|Chester Frost Park, May 15, 2018|
One year ago, on May 15, 2018, I enjoyed a great day at the beach with my family. My wife and I watched the girls play in the water at the park near our house. The sun was out. Things were starting to look up for my family. Yes, my marriage still needed a lot of work and I needed a better job, but things seemed to be stabilizing a bit.
One year ago, on May 17, 2018, I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school in the morning. My wife hadn’t come home the previous night, saying she spent the night with one of her girl friends who wasn’t sober enough to drive herself. But I guessed at what happened. After some halting conversation and a few questions, the truth came out. She had done it again, and I knew our marriage was over.
That was a confusing morning for me. I don’t think I had honestly considered divorce a real option until that moment. I hoped the fear of it would keep us together if nothing else would. Divorce wasn’t just about ending our marriage. It would mean ripping apart our family forever, forcing our kids to grow up real fast, trying to exist apart… I honestly never though it would come to that. But here I was, knowing it was inevitable.
I’ve known this anniversary was approaching for some time. It’s been looming on the calendar like a doctor’s appointment where you’re not sure if you’ll get good news or bad. I’ve thought a lot about this past year. Since that fateful morning God has done so much good. He’s provided a steady job. I own my own home. I’m a member of a new church family. I’ve joined a band. I’m driving a different car. Yes, there are the difficult things as well. I am divorced and swimming in debt because of it. My kids are moving into their mom’s home this weekend, officially beginning our 50/50 split of my precious little girls. I’m going to miss them so much… honestly that’s been the hardest part, thinking of them not living with me. Ironic that I lose full custody of my kids on the same date their mom cheated on me, effectively ending our marriage. How is that fair? I could go on and on about that seeming injustice, but it won’t help anything. What’s done is done, and I can either chose to live with it or drive my self crazy trying to change something that can’t be undone.
But all in all, I feel like I’m doing well. Even looking at this day, I feel a bit dispassionate about it, almost able to see it as just another day… almost. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past year, really the past 18 months since this all started. Going through depression, then stability, then depression again, really caused me to dig deep and figure a few things out. This all may hold no interest for you, but since it’s my post I get to write what I want, which is a big deal for a 4 who generally keeps most things on the inside.
So, there’s an example right there. I’ve figured out I’m a 4 on the enneagram. That may mean nothing to you, but it means a lot for me. It took me a while to settle on that, but it’s been a very eye-opening process. That also matches my “Creative” result for the DiSC analysis I took for work. Basically, it means I’m an introspective soul, comfortable with being quiet and thinking deeply about the things around me, content to simply meditate on what God is doing without having to share it with others (there’s a lot more to it, but that is one element at least). Of course, this has led to some lonely times, but in that stillness, in that loneliness I was never really alone. God has been with me every step of the way.
It’s an amazing thing when God becomes that person you talk to when you wake up, when you drive to work, when you’re filling up the gas tank or shopping for groceries. That person used to be my wife. Even long into our separation it was still her. But after some discipline, forcing myself not to send that text or post on social media, determining to talk with God first, it became more of a habit. It took me a while to get here, and my relationship with God still has good seasons and difficult ones, but overall I don’t think we’ve ever been closer. But I give Him all the credit for that.
He’s the one that’s had to put up with my addictions, my stumblings, my sin, my chasing after things to fill the void once dominated by my marriage. For many weeks I prayed that God would provide a woman whom I could have a godly relationship with, someone I could be real with and who would be able to sympathize and show me some love. Instead He provided an awesome guy at my church who has been through similar struggles and who has become a brother in my walk with Christ. God also provided friends in my band and new experiences with music to allow me to express my creativity in healthy ways.
There have been a few glimpses of what a healthy relationship with a woman could be like. It’s nice to know that there are some godly women out there, but for now I know God has called me to wait on that, taking advantage of this season of singleness, and to be content with just Him. As I write this today I honestly don’t think I’ll ever marry again, but I’m ok leaving all that in His hands.
In a way, being on my own is a big part of what this year has been all about- figuring out who I was, just me, and who God wants me to be, as His child first, then all the rest under that. I kind of feel like Moses, off in Midian after leaving all he knew in Egypt, figuring out who he was, making a new life for himself, only to be called right back to where he was as a renewed man with faith in His God.
I don’t know how long I’ll be in this land of Midian. I know there’s still a lot left to learn. But I pray that God continues to strengthen my faith and be patient with me. When He calls me to whatever is next, whether in this life or the life to come, I want to be ready.
So, happy anniversary Josh. A year ago things seemed dark and unclear. You were in a fog of codependent confusion, clinging to a life and roles you thought you’d always have and need. Much like a new-born baby, you missed the comfort and warmth of the familiar, not much liking the harsh reality you were forced to enter. But God has nurtured you, fed you, held you, cleaned up your messes, and shown you how amazing this life can be with God as your Father. Trust in Him. Keep the faith. Act the part of a man and be bold as you venture forth down the path God has laid for you. He will make your footsteps firm and lead you down this path of life, both now and into eternity.