On a beautifully perfect June day, we spoke our vows on the sacred altar before the Lord. Both Christians, we had found happiness and were eager to begin to build our life together. However, the vows we spoke were to be tested. The Bible tells us that if you get married, there will be trouble.
Eight years into our marriage, I found out my husband committed a crime. I left the house with our children and filed for divorce, beginning some of the darkest days of my life. I was hurt, sad and alone. I felt as though someone had died.
The kids and I moved in with my parents, and I was quick to seek the advice of my clergy. He gave fair and reasonable counsel: If your husband wishes to make this up to you and sacrifice to put you first after going through this time, and he is willing to do this for the rest of his days, then consider reconciliation.
We wanted to spare the hearts of our children. In the months that followed, we moved along with the divorce, settling matters amicably, but my husband went away to prison before the divorce papers were signed.
Over time, our family experienced the heavy collateral damage of divorce: one salary, job loss, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Those were hard times and, thankfully, I found comfort in my faith.
I knew forgiveness had to be given, but it didn't happen overnight. I mailed my fair share of harsh letters to him. Slowly, as the forgiveness took hold in my heart, I felt the peace that was promised.
Through the years that followed, I kept thinking about the scriptures describing the characteristics of love. It was patient and kind. It keeps no record of wrongs. It does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails. These verses were not for the faint of heart, but required great strength, which is exactly what is needed when you have to do something difficult!
There is no testimony without a test. Was it easy? No. This the story of my choices made based on faith. I truly believe God works all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.
Because of our faith and commitment, the divorce papers were never finalized. We have endured separation since 2008 and are still married. My husband finished his prison sentence and is once again a working member of society. Although we now live in different states due to the location of my job and his probation, we talk every day. My husband sends monetary support and visits occasionally by permission. Our family is on the mend today as we continue to work in hope towards reconciliation.
Vows were spoken, love was bestowed and problems arose with consequences that must be dealt with. "For better" was easy, but "for worse" required me to dig deep and find the strength to make it through this raging storm in my life. The treasure I found was faith, hope and love.
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