(If you haven’t read last week’s blog post: 7.10.11, I would encourage you to do so. Otherwise, this continuation probably won’t make much sense!)
“In fact, I will only stay if I’m pregnant.”
I “told” God, in all my infinite wisdom (eye roll).
Surely when I started my period next week, that would be the sign that I needed to leave.
The irony of it all is this: 7.10.11 is the night I got pregnant with our second child.
Praise the Lord that I was with child because if I hadn’t been, chances are that I would have ruined the life of my sweet Lucy and my sweet husband, Ben. And DEFINITELY my own life as well.
I wish that I could say I became kinder and more understanding towards Ben during this time, but it was still incredibly hard. In fact, I cannot imagine another man being as loving and tender and patient with me as he was during this awful time of healing and recovery.
Ben still left me love notes and bought me gifts and took me on dates and cared for me because I think he was afraid to give me any reason to leave him. And up until I discovered I was pregnant with his baby, he would have been right.
I wanted him to leave so I wouldn’t have to live in this agony anymore. I knew to save this marriage, we would spend a lifetime rebuilding trust and to be honest, I knew that would suck. Nobody likes to do hard things.
We had so many people supporting us, cheering us on, praying for us, wanting to see us survive and thrive. We went to counseling together and individually. I had wonderful women who held me accountable and he had wonderful men who did the same for him.
To tell our story without telling of the people who helped us through those dark times, would be to not tell the story at all. There were so many people that we shared our struggles with, that God placed in our lives for that specific time.
In fact, the woman who was the most kind, the most generous, the most understanding and the most loving to me during this time was none other than Ben’s own mother.
As I write this sentence, she has been dead for almost a year now and I have tears streaming down my face. Her loss is more deeply felt than I can even put into words on a page. The woman who had every right to hate me, who could have refused to forgive me, who could have treated me like dirt, who could have never welcome me into her home again, was the one person who I felt loved me and treated me just as Jesus would have.
Ben was her “Benji Boo”, her youngest son, a “miracle/accident”. His name literally means “favored son”. I did her baby boy wrong and she responded with grace.
I had never felt forgiveness like that before.
Instead of shaming me and judging me, she embraced me and cried with me. Instead of reminding me of all I had done wrong, she wanted to know what caused me to hurt so deeply that I could make such a mistake in the first place.
She must have been angry, but she never showed it.
I literally cannot express the love that I experienced from that woman.
She exuded the love and mercy of Christ to me in a time when that was all that I needed to survive.
It’s hard to even believe that she no longer walks this Earth. If we could all be as loving and forgiving and gracious to one another, women would not be in such competition with each other. Instead, we would be building each other up with strength and kindness. I aim to be more like my mother-in-law every day.
That woman meant more to me than anyone can ever know.
I told her so just days before she died.
I told her I loved her son more than anything and that I would care for him until my last breath, or his. She just squeezed my hand, in her weak and medicated state, and looked up at me with tears in her eyes and smiled.
She referred to me as her daughter-in-love until the day she passed.
This was the woman who raised my husband. No wonder he is the man that he is.