Tomorrow … March 26th… would have been the 19th anniversary of my (first) marriage… what some might call a mistake. What I now call a divine appointment with God’s grace. It was messy. It was painful and heart-wrenching. It was full of anxiety and long prayers and sleepless nights. It was a test in “doing the right thing”. It was ugly… but it happened. And I’m better for the lessons learned in those 2-3 years of my life.
There I was, 20 years old. I was walking into a marriage that my mom (and several friends) were calling a mistake. I was too proud to admit they were right. Afterall, I was 20 years old… I already knew everything. But I knew they were right… and I knew I couldn’t admit that to them.
Six weeks prior to my wedding day, my fiancé admitted that he had cheated on me. He had entered into a sexual relationship with someone else. He came home, feeling guilty… to find me in his living room talking with his roommate. And I could read the guilt on his face. He went upstairs and showered, and then he came back downstairs and cried and shared his shame with me.
I ran out the door, and down their hill… in the rain. I lost my class ring that night. Probably washed into a gutter and down a drain in no time… wow, is that a metaphor, or what?!
And I still married him. I carried HIS shame with me right into my wedding day. A shame that I should have never carried. But I married him anyway. I could have walked away. But I didn’t. I SHOULD have walked away. But instead, I lived with the daily fear of him cheating on me again. Anytime he was home from work 15 minutes late I just KNEW he was with someone else. I just KNEW it.
But instead, he walked away from me (a year and a half later… and while I was at work, at that). I came home from work to find a nearly-empty apartment, with the possessions he no longer wanted piled atop our couch in the middle of the living room. His brothers had all planned to take the day off that Friday … and helped him pack up and move out while I was at work.
I’ll leave the rest of the ugly story out. We don’t need to rehash all of that again.
I’m here to share the story of God’s grace through ugly, depressing, angst-ridden, gut-wrenching situations.
On many occasions throughout our short-lived relationship I was put in a position to make many tough decisions. Choose the RIGHT way aka the right thing to do? Or choose the LOYAL way aka the path “the family” would have preferred I take? Without a doubt, this girl KNEW that doing the right thing was the right thing to do, no matter the consequences. When asked, I stood up for someone’s safety and represented THE TRUTH … over being loyal to “the family” and continue to hide their secrets. I’m proud to say… without a second thought, I chose to do the right thing…. knowing that it could hinder the future of my marriage… I still did the right thing.
And hinder it, it did. But there are no regrets here… none whatsoever.
Through doing the right thing, in God’s sight (not man’s), I was able to finally let go of the shame I had been carrying all that time. The secret I initially chose to hide, and live with quietly in my own sleepless nights. I gave the shame to the Lord. He gave me several chances to choose to do the right thing through the rest of that painful marriage.
And to this day I see fruit from those right decisions… even 19 years later. And I’m reminded of His love, and His faithfulness, and how He spread His arms wide to show me how much He loves me. And I’m brought to tears … time and time again. His mercies are new every morning…