Monday, October 12th, 2009
(John and Best Man, Rex)
36 years ago today it began then six years later, divorce took it away.
October 12, 1973, I got married for the first time. I was just 19 years old and in many ways I was mature for my age. I had worked for many years to provide for most of my own needs. I cooked, cleaned, and did laundry for myself for many years. I had developed a pretty deep level of independence. I felt deeply convicted about living a moral about life and felt that I had made pretty solid personal choices. I was sexually a virgin and marriage seemed to be the next natural step in life.
Upon our wedding week we found that the state of Nebraska had a waiting period for marriage licenses that we had not known about. So our wedding plans were changed a little! We were married early in the morning of our planned wedding day but not where we had planned. We were married instead, in Iowa at a small church there with only a few in attendance. Our planned wedding would come about later that day and it all went off without a hitch from that point on.
I married Kris, a girl that I had dated in high school. I remember one of our times together as we were getting to know each other. We were driving on the interstate in Omaha and through our conversation, I felt deeply connected to her. I remember thinking, “she can really relate to me”. Our lives were so similar considering our family backgrounds and life experiences that I felt valued because it seemed she understood my pain.
Since I was aware of much of the pain in my life, I remember saying to myself, I will never do to my kids what my parents did to me, divorce and separate our family. I held family values and relationship commitment in high esteem. The divorce in my childhood home was a devastating blow to us all and in no way did I want to repeat that tragedy.
So, I moved on with marriage and life. For three years I spent a lot of my energy remodeling our home. We put forth a significant amount of our time with friends and family. It became time to build our own family. Alysha was born in 1976 and Amanda in 1977. Life seemed to be pretty good overall. I had reached all of my own goals by the time I was 24 years old. They were quite materialistic, a new home, new furnishings, a new car, and the proverbial “big wheels” in the driveway for our kids. But soon, the pain I had been feeling all through the years surfaced in a very unsuspecting way. I had never considered that I would break our marriage vows through adultery but on that fateful night in 1979, I was susceptible to the enemy’s schemes and acted upon my own lustful flesh with another outside of my marriage.
Looking back, if it weren’t for the deeply seated brokenness in my life, our marriage might have survived but as the Song of Solomon says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. (2:15)” The little foxes were not readily seen but very present and came to life much to my surprise and that of many others around me.
In 1979 our marriage changed its course forever and my decision of divorce devastated our home.
I don’t ever forget this date. Each year, I ponder what was, what has happened, where I am today and seek God’s forgiveness and grace all the more. I am woefully aware of my own ability to be selfish, to think more highly of myself than others, and to run from pain.
How can I forgive myself for exploding the bomb of divorce with shrapnel flying all over my family, and myself? Only with the forgiveness of Christ can there be a cleaning of the soul. None of this caught our Heavenly Father off guard. He had made a way for me. He searched out my life and introduced me to His forgiveness and gave me a new life.
It doesn’t change what happened 30 years ago. But, it has given me a foundation of grace to build upon that I didn’t have at that time. I can only pray that He will do the same for each one who was devastated by my choices.