It has been a long time since I have written anything. The original purpose of this blog was to keep friends and family updated on the status of my health (cancer in 2014). It evolved into a journal of sorts; full of sweet, personal lessons the Lord taught me during that difficult season. Now that cancer is in the rear view mirror, there hasn’t been much to say. I’ve often considered closing the blog down, but somewhere inside I knew there would be more the Lord would have me share. Today is the day…
I signed divorce papers 2 days ago. 2 weeks before I turn 40 and 2 months before my 20th wedding anniversary. Not exactly the milestone year I had expected.
I met my husband when I was 18. He was a bit older, but we were kids. We grew into adults together and built a life that I’m incredibly proud of. Countless moments and memories that I will treasure always. Truth be told, it had not always been great. We fought a lot in the early years and have gone through marriage counseling 3xs in our almost 20 years. I wasn’t always the greatest wife and didn’t always love him well. Despite our ups and downs, we had a good life. We had great jobs, a beautiful home, great church, adorable son, but things changed when cancer knocked on my door at 35. That season changed us all. I came to know the Lord on a level that I had not known in my 30 years as a believer. Jesus was my faithful, loving companion through it all. I had survived the unknown with him by my side.
Cancer had been my biggest life “trial” up to that point and I was proud of the way that I had walked it out. Not angry or questioning God’s plan, but trusting Him with everything. My heart truly wanted to glorify Him in the ugliness of cancer and I hope that I did. I had no way of knowing back then that I wasn’t just fighting a disease. It was also a time of preparation for what was to come.
In early 2017, my husband told me he wanted a divorce. He was unhappy and was going to find someone else to make him happy. He did not want to try counseling…to talk…he just wanted out.
I remember sitting in the neurosurgeon’s office in 2014. I had just had surgery to remove a large tumor that had grown around my spinal cord. The moment he said the biopsy showed “malignant cancer”, all the air in the room disappeared. Suffocating fear, confusion and hopelessness took over. The same feelings returned when I knew that my husband was not going to change his mind and was preparing to leave.
BUT GOD (two of my favorite words in scripture), in His faithfulness and goodness, beckoned my scared and overwhelmed heart back to Himself. He reminded me that He had been there at every step during my illness and that He would be nothing but faithful in this. That he had allowed cancer into my life knowing that I would need the lessons I learned in the test I’m in now. And so I started down the pathway of divorce holding tightly to the Father’s hand.
Cancer is scary and the uncertainty of whether surgery or treatment will work is always unknown. You are battling the invasion of the disease in your body and there are days when you don’t know if you can survive it. It’s your enemy, but it’s not personal. Divorce is personal. Many of the emotions are similar, but divorce hurts more and lingers longer. The Lord showed me how cancer had cultivated a heart habit of surrendering my all to him and inviting him into my deepest places. I knew from experience that He would meet me there, so I ran back to that place day after day after day. In the last year and a half, I have yelled and cried and begged and whined all at the feet of Jesus and He has met me there every…single…time.
There aren’t words to describe the hurt and grief in this season and I would gladly choose another dose of cancer over this, but I have seen the Lord’s hand in everything. He has provided for me and my son in incredible ways. He has given me the grace to walk this path with courage and pursue peace with my husband instead of allowing bitterness and anger to rule me. I can honestly say that the relationship we have is amicable and respectful which is not the norm. He’s still one of the smartest, funniest, most generous people I know. Don’t get me wrong, I have had (and continue to have) every emotion under the sun, but God has helped me submit them to him. He’s doing a healing and redemptive work in me, but I’m not there yet. Signing papers this week was rough and I cried in my car after the appointment. I told the Lord how heartbroken and lost I felt now that it was officially over. That I didn’t know what the future held and I didn’t know which way to go. As always, he met me right there in the valley. He reminded me of his promises in Psalm 23. As I read the words of David, my soul was flooded with peace and hope.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.” Psalm 23 NLT
Thank you Lord for the reminder that you are the great shepherd and you will care for and lead me in this season. You are a good, good Father and you understand the thoughts and emotions I’m wrestling with right now. You know that I feel lost; walking down a path that I don’t know where it goes. Your word tells me that you will provide, renew, lead, comfort, and sustain if I follow you. So maybe it’s ok that I don’t know what’s next. It feels like you are asking me to simply trust you with today. Leaving tomorrow and the day after and the week after and the month after to you. Can I…will I just hold your hand and let you lead me one moment at a time? Yes Lord, lead on.