Written for the Betrayed
I stumbled unaware into this season, and then seemed to fall and fall and fall. Many days I felt like I was free-falling down an elevator shaft that had no bottom. The air would suck right out of my chest, and the ground seemed to just disappear from under me.
I had so many emotions. Anger, sadness, confusion, fear, worry, and on it goes. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so alone, and so very disconnected. Abandoned. The person I would turn to for comfort and reassurance was the person who had brought on this pain. And, he wasn’t in the picture. He was hospitalized for suicidal ideation the very day after D-Day.
I had to at least try to pull myself together. I had children at home counting on me. I had a job I need to maintain somehow, so the bills could get paid. I took a full week off from work. If I would have had more vacation time on the books, I would have taken more time. Truth be told, I needed it. I was a non-sleeping, blubbery-grieving mess of a woman. Pain was deep and persistent.
I’ve always prayed. I have prayed for others. I have prayed for myself and my family. I have spent time in prayer confessing, thanking, dreaming, and…it was all a bit formal. I have always felt connected to God, and yet I wouldn’t talk to my friends in such a method as I have talked to God in prayer. The formality fell away in this crisis.
I talked it out. I talked it out with my Maker. It got real. My brain screamed out loudly to the Lord without uttering a single word into the air. I screamed and screamed. “ARE YOU THERE GOD!! I NEED YOU!! I’M DYING HERE!!”
“I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you.”John 14:18 NLT
And God did not abandon me. He did come to me. He did listen. He paved a way for me to be safe, and to walk through this. While I felt angry and hateful and just plain livid with my husband, I also felt like I was being abandoned. “I hate you!”, would be countered with thoughts of, “Don’t leave me!”. I just can’t even find the words to explain how devastatingly painful and debilitating the first several months were after D-Day. It was difficult to experience this turmoil of opposing feelings, both equally as true as the other, and to feel them so deeply and persistently.
My husband had forsaken me. I can’t be alone in this…I know others have experienced the shame and humiliation of not only being betrayed, but also being ran into the ground by the betrayer, as though we somehow deserve the infidelity. And this is the case for me. My husband described me in the worst of terms to his doctors, fellow patients, his friend Darwin, to her, and the new her he met while in the outpatient program. Utterly and completely forsaken, and how to walk through this…it’s just the worst feeling in the world, ever.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5 NIV
And God did not leave me. He did not forsake me. It’s time to turn this story around.
As I poured my soul out, really talking to my Father, he was listening, and he was hard at work on my behalf. Looking back I can see God’s hand working on my behalf in all that has unfolded since D-Day.
First, God gave me a friend who also happened to be a life coach. How timely is that? She has experienced similar crises in her own life, and she was there for me lock, stock, and honey pot. She was compassionate and knowledgeable. She laughed with me when I said I thought the next thing I should do is punch my husband in the throat, and somehow that joke never got old with her. Before the betrayal, I didn’t know she had worked through tough challenges like this one. Now we support each other.
Then God gave me a doctor to help me with all of these feelings. The doctor came referred to me by life coach friend. The doctor is AMAZING. He is a Christian psychologist, and he’s so good at his job that it is super difficult to get an appointment with him. And yet…I was able to get in to see him in less than a month. Usually, it was a three-month wait at a minimum. These days I keep about 6 appointments scheduled at a time so I can stay head of that curve. However, back then that “less than a month” wait for my first appointment felt like an eternity! At the end of that first appointment, my new doctor put me on his waiting list. I was able to get weekly appointments as other patients canceled their appointment to patch me through the filled up months head of me.
Then God gave me a support team of five amazing women. The doctor gave me that homework on either my first or second session with him. “You’re going to need to surround yourself with a team of safe women to see you through this.” And so I was able with God’s help to tell five “safe women” what was happening, about my homework assignment, and ask for their support.
And, WOW did they support me! They texted and called me to check in and offer encouragement. They met me for dinner, and for coffee, and for long talks. I would write update emails about how I was feeling and what I needed, addressed to all five. They chimed in together to keep telling me I was strong enough to make it through this, and that I was not alone. I was welcome in their homes at a moment’s notice. I got lots of hugs. If I needed someone RIGHT NOW, I sent a text out and someone always picked up the phone and called me immediately.
Oh gosh, one night I decided I had “had enough”! I drank a whole bottle of wine in about 10 minutes to try to escape the pain. I then turned into a complete nuisance for my kids…they are all adults, but still they shouldn’t have to deal with such nonsense from their mother. I had to work the next day, and I was a hot mess. Finally, my daughter called one of my support team girlfriends, and she was there in 10 minutes to lovingly talk to me and convince me to go to bed. Embarrassing..but real.
One girlfriend brought pizza over one night, and ate with me and the kids. It happened to the night we needed to put the trash cans at the curb. That was always my husband’s job. He always pulled the cans to the curb. Always. I fell apart. I pulled the cans to the curb and then sobbed in my car in the garage. I got into the house three feet and fell apart on the kitchen floor sobbing as though my world had come to an end. She plopped right down on the floor next to me, and loved on me without judgement or bad advice or trite statements. I can’t put this into words either, how thankful I am for these five girlfriends. They were amazing. Still are…
Next, God gave me options. Three of these women offered a spare bedroom to me… mine to use anytime, and for as long as I needed it. I never did end up taking them up on the offer. It sure gave me peace and reassurance to know if I just couldn’t handle it anymore, I had options. I had a place to rest my head at night. I came very close a couple times. I just didn’t have the courage to tell my husband I needed to leave.
There is irony in that provision. Months after my husband had come back home, he suddenly left me…again. However, my husband didn’t have the provision God had given me because he hadn’t asked for it. So husband ended up sleeping in his car at truck stops and state parks. Affording hotel rooms was out of the question.
But this gal here, (me), she had options. She still has options. You dear friend, you have options too.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
Psalm 46:1 NIV
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 116:2 NIV
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
God urges each one of us, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NRSV) He will listen. He will comfort. He will answer. He will provide. He will sustain. He will work hard on your behalf just as he has for me. He won’t abandon you, or forsake you. God is near to you in your time of trouble.
Forget about formal and flowery prayer. Just keep it simple. Get real. Talk it out. Dear friend, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, but know this: You are absolutely not alone.