Forgiveness is the key to opening the door to restoration.
My restoration begins.
Alone, I moved back to the small town where I grew up but this time God set my feet on a new path. I felt as if I were one of the pieces in a chess game - walking through each step as if a sovereign God was supernaturally moving heaven and earth to get me into the perfect placement. Through circumstances that can only be described as sovereign, I now had a new home, new church, new friends, and a new life. A metamorphosis was taking place and my new normal was being rebirthed.
Over the months prior to the divorce, my husband had moved to the same small town that we had both grown up in. His harassment continued but this time I accepted the strength and wisdom that God provided me and built a protective wall around myself so that I was not drawn back into the madness of an enabler. Thanks to God and a supportive mother, I was on the path to freedom and healing.
Due to the severity of the addiction, my now ex-husband’s mental and physical health declined rapidly over the next 2 years. After being married for so long, my heart was torn between feeling relieved that I did not have to endure the pain of being around the addiction and feeling distraught that this man I had spent so long praying for was dying. The addiction took such a toll that he was not able to fight for very long. During this time he reached out to me for support and I did not ignore or abandon him in his time of need, but took on the role of a friend giving encouragement and supporting him as I could. He was unable to hurt me anymore and became as helpless as a very sick child.
He died a painful death. Addiction is an evil sickness, gripping the person and torturing them until they die. I was with him the week he died in hospice and spent time with him before he went into a coma. The whispered forgiveness was cleansing for both. He was at peace with God when he passed away. He is finally free. We are both finally free.
In some instances death brings an odd sense of peace.
Even though there are memories and feelings that will live forever - most of them are slowly easing away. The emotional bruising is disappearing from within and a tough skin has formed over the wounds. God has given me a strong familial support system and the wisdom and strength I need to rebuild.
The two years that followed can only be described as a rebirth. The memories became more faint as the weeks and months went by. Joy rushed into the void that the memories left and I became acutely aware of laughter - the laughter that comes with the freedom to enjoy things that were, at one time, stress-filled. Family events that were once forbidden were now held at my new home; time with friends from church was spent without fear of retaliation; mission trips that were not allowed during my marriage were now taken; and quality time alone was spent in peace. I began to find out who I was - not who I was through the eyes of the addict but who I was to God. I discovered the person God designed me to be.
Rebirth is exciting but it is a challenge.
With rebirth comes a spectrum of emotions ranging from guilt, anger, and delayed heartache, to peace, joy, and laughter. But the constant emotion was confusion. I was confused on how to feel, how to process my thoughts from the past and integrate them into my current life, and how to confidently make decisions. It is much like watching a toddler learn to walk; some steps are taken with confidence - strong, stable, and decisive. But sometimes, without warning, the wobble occurs and that same sure-footed child will fall to the ground, unsure of their ability to get up and go again. The internal stability of one who is being restored returns slowly, inconsistently and confidence does not come overnight. God's healing sometimes comes slowly and occurs in layers.
Through the process of rebirth, I began to pour myself into building my spiritual life, processing, and praising God for my journey. I looked back at the journey I had taken, as one filled with God-lessons and began to see the positive in the pain. My one prayer during this time in my life was for wisdom - Godly wisdom. Wisdom provided to understand the journey I had been on, wisdom to process the events that happened along the way, and wisdom to determine how God could use the things I had experienced for good - encouraging and pointing others to Jesus, the one who had carried me through.
As I prayed for wisdom I found myself being drawn to a new passion; a passion that would take my journey and use it to encourage and point others to the healing, restorative power of Jesus. Writing. It's interesting how God can place a small thought in your mind, one that, if you begin to investigate and try out, quickly becomes a passion that He uses to serve and to heal. It happened to me and I began to write. I found that writing helped teach me, writing helped heal me and writing helped me to process the events and emotions of my journey.
I finally felt happy and complete but God saw a gap in my life. He knew that there were unanswered prayers from years ago that, even though I thought He had overlooked or forgotten, He hadn’t. God doesn't forget - there is never one tear that is overlooked. Those prayers may not have been answered like I thought they should have or in the time that I had allotted, but God had a plan. Sometimes my plan is narcissistic and doesn’t take into account the prayers of other people. But God’s plan does. Sometimes my plan doesn’t take into account the events that will happen in the future, events that are based on the decisions made by other people. God’s plan does. And my plan doesn’t take into account how my answered prayer will affect my growth and the ability to show Himself as God. His does.
A few years after the death, and when I wasn’t expecting it, God saw fit to drop an amazing Christian man into my life - one who I knew as a child in church and one He would use to fill the gaps in my life. God is using him to heal me, restore me and bring the joy and laughter into my life that I never had. He uses him to show me what a Godly home looks like. God handpicked this man because he knew that I would need a gentle Godly nurturer to help unravel the confusion I knew and reweave it into a beautiful new life tapestry. My life is now complete - I'm the soul mate of a Godly man who loves me, a "bonus mom" to new daughters and son-in-laws and a "Mimi" to the most precious grandbabies, who love and accept me as their own.
Not one of the tears that fell in the darkness was overlooked by God. Not one of the prayers cried out in secret did He ignore. And not one of the longings of my heart has gone unnoticed.
God is a master of the impossible. He is faithful, He is good and He will do the same for you.
My Prayer today is:
Father God, I pray over each person, in my realm of influence, who needs restoration and healing. Healing from a life that has been a journey of pain. Assure each one of them that they will not be forgotten. You hear their secret cry for help and catch every tear that falls. Shine Your countenance upon them and answer their prayer. We know that You will do it in Your time and in the way You know is best - but undergird them with strength as You work. We love you. Amen.