As I attempted to stand to my feet I fell to the floor, my knees buckling under the pressure.
Placing my head to the floor, hands clasped and gripping my heart, I sobbed knowing what no one else knew:
I had asked for this heartbreak.
Just one week prior to my heartbreaking– before my marriage and sanity buckled like that of my knees – my husband and I, had been asked to share our story, to divulge our most private heartache with our church congregation.
And while I cringed at the thought of how my voice quivers when I’m nervous, I agreed to do it. No questions asked. Sharing our hurts and mistakes was always worth it to us if it meant other couples could avoid the heartache we had endured early in our marriage.
But as soon as I volunteered to share, the nightmares began.
Each night I found myself tormented by the same horror…
The outline of my figure, holding in my hands what I had prepared to share with our church on behalf of broken marriages, men chained to secret addictions and the women standing tirelessly beside them.
Yet as I began to speak, I searched the crowd for eyes to connect to, but each time there were none. Only countless couples marred beyond recognition, and inching their way along a vast field woven in barbed-wire.
…I watched in terror as the daggers tore into their flesh, causing them to writhe and scream in desperation….
Possibly even more frightening, I watched as my heartfelt words of encouragement echoed to the heavens.
….Unheard by those struggling… unfit for their agony…
Startled, I would awake to the most cold-hearted truth:
I had forgotten.
Though I bear my own scars from my time in the trenches, I had forgotten the pain that once had me writhing and screaming in terror.
And the truth was, if I couldn’t remember how agonizing of a journey it had been to restore my marriage – and even more, how God met us there, then like my nightmare, my most heartfelt words of encouragement wouldn’t matter.
So I prayed a prayer I will never pray again,
“Lord, remind me…” I pleaded.
Remind me of the pain. Remind me of the paralyzing weight of the lies. Remind me of the devastation, and how in the end God somehow, remarkably, made everything ok.
Remind me, so I can give real encouragement to those struggling to hold on in their marriages, those who are certain no good could ever come from the darkness they are faced with today.
And God would remind me — in the cruelest of ways!
…By breaking my heart all over again!
Just four days after praying that prayer (and another three from speaking to our congregation) God allowed my marriage to be flipped upside down, ironically in the exact same way we were planning on sharing.
God was cruel. You couldn’t have talked me out of it.
How else could you explain that like a fool, I had been struggling to find words on behalf of brokenhearted women — when all along and unbeknownst to me, I was one!
Why else would God answer my request to be ‘reminded’ by cold heartedly throwing my marriage back in the trenches again, thanks to those heartbreaking confessions made on that bitterly cold Valentine’s night?
I was certain God was punishing me (and that like an idiot, I had asked for this.)
That is, until the day my knees buckled, and I found myself sobbing and sprawled out on the living room floor.
When while my face was pressed on the cold hardwood, I heard God speak so clearly it was almost audible,
“Write through the mess…”
…Document the anger, the meltdowns, the terrifyingly hopeless nights.
Publicly scream, question and throw punches at Me if you have to, whatever it takes. So long as you never fail to beg Me to deliver you with every ounce of fight you have left! Even if it makes a scene, even if —Gasp. It takes the occasional curse word.
Log every thing I tell you to do, even when it makes no sense. Proclaim My promises, even when you secretly worry they couldn’t possibly be for you.
Tell of your most defeating nights, so together, we can tell of My triumphant rescue.
My deliverance, that is on it’s way and wont come a moment too late!
Write through the mess, so you never forget…
So on February 16th 2014 – two days after my heart broke – that’s exactly what I promised God I would do.
Never knowing the first thing He would ask me to do would be the last thing I could comprehend at the time:
Stay with my husband.