When you begin a story, you have to start at the beginning. The place where the journey is born and walk forward, as though the listener is traveling with you.
As I thought of the starting point of our story, three letters began to write themselves. The spelling out of gratitude and the nailing down of truth.
This is the first one.
An open letter to the man I once married…
You and I were children then. Broken, messy children. Both looking for the place that could be home, the place where the heart could belong. We were good friends. I always tell people that. We were very good friends, and maybe that’s all we were meant to be. But I’d never question it now for the glory of those three little faces that would not have been.
We created a life together. One that I worked so hard to make perfect for us all. One that to you, I’m sure, felt like putting a man’s suit on a toddler. We were children trying make a marriage work, and our wounds scraped the raw places of each other’s heart. And we kept trying.
We moved across the country. And for awhile that helped because we had a new mission to find unity in. But those smoldering coals never stay silent very long. My dreams and desires for perfection must have felt to you like there was a fire in your lungs that couldn’t find any oxygen. You hated me for it. You didn’t know it then, but I did.
I tried everything to save us. And the more I tried the more you hated me. I couldn’t see it then, not fully, but you needed to find YOU. Not the you that I saw, or that anyone else saw, the YOU that He made.
Three little boys depended on us. For everything. But the one thing I promised they would never endure was the one thing I knew He was asking of me. To let go. To let the dream die. To stop striving and let Him excavate the ashes. I asked you one last time, did you want it? I already knew the answer. And then He told me it was done.
To this day, I don’t have a single hard feeling toward you. All the sharp edged words, the lack of truth… all of it. It was all just you gasping for air. A heart begging for Him while I stood in the way. My terrified heart grasping to control, to find safety, was suffocating us both. Good intentions wringing the life from hearts desperate to just be free in His love.
People say He can save any marriage. I believe fully that it’s true, to the very depths of me. But I know now that He can make more from our surrendered failures than He can ever do with our successes. His glory is brighter when shining through our cracks and crevices.
We had been like a house on fire with all the windows locked up tight, a smoldering flame slow burning from the inside out. And when the door opened and He flooded in, the windows blew out and our brokenness was visible from the outside. But there was so much glory in those ashes. So much. The story was never about us in the first place. It’s always been about Him.
I write all of this to say, thank you. Obviously, this story has so many more words that could be written, but the most critical truth here is that we did it. He did it. We have taken what most people would call an ending and have created something new. Something so much better for our boys. They have more love, more peace, more joy, more hope, than they ever had. They have seen that grace is an action and love isn’t conditional. They know from watching us that life is hard and never perfect but God is always good and there is glory in everything. We only have to be willing to dig in with Him and find it.
You have been their daddy, you have been present for them. They know how wildly you love them. You have cared for them and made them a priority without a question. You have worked with me to not only make choices that are best for them but to discipline them when their hearts need guidance. We have been a team focused on their good and His purpose. You have been my friend and have supported my new journey to love.
None of it has been easy. We have worked for it. We have chosen grace. We have chosen love. We have made our words reflective of His heart, we have made this journey one that has given our boys the understanding that forgiveness and compassion are worthy causes.
Yes, we were just broken children, and we were friends. And because He loves so recklessly and has a way of making it all so, so GOOD, we are still friends. We are a whole family in two homes.
Each choice has brought us here. Each decision to turn toward His heart and do the thing that is best for our boys.
Thank you. Thank you for being my friend.