I survived the rest of the wedding weekend. The next morning we got up, packed the car, and drove back to his parent’s house. I tried to talk about his behavior the previous evening, but was shut down and frankly didn’t have the strength to persue an argument. I was exhausted for so many reasons. Lack of sleep, the stress of worrying about his choices, the emotional toll of trying to stay positive about our crumbling union, and never knowing when this painful void in my soul would end. I was constantly seeking rest, but knew none would come.
I remember feeling so alone when we finally reached his parent’s home. I needed an anchor. I needed someone on my side. I needed the promise that all this pain was worth enduring. I kept waiting for someone to help me come up with a plan, to be honest about this very real problem, to start working on holding my husband accountable…but we weren’t talking about it. I felt like I was stranded on an island, screaming for help, but no sound was coming out. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, I pulled my father in law aside and told him I needed to talk. I think he could hear the utter desperation in my voice. We got in his car and he drove me to a really lovely spot and we walked and we talked.
I look back on that day and I am thankful for the opportunity to say freely what I felt in my heart that I needed to say. I expressed my true fears. I was honest about what our lives had become. And more importantly, I asked for help. I knew guiding my husband through this difficult time in his life was not something I could do alone. I needed support. I asked for the support of his family. I asked them to support me. To support us. I asked my father in law to turn to God’s word and help guide my husband back to Christ. To me, even then, our marriage wasn’t a mistake. It was a covenant that I refused to break. I wasn’t finished fighting, but I knew I needed to call for reinforcements.
I didn’t receive the strength I needed. The troops didn’t come running to my aid. At least not the way I had hoped…the hows and whys don’t really matter. In the end, I think I took the battle more seriously than they did. But when you’re fighting for the thing you love most in the world, of course you’re going to take it seriously. I hope everyone takes their marriage that seriously. I know God does…and I will never regret taking that commitment seriously. Ever.
The next day we left. We got on a bus and rode back to our little home in a big city where my tiny heart was still hoping for a huge miracle. I felt a sense of relief in making it through the weekend unscathed. But I really hadn’t, had I? If that was my definition of unscathed, then my outlook on life was quite distorted…and it was. Upon reflection, I realize how clearly I was crying out for help. I also realize that it was incredibly difficult for me to ask for that help. Why? Why didn’t I feel fully confident in reaching out to his family (who, in turn, were my family) to help me mend our marriage? I’m proud that I did, but it took a lot of courage.
Asking for help is important. It’s a necessity. It’s hard to live this Christian life without the support and accountability of others. Having that person you can go to with any problem, prayer request, fear, or joy is imperative. I’m blessed, at this juncture of my life, to have many. My sister, Anna, helps me stay close to God’s word. My sister, Emily, keeps me moving forward. Jake refuses to let me give up. Cheyenne prays for me daily. I am surrounded by women who make the Lord a priority, and that pushes me to better focus on my relationship with him. These are all blessings.
It’s important to remember, when we feel that we need an anchor…we have one. Giving Jesus the power to keep us grounded is essential. And when we need those earthly reinforcements, he will provide them. They may not come in the form we expected, not everyone has the strength to handle the call. But they are there, reminding us that we weren’t meant to merely survive this life…they are there, through the Grace of God, to push us to thrive. I am thankful to those who continue to answer the call, hold me accountable in my journey, and force me to thrive.
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”