Post #8, July 24, 2018
A few weeks after the choking incident and during the weekly counseling, I found out my husband was smoking marijuana daily again. Since he was not staying sober as he’d promised, I had a feeling of impending doom.
The church offered to pay for him to go to Teen Challenge, which helps people recover from alcoholism and addictions, but he refused. Problems escalated until I felt I must choose either to stay on a conveyor belt to destruction or divorce him.
My pastor said, “We can’t change him, but we can help you.” So the church paid for me to get counseling. At the third session with a Christian psychiatrist, after I’d told him about the latest problem, he said, “Let’s pray.” After praying together, the psychiatrist said, “I saw a vision of him coming after you with a knife and I was standing between. Pray more about this and talk to your Pastor before you decide for sure, but I think you should separate.”
I called my pastor and told him the recommendation. He and an elder changed the locks on my mobile home and took my husband’s belongings to him where he was doing a temporary job.
He called me a few times after that, trying to manipulate me into letting him back in. But I felt I just couldn’t handle it anymore. He’d already had seven “dramatic turnarounds” in the three years we’d been together. I knew now I couldn’t save him, and that I’d probably even ruined the chances of God saving him because of committing adultery with him before marriage. And yet, that was confusing, too. I had not consented to sex that first time, yet after it happened, I’d felt I had to marry him.
At this point, after three years of trying to be a vehicle through whom God could bring my husband into his kingdom, I gave up, divorcing him in October 1984. Of course, I felt like a failure all over again. But he said something that helped me feel better: “God sent me an angel to show me the way, but I wouldn’t listen,” thus admitting his fault. I heard that he later did go to Teen Challenge, but wouldn’t follow the rules so he couldn’t stay there long enough to do any good.
A couple of scriptures reinforced God’s message of love to me. One was “I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back…For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jer. 29:11, NIV).
The other one had been meaningful since childhood. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Rom. 8:28, NIV).
God doesn’t force us to fit into his good plans. He lets us choose whether to follow him or not. Moses said: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19–20.
To be continued July 26, 2018