How many times on this blog have I referred to our family finding its “new normal?” A dozen or more, at least? Well, brace yourselves, because this one is a doozy. I’ve thought so many times over the past few weeks about how to write this post, and there is no good way. I wish I weren’t sitting here writing it now. I wish there was no need for it to be written.
Andrew and I have been separated for the past couple of months. The girls and I have been living with my parents. And the longer our separation continues, the more I pray for clarity, the more I begin to believe this separation will be permanent. So it bears writing about, though I’m not sure what to say. It’s hard to address such a personal, painful topic. As personal and painful as infertility is, divorce is worse.
I have stayed in a bad marriage for seven years, because it was the “right” thing to do, and because I believed redemption would come. And now I believe divorce can be a form of God’s redeeming grace. My life, my character, my gifts, have been sacrificed for the sake of a bad marriage, and I do not believe that is pleasing to God. God did not create us to be sacrificial victims for the sake of a marriage. My leaving had nothing to do with unforgiveness, and much more to do with preservation of self, and restoration of my relationship with Christ. Every part of my life has suffered during my marriage, including my spiritual life.
Andrew came into my life at a time when I was vulnerable, physically sick, scared, and easy to manipulate. I do not believe God joined Andrew and me together; I believe Andrew and I joined Andrew and me together. And since we chose to join ourselves together, perhaps we are not in a position to receive the same blessings on our marriage that God gives to a couple that He has joined together. It is difficult to make GOOD decisions in the midst of a BAD marriage. But I believe that if I am willing to follow God’s leading, even through a divorce, He will start working in my life. Maybe in Andrew’s life too. And I do believe that God can redeem Andrew’s life. But God may not do that with me as Andrew’s wife. I believe that the divorce process is necessary to get both of our lives into the flow of God’s perfect will. It seems weird to say, but I believe it is true.
I do not believe that my marriage to Andrew is of God. This is evidenced, in part, by the utter chaos that has ruled our lives since we got married. I do believe that God’s peace will do whatever it takes to join me back to Him (and Andrew too, if he is a Christian.) The peace of God can only be released to us through our relationship with Him. And God’s peace causes a separation in our lives of what is, and what is not of God. We have not had peace in our home because I have been following Andrew’s leading in our marriage, but Andrew has not been following God’s. We have not allowed Christ to rule in our affairs or in our home.
For years I have earnestly desired a close relationship with the Lord but have been slowly driven further away because I made the bad choice of entangling myself into a bad relationship. I did not know it at the time, but Andrew was not allowing God to rule in his life and heart. It is time for me to live in the peace that God has called me to. For the sake of my relationship with Him, and for the sake of my daughters, and their relationships with Jesus Christ. The peace of God can lead us out of wrong situations and wrong marriages. I know this process will not be easy. I know this situation is not ideal. But I believe with all my heart that this separation will bring unity with Christ in my life, and I hope that eventually Andrew will find that as well. I believe that through all this pain, God can still bring hope, healing, and full restoration to both Andrew and me. The process will be painful, but I know that joy awaits.
I’ve been receiving counseling from an amazing Christian counselor. The girls are doing well, with lots of bumps in the road. They are resilient, and have an amazing security and support system in my parents, and in my sister and her family. God is giving me clarity at every turn. He is providing grace, and extending it to our daughters. My prayers for His protection over their hearts and minds are being answered in mighty ways.
Why am I sharing all this tonight, on Christmas Eve?
I’ve spent this Christmas Eve away from my daughters. I’ve neither seen nor spoken to them today. Andrew gets to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with them this year. It is painful and lonely. The pain and loneliness of being away from the children I do have are worse than the pain and loneliness I experienced during the holidays when we were struggling with infertility. I thought I missed the girls then, though I’d never even met them, and they were only a hope and a prayer. But missing them tonight is worse. I am at peace, and I know I am cradled in the arms of the same God who sent His son to this earth as a tiny babe, to save us and bring eternal life. And Bonnie and Audrey are held in those same arms.
But I am hurting. I am sad. And sharing is not only cathartic, but necessary if I plan to continue sharing any part of my family’s story here on the blog.