I've been thinking a lot about the last few years in of my life. I've been thinking about the journey I've gone on and what I've learned at what appears to be the end of this journey.
On October 10, 2003, my husband was arrested. I didn't know it at that moment but the events of that day changed the course of my life so much that I can now view my life into two chapters: before and after. A brief (OK very brief) summary involves Bob getting arrested, loosing his job, pleading guilty to a felony, not being able to find a good job, having a psychotic breakdown, loosing our house, moving in with my mother in law, loosing another job, and finally turning around and coming back to the city were it all started. Along the way our 5 year was dignosed with autism. However, I firmly believe that all the craziness had nothing to do with that and it would have occured regardless of what we did.
I learned a lot. I learned that some of the people that I thought would stand with me didn't. I learned that some people who I knew wouldn't stand with me, did. I learned that love is always a choice. I learned that forgiveness has very little to do with those who need forgiveness but instead is about those people that need to forgive. But above all, I felt that God was asking me one question: Do you believe what you say you do?
Bob was arrested and it could have very well deystroyed our marriage. I think that if I was to spell out my story to the world outside of the church and to the world inside of the church not many people would have blamed me for leaving. In fact, I think most people are shocked that I stayed. However, prior to October 10,2003 I would have told anyone that I believed what Ephesians 4:32 said:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
But I had never really had that opportunity to act out my belief. I had never really had a chance to forgive someone who had wronged me like no one else ever had. I had never had a chance to forgive someone was in such desperate need of forgiveness. I had never had the chance to forgive someone when the stakes were so high. In that situation, the choice to forigve or not was going to be the deciding fact of where our lives would go. Would we go on together or apart? Would we curl up and die in our bitterness and despair or would we be able to cling to the hope that we had in the Lord?
In the end, I couldn't forgive him. I couldn't forgive him because I am a sinful person. I couldn't forgive him because I like revenge and judgement. I was incapable of forgiving him. It's a good thing for Bob that God isn't like me. Christ in me was more than capable of forgiving him for that.
I had always believed that life begins at conception. I have always believe that God had a purpose and a plan for everyone's life. I have always been against abortion. It was never even an option for me. However, I had never had a chance to put those beliefs into practice. Then, I got pregnant. I got pregnant when I was unemployed, my husband was working at a horrible job and we thought the company was going under. We had inadaquate health care. I was living with my mother-in-law. I was beginning to think that there was something wrong with my oldest. I don't think I could have planned a worse time in life to have a baby.
At the end of the day, I believed what Psalm 139:13-14 said,
"For You formed in my inward parts You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;"
Shannon is our joy and our delight. I often look at her and think how she is the evidence of our faith. She is here because Bob and I believed. We believed that God was faithful and in the end we see God's faithfulness in His many gifts.
It has been a long journey the last few years. I think, that this journey is coming to an end. We spent a lot of time in the valley. We spent a lot of time crying out to God. In the end, I'm able to answer His question with "Yes, Lord, I believe what I said I did".