Every person’s story has many pieces to it – like a giant and intricate puzzle – and the reality is that even each “piece” is multifaceted…
This Sunday, Byron spoke of part of our story as a couple…about our separation and near-divorce 5 years ago. As always, he was incredibly gracious and kind and put all of the responsibility on himself for our marriage…our world seeming to burn right in front of us.
But that’s his side of the story…
What happened to our marriage 5 years ago really began many years earlier. I grew up in a seemingly happy, Christian home – the preacher’s daughter. While I would not compare my upbringing and childhood to others who suffered horrible abuse and awful conditions, there was still abuse – even if everything looked perfect on the outside. I just learned to cover…smile and cover.
By the time Byron and I were married, and I went from “Preacher’s Daughter” to “Preacher’s Wife”, I was an expert at covering my true feelings, but the cracks began to show…
By 25, I had two beautiful daughters and although we were “seminary-poor”, we looked like the perfect family…except for the fact that at 5’9″ I weighed 100 lbs., suffered with debilitating depression and never slept more than 3 hours at a time. But, if you asked…I was great.
By 35, I had 4 beautiful children and it was a daily struggle to hide the storm that was building inside me. I gained 40 lbs. in 18 months even though I hardly ate, I was having “night terrors” and I began to think that my beautiful family would certainly be better off without me…
Still, if you had asked me, I would have said that I was a little stressed, but I would have never acknowledged that I was toying with burning my life to the ground…
Over the next 6-7 years, Byron tried everything to pull me out of the deep end of the ocean, but I didn’t want to be rescued. I would have rather drown than to admit that I had been so badly broken in my childhood and beyond, that I truly didn’t believe I was worth saving.
So, by 42 I was living separately from Byron, and I did the “every other week” thing with my kids, and I had to look at their faces and know they were suffering…
…all because I decided to burn myself to the ground just to stop the pain.
But, I learned something:
I learned that if you light a match and burn your house down, you’re not the only one who gets burned.
I learned that if you run away, you take your pain with you.
I learned that you are not defined by what’s been done to you, but you will always carry what you’ve done to others.
I learned that there’s a difference between pain and remorse. Other’s can cause you deep pain, but remorse comes from your own choices…and it’s a much heavier burden to bear.
I learned that I can choose to end the cycle of pain and remorse. I can choose to be the person I needed when I was growing up. I can create the family that I never had.
I can deal with my pain and stop it from dealing with me with every breath.
I have the power to choose a new path.
You do as well.
We can’t just light a match and walk away…
Pain only goes away when it heals properly.
Grace is the only fire strong enough to burn down hell…and it can burn down the hell your living in, if you let it.
I still have the scars to prove that I’ve been through the fire, but thank God, I’m also living proof that you don’t have to be consumed by it.
Peace to you…