Well, we’ve been together since the start of this mess that I’m in. In fact, we’ve been together well beyond that… you, the blog, and me. I believe that my Spirit was disturbed a few days ago and has been distressed since then. Now I know why.
Yesterday came the call… seeing my husband’s Arise phone number on my cell and the mixture of emotion that comes with that. Warmth, pleasure, fear, sadness all flow through my veins as I answer it. His voice is comforting at first. All business. “Hi, how are you?” I don’t know how to answer? I don’t know what to say? “Gina, the divorce papers are ready. Would you like for me to bring them down so you can sign them in person or put them in the mail?” I promptly tell him, “Neither. I have to get off the phone.” Then comes a voicemail, “Gina, call me back. We need to get this done.” I am in the gym locker room with nowhere to retreat.
The pain is indescribable. Austin is already on a treadmill. I call him and ask him, “Can you come help me?” He comes to help. We sit in the cafe section of the YMCA, black wrought iron tables and chairs, where people are engaged in healthy conversations while sipping coffee and enjoying their afternoon.
As for me, I have already fallen into a dark black hole in which my 16-year-old son holds one hand firmly and keeps me from falling away completely. I have to assume that Jesus is there too but I freely admit, I can’t see him and maybe I don’t even want to.
I think of the Psalms that live on my cell phone for an immediate visual. I open them and try to read them through the tears that unassumingly flood both of my eyes. “We need to call Dad back.” Austin says, “No, I will call back.” I tell him I don’t want him to. He’s already been through enough. But Austin insists, “I will call him back and we will do this together Mom.” He calls back calmly and speaks to his father about what we both need to expect. On the inside, I am certain that this must be the worst day of my life but my body is empty and my mind is clouded and removed.
Austin decides we need to call my Biblical counselor. She quickly agrees to help Austin keep me from letting go and falling deeper into the pit that waits below me. I hear her and her words are profitable and strangely confident that God is here, even now. Sadly, I know that he is even in this. The thought that he isn’t or that he may be too busy with the rest of the world hasn’t even crossed my mind.
Last night, I called my husband back and begged and pleaded with him to change his mind. I begged him for mercy and forgiveness for not being the person he wants to be with anymore. I begged him for the sake of my six kids, our ministry, the church body. But there is no mercy, no forgiveness, no emotion. My flesh is poured out. I am a desperate woman that promises to do everything and anything. I suggest that he stay with me, all the while not loving me or liking me, out of some kind of sense of duty. But he insists his mind is made up and will not be changed. I speak of unconditional love and what the Bible has to say about divorce but consideration for God’s precepts and his Word are not felt or permitted in the conversation. Somehow, some way, God helps me get off of the phone.
I crawl upstairs, having cried without stopping since early afternoon. I quickly take two Benadryl and lay on the floor to fall asleep. Simon, our golden retriever has elected to follow me everywhere. His sad eyes lay next to me and together we wait for sleep to come and it does.
5:30 AM comes quickly and I hear Austin calling for Simon. Somehow, I get myself upright, shower, and fold a dryer’s worth of clothing. The tears continue and my heart hurts at the continued reality of this. Carl said last night the papers have already been placed in the mail.
For all of you Christian legalist out there who have fixed feelings about me daring to hold a pen and agree to an uncontested divorce in the name of not signing any papers so as to not bring down the wrath of God on my head, please know that Florida is a no-contest state which means no one has to be married to anyone they don’t want to be in this state and there is no mandatory waiting period for divorce.
Choice A: Agree to sign willingly and be divorced within 30-60 days requiring no attorney and no fighting. My husband has to appear before the court but I won’t since I didn’t initiate this and want no part of it. I get to keep the financial damage of this to a minimum and live on the funds that remain.
Choice B: Not sign willingly and be dragged into court for mandatory mediation and court proceedings while being forced to get an attorney to help deal with the onslaught of sorrow that follows. I’m told that this takes 18-24 months at best. Just in time for my son’s high school graduation. Oh… and be divorced anyway.
So, the papers are due in today, tomorrow, or maybe Monday. I plan to take them to the church and have my Biblical counselor pray with me and help me decide what to do. I have sought counsel from the wisest of men… the Pastors, our Arise Director, and more. They all lean in the direction of signing against my will to mitigate 18-24 months of torment? I’m not sure.
Thoughts of Austin flood my mind. For sure, he has become the most innocent of victims in all of this. I see the absolute cruelty of this in his life as a junior in high school. In the back of my mind, I believe that it will be easier if I pick option A. That maybe, the pain in his life will ease and he can live among the mass of his peer group who all come from broken homes and perceive divorce to be normal and usual. Something seems so dark and wrong and foul about Satan’s presence in my life… I just don’t know.
I have packed up my personal effects and taken Austin to school now, after misplacing my keys and then finding them once or twice. I can’t trust myself to be at home because Carl’s clothing remains in our closet and his Bible remains in his drawer. Austin tells me, “We will carefully pack Dad’s things and get them to him.” I tell him it isn’t right for him to have to be involved in this. He tells me that it isn’t right for him to not be involved in this.
“Lord, may difficulties plague my life so that I discover a goodness that only difficulties reveal.”
Too bad that all of you have voluntarily or involuntarily agreed to help me get through the next phase of this journey like it or not. How I wish the feeling of vomiting would go away and the desire to scream at the top of my lungs would stop. How I wish I could stand up on Sunday in front of the entire church and beg each person to guard and protect their marriage from the enemy and their hearts from evil.
Today, on April 15th of 2011, I talk to God as only I can and say the following words…
Lord, I’m drowning in my own lake of despair. I’m choking, my hands wrapped around my neck. I’m dying. Quickly my soul leaves, slowly my body withers. The world that you have now permitted has led to my interim death of shattered dreams and promises. I want none of this. I want my life back. I want my husband back.
~Gina for Arise Medical Missions