There have been many times in my life I have dropped to my knees in tears and cried, “I surrender God, take over and help me.” Times that I had no idea how to go on or how I would survive a situation.
When my daughter was a tiny baby less than a year old my first husband came home late every night. On this particular night he had not come home from work that evening and I assumed he was out drinking with friends. I paced the floor holding my tiny baby wondering where he was and was he coming home at all.
I felt a burn in my stomach just knowing something wasn’t right. I became more and more anxious. Where was he? Who was he with? Was he alright? Was he in an accident? It hurts still thinking back to this night and reliving it in my mind.
The night grew darker and later. My mind raced with all the worst case scenarios. Was he with another woman? Was he dead? I looked in my baby’s eyes for comfort and strength. I didn’t know where he was but I knew I had my baby and she would get me through this night.
Suddenly I heard his truck pull up out front and his truck door slam. I waited patiently for him to come through the door still caressing my baby . He never came through the door. I waited and waited. I put my now sleeping baby into her crib and moved outside to see where he was. Had he passed out on the front porch or maybe tripped on the sidewalk in a drunken stupor?
As I slowly opened the door fearing the worst, I saw him laying on the ground. I rushed to him calling his name. “Are you OK? What’s wrong???” I rolled him over to see a look in his eyes that I didn’t recognize. His eyes were dark and glazed over. “Talk to me, what is wrong??” I had no clue what was going on.
He finally attempted to look at me trying focus his eyes on me and he responded, “The devil is in me and I can’t get him out.” This froze my soul and sent chills down my spine. “What do you mean?” I asked again as he continued to writhe on our front yard. My ex-husband was 6’4″ and was an Airborne Ranger in the Army just so you understand his stature and toughness.
I was petrified as to what was happening. Was my husband possessed or done something with the occult? No, it was not the devil, it was methamphetamine. I had no idea my husband was experimenting with meth. He did a great job dodging me and I was so busy with the baby I didn’t see him much.
Here I was a mom working 50 hours a week and taking care of a small baby alone. My husband did nothing for the baby and I was literally exhausted and now I was going to have to care for him too. How Lord? How can I do this?
I struggled for many years trying to keep my ex-husband sober and away from drugs so my little girl could have a father at home. I hid so much from her and my family. I thought divorce would be considered as a failure on my part. A broken home wouldn’t be good for my daughter. She needs a mother and father in the home together as a family.
As time went on I became weaker and more defeated by this marriage and situation. I could hardly take care of myself. I dragged myself to work and put on a happy face for my daughter and made excuses to her as to why daddy wasn’t home. Every bone and muscle in my body was ready to give up.
After years of trying to heal my husband of his addictions I decided I could do it no longer. I called my parents and said, “I have to get a divorce. I can’t live this life anymore.” They of course were very supportive and said they would help pay for my attorney fees. I only made $19,000 a year and was paying a $1100 mortgage a month plus all the household expenses since my husband wasn’t fit to work. I called my attorney the next morning.
I filed the papers for my divorce. I told my attorney I didn’t want to fight, I just wanted custody of my small daughter. He could have everything else. I just needed out. The papers were filed and served. I felt a burden start to lift slightly but he stilled lived in our house and wouldn’t move out making life very difficult never knowing when he would come home and in what condition.
A few nights after he was served with the divorce papers he came home after midnight falling down drunk. My daughter was sleeping in my bed with me. I ran out of the bedroom as to not wake her and to pour him into bed in another room. As I tried to help him to bed he kept wrapping his arm around my neck and twisting me around so I couldn’t keep my balance. My neck hurt and just wanted him to pass out so I could get up in a few hours to get to work and my daughter to school. She was in first grade.
He continued pulling on my neck and although he wasn’t beating me he was violently jerking me with his drunken movements. He finally passed out on the guest bed.
I called my parents and attorney the next morning explaining what had happened and my attorney got me in front of a judge immediately for a temporary restraining order and an order to remove him from the house. In those days if you felt an immediate danger or if the spouse’s behavior was unpredictable due to severe alcohol or drug use you could also get a restraining order.
He was served with the order that day and he went to his mom’s house to stay until the divorce hearing. That night my phone rang at 1 am. It was a man I didn’t know on the phone and he stated, “You need to keep your husband away from my wife!” What? Do you see anything wrong with this statement? I responded, “First of all, my young daughter is sound asleep in bed next to me and I am separated from him. Maybe you should address this with your wife instead of me.” and hung up.
That was it. I got out of bed, began to cry and said, “God, I know you want me to live a better life than this. I know you want my daughter to know there is a much better existence out there and I need you Lord. I need you to take my life and lead me where I need to go. Please Lord, show me your grace and mercy and allow us to free ourselves of this life!” I sobbed for what seemed like hours until I could cry no more.
I dragged my worn out body back to bed, cuddled my beautiful daughter and promised her quietly that everything would be fine and God would show us a way.”
After the the divorce was final and I continued to live in this small town struggling to feed my child and keep the lights on I again sobbed to God to give us a better life, a life He had planned for us. I was so weak and distraught and cried until well after midnight.
I woke a few hours later with the warm sun shining in my eyes. I sat up in bed and looked at my sweet child still sleeping soundly. I looked out the window and it was all clear in my mind. I would quit my job and we would relocate to Dallas where my parents lived. We could start a brand new life without these struggles.
I nudged my daughter and she slowly woke up. ” Baby girl, how would you like to move to Texas and be near grandma and grandpa?” She smiled and said, “Yes mommy I want to move!” I knew she was small but inside she knew a fresh start would be wonderful.
For years I tried to control my life and my husband as well as his addictions. I learned that night in surrendering to God that you can’t control other and the sooner I realized that the sooner I could move on.
I walked many years through a tough and cruel life not knowing God or praising God primarily because I had not been taught how to feel God’s love and grace. God intervened in my life that night to show me He was there for me and that He was open to having me know Him. These were a very tough thirteen years of marriage but through all of the suffering God blessed me with my daughter. Without her I would have given up many times and have no idea where or if I would have been here today.
By moving to Texas my daughter has excelled in her life which would have never been possible in Illinois and I met and married the most wonderful man.
If you are struggling right now with something in your life, know there is an answer and God will take you down the right path if you will just surrender everything to Him. No matter what the problem is, addiction, financial, illness or lack of faith God is there for you. He only wants us to live a happy and abundant life in His glory. Hit your knees and pour your heart out. The answer will become clear.
All my love, LoLo