…His Arms Held Us Together

 

When Everything Falls Apart...His Arms Held Us Together.  The rest of the story.

“When the Lord Saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb…” ~ Genesis 29:31

The Lord saw Leah. He looked on her and knew her pain. He SAW her. Her marriage was far from perfect or even desirable. To an extent she was alone. Leah felt unloved, confused and cheated, I can imagine. But, as I said in my previous post , her story did not end there.

Neither did mine. With each “why” came replies from God on my heart, “just wait. I’m not finished with him yet”. At this point I had advice from all directions including close friends, pastors and very immediate family. I was lost on what steps to take. Do I stay? Do I separate until he can get on his feet? Do I just suck it up and live like this until …well until what?

Each time, I came back to the peace of mind knowing that God wasn’t finished with my husband yet and that I made a vow. I made a vow “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” This may have been the worse and it was for sure the sickness. Derrick was not well. He may have seemed fine physically but emotionally he was very sick. Say what you want about depression but I know those that truly experience it know it is as real as any physical illness and not just a selfish deed. Just as if he had broken an arm or needed physical therapy, my husband needed help .

The Vow

 

So, I prayed. I prayed morning noon and night. I lived each day as a new day, hoping it would come with an answer. Dreaming that somehow hope would find my husbands soul through a miracle. One day, it did come. It wasn’t like the sky parting and angels singing in the moment but I look back now and tears stream as I see the hand of God at work.

After losing his job we moved almost 9 hours away for and sinking to the very bottom of his depression, we packed up our 1 month old daughter and moved to Austin to be near my sister and brother in law. There we began attending a church God had just for us. This church focuses on helping people heal from life’s hurts. A man spoke on Sunday morning, a week or so after our move.  His message was about his struggles, his pride, his anger and his healing. He spoke about where God had brought him out of and I knew he had Derrick’s attention. I prayed deeply during that service that God would speak to my hurting husband and he did. Derrick went on to call the man who spoke that day and they met to talk. This is what started the beautiful process of healing in his life and a strong friendship/mentorship he so desperately needed.

Derrick attended his first week of Celebrate Recovery, led by our new church, against all odds. I knew this was real when he fought circumstances to be there. He was tired of the pain and the anger that was feeding in his heart. Very soon after, Derrick was offered a position through a new friend at our church and things were looking up. We found an apartment, moved in and he committed to leaving his Xbox gaming system packed away until I felt comfortable with it in our home again. Huge steps.

Derrick began to see a councilor who was almost 2 hours away, on his own account and invited me to start joining him. I was so proud of him but something started changing in my heart. The anger and resentment started rising. The questions got louder and I became very confused. I had never felt anger this strong and everything in me wanted to leave! At this time my daughter was around 5 or 6 months old. I clung to her and used her against him. I would tell him we were going to leave. I would threaten to take her from him.

What was happening? Wouldn’t you think that when things started looking up, life would get easier for us? For some reason, all my faith through the storm subsided in the calmness after. I began to fall into my own selfishness and sought payment for what he had put me through. It was an ugly side of me I hated then and I hate to think of now…but it was part of our journey.

Derrick stood by me through this and while he was still healing himself, he showed me love where I was. This is what a marriage is. For better or for worse! Eventually, through much prayer, council, late nights and coffee, I was able to forgive Derrick of our past together. I was also able to ask his forgiveness for my own faults and failures. You may read this story and think I had every right to act out and that is exactly what I told myself. I had the right and he deserved it after all he put me through. I am so grateful that is not how my God sees it though.

He SAW me. Just as he saw Leah, My Father saw me and He saw my pain. He knew my faith was strong at moments and other times it would fail me. He knew I had days where I graciously showed love to someone so unlovable and He saw me at my most unlovable moments. He saw it all and just as He provided for Leah in her sadness, He provided for me. He provided support to cry with me, peace in moments I felt overwhelmed, hope when I gave up on my future and grace that I in turn could give away. You see, I had never fully understood grace and forgiveness until I went through this with my love. When you are shown grace and forgiveness, you are able to give it more easily for you understand the gift that you have been given.

I don’t want to give you a false image. Our life did not change to the Happily ever after overnight. In fact, you may be surprised but it is still not Happily EVER AFTER. It is a journey and each day brings new lessons and new joy. I still struggle to trust my husband at times and He still fights against his will to open up with the truth to me. He still loves to play games but has chosen to give a healthy amount of time to his desire while I have learned to appreciate what helps him distress and have found my own hobbies to enjoy at the same time.  We work each day to show love and respect to one another just as we had to back then, almost 7 years ago.

Embrace the Journey

BUT, if I had to do it all over again, would I?   YES. Crazy, I know. I love Derrick so much more deeply now and I feel his love on such a more intimate level than I ever have. That is not just because of the change that was made in our marriage but the battle we fought TOGETHER. If our story had no bumps, I honestly don’t know if my love and desire for him would be where it is today. With the rocky roads in our love story came a passion and respect for my husband that only God’s touch in my heart could give. I am forever thankful for when everything fell apart for when God put it back together that is when we truly fell in love.

 

To read the beginning of our story go to When Everything Falls Apart Or for more about our Ten Years together take a look at Dear Head Over Heels, 18 Year Old Me…

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