It’s been five years. Five years ago my marriage was destroyed, and I felt helpless to save it as my family crumbled around me.
When you’re in the middle of a crisis, it’s as though your time stands still, and it’s unbelievable that life can just keep going for everyone around you. I distinctly remember that feeling. People were lined up at movie theaters to see a paranormal romance. The radio kept right on playing songs, one after the other. Reminders of the upcoming holiday season were everywhere that I turned. Life went on all around me, and it felt as if I would never catch up.
I look around at my life now, my cozy home, my growing boys, and I see the comforting signs that life really has moved on…that I have moved on.
At six months ~ I was still married. Confused, hurting, betrayed, and desperate to understand why this had happened, I was also hopeful that we could repair the damage that our little family had endured. I read every book that I could get my hands on that dealt with healing a marriage after infidelity. That Thanksgiving, my broken heart felt far from thankful.
At one year ~ My ex had told me that all men knew that if a husband had an affair, it was entirely the wife’s fault for not being enough. Recognizing the lies, my heart felt free to distance itself and to heal. I was a single mother. I had met my Beloved. The understanding of our similar hurts turned into a beautiful friendship. My boys asked Mr. Joe if he would marry their mommy, and to please be their stepdad. Our friendship was turning into a love and a desire to become a family.
At two years ~ I was my Beloved’s and he was mine. We were married and becoming a family, and yet had to live apart so that my boys could stay near their father while my husband was stationed elsewhere. My Beloved spent every possible moment with us, deepening our family relationships. The pain was still there, but it was fading.
At three years ~ Because of co-parenting, I saw my ex more than I was able to see my husband. We had gone through a custody trial, and had found out that even though I had retained primary care over my boys, we could not join my Beloved where he had been stationed across the country. We must continue to be apart. It was during the third anniversary that my Beloved came to be stationed much closer to us – only five hours away – and so we were finally able to see him on the weekends. The custody trial brought back all of those feelings of hurt and betrayal once more. For the second time, my family had been torn apart…and my heart was breaking.
At four years ~ Healing and forgiveness had continued their work in my life. We did our best to remain a family over the miles. My Beloved had been deployed, and we had eagerly waited for the time that he could come home to our arms, safe and sound.
At five years ~ Our boys are growing into their roles as young men-in-training. Our little family was shocked to learn that cancer was in our midst. After two surgeries and a clean scan, we are grateful that we are now in the clear! Because my Beloved is healthy now, we have learned that he will most likely be deployed again next year. And his contract with the Air Force was extended for another six months. There will be another anniversary before we can finally live together as a family.
At times, my heart still aches. Even after all of these years. I long to be with the one whom my soul loves. Even though the hurt of the infidelity has healed, scarred over on the surface, its painful effects are still present. I ache to be a complete family. There is the deep pain every time I watch my boys drive away from my protective arms. The ache of loneliness because of why my Beloved and I must be apart. The fear of further heartbreak when painful words replay in my mind…It was all my fault. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t submissive enough. What if I’m not enough now…
I must call out those thoughts for what they truly are – lies. This is when I have to tell myself that the nightmare is really over. I think back to the quiet doormat of a girl that I once was – what I had thought that I needed to be in order to fit the definition of a good, Christian wife. I see the growth that has taken place in my heart, and all of the growing that I still need to do. I think of my Beloved and all that he taken on – becoming part of an instant family of five, having to be apart from us, and all of his sacrifice. When those lies attack, I try to tell myself that HE chose me. He CHOSE me. He chose ME. I will never be perfect, but he somehow picked me, all of my boys, all of my faults, and all of my fears.
This anniversary, I am looking back on the journey that has brought me to this point, and I am oddly thankful…
I am thankful for my ex – Because of him, I have been given three of the most beautiful little treasures…Camden, Aiden, and Quinn.
I am thankful for discovering the affair – The truth really did set me free.
I am thankful that I took him back and worked with all of my heart to restore our marriage for six months – Otherwise I may have always wondered if I did the right thing.
I am thankful for the divorce – It was the painful gift of strength and independence that my heart desperately needed.
I am thankful for meeting my Beloved when I did – I believe that it was orchestrated by a Heavenly Matchmaker, and was the perfect balm for my healing heart.
I am thankful for the young men that our sons are becoming – Navigating through a broken home was never something that I wanted for our boys, but they have handled it with more grace than I ever did in my own childhood.
I am thankful for our military life – My husband’s willingness to protect and serve the country and its people that he loves so much is a wonderful example to me of laying down one’s life for others.
This is difficult to write, but I am truly thankful for the cancer – It reminded me of how incredibly blessed that I am for the gift of my loved ones. I pray that I will cherish each and every moment with them…for the rest of my life.
This anniversary, I am incredibly thankful…
I hope that you don’t mind, but I fast-forwarded Our Story a bit today. Being thankful for the more unusual things has recently weighed heavily on my heart, and it wouldn’t let go until I had written the very last word. I will be back soon with the continuing chapters of Our Story. I hope that each and every one of you have an extra special time of Thanksgiving! ~ Love, G
~ Photo is courtesy of Joanne Funk
~ Our Story ~
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Happy Monday, y'all! Last week I joined up with the lovely Hollywood Housewife by taking snapshots of my day using Instagram....