Sunday, September 19, 2010

China. . . .

So today was dry council Sunday. Except it wasn't dry at all. I loved every minute of it. Especially the first talk. It was from an elderly woman in the Stake. She spoke on forgiveness and how if you don't forgive someone it can lead to heavy bitterness in your heart. She shared two stories, one of an associates' experience and one of a personal.

The first lead on to talk about water sharing and how one man's mistake lead to a physical argument that lead to his blindness. Then a feud ensued between the respective families and bitterness grew until it overcame the man and he murdered the offender.

The second is the one that struck me the most. It was a personal account of how as a young girl, she fell deeply in love with one man. They married and began on down the road to their happily ever after. But sadly the marriage began to fail. And since divorce was just not something done during that time, she put forth every effort to make her marriage work. But after 26 years of struggles, she decided to finally get the dreaded divorce. Ready to move on with her life, she put the past heartache and trials behind her and faced the future. After four years, she remarried but soon ran into issues that stemmed from her past marriage. The bitterness she had not faced from her previous marriage stemmed an inability to fully trust her new husband. Discovering this, she began to pray. She prayed for the ability to forgive her ex-husband, and herself, for all the mistakes and choices that lead to the divorce. After many moments spent on her knees, she was finally able to completely forgive, but of course only through the power of Christ was that made possible.

During church, I was enthralled. Completely engaged in this woman's story and testimony. A recent blog that is now deleted kept running through my mind. I had blogged about the biggest risk I have ever taken in life. That risk was my divorce. In the beginning, I was madly in love with my then boyfriend. I knew the moment I saw him for our first date, through the window of my parents' living room that he was the one I was going to marry. I was so happy. I'd found him. A fear that stemmed from early childhood that I'd never marry was finally disappearing. We were soon engaged, and then soon married. Bliss is all I could feel. Unfortunately quickly after the marriage, things began to fade. Or for a better term, fall. I felt like instead of moving onward and upward, we began to slip and fall. Not only down, but away from each other. The soon to be birth of our first daughter kept things going at full steam. But with that new responsibility came new struggles and a bigger gap between us.

When our daughter turned two I had finally had enough. I was ready to leave. I was still young and could make it on my own. And at the time, to my great upset, the Lord would not let me leave. So I stayed and from that day forward, I had decided to give my marriage every chance possible. I dove right back in and braved the troubled waters. Great trials for me continued. Financial, personal, and religious stumbling blocks were seemingly never ending. I tried to smile through all of this, but even I'm not that good. So I decided to seek out the aid of a personal councilor. I saw her once a week for nearly a year. And I basically came to the conclusion that the closer I drew to the Lord the further away I ended up from my then husband. For a while I played the balancing act between being close to God and being close to my husband. Both taxing choices with great consequences. I played this game for years, until the birth of our third and last daughter.

It had been decided that she would be our last, and like my mother, if a cesarean was needed, we'd have my tubes tied in the same procedure. Well four weeks early and one breach child, brought me to the cross road of this decision. I personally wanted more children. I had always said I wanted eight kids, so three left me feeling shorted. But because it made my husband happy, I agreed. There weren't many times when he was happy because of me. There I lie on the operating table and because of the chaos of the situation I'd forgotten to inform the doctor of our decision. So once, my sweet baby was born I remembered and went to tell him. But the words would not come. And it was almost as if my voice was held still and a frightening "NO!" echoed in my ears. Slightly in shock of what I had just been a part of, I waited quietly for the doctors to stitch my once large belly back to a less than attractive state.

After bringing my daughter home, and getting life back to normal, that voice remained in my mind. And to add to my stress it was not alone. There is a line in my patriarchal blessing, one that I will not share for it is of great personal meaning, that specifically talked about my to-be husband. At first, I believed it was talking about the man I indeed married. But as time went by it sunk in deep that it was not. The absolute heartache and turmoil I began to suffer is indescribable. "How can divorce be an option? We were married in the temple. How do I know if I have done everything possible to save my marriage? I cannot face God at judgment and find that I didn't do all I could to keep this family together." Me being haunted by these questions is a grave understatement. But that once inability to leave had vanished. It was as if the Lord had place two hands upon my shoulders keeping me in place, unable to run and suddenly let go.

For ten years I prayed. For ten years I pleaded and pondered and sacrificed in search of peace. I never in any of those prayers expected my answer to come like this. I didn't want a divorce. I wanted my celestial family back. But I knew it wasn't going to be possible. So once the subject had been posed, it was if overnight he was gone.

Relating back to this sister's talk in sacrament meeting today, I realized that I had let bitterness live in my heart about my ex-husband. Bitterness that I had tried so hard to not let live, existed whether I liked it or not. I hate to admit this, but I immediately began to text my ex right in the middle of the meeting. The last text I had sent him came off mean. And even though I didn't completely intend it to be so, at the time was glad it had those undertones. I apologized profusely for my two sharp words. I know he feels terrible about the divorce and the bad years of our marriage. I didn't need to punish him any further.

For those of you who know me personally, know that I struggle with my choice of divorce. There isn't an easy day on my plate right now. Some days are less bitter to the taste than others, but are no less difficult to swallow. I took a huge risk in leaving my husband. A risk for something better. And I can't be angry at him for that. I am excited for all the chances I have to be truly happy again. If anything I should thank him for the amazing way we are now. I say, and will continue to say, "If I had to be divorced from anyone, I'm glad to be divorced from him." ~I hope that comes off as the compliment it is intended to be.

This has been a topic that has needed to be expressed for some time now. A couple failed attempts here and there have finally brought me to this blog. And I thank those of you who read this never ending expression of my life. Perhaps this gives you better insight into my life and how I can be sometimes. Or better yet, inspires you to forgive.

So I guess I ask you this, Have you forgiven someone today?


  1. Heidi,

    We have much more in common than I think you know. I loved the post.

  2. you put that so well. i love it that you have a way with words. i am happy that you were able to find some peace.