The Awkward Conversation

(Learning how to take pictures by myself)

It has been almost a year since my life changed irrevocably. A year since what I thought the future would look like came to a crashing halt, since my kids lost having two parents who are committed to one another and are married under the same house. It’s been a year since our family fell apart.

It was a year ago my neighbor asked to talk to me. She was so nervous. The conversation obviously cost her a lot. A friend of hers had seen Cody having dinner with another woman. Other things were observed, too, but they don’t matter here. A lifetime of pain and wounding had brought us here. I was not enough for him. Or maybe too much. He had made the decision to break our wedding vows.

Last September would have been our 20th wedding anniversary.

The last year has been the hardest of my life. There is a never a good time to end a marriage, but may I suggest during a pandemic while finishing graduate school may be the worst? My adrenaline level has been off the charts. I have been living in survival mode for far longer than our bodies are meant. The only answer I have for how I have made it through this year is the very sustaining grace of God. He has carried me through each day. I do not say that with an ounce of cheese. I say it as the most real thing in my life.

Friends have wrapped their arms around me tight. My parents literally came and not only got our house show-ready to sell but then packed almost all of it. More friends came on Saturdays for “packing parties.” Billy Wygle (shout out!), sold our house in two days for full asking price and made sure I was cared for in the best way possible buying my new home. Friends came to paint walls with me, others came to help hang pictures I was too emotional to hang, and a co-worker became a dear friend as he brought a dead piece of furniture to life for me. For free.

I can’t sugarcoat life “before.” I am only just now beginning to recognize all the lies. Lies mess a person up. They made me question reality, question myself. Away from the lies, I began to long for truth. Truth nourished my soul. The Bible fed me. My friends spoke truth boldly, and my heart rested. Truth resonated like it had not in a long time. It was so clear.

My people surrounded me. Not only the ones who physically cared for me but the ones who have partnered with me to share the gospel for 25 years. The pastors of the churches I have called home all called and prayed over me. They provided for me to get much needed counseling (another huge shout out, to Aaron Moore, hope-speaking counselor extraordinaire). They spoke truth and reminded me of God’s heart for ME. My sweet friend, who I first met on a summer mission almost 30 years ago, and who is also a pastor, called and wept with me.

Not long ago, I walked into Cru HQ for the first time in 15 months. The building has finally opened for a few people to begin working at the office again. It was weird and surreal. It was also one the hardest days I’ve had in a while. I was unprepared for so many people to ask about Cody, not knowing the path our story had taken. It was one of the few occasions I was lost for words.

How does one share the news they’re going through a divorce? Does it have to be one awkward conversation at a time? In a few brief words, how do I say my husband left but God has proven His steady faithfulness? Is it possible to say God is good without the explanation that good does not mean shiny or easy or understandable, is it possible to say God is good without it sounding cliché and void of all it really means?

Friends, I have grieved a lot this year, and the losses continue to pile up. And the truth is, I’m not sure I’ve even scratched the surface. It is remarkable how much grief is involved in growth. I don’t know there is any other way. So, I will keep grieving. What I know is that as I grieve, the God of the universe grieves with me. He sees me, sits with me, cries with me. He gets angry on my behalf and speaks directly to my beat-up heart that I am worth honoring. I am worth all the tenderness in the world. I am the bride of Christ.

To those who have journeyed with me, thank you my dear, dear friends. Your love and commitment to me has been overwhelming. You have been Jesus’ very hands and feet. I love you.

I will keep walking with Jesus, even though my days will look so very different than I thought they once would. I will keep loving people in the best way I know how—especially the ones who are outcast and oppressed, loving even the one who has betrayed me the most. I will keep telling people the beautiful gospel that Jesus loves us.

I’m sure there are other ways to tell my story, to avoid the awkward conversations that end with the word divorce, but right now this is what I can offer. If you made it all the way down here, thanks for reading.