our love story is unlike a lot of love stories you probably hear. in fact, our love story is kind of a heart-wrenching, painful story, with quite a few embarrassing bumps in the road. but more than that, it's a story of God's redmeption to people who really don't deserve it. so ya, great intro, right? ha...i know, it's really vague. i'll just tell the story. it's long but i'm not sure how to shorten it anymore.
my husband and i met in 2004 working with a christian youth group called K-life... he volunteered weekly and i was the children's ministry director for the church, so i was at every churchy event. we saw a lot of eachother. and although we generally thought the other was a nice person who loved Jesus, neither of us liked eachother for a year while we worked side by side. he apparently thought i was too loud and laughed at everything. which is weird because laughing just means you enjoy life...he was such a hater. i thought he was a really cute guy...but that's all i thought about "us". anyway, somewhere in 2005, his heart changed and he started to like me. really like me.so much so, he thought he wanted to marry me. now that is weird for not even dating a person. anyway, he asked me out and i said yes, totally intending to call him the next day and tell him NO. but for some reason, i didn't and i went on a date with him...from that point on, we fell and sprinted into love! and then 2 months later, we were engaged. 4 months after we got engaged, we got married. 2 weeks after we got married, i got pregnant. woopsie! whirlwind. but it was awesome and fun and exciting...life was good. we were invincible... super christians ready to conquer the world!
now fast forward to 2008, my husband and i had been married for three years... we had 2 great kids, a great house, great jobs. his career had just taken off and i got to stay at home with the kids. i thought we were good. we were bible study leaders, we attended a good church regularly(or as regular as it gets with a newborn). we were that christian couple sitting next to you in church that you think is doing great! and up until i found out that my husband was having an affair, i would have said we were doing ok. rough season with a newborn, but ok. husband working more(a lot more), but ok. a little disconnected to each other, but ok. just normal married people ups and downs. in my heart though, i knew something was wrong with us.
(we look super happy and normal, right? wrong...)
i was even using language like, i feel like your having an affair...but with your job. unless your a paranoid kind of person, when you can form words to say something like this, there IS usually something wrong. but it was such a gentle slope downward, i didn't even know we were in a pit. when i had the courage to look at his phone and see text messages that looked like they were to me (hey honey! language), but addressed to someone else, my world literally collapsed. he is having an affair...this is not happening to me. it was an out of body experience. i was so deeply upset and probably more surprised than i had ever been about anything, but could not comprehend that this situation was happening to me. this is crap you see on tv or in movies. it's like how we sometimes cheer for infidelity in a storyline, because, look...they are so much happier with that other person--she just wasn't right for him. they weren't "happy". and we go on eating our m&m's and talking about the weather, not thinking about the devastation the act of infidelity and divorce really has on the spouse and children.
but this was my life. i had two babies that needed a daddy, but daddy was maybe "in love" with someone he met 3 months earlier.i came to the harsh reality of becoming a single mother. and to the word, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. it was excruciating and terrifying and i was alone. for the first time ever, i felt so alone. i had to turn to God to give me energy to do the most menial of tasks...chewing food, drinking water, showering, changing diapers. my relationship with God morphed into something i had never experienced. in a really good way, but through a terrible means. luckily my family and church rallied around me and helped me walk through the next extremely difficult moments.
i decided to forgive him and take him back almost immediately. i wanted it to work. i didn't want to give up. i thought i could WILL our marriage to work. but a couple weeks after finding out about the affair, my husband and i had to separate because he wasn't being honest with me about himself. through some crazy events, like me talking with the "other woman", there were so many things that were coming to the surface about his life and his past(not one, but two affairs? please tell me this is a bad dream) that i couldn't reconcile it with that awesome christian guy i had married those years earlier. he wasn't broken. he needed to feel the pain of separation from his wife and kids and community. it was so scary to see him walk out the door. i had lila on my hip and layne at my feet. it was gut-wrenching trust in the Lord and an amazing community around me that allowed me to say, go figure it out but don't drag me and your kids through your sh*t while you do.
yes i cussed and now i'm going to talk about the gospel. comedy relief, anyone?
the gospel of Jesus Christ is, in a nutshell, that we all have terrible things going on in our heart--whether we admit it or not. we miss the mark just as much as the most terrible person (that occasionally cusses)we can think of. and yet, He still loves us so much that he died for us. and forgives us. and rejoices when we come back from whatever pit we've dug ourselves into. infidelity, alcoholism, addiction, selfishness, fill in the blank. we all have crazy junk in our lives. i felt that God somehow gave me the ability to forgive my husband by holding up a mirror to my own sin and depravity. i needed God's forgiveness just as much as my husband needed God's forgiveness. what a concept.
my husband did come back by the grace of God. ready to make some hard changes. we did go to marriage counseling twice a week for a very long time. we did get advice to get a divorce from some well-meaning people. we did lose some friendships and we did hurt a lot---alone and together. but God pieced us back together. somehow, our marriage is better than it's ever been. i look at him and i don't see his sin. i mostly look at him and feel gratitude that he had the courage to come back. the courage to make a lot of changes and lead our family in the right direction. the courage to let me write about our personal life for the whole world to see. thanks babe, you're brave.
of course, we still have our ups and downs dealing with infidelity. there are some days that are hard for me to walk in forgiveness. but day by day, we realize that commitment triumphs over love. over feelings. over walking out the door. and we are truly amazed that we are still together...we should totally be divorced. there's no way to come back from something so tragic and devastating. unless a miracle happens. and that's what happened to us. our love story is a miracle.
and that is the super brief, cliff notes version. i write about infidelity every so often on our family blog. we are not secretive about our struggles. we don't want to be. we don't care what people think about us anymore...we just hope that people see Jesus all over this story and not us. so that's why we keep talking about it.