I paced the aisles of Hobby Lobby looking for just the right picture. Tears blurred my vision as I searched for the sign that said what my heart hoped was true. Is it true that God has plans for me? Is it true that He wants to give me hope? And what about my future? Since I discovered my husband’s pornography addiction, I wasn’t sure.
I wasn’t sure about much these days. They were all a blur since my husband moved out. He moved out at my insistence, but that didn’t change the heartache.
I wasn’t a stranger to heartache. No one is. Pornography had plagued my marriage for years. I found pornography on more than one occasion. But this time was different. This time I was different.
I was exhausted from trying to make my marriage work. Sure, we had some great memories. After 15 years of marriage, two children and a calendar full of vacations, we had lots of memories. But that’s mostly what they were, memories. Now my marriage was empty and frustrating. My desperation sent me to the best Christian counselor in town, Mona. For six months, Mona and I worked and cried and prayed. Well, she prayed. I cried.
I had no idea those six months were preparing me for the darkest days of my life. I had no idea God was equipping me to take a journey I’d rather not take.
The journey started on a Saturday in September. The lazy days of summer had ended, and we were back in the routine of school. Getting up to alarm clocks, packing lunches and tackling homework. My children were in their first week of fourth grade and already struggling with schoolwork. It’s hard to see your kids struggle, isn’t it? That struggle sent me to Google searching for answers.
I definitely found answers! I not only found answers to the school problem, I found answers to my marriage problem. There on my screen were pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures of people I didn’t know. Who are these people? Why are they on my computer? More importantly, where are their clothes?
My stomach sank. My heart raced. As pictures flashed across my screen, I felt the room closing in on me. I felt my whole world crumbling down around me. That explained the distance, the late nights and lack of connection. Pornography wasn’t a thing of the past. It was still plaguing my present.
I sat in silence as tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew I had a choice to make. One I had made several times before. But this time, the choice was clear, but it was far from easy. Did I want a chance of restoring my marriage, or did I want to continue living in mediocrity? Did I want my life to change, or did I want my life to be comfortable? I couldn’t have both.
I wish I could tell you that I got on my knees and prayed and heard a great word from God. I didn’t. I had been praying for years. This time I knew what choice to make. I knew I had to take a stand. I didn’t know a single thing past that, but I did know that much.
I finally decided change was more important than comfort, so I picked up the phone and made the hardest call of my life.
That was seven years and one divorce ago. It has been uncomfortable and crazy hard. No, it didn’t turn out the way I hoped. But I can tell you that God can bring happy from hard. He can bring laughter after buckets of tears and peace from sleepless nights. He really does have a plan for our lives, even if it looks different than we thought.
God’s plans may look different for you too. Different doesn’t mean bad. As you step outside your comfort zone and embrace the new, know that you are trusting your unknown to a God who already knows the plans He has for you. Let that bring you hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11