The best year of my life.
The ground work began on December 1st of 2016. On that day Adam put himself on a fast. All on his own. I didn’t ask or hint at it, I didn’t even send him articles about fasting over text. Fasting wasn’t even on my radar at the time.
So, Adam started fasting and every morning he wrote me a letter focusing on one major topic a day.
He fasted for 12 days.
For the last four days of his fast I joined him. (Again, all on my own. Adam didn’t ask me to.)
On day 12 of his fast, and day 4 of mine, I woke up excited about the fact that we were almost done. Then, while I was on the floor surrounded by Christmas presents and wrapping paper, my phone rang.
And in three minutes my world was wrecked.
One of the hardest things about being cheated on is the lies that seep in and take root. Lies that you aren’t good enough, that you are unlovable. That there is something basically wrong with you that makes you undesirable and broken.
On that morning a beloved man in my life called me, told me I was unwanted and “not worth it” and hung up.
I was already in the darkest days of my life. I was looking down the barrel of my first Christmas as a separated lady and I hadn’t eaten in 4 days. I was broken, and weak, and sad beyond reason… and then I was told I was worthless.
I wept in a way that was out-of-body.
I have never felt pain like that in my life. I later told my counselor that in that moment all I wanted was to peel off my skin and run away from my self.
I was on my knees on the floor and I raised my hands up to God and I BEGGED him to take my soul. For the first time in my memory, I DESPERATELY wanted to die. I pleaded with God, “Please, take me home.”
I wanted my mom, I wanted to be done,
“enough, enough, ENOUGH!!”
I could not possibly take any more rejection.
And out of nowhere, Adam was by my side, holding me.
I guess somehow in the madness of those first few minutes I had called Adam and all he heard was screaming, so he dropped everything and rushed to my side.
He and I sat curled on the floor, he held me while I wept… and we started over.
Now that I have some distance from that moment I can see it and say, “of course.”
Of course the devil would choose that moment to twist the dagger of his lies in my heart. Of course he would wait until I was at my weakest point, broken and lonely and 4 days without food. That’s when he chose to tempt Jesus too, (well, times 10. Jesus fasted for forty days when he was tempted, but he was the Son of God and all. 4 days is nothing to sneeze at.)
And then also, OF COURSE.
Of course God would use the very person who had kick-started this pain to heal it. Of course Adam, the one Satan used to plant these lies in my heart, would be the man God used to uproot them. Of course, God would rip away any remaining safety-net I had in order to force Adam and I to lean on each other.
So, there on the floor in my estranged-husband’s arms, I felt a peace that passes understanding. I felt a calmness and control come in and comfort me, and a small voice inside me confirmed what I was already feeling. “Girl, you got this.”
So, Adam and I brushed ourselves off, he dried my tears, and we went back to our original plan.
Not this time, Satan.
Together we drove down to the River where Adam dunked himself in the freezing cold winter stream, dead to his old life–alive to the new.
And that night we went out and bought the most expensive steak in town.
December 12 2016, was the first day of the best year of my life.
After Christmas, which turned out to be our all time favorite (even our kids agree), we celebrated the new year with Adam moving back in. Then we experienced the best spring and summer of our lives.
We went on vacations. We reveled in our family. We made friends…real friends… for the first time in a long time we had genuine, true friendships.
We got a fantastic church community. One in which everyone there is real, and raw, and honest.
As a family we were closer to each other, and God, and I was experiencing a contented happiness that I had never felt before.
The end of the summer was a whirlwind. We celebrated our anniversary, jumped out of a plane, Adam re-proposed and then we ran the Spartan Beast with a group of our friends.
My kids went back to class and I started nursing school… and a darkness settled in.
An odd sort of dullness.
I told my friends that I felt like Pac-Man running from his ghosts.
This darkness was always right there, nipping at my heals.
You see, I had held on to hope that the person who had made that phone call all those months ago would have reconciled with me. I had hoped that there would be healing in other areas of my life as well and the fact that we were coming up on a year without speaking was killing me.
I was depressed.
I didn’t have a good reason: my spiritual and emotional life had never been better, my marriage had never been stronger, my kids were happy and safe. But the damn injustice I felt from these few people was seeping in and choking the life out of me.
I talked to some friends who had been open with me about their own experiences with depression–which is a reminder of just how truly important it is that we share our stories. I was so grateful to know that I wasn’t alone or broken and that I had people I could talk to.
I shared my struggles with my counselor who advised me to try a short but INTENSE cleanse–which I did–then he and I dove into some life-long chains it was time for me to break.
And God was faithful again, my sadness lost its grip, I am no longer running.
I had set backs to be sure. The holidays stirred up those nasty feelings of being unwanted and uninvited and I DESPERATELY wanted someone to speak up for me.
Someone say something!
But, no one did… except actually a lot of people did, it just wasn’t the few people I was hoping for.
My friends spoke up for me as did some of my family. Most importantly, Adam spoke up for me and for the first time in our relationship–I let him. (which is a topic all on its own.)
God has me in the palm of his hand.
I just keep having to re-learn that one.
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
I understand that life moves up and down through seasons. How I feel today will undoubtedly change but here is what I know for sure:
It is EASY for me to choose Adam and our marriage, even in the face of my harshest critiques, because I have never been this happy.
I have never been more sure of anything in my life. This is where I am supposed to be.
And surrounded by all this beauty there is just no way any haters can convince me that I’m ugly.
I held my marriage up to God with open hands and he gave it back to me so much better… all of it… better.
I wouldn’t give back the relationship I have now. I will FOREVER wish that we had gotten here a different way. I will NEVER excuse the choices Adam made, or trivialize infidelity. It is by far the. hardest. thing. I have ever had to work through.
But, man-oh-man– the work was worth it. I am so grateful for who I am now, for what my family is now, for what my life is now. I lost it all and God gave it back, ten-fold.
Which is why I want to share our story. I want you to know that there is hope. I want you to know that there is life after death, love after betrayal, hope and peace and life abundantly.
I want you to know that it isn’t always easy and that a lot of people still HATE us. We aggravate wounds in others and there is nothing I can do about that.
I can’t force anyone to love us but I will not change the choices I’ve made to please anyone else.
I will never go back.
So, there’s my update.
Thank you all so much for sharing in our journey and for your encouraging words. I love you and I thank the LORD for each and every one of you. Please know, I am so happy and content.
Someone yesterday told me how ashamed they were, of me and my choices.
And it occurred to me, for maybe the first time ever, that I am proud of me… I like me, and that’s enough.
Enough. (there’s that word again.)