The end came quickly without warning or premeditation, though it wasn’t until much later that I realized it was the end.
Several things happened at once. His angry words tore at me. His hands reached out and roughly shoved me. The kitchen counter stopped me from falling. And then I heard my young son leave the protection of his room and walk towards us. Horrified that he might see what his dad was doing to me, I grabbed the phone with shaking hands and dialed 911.
From the outside it appeared that our lives were pretty good. We had a nice house. Nice cars. We took great vacations…almost yearly trips to Mexico for scuba diving, a recent visit to Paris and Barcelona, a vacation cabin in Wyoming. Our kids were good looking, good in school, and involved in various sports. Granted, there were challenges. Our oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 11. Our younger son was born after five long years of infertility and various interventions and treatment. But as far as anyone could see we had a great life.
But things went on behind closed doors that no one suspected. My kids and I lived on edge, waiting for the next angry outburst. I shielded my boys the best I could, especially when there was violence. Punched walls. Thrown dishes. Broken doors. I tried to keep them out of the way when his anger erupted. Tried to appease him. Silently begged our oldest son to appease him, too.
Many nights I cried out to God. “Please. Help me. Change him. What am I supposed to do? I don’t know what to do.”
But after this night, there were immediate actions I needed to take. I insisted he leave our home. Get into counseling. Stop drinking alcohol. But the long-term questions remained.
Buffeted by fear and anxiety, I desperately turned to God. “Help me. Save me. Tell me what to do.” Talk about life interrupted. I had asked for none of this. I tried desperately to stay married in spite of the emotional and verbal abuse that regularly erupted from my husband.
Sometimes life interrupted comes in big devastating ways. In the end of a marriage. In a cancer diagnosis. In the loss of a child or spouse or friend.
Life interrupted and brought me to my knees. And on my knees I cried out to God. His words were gentle and loving. “You are the daughter of the King.” His hands reached out to hold me through my darkest nights.
“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Through this interruption, I discovered God’s grace is sufficient. His promises are true. He will light my path, protect me from my enemies, and bring me to a place of safety.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; so he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 17:28-30
Life interrupted and God met me in my greatest moment of defeat. He spoke to me. Through his word. Through sermons at church. Through encouragement from friends. And he gave me hope.
“The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” Psalm 103:6
Sometimes God restores a marriage. And sometimes he doesn’t. In our weakness and defeat, in the hard places, God’s provision and protection are strong. And if we allow him, he gives our interrupted life, our place of suffering, purpose and perspective.
I filed for divorce. And God filled me with an incredible, supernatural peace. Like nothing I have felt before. I knew in that moment God was with me. Guiding me, helping me, leading me, and calling me to share my stories and what God has done for me.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18
My story, my life interrupted, is God bringing purpose out of pain.
“He has sent me to…comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:2-3