I wasn’t ready to publically announce this yet but I suppose it is the appointed time as “the cat is out of the bag” so to speak (or will be in due time.) It is no secret, as most of you who follow my facebook wall posts know, I have been experiencing indescribable anguish for the past six months. I have been lenient to disclose the reason why but I am no longer able keep it private as certain persons have exposed the current situation through various avenues and it’s now my turn to share my side of the story straight from the horse’s mouth.
My greatest fear in divulging this information was and still is that of being judged and frowned upon as if what has happened was somehow my fault or that I could have done something more to prevent it. To those I have so far told I have received the warmest support and sincere sympathies. Thank you ALL for your encouragement and love. It has provided the confidence necessary to come clean in this extremely difficult confession.
I was blessed to be able to visit Connecticut for Easter and it was both a wonderful and rejuvenating vacation. The occasion was bittersweet as the main reason I retuned was for the funeral of a treasured high school classmate of mine who lost her life-long battle with Cystic Fibrosis. I was able to speak during the memorial and I shared my faith which at that point in my life had never been stronger. When asked by anyone at church that following Saturday and Sunday, “How’s life?” My answer came easy with a big smile, “I’m doing great! I’ve never before felt more intimately connected with our Heavenly Father.” And this was all true for I was completely ignorant of any major problems in my life. I had lost my job in November but I’d just gotten it back (with a raise to boot) and things were truly looking up for me.
When I returned home to Tucson, Arizona my husband picked me up from the airport and I embraced him tightly and was so glad to see his sweet, beautiful face. “I know it’s only been four days but I missed you so much!” I cried as I held him close. He looked thinner to me and I figured he must not have been eating while I was away. He seemed distant and much quieter than usual as we drove home together holding hands. He kept saying, “I love you,” over and over and would periodically give my hand a little squeeze. I felt that something was very wrong and I began to get a bit worried. He was not his usual peppy self but I knew that eventually he’d share whatever it was that was troubling him and that it was nothing that we couldn’t handle together with the Lord’s help. I brushed it off and was just thankful to be home with my beloved.
Immediately after we got home he promptly left to hang out with some friends of his but said he’d be home for dinner. The hours ticked by and there was no sign of or even a phone call from my husband. He finally came home around two in the morning. When I asked him where he was and what he’d been doing he seemed very far-away and would not answer my questions directly. The next day was the same rigmarole and when he finally came back he informed me, “Dannielle, I no longer believe you’re my soul mate.”
I cannot tell you how shocked and heartbroken I was then. Here was the man I loved with all my heart and soul, the man I committed the rest of my life to and in whom I thought of as the father of my future children– the one I’d grow old and wrinkly with… and he was telling me that after four years of faithful, tender, caring devotion that he no longer believed we were meant for one another. How could this be happening? Was this a dream? Truly, this could not be real. I must be imagining the synopsis for some horror film and not witnessing my actual life. These sort of things happen to other people, I thought, certainly not devout believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I felt utterly deceived and betrayed and was plunged deep into despair and depression. Never in my life had I ever felt more pain. The only thing that got me through that first week was the fact that I loved, relied on, and trusted God with all my being. Somehow I was able to, by the grace of God, wake up each day and continue going to work, cooking, cleaning, and surviving without having a heart attack or a mental breakdown. Day by day, hour by hour, one step at a time, I was able to carry on without fainting from sorrow. I showed nothing but tenderness toward him in the days that followed and literally prayed without ceasing. My prayers were for wisdom, guidance, patience, and peace. I filled my mind with that which is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy.
“Why?” I pleaded with him one night. “I love you unconditionally and irrevocably. I’d do anything for you, even die for you. Why would you want to leave me?” He sobbed uncontrollably in my arms as he told me that he was simply unable to love me the way I needed- that I was so beautiful and special to him and deserved so much more than he could give.
As he held me tightly I cried with him. “I don’t care if you can’t love me the way you ought,” I implored. “Just love me as best as you are capable and I will be okay. The Lord will help you where you are weak. Please don’t give up on us! You mean more to me than anything in the whole world and I only want to serve you and make you happy. You’re my family and family doesn’t give up on each other. My life is dedicated to you- always has been and always will be.”
Mathew left that next morning to live with his parents and I was entirely inconsolable. I couldn’t eat and I received very little sleep. I felt cold, invisible hands of anguish choking the breath out of my lungs. I felt like Hosea must have felt when his beloved wife kept returning to her other lovers. In short, I was a mess. But I kept reminding myself that God is sovereign and in complete control. He cares for me and is working out everything for good according to His purpose. The outcome will always be His best, even if it’s not what I have in mind for myself. All I could do was rest in His promises and repeat them again and again to soothe myself.
On that sacred day of June 7th, 2009 when I uttered “My beloved is mine and I am my beloved’s,” I slipped a gold ring on my husband’s finger and vowed to love him unconditionally until death do us part. I still love my husband to the depth and breadth and height of the farthest reaches of the universe. The d-word has always been and is even now unfathomable to me. My husband had said before we got married that “The d-word is not part of my vocabulary. Love is a choice, not a feeling, and I choose never to leave you or forsake you.” I had so much comfort and confidence in his reassuring words. I felt secure and safe knowing we’d be together forever no matter what because I trusted his words with all my heart. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever suspect that I might one day be part of that huge divorce statistic.
Divorce is an ugly, disgusting, nasty word. I desperately desire not to wear that big, awkward, scarlet letter D on my dress that tells everyone to avoid me like the plague. Even though divorce is becoming more widely accepted and even expected in this day and age, I want nothing to do with it whatsoever and wish with all my heart for us to be reunited. However, it has become a very sobering reality that unless Mathew has a change of heart or unless the Lord intervenes (as He can if He so chooses) I will certainly be part of that divorce statistic. Mathew has told me flat out that he knows it’s selfish and against God’s will, but that he plans to divorce me. In the state of Arizona, I am powerless to do anything if my husband wishes to divorce me and I’m forced to accept the piece of paper whether I want to or not. In God’s eyes, I did nothing to merit a biblical divorce. I absolutely do not believe in divorce unless someone has been cheated on and even then there is room for reconciliation.
Perhaps if enough people pray that the Lord melt Mathew’s hardened heart… just like He turned the King of Assyria’s heart and stirred the spirit of the King of Persia (Ezra 1:1, 6:22) then the Lord will answer our prayers and my marriage will be saved. Please also pray that if it isn’t the Lord’s will to restore our marriage that I would have peace about His plan for my life and be filled with His joy and not feel so lonely, dejected, heartsick, and melancholy. Sometimes I feel angry and stressed out. Most of the time I’m just plain exhausted trying to keep up pretenses when in fact I’m overwhelmed and distraught and dearly miss my husband in whom I haven’t seen in four months.
Pray that I focus on God’s good character and not my seemingly hopeless circumstances and that I trust His absolute sovereignty. The Israelites demanded a king but God kept trying to tell them He was their King. Likewise, I’ve been praying that Mathew be restored to me but I think right now the Lord just wants to teach me that He’s my Husband and sufficient for all my needs. As Isaiah 54:5 states, “For your Maker is your Husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
I have such a good church here in Tucson that supports me 100%. My husband is under church discipline but the church has embraced me and come alongside me without any judgment whatsoever. I was worried what people might think of a woman whose husband left her… would they guess that I may have done something utterly shameful? But many women call me just to check up on me and leave heartening messages on my voice mail when I’m unable to pick up. They helped me move my stuff to a smaller, more affordable apartment and they’ve even taken me out to dinner and invited me to their homes. I feel so loved and cared for. Truly, I am blessed!
Even though it’s been six months since my husband left me I still struggle daily and sometimes cry myself to sleep. I frequently attend work the next day with puffy, baggy, bloodshot eyes. I tend to worry… will Mathew ever come back to me? Will I be forced to be single for the rest of my life and never have babies as I’ve always dreamed? I just turned 28 and I’m so very aware of that ticking time bomb a.k.a. my biological clock. I thought for sure at this point in my life I’d have a little one on my knee and another in the oven. Now I don’t even have my other half to share life with.
The pain becomes so unbearable at times that I just wish Christ would come back for His bride or take me to Heaven to be with Him so I can escape this cruel world and slip into perfect eternity. However, I believe there is a reason for everything, including my sorrows. My grief has a way of making me forget how precious my life is. When I give in to depression and hopelessness, I tend to disregard who I am and why I’m here. That’s when I need to remind myself of three very important things:
♥ God fearfully and wonderfully knit me together in His image (Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27).
♥ He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
♥ He has a beautiful plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11).
When I set my mind on these three truths, I find that my mind is transformed from despair to joy. I’m not saying that I’m magically healed from the pain of rejection and loss or that I no longer have to cope with overwhelming loneliness, confusion, and frustration. These are tough realities in the sinful world we are pilgrims in. However, instead of dwelling on the disappointments and heartbreaks of life, I recall that I am His handiwork created for higher purposes (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word for “handiwork” is poiēma from which we get our English word “poem.” What a lovely concept! I like to think of myself as a love sonnet, tenderly composed by the hand of God.
It’s been hard to trust my Heavenly Father with my future but He is edifying me about what it means to lean on Him wholly. Jesus said He came that we may have life and have it to the fullest extent (John 10:10). He doesn’t want me to merely survive, but thrive! He wants me to experience the most abundant life possible. He desires for me to excel in my pursuits, enjoy the little gifts He’s given me, and grow in grace and knowledge. In fact, I believe it’s for personal growth in my character and relationship with Him that He’s allowing me to go through the most agonizing tribulation of my entire life. My faith has never been tested this hard before and I pray that if and when I come out of this alive I will be more Christ-like than ever.