Chapter 19 – At the foot of the cross…

I love to share our testimony and will do so at any opportunity!  I recently shared this part of our testimony with a friend and realized, it is such a beautiful testimony, perhaps I should blog about it.  Actually, I like to believe that the Lord gave me the idea, afterall, He gave us the testimony!

If anyone else has ever been at the foot of the cross, then you know how powerful and yet humbling it is to find yourself there.  If you have never been there, please join me as I share about our experience.

There are very few divorces that end amicably.  Most are very acrimonious and ours was no exception.  I wanted ours to be a “friendly” divorce – I was the one who asked for it.  Bill was stunned, he had no idea our marriage was in such bad shape!  Well, the signs were there, but he was too busy earning a living to realize he had lost me.

We had been to a professional counselor years before, but made no real progress.  That put a band-aid on the relationship, over a festering wound.  After 13 years of marriage, I went to a pastor for counseling before I filed for divorce.  I felt I had no choice but to end our marriage.  I had told Bill two other times we had a problem and that we needed to be in a church. I felt like I was spiritually dying – I actually was! But since I wanted a spiritual life, I thought it was it hypocritical to seek a divorce “just so I could go to church?”  So off to see a pastor of a church friends had invited us to attend. We liked him but Bill said we won’t go every week….

I told my story to this pastor. The pastor said, if I was so unhappy in my marriage, it sounded like a divorce was OK.  You see, in his opinion, he said God wants His children to be happy!  I should have asked where it said this in the Bible. Now I can see it was wrong headed theology! In my case, I really did not have grounds for me to seek a divorce other than I was unhappy. This particular pastor, who saw me as a potential member, blessed my request. So off I ran to a lawyer, feeling God’s blessing. And then I began to attend church regularly, taking our six-year-old daughter, who had never been in church up to this point!

If you have experienced divorce, you know it hurts so badly as the Bible says, “… they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:6)  Your spirit is literally tearing in two.  As you are divorcing, one is pulling away, while the other is clinging on for life.   In order to fend off the one clinging, you say and do many hurtful things.

To make a long story short, after our divorce, on a Sunday evening, I had arranged for Bill’s “new” pastor (interesting, he started going to church once I filed the divorce papers) to meet with us after the church service.   Bill had seen me enter “his” church.  He sat and fumed, wondering why I was in “his church.”  As soon as the service was over, the Pastor went up to Bill while I ran towards them.  Bill asked what was going on.  I informed him that the Pastor agreed to meet with us.  You see, Bill had really scared me with his anger.  He was never an angry or mean person!  Bill had to be polite in church, so he offered to buy his Pastor dinner since he said he had not eaten.

We agreed to meet at our our favorite restaurant.   The Pastor ordered dinner, but we just ordered sodas, neither hungry.  The Pastor then asked what was going on.  Well, that was like stirring up a hornets nest!  We began to attack each other, threw horrible barbs at each other.  The poor pastor, sat there helplessly, but managed to at least eat his dinner.  He tried to interject a few times but we just talked over him!  Finally, I noticed the lights dimmed, the restaurant was closing!  We were so oblivious, we had not noticed we were the only customers left!  The pastor politely said he did not think there was anything he could do for us.  Bill paid the bill and we all walked out into the parking lot.

I remember it there was a full moon.  Bill lit up a cigarette (another one of my beefs, I detested the smoke) and the pastor began to shuffle off to his car.  I asked if he could at least pray for us.  So he said sure, finally, I am sure he thought, he could do something meaningful!  I don’t recall what he prayed, but we all bowed our heads and accepted God’s grace.

Bill had not moved out of our house since we had a guest room.  I was under transfer to another state, so while we broke up housekeeping, it was easier for him to stay there. He arrived home before I did and paid the babysitter then checked on Jessica.  As soon as I got home, I went to check on Jessica, but instead, literally bumped into Bill in the hallway.  I can’t explain it, but somehow, we just stood there for a moment….and then we felt the power of the Holy Spirit.  Or maybe I should say, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit since I am speaking!  We suddenly began to ask each other for forgiveness!  We argued back and forth a bit, “it was my fault!” “No, it was my fault.” Then we agreed to admit, that it was 100% each of our faults. I remember one of us said, “after all, Jesus had forgiven us” ….and then I could imagine the image of us standing at the foot of the Cross!  Our reconciliation began!

To read what happened next, please return to Chapter 3, “OK, we forgave each other, now what?”