We were on the aeroplane home. I had 24 hours to decide what would happen when we arrived. Somewhere over Russia, eight hours into the journey I began to write out my thoughts.
Our children were sleeping. Around me people were watching movies. Food was being served. And I was trying to think about how I would return home with my husband. or not. It was awful. I knew that I had choices. No one was making me do anything. My heart had been broken, torn into pieces, kicked around and discarded. That had been a long term process. I wasn’t sure if or how it would heal again. I knew that my husband was similarly devastated. I didn’t know what I was returning to. I didn’t know how on earth we were going to return.
I was leaning on God more heavily than I had for a long time. As I turned the pages of my journal each page had a verse printed at the top. I glanced up as I wrote and read, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:3.
I looked across to the opposite page “I will not forget you. I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” Isaiah 15:16.
Really? God is promising me this ? He’s not leaving me in the marriage on my own. If I choose to return home with my husband He will be there too. Is that what He’s telling me?
I wrote 6 pages on that flight. And the other verses?
‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might”Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble.” Psalm 32:7
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1
“The Lord gives strength to his people – that means me!” Psalm 29:11
I did want to love God with all my heart, soul and might. I didn’t have anything else. I didn’t know what else to do. I was so worried about returning and the condemnation I would face from other people. And God was telling me that He wasn’t condemning me, because of Jesus. I was loved and would be given strength.
None of that made any sense. But often God’s words are so counter to human words that they don’t make sense. How could I still be loved? How could I still be within the protection of a holy God?
What could I commit to? I didn’t want to remain married. I didn’t want to work at repairing the marriage. I didn’t want to accept life without the other. I didn’t want to lose the ‘self’ that had come alive over the previous months. But I also knew that I didn’t want any more pretence or glossing over the problems.
I wrote a list of what I could commit to.
1) I would go to counselling with my husband. I thought that we needed to talk through things before we went our separate ways. It wasn’t going to be about marriage restoration and I would make that clear to my husband.
2) I would make time to talk to my husband every day. This is not how we had been living prior to our holiday.
3) I would be myself as fully as I could. I wouldn’t assume that that was a bad thing.
4) I would live life with passion, commitment, love, generosity and laughter.
5) I would keep praying and allowing for the possibility that God could renew (although as you can see number 1 suggested I wasn’t very open to that possibility).
That was it. I wasn’t committing to being happy, or pretending life was ok. I wasn’t committing to keeping my ‘for better; for worse’ vows. I wasn’t committing to no further contact with the other.
I laid it out for God. That was me. That was all I could be.
It was for Him to be everything else if He wanted me to stay married.