I’ve had an extraordinary few days. When I began this series, I really intended to just write about a verse each day, but I can’t stop sharing the story of my journey. The two are interlinked, God’s words and my life, so I need to give you an update!
Ir was a year since the other and I had ended our relationship. The day it ended was a Friday and for a year I have had every detail of that day etched on my mind. The visual details, the feelings, the sounds, the light, the way he looked at me, the moments of extraordinary intimacy, the numbness which lasted a few hours before he sent me a text saying he was changing his phone number and I realised that unlike the times before when we had attempted an ending, this really was the end, at which point the devastating grief and emptiness overwhelmed me.
I have been dreading the date. I was dreading the day before as well, as it was the equivalent Friday and I should have been back in the place where it all ended. I didn’t know what to do. The larger part of me wanted to stay at home, avoiding anything that reminded me of him or that final day together. As the week went on, and each day felt worse than the one before I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to avoid going to the place. It’s where I work, and I had to be there. And then I got a God prompt. The nudge a thought that I’d had before, but never acted on.
In my workplace there is a chaplain. I’d never met the chaplain, but since September I’ve kept thinking maybe I should contact her. I’d emailed a few times just to say hi, but no more. I decided to act on the prompt before I changed my mind and I emailed her asking if we could maybe meet, in the place where things had ended, on the morning of the 14th.
The next morning having worked for a few hours I made my way to her office. I felt sick and strained. I hadn’t cried all week and I thought the tears were going to start falling.
We spent 90 minutes together and for the first time in a year I had the pastoral care I’ve needed. I’m still processing the things she said to me, and the things she prayed for me, but I have experienced the most extraordinary release from things since our meeting.
I will share more of these things , but I’m not quite ready to write about them yet. What I do know is that one year ago I chose to end relationship with the other despite everything in me wanting to make a different choice. As you will know from my writings, it has been an incredibly difficult journey. AND YET …. when I chose to hold on to hope for the year it allowed for the possibility of change and redemption. Yesterday I wrote that Pauls’ advice to ‘rejoice in hope’ has not always been advice I’ve taken, but the part of Romans 12 verse 12 which I’m thinking about today – be patient in affliction, or as the Message bible puts it – don’t quit in hard times – is something I’ve tried to do. I’ve been given that advice by friends and family, counsellors and blog readers. I have resented that advice at times, and thought ‘you have no idea how hard this is’. Somehow, with God’s strength, I haven’t quit my marriage. I haven’t stopped trying to find a way through this.
And it feels like now I’m getting the best bits. This weekend I’ve had the huge, wonderful, strength affirming satisfaction of knowing that my marriage is one year older. That God hasn’t left me. That life is still worth living. That I don’t need to live in my past. That I am loved. That there is joy to be found always.
Please don’t read this with any condemnation or judgement if you have not been able to make it through hard things in the way you may have wanted to. That is not at all what I want to communicate. If you’ve read my blog you will know how up and down and all over the place I can be, and I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. All I know is at this moment I’ve been enabled to stay married for one more year and I am grateful.
My prayer today is for all of us, that we keep remembering the hope that we have and that God’s spirit enables us to stand through the afflictions.
Postscript for those who like me, see messages in the visuals…..
This morning I looked out of the window and saw this
I barely noticed that view as I immediately turned my head and as I looked in a different direction, I thought ‘the sky is bright over there’. It was all completely unconscious but I think that it showed me one of the things that has changed for me. I’m not just staring into the bleak, unclear gloom, instead I’m instinctively looking away from that to see the brightness on the horizon.
I come back to the title of my 31 days series – Hope – Lights in the darkness.