting about how selfish I was being. “You guys need to try and make it work or you’ll destroy your family!”

It was true. I was selfish. But I knew that. I didn’t need a lecture in that moment, I needed help. Ben and I both did. I clammed up even tighter and shoved my emotions down even further.

When I finally had a moment to myself, I was curled up in a fetal position on my bed, tears streaming down my face. I was numb. I felt nothing, really, but I was still crying. I felt like an empty, worthless shell. I remember that it seemed as if a voice came from the sky and said;

“Go outside and stand next to your husband”.

I didn’t hear anything audibly, rather, the thought echoed inside my mind. I ignored the voice/thought whatever it was. The last thing on Earth I wanted to do was go outside and face a mad man. I was not about to subject myself to that humiliation. I also had the tendency to SHUT DOWN when confronted (super healthy, I know) and I was not about to allow myself to be yelled at for the next hour. I would probably just stand there, arms crossed, rolling my eyes like I did when my dad would yell at me as a teenager. But then I heard that thought again;

“Go outside and stand next to your husband”.

And this time, I did. I went outside and did the thing I least desired to do. I stood next to Ben in the pitch dark, underneath the sky full of stars, and said;

“I think we need to pray.”

You know those moments when you’re so beyond angry at someone that you can hardly even look them in the eyes, much less touch them? That was us. Somehow, we still managed to reach for each other’s hand, get down on our knees, almost face down to the ground, and cry out to the Heavens.

I don’t have the faintest memory of the words we said, but I do know this: a miracle happened in that moment. It was as if our marriage was saved in an instant. We cried, we hugged, we kissed, we made love. I mean, we truly made love. For the first time in our marriage, I felt as if we were being truly sexual and intimate. It was incredible. We could almost feel God blessing our union. Something happened in our hearts that night. Something changed in our marriage on that night. Under the stars, in the pit of despair, two wrecked human beings got on their faces in total surrender to Jesus and He saved them.

It was the moment I had been waiting for my whole life.

This is not to say that after 7-10-11 (as we lovingly refer to that night and also have tattooed on our inner arms) everything was perfect and easy. Quite the opposite. Like shrapnel from an explosion, we were both still severely wounded. In moments of disillusion I imagined what it would be like to be with other men and convinced myself Ben and I were a bad idea. In moments of pain and un-forgiveness Ben would be withdrawn, snarky and less than kind to me.

I asked God, in desperation one day, if He really wanted me to stay in this marriage, I would need a sign. And I would need it SOON.

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