I can still hear the words “Show grace and forgiveness” echoing in my mind as I asked God once again “Why me?” It was just two years ago when my world came crumbing in around me after the news of my husband’s infidelity throughout our marriage. I remember the moment my knees hit the floor with tears streaming down my face, crying out to the one that was suppose to protect me. Yet here I am facing the same question again. Shaken with all the unknowns. Facing the question of love and forgiveness for the second time in our marriage.
When the news first came to light, I felt a level of brokenness I had never experienced. The feeling of suffocation was debilitating. I never wanted this and to hear from my husband this brokenness all started from his deep routed issues with pornography. I felt so betrayed, yet still had such an overwhelming sense of love for him. I couldn’t understand how I could still love someone after they caused me so much pain. I knew this love must only flow from a place greater than myself. I wanted more for my life. I wanted to know that I did everything I could to save the marriage I chose so many years ago. I fought with all the grace that was given to me to save what was left of my marriage, pleading with my husband to save himself from the path he was heading down if he walked away from our marriage. I knew what the Lord had laid on my heart to do and I wasn’t going to give up on my marriage without a fight.
After a period of separation, we were both ready to reenter the marriage. I didn’t know at the time, but I was headed down the path that would lead me to the greatest freedom and struggle of my life so far. Over the next two years I faced much opposition as I defended my forgiveness of a man that didn’t deserve it. Friends and family thought I must be in denial if I could move forward in a marriage built on lies. I myself wondered it myself many times, but always felt a gentle reminder that I was exactly where I was suppose to be. I had to consistently pray against worry and fear and learn to live in trust.
What I learned during this time is that it wasn’t God’s plan for me to experience this pain, but he allowed it happen. Therefore, it must have a greater purpose even if we can’t see it in the moment of the struggle. The hurt that I healed from during this time of restoration allowed me to truly understand forgiveness. The bitterness I laid down and walked away from taught me freedom. The love I was able to extend showed me a picture of God’s grace. These things do not come from our human nature, but only when we open ourselves up to be used for a higher purpose. The choice to forgive was only the beginning, but it prepared me for my future.
I wish I could say my marriage had a happily ever after, but that is not the case. The truth I learned is sometimes love isn’t enough to save a person from their own free will. There is always a possibility for hurt, because the ones we love are only human. It’s how we choose to respond to that hurt and trust in a greater purpose that allows us to move forward freely. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. I chose love.
I now have a beautiful son to remind me of the love I once shared with my husband, but that love wasn’t enough for him overcome his own brokenness. So once again, I ask God “Why me?” I did everything I felt the Lord led me to do and it still ended in divorce. I could choose bitterness and turn my back towards the Lord, but I am further down the road now and I understand “the why”. Sometimes we have to experience difficult things so we can grow into the people we are designed to be. The Lord has not abandoned us and it hurts Him to see his children walk through such pain. There is something wonderful on the other side of your struggle. It might be out of sight but His promises declare it is there for those that call on Him. Had I walked away from my marriage the first time, I would have missed out on so many beautiful lessons. I would still be devastated by the pain and taking that into my future. I would have been left with so many questions. Instead, I am moving forward whole and free knowing that I am growing into the person I am designed to be. I know not everyone’s marriage gets a second chance, but having the opportunity taught me that even ones best intentions fall flat when we don’t fully surrender to the Lord. There are still many lessons ahead and the hard days will still come, but I now know there was purpose for my pain. Whatever your story is and wherever you are on your journey, it is never too late to choose forgiveness and surrender your own efforts. It is the first step towards claiming your freedom. Be free and choose love. There is a purpose for your pain and you are not alone.