Hello everyone! I was working on another blog to be released this next week that had nothing to do with anger. This all changed for me on Thursday afternoon of this week. Today is Saturday and I am penning a very different blog. I've spent the last two days processing hidden anger and giving it to the Father, a specific anger. Anger I was able to feel. Anger I needed to feel so I could give it to my King. Jesus has spent the last few years unwrapping the layers of pain around my heart and I am thankful. If not for this healing, I would have never felt the sting of such anger nor been able to give it away. Anger at my late husband, anger at him for not wanting to be a father and not wanting me to be a mother. Anger that he would not have children with the women he loved. Anger that he was violent and children would not be safe. Jesus has been unpacking a lot for me over the last few days. My hope is that in telling this part of my story, this will allow someone else to face (and feel) the anger they have toward a loved one or former spouse and give it to King Jesus. Anger is too great a burden to bare sweet ones, too great for you – but not too great for the King.
I want to shed some light on how this came about for me. I want to tell you our story. And finally, I will wrap our story in the love of the King. He knows, He cares, and He lovingly walks with us through our hardest emotions and our hardest revelations. May these words, His words through me, bring you hope.
Discovering I Was Still Angry
This past Thursday I read a New York Times (NYT) opinion article about a women describing her choice to have children earlier in life rather than later. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair as I read this article honestly, and it was annoying me (I did not know why yet). I had also just heard a politician express how much being a mother meant to her and how it was the most important thing she had done not 20 minutes before. The more I read the article and the more I thought about the video I'd seen, the angrier I got. By the time I was finished with the NYT article I was in tears; angry, hot, tears. “Why is this so damn important!”, I raged inside my head. “What about those of us whose life didn't work out so neatly and we couldn't or didn't have children?”, I further raged inside my now aching head. “Why are you trying to put this “mother stuff” in a neat box?”, I fumed to myself. Mind you, I had chosen to watch the video and read the article. When you are angry, all you feel is the anger. The logic that you chose to partake of the things that made you angry (or you thought made you angry) does not compute in that moment.
The hot tears were flowing freely now. I was mad at the politician, the author of the article, and the person that shared it. I even tweeted the author of the article and the person who had shared the article in my anger. I felt justified in my snark, even though what they had written and shared was not really what was eating at me (I did go back and take down my tweets and issued an apology). I was ready to go after the politician too when I heard that still, small voice interrupt my raging thoughts. Jesus is so good at this – and this happens when I least expect it which is a good thing. I closed my eyes and drew in a sharp breath. I felt the anger subsiding and my thoughts settling as He spoke to my heart. It was not the politician nor the writer nor the sharer of the article I was angry with, it was my late husband. I was angry at him because he had chosen, in a series of decisions, not to be a father so therefore I could not be a mother in that time. He had not wanted to have children with the woman he loved. He had been violent and children would not be safe. He had taken children from me in my mind, or so I thought (erroneously). I opened my eyes and just breathed. I knew this to be true. Jesus has never lied to me, he can't. I let this truth settle. This truth that had to be faced, it was time. I sat with it and let myself remember this part of our story. Now, I will share this story with you. I write this with much love (and tears) for my late husband, and the hope that I will see him again someday to tell him everything is okay. May this shed light on that love as well as some of the decisions women have to make to protect themselves in domestic violence situations.
Jeff and I had been married about a year by mid 2012. I asked him about starting a family that summer. I was definitely ready and was excited about the prospect. He agreed that is was time to start a family that day, but I remember he was not all that particularly excited the day we discussed it. I asked him if he was sure and he told me he was that night. I didn't think anymore about it. *I stopped my birth control at the end of that week as it I would finish a packet. The very next day, when he got home from work that evening, I told him I had stopped by birth control and the effects would be gone in about 3 days. I will never forget what happened next. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don't think I want to have children right now. I want us to travel and do some other things first.” Mind you this is four days after he told me he did want children and we could start trying to have a baby. I won't lie, I was a bit surprised by his reversal of the decision and it seemed a bit strange to me given prior conversations. I asked him how much longer he wanted to wait. He said, “Oh definitely next year.” I took that at face value. So next year it would be.
**The problem with this was as 2012 turned into 2013, my husband became increasingly abusive verbally, emotionally, mentally, and eventually physically. Despite this, I maintained hope that things would get better. We would have the same discussion again about children again in mid-2013. He would again postpone any want for children. This time I protested. I asked him why. Before we married, he had talked about wanting to have children with me and seemed very excited about the idea. I didn't understand the delay. He never really answered my question. In that time, he had become more withdrawn and to be honest, there wasn't a lot of sex. It's hard to want to sleep with man who is being cruel to you so when he had moments of seeming clarity or kindness, I took advantage of those because I desperately wanted things to get better between us so we could have children. Needless to say, there was no convincing him of having children and he didn't give me a time frame. The next several months were marked by increasing violent outbursts and further withdrawal from him. I withdrew too. I stayed on birth control. Even now remembering these things hurts and brings tears, for both of us. Yet, healing comes in the things we remember and give to the King.
In late 2013, Jeff became physically violent. I gave up on the thought of having children with him. I would not bring any children into a relationship where their father was cruel. I could not risk him hurting them. ***This would have been equally cruel in my mind to bring them into such a situation. The mid-2013 conversation about a family would be the last conversation we would have about children. My marriage was falling apart. I would have no children with the man I loved. I was heart broken and heart sick. I had withdrawn and gone into survival mode by late 2013 as his violent outbursts had become more frequent. I cried myself to sleep a lot during that time. In May of 2014 after another verbally violent outburst and threats from him, I left. I never went back. My attempts at counseling and reconciliation with him failed. He took his own life on June 10th 2014. **His past pain and wounding was too great for him to bare. I loved him more than he'll ever know. One day, I will get to tell him. I have forgiven Jeff. I have released him.
The Love of a Redeeming, Pursuing King
I never had children with the man I loved. I had to pause briefly in this writing and stare at those words. I have been angry and didn't even know it. Angry that he didn't want them. Yet I know he could not have loved them like they should have been loved. I think he knew this too. I was angry that I thought he had stolen that opportunity from me. However, this is a lie. The opportunity may have been stolen at that time, but it has not been stolen for the rest of my life. I know this because Jesus redeems all things. He makes impossible things possible. He gives back everything that the Enemy steals. He is calling me to higher trust. I choose to trust Him. I choose to trust Him for my children, no matter whether they are naturally born, adopted, or spiritual children. I have given my anger to Him. I have released its toxin from my heart and body. I choose to let Him fill me with love that only He can, a mother's love – that I can nurture where I am until such a time as He fulfills His promise to me. Oh the peace that comes with letting go and trusting my friends!
Let go of your anger. Let go of your pain. Place them in the hands of the One who can trade your sorrow for joy and your anger for peace. Let Him be your comfort as He has been mine. He is a gentle, kind King. The anger in the hidden places is no match for the pursuing King. His love is relentless for you! Come to Him, all who are weary. Come.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV, the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Isaiah 61:1-3a NIV: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, 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 a spirit of despair.
Love and peace,
*I realize not everyone reading this may agree with or use birth control. This was our choice to use birth control. In retrospect, this was the best choice for me (and him) given the circumstances I have explained. As always, please follow your convictions on such things. I know these are very personal choices for everyone and even my thoughts on this type of thing have changed as of this writing.
**You can learn more about my late husband's and my story in my book, The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between. Available at www.Amazon.com
***I am in no way judging or condemning anyone who has brought children into a relationship that is not healthy. Every situation is different. Beliefs are very different. I did what was best for both of us even though I desperately wanted my marriage to be different. I pray no one reading this is ever put in that situation in their marriage. It is a very lonely and painful place to be. I could not protect myself from my late husband. I did not want children to know their father would not protect them either. I hope you see and hear my heart.