When I married my second husband, I knew without a doubt that God had told me he was to be my husband. We had three beautiful children, a boy and two girls. I had a boy from my first marriage. Our family was two boys and two girls. We were not wealthy, although before we were married he had given my dad the impression he was well off. Money was not what makes a marriage. I liked his commitment to God, his values on family, activities we did together and other things.
But years move forward, he had trouble with taking care of family needs and ministering to others. The ministering to others came first in his life, wife and family was further down the list. He believed the stories (lies) from others over my story. I was left to shuttle children on my own. After five years, I was not in love with him, but stayed. The reason, I was not going to break my vows to God when we were married.
I was the major parent, and sometimes the only parent. I look back and I do not know how I did all that I did. I shuttled children to sports practices and games, theatre practices and performances, school events, 4-H meetings and county fairs, taught three 4-H projects in the club, trained horses, did riding clinics and riding lessons and raised foals for five years, as well as go to college to become a licensed teacher. I also worked three jobs: night manager for fast food, waitress and horse trainer, and sometimes part-time bookkeeper. A person can not keep going with that schedule.
The first event to happen was my health failed. My family doctor, and he was the best, could not find a diagnosis although my body functions were shutting down, and I had a very irregular heart rate. The other events snowballed. Things did not stop until I made the decision to leave, get a divorce. I moved out with the three youngest children, my oldest had graduated and was in the Air Force. The year of our divorce 2002.
The events that snowballed and pushed me out of the house left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My three younger children had lifetime scars. It was not physical violence against us. I only wanted to be away from the cause of my pain, deep haunting pain.
The divorce was not pleasant, when the dust settled, two children were with me, our oldest daughter stayed with him. He continued his ministry to others and going to the church. I changed churches and denominations. I moved away from the town we had lived in. I started on a path of searching and not finding. In my heart I could not stand to look at him or hear his voice, a new location was necessary.
We both had our failings during the years. There was bitterness on both sides. But time moves us forward. I started seeing a counselor to gain some control over my anxiety and learn tools to deal with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I learned to not blame myself for others mistakes or wrong doings. I had always worked at having a relationship with my oldest daughter, but she had things to sort through as well.
Five years ago, after her wedding, which I attended (even pinned the boutonniere on her dad before the wedding without any malice) on a visit, she wanted to talk. A year before the wedding, I had cleaned out all the files on the divorce, except the divorce decree with my name change. I had closed the door, gave him to God and left him there. Now my oldest daughter wanted to talk. I told her the facts of my illness, and that when I moved out my body started healing. Stress will kill you. She had come to see her father as a man, not just her father. He is a hard man to live with. I answered her questions with honesty, not covering up my mistakes and not blaming him for everything.
She asked for forgiveness for the things she had said to me years back as a teenager, saying she would be heartbroken if her daughters ever said those things to her. I had forgiven her when she said them, I knew they were the words of her father. I had spent years crying and praying over the loss of our relationship, wanting her to be near, yet she was so far away. During the talk and those that followed, bridges were being rebuilt. A relationship renewed.
The last two years, I have let her know, I will tolerate her father being around. I had forgiven him and there would be peace on my side. We do not have control of what others do, but I would show peace. I know he is important to her and her children. The grandchildren will never know of any dislike between their Grandpa and Granny.
In May, when I went to pick up my grandson for his summer visit at Granny’s, my ex-husband wanted to talk. We talked for several hours, he admitted to doing things wrong, expressed his struggles during our marriage. I told him I had forgiven him years ago, to release myself from the bitterness of the divorce and him. He now understands the sensitivity and talents I have, and has seen the same in his daughters and grandchildren. Forgiveness is not really for the other person, it is for myself or you, to not have bitterness, hatred, and other negative feelings and thought holding you in one place, unable to move forward with your life and purpose.
This June in taking my grandson back to my son, we always stop at my oldest daughter’s for a night or two before continuing. This year, the day I was to take my grandson home, his little sister was born. I offered to give everyone a ride to Grand Junction to see the baby girl.
The plan was to surprise my son with the appearance of his mom, dad and oldest sister coming together for a visit. But, the grandson answered my cellphone when his dad called, as I was driving, and told our secret.
We went to my son’s home. Our son was a little surprise and not sure what to think with his mom and dad in the same vehicle for a four hour drive. We learned he was replacing the swamp cooler as it had quit. I always drive a truck, and it was needed to haul a swamp cooler. First stop was get swamp cooler from Lowe’s, then visit the mother and little girl at the hospital, then return home to install swamp cooler. We took two vehicles, my daughter rode with me. The town had changed since I lived there with new roads, so we got lost going to Lowe’s. We got the swamp cooler, then got lost going to hospital, again new roads. We parked in a parking lot, not the parking garage. One ton pickup trucks with dual rear tires do not fit well in parking garages. We then had to find a door to the hospital that was opened, Sunday they close all entrances except one.
We visited with mom, held the new granddaughter (number 12) and took pictures. Then went to my son’s home and began working installing the swamp cooler. Again, my daughter and I got lost, seen the area, due to new roads.
It had been over twenty years since all of us were together. There was laughing, joking and working to take one swamp cooler down and taking all four of us to get the new swamp cooler up the ladder, on the roof and in place. When we finished, it was getting dark. Then time to start the four hour drive back to where my daughter lives.
My ex-husband has changed very little over the years. He is who he is. He gets on everyone’s nerves at times. But we accept that he is who he is. He is more relaxed and enjoys playing with the grandchildren more than he did with his own children.
The past years I had lots of prayers. I had some serious discussions on why I married the man. God showed me his mother praying. No one would ever had married him, he would not have had children or grandchildren. I asked God why me, the answer was because I was strong enough to answer the prayer of a mother. She desired her son to marry, have children and grandchildren and be blessed. Her prayers were answered. And God made me strong enough.
Before I left, my oldest daughter shared with me that this visit was the best she has ever had with me. She enjoyed working with me on her cement pond. She never thought that her parents would ever be in a vehicle together, nor work together with their children. The visit was more than what she had ever prayed for.