We all have moments that bring us to our knees, force us to cry out and make us wonder, How will I survive this? I experienced this debilitating feeling when my first husband left our family four years ago. He developed a severe drug addiction early in our marriage and could never break the habit. I tried everything I could to help him change but I found out the hard way that HE had to want a different life.
He disappeared for eight weeks when our children were 4, 20 months, and 13 weeks old. After the first week of him being gone I went outside and sat in the middle of the driveway weeping uncontrollably. My world was unraveling so quickly and I had three children who did not deserve this. I had discovered his addiction was back in full force and he had done things I could never have imagined. How could I be married to someone like this? What am I going to do? How can I raise these children?
Those were just a few of the thoughts that raced through my mind as tears poured down my cheeks. I prayed to God begging Him to take the pain away, to make right this terrible situation.
No easy answer came.
After a four weeks of silence from my ex-husband I began taking down all of our wedding photos in my mother's house. The kids and I were staying with her and our situation seemed to be long-term. Before Jeremy left I had told him I wanted to separate. I knew he was using again and I was not going to keep living as if everything was fine.
I was the fixer in my first marriage. I micromanaged Jeremy's every move, our finances, our children, even myself. It was exhausting and I had had enough. He asked if he could keep Gabe (our oldest) and I vehemently said NO! How could he only want one of our children?? This behavior made no sense to me and it still doesn't.
I had a dream one night before Jeremy resurfaced. I was watching my children and myself inside a box. There were four walls around us and people were yelling from the outside, banging their fists to get inside. The kids were panicked but I remained calm knowing no one could get to us. The voices on the other side of those walls were strong and the banging was deafening but I knew we would not be touched.
A few days later I shared my dream with a friend and she gave me the following verse on a business card: "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them" Psalm 34:7.
I was not familiar with many verses in the Bible and had never read this one. I stuck it to the cork board beside my bed and read it every night. I held onto those words and repeated them over and over when my world began to get too dark. I wish I could say I gave God total control over my situation but I didn't. I was praying for God to save me but not listening to Him. My fight was long and draining.
Another verse that helped me through this time was Jeremiah 29:11- "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." Some days I did not want to believe in a God that could let these things happen to me. Hope seemed distant at times. But I couldn't give up on my children, they deserved so much more.
My life is completely different now and I am grateful God never turned His back on me. Psalm 34:7 is still one of my favorite verses and God continues to use it in my life through a multitude of ways. I don't look back with sadness but with appreciation of the people who helped me and for a God who truly loves me.
And in case your wondering, my ex-husband never recovered from his addiction. He hasn't seen his children in over three years and is now facing a possible 8-year jail sentence for theft.
I am at peace with his choices and rest in God's amazing promise "to do far more abundantly for me than [I] can ever think or imagine" Ephesians 3:20.