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Roller Coasters – Emily's Story

Brent and I had been married for 16 years. We had been through quite a bit. In the midst of many physical illnesses, we had two wonderful children who really have been a blessing. We were ministry minded and when we were turned down to move overseas to work with some missionaries; we sought the Lord as to what he wanted us to do. We started dreaming of owning our own business where we could be light in the dark and reach out to people.

During the first 14 years, I sensed there was something wrong in my marriage, but when I would go for counsel, it always came back to me and my issues. I even sensed something on my honeymoon. Either I was projecting onto him what I was feeling from my upbringing or I was not respecting him or was not thinking the best of him. So, being the conscientious wife I was, I took these to God and went to work on these issues. The problem was that no one I talked to could believe that Brent was doing and saying what I said he was. I had well-meaning “counselors” tell me that I was the problem and that I had expectations that were too high. I really didn’t think so, but wouldn’t that be pride to disagree?

So, I went my merry way and journaled my feelings and I think that’s what kept me sane. Yes, I did have issues; I came from an abusive childhood. Perhaps I was putting on Brent what I had experienced from my mother. She was critical, emotionally and physically abusive. But in looking back, it was as if there was a veil or cloud around me and I couldn’t see clearly.

Once I received prayer for the health issues I was experiencing, things started to clear up for me. I was seeing things in Brent, in our marriage, in life that bothered me. He was becoming increasing more critical, more demanding and controlling. His remarks cut to the quick. I was beginning to believe what he was saying about me to be the truth. Was I going crazy??

Then, I was warned by the Lord to be ready for the ride of my life. I imagined a roller coaster and love riding them. I can honestly say it has been one long, bumpy, scary thrill ride for the past 11 years. Just when I think it is coming to an end, I am surprised by yet another turn…oh well.

The Lord revealed to me that Brent was struggling with a sexual addiction and I was crushed. How could he do that to me? Our business was thriving; we were respected in the community. We were in leadership in the church.

For several years I was committed to not being another “Christian marriage gone wrong” statistic. Although I had the right to divorce, I questioned whether or not that was God’s best plan for us, for me, for the kids. Surely he could restore our marriage. Surely Brent would do whatever it took to repair what was broken…I knew I was!

After four years of Brent saying he was working on his issues, he said he was clean, he said a lot…when it came right down to it, he was not working on anything, decided it was too painful to deal with his addiction and refused to go to counseling because in his words, the counselor was on my side. For the most part, he wouldn’t own up to his problems, blamed me and criticized me.

What the Lord was doing in me was totally awesome! I was growing in compassion; I was exposed to a whole new world of hurting people. The Lord was my strength, my comfort, my companion and my hope. I began to experience this roller coaster ride with Jesus; I was not alone.

Jesus understood how I was feeling. He experienced betrayal, lies about him, rejection, physical and emotional pain and abuse. I certainly wouldn’t wish what I went through on anybody, but I wouldn’t trade where I am in the Lord for anything. Many, many tears and pen strokes marked this crazy ride, but hanging on to Jesus for dear life was what saved me. No, my marriage didn’t get restored, but God has promised me that Brent’s and my relationship will be.

Today, I am still on a wild ride as I try to discern my future career and wait on God for a job. I have been scared, anxious and fearful, but when I turn it over to God, I hear him tell me that I am his beloved daughter. That he will take care of me. I just need to rest in him, trust him and follow his lead. I am learning to take it one day at a time. So, today, I am not discouraged! Rather, I am encouraged and hopeful not because I see a job offer in the future, but because my God loves me and has promised to take care of me. Therefore, I will not be shaken, I will not be afraid and I will choose to live in the present with him.