For those of you that are romantics, you will be disappointed. A brave knight did not charge in on a white horse to save me. For those of you that are feminists, you will be disappointed. I did not save myself. For those of you that are atheists, you will roll your eyes. I’m about to get down with G-O-D.
I was not always so strong in the midst of the turmoil. I wasn’t so brave. In fact, I lost it. One morning kind of midway through this whole fiasco, after The Wolf had been out with “Jeff,” he said he had left his wallet with “Jeff” and had to go get it. For some reason, it felt like the weight of the entire situation was engulfing me. I couldn’t breathe. All I could do was cry. Sob. Wretch. I made calls to my support system. NO ONE WAS ANSWERING THEIR PHONES. I was getting more panicked with each busy signal or voicemail I heard.
A friend and her husband had been amazing to me while all this was going on. They didn’t treat me like I was a fool for getting myself into the mess I was in, they didn’t treat me like I was broken. They were just there for me. Even my friend’s family offered me a place of refuge. I called my friend’s mom to see if maybe they were over there that day. They weren’t.
I didn’t sound good when I talked to her. I am pretty sure I babbled incoherently for a while. My friend’s mom is a strong woman, and she is a direct woman. She stopped my blathering and kind of had me face the facts. I couldn’t change the situation I was in, but I could definitely change the way I was handling it.
Then she told me to hang on, and she looked something up in her Bible. She told me to get my Bible. She had me open to Isaiah 54:4-8
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband– the Lord Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit– a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
There are no words to describe the feeling I had after I read those verses. My tears stopped. I could breathe. My heart felt free. Peaceful. I think (I certainly hope) I thanked my friend’s mom, and I hung up the phone.
I found a book I’d been given, or maybe I’d bought it. The Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. I started to read. I started to pray for The Wolf. Deep down in the bottom of my heart, I knew it probably wasn’t going to change anything, but at least I knew in all of my heart that I was doing the right thing. I knew I was going to keep trying, I was going to hold my tongue, and I was certainly going to thank God for the things that I had. A family that was supporting me. Friends that were there for me. A God that was still talking to me, in spite of the fact that I had absolutely gone against what I knew He wanted for me.
After that day, things changed. I kept praying for him, and he grew more distant. (That’s kind of how it goes, it’s one extreme or the other. When a spouse devotes himself or herself to bettering the marriage, the other spouse can either join him or her, or it’ll freak them out and push them further away.) No matter what happened, though, that peace was still very present in my heart. Every single time I started to feel heartsick or just devastated, I would turn to God and pray, “I’m going to keep trying, I’m not quitting. Help me.” I am not kidding you, every single time I prayed that prayer, a little piece of the adultery puzzle would fall into place. It was unbelievable.
There even came a time when the pastor that was counseling us told me that he felt I was free to leave. (By the way, to those of you that have differences of opinion on this subject — don’t debate me, or the pastor that advised me. Thanks much.) He said that even if The Wolf had not physically consummated his relationship with The Girl, it was clear that I’d been replaced by pornography a long time ago. The Wolf may have not left the home, but he’d left me. He’d even told me that the only reason he stayed was because he had nowhere else to go. Nice. But I knew I didn’t want to have any doubts, and I wasn’t ready.
That day that I found her clothes in my laundry though? There is no doubt in my mind that the time had arrived. Why do you think I finished my own laundry before talking to him? I was praying. Praying for the right words, making sure I was doing the right thing.
If I ever had any doubt that God wanted the best for me, it was made crystal clear through that situation, and situations that followed. I felt in my heart, even in my gut, when I was making decisions that weren’t what He wanted for me — and I certainly had to deal with the consequences when I chose to go against His plans.
I didn’t sink into depression. I didn’t let my sadness or my anger get the best of me. No, I was not perfect in how I handled it, but I handled it best when I didn’t handle it on my own. When I trusted that God was going to get me through it, because He did. He always has. And He always will.