Article Aug 26, 2015

My transformation amid tragedy: Surviving the death of my marriage

At the beginning of last year, the Lord made it clear that my home, my marriage and the last seven years of my life had been a lie.

He exposed the fact that my spouse was living a complete double life — one marked by terrible and almost unbelievable immorality. Everything I knew to be true and alive was in fact false and dead. His name was even on the infamous Ashley Madison list, though that was just the tip of the iceberg. My spouse was defined by the utter darkness of the sin he lived in and cherished.

To say I was grieved, shocked and devastated would be an understatement. I didn’t see it coming and couldn’t have conjured it up in my wildest imaginations. Our marriage was the personification of John 3:19-21:

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

While I could write pages of all the sordid details, the most important things I have learned through this tragedy involve the work the Lord has been doing in my heart. Here are a few lessons that I pray will help you, as well:

1. You do not get to choose your tragedy — I would have never chosen this for myself. My greatest desire is to be a wife and a mom and to have a home for ministry, specifically centered on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). I cannot choose the actions and consequences of another’s sin, but I can choose my response to it.

2. The death of my marriage brought the death of me — Great joy has come through great tragedy. The Lord has used this trial to reveal to me what is in my own heart. Jeremiah 17:9-10 reveals to us that our heart is desperately sick and wicked and only the Lord knows it. The Lord used this tragedy to pluck up, overthrow and destroy areas in my life that do not look like Christ, so He can build and plant (Jer. 1:10).

We want the Lord to build on our garbage, but do we allow the Lord of the Word to take the Word of the Lord and perform spiritual surgery? This I know full well: the Lord will not build on my junk. This is his mercy! Think of it this way, had there been any other way for God to redeem man unto himself, would he not have spared his Son? There was no other way, and the instrument used was the cross. Why would my walk look any different than Christ’s? Am I not to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow him? This is putting to death the flesh, and it is for our good!

3. The enemy does not fight fair — When the Lord unveiled to me what was going on in my marriage, lies of the enemy flooded in at an ungodly speed. It was like an automatic machine gun was going off in my mind, lie after lie after lie. Jesus says in John 8:44-45 to the Pharisees,

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak truth, you do not believe me.

The Lord speaks and the enemy speaks; and he is still speaking today! This is as old as the Garden. In Genesis 2, the Lord speaks, and in Genesis 3, the enemy speaks. In those moments of great devastation, I had a choice to make: was I going to listen to the voice of the Lord or the voice of the enemy? The Truth in me chose truth.  

4. The Lord wants all of me — Over and over again in the Gospel of John, you see Christ saying, “I have come to do the will of my Father.” This is what brings glory to God — when I surrender my will to his will and walk in obedience. This displays his proper weight and value.

John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (John 1:5-6). Here is where the rubber meets the road for me: does what I say and how I live align with truth? If not, I am deceived. As the Spirit of Truth worked in my heart through this time, I was constantly reminded that my husband wasn’t the only one who needed Jesus — I am in desperate need of him, too.

There are some days you will never forget because they are marked by great blessing or tragedy. For me, last year was marked by a great tragedy that the Lord, in turn, is using for my good and his glory. But the good came about through a personal act of obedience to the Lord, even though the revelation returned was great and costly. We have heard it said many times, “Sin affects others.” Yet, I also have seen that obedience affects others, too. Through my obedience, light was given, and as a result, darkness was exposed.

As I look back on the last year and what the Lord has done, I can honestly say I would not trade it for anything. And I wouldn’t go back, either. I have seen the richness of his Word and character in ways I would have never seen had I not walked through this tragedy. I can say with all sincerity, “The Lord causes all things to work for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).