Three years ago, my life came crashing down. Everything I knew was destroyed and I thought I would never find joy again. I went through three years of despair…alone. The shame and confusion left me in bondage. Who could I tell? Who would understand? Who could see how hard my ex husband fought against unwanted same gender attractions?
I watched a strong man of valor crumble at Satan’s hand. I saw his tears of anguish; he was broken. I begged God to take it away, to take his struggle away. “Oh God, I will do anything,” I cried. “Just give him peace!” The rejection I felt was severe and I began feeling inadequate as a woman thinking, “What’s wrong with me? If only I could be a better woman then he would come out of this. If only I had enough faith!” In my head I knew his struggle with homosexuality wasn’t about me at all, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.
When I moved back to Arlington shortly after our separation, I didn’t talk very much about the specifics of my marriage. People immediately felt the need to blame him. I know they were just trying to be my advocate, but they couldn’t grasp the stronghold of his struggle. They didn’t see the despair in his eyes. They didn’t see the way he looked at me when he knew he couldn’t be what I needed. It wasn’t fair that it seemed like he had nowhere to turn. I knew I couldn’t save him, but I really wanted to.
I was terrified when I finally took the plunge to come to Living Hope. I didn’t know if I was ready to relive the past three years and talk about my feelings with complete strangers. I had my intake interview and thought to myself, “Self, this may be a bit too much!” But I decided to put aside my fears and go to a weekly support group meeting. When I got to the door, and I couldn’t get the door code to work I thought, “Oh this must be God telling me I am not supposed to be here.” As I began to turn around and walk to my car someone walked up and opened the door. “So close!” My heart beat rapidly as I walked up the stairs…yes, partly due to me being a bit out of shape, but mostly I was having great anxiety.
I sat down and just looked at everyone around me. I wondered why each one of them was there. What was their story? I thank God daily for giving me the courage to walk in to that first meeting. He gave me the strength to “show up.” Every week I am continually amazed at the way people continue to show up at Living Hope, the one safe haven in many of their lives. I began talking to a couple of people and hearing their stories. I was in awe of God and His mercy. I saw people who shared the same pain and despair my ex-husband experienced, but these people were finding more victories than defeat.
I now long for the group meetings. I long for the day when I get to spend time with the most genuine people I know. I appreciate people telling me their stories and for allowing me to tell mine. The joy I once had is returning, but in a more real and powerful way. I am truly seeing Jesus in people. And I now realize that the thing which tore my world apart is the very thing that Christ has used to bring healing in my life. I truly love the people at Living Hope. People who choose to reject us are missing out; they are missing an opportunity to see Jesus.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Each day is a new day for victory at Living Hope. May there not be one man or woman fighting this battle alone!