Out of My Horrible Pit

Written by Janet Perez Eckles

He came home from work one evening and, with a cold and indifferent tone, my husband Gene informed me we needed to take a ride. His demeanor was more silent than usual. I got ready quickly and joined him as he silently walked me to the car.

He started the car and we rode silently as the car took us out of our neighborhood without any specific destination.  I wanted to know what was on his mind. I asked with curiosity and apprehension. With a tone of sad indifference he gave me the details of his dissatisfaction with our marriage and our relationship.

His reasons didn’t help

He explained that the lack of attention I had demonstrated toward him was painful. He added there was someone at work with whom he’d been sharing his emotions. He had found comfort in her listening ear, and in her much needed understanding.

He continued talking, but the explanation and details just ripped at my heart. I don’t remember everything he said. I wish I could have just gone numb. Instead, everything, every feeling, intensified.  This horrible blow came from the one person I relied on and never doubted.  The pain of it poured over me like acid; it seared.

This unexpected announcement and his feeble attempt to make me understand why was more than I could bear. I was stunned. I was speechless. I wanted to escape, so I asked him to stop the car. I was becoming physically ill. He pulled in at a fast-food restaurant. It seemed I was emptying everything inside me, everything but the pain that scorched my heart.

Walking through a haze

The following weeks became a blurry haze.  I felt empty and hollow, unable to sleep or eat. A wall of silence and tension built between my husband and I driving us farther apart. His coldness and distance turned the knife of rejection within me.

“What about my three little boys?” I thought with anguish. They needed at least one parent who was “together” enough to care for them. I had to pick up the pieces somehow. But where would I begin? Should I try to cater to Gene’s emotional needs? Should I fight and try to stay in a relationship knowing he no longer desired me? Did I need to face the fact that after ten years of marriage, I was soon to be a single mother?

Neither of us made a decision about the marriage. We sought counseling, but the advice was simply to “get out” of relationship that wasn’t working out. We talked, and talked some more, but nothing was resolved.

In an attempt to put our life together again and move forward, I desperately began to pray. In the midst of sobs I called out to God …perhaps ‘complain to Him’ would be more accurate. The thought of looking to God for answers was not foremost in my mind. Although I knew how to recite memorized prayers, God had not been a part of any plans I made, nor did I ever seek His input in this process. I had followed my dreams, my goals, my objectives.

If you had asked me if I believed in God, my answer would have been, “Of course, it’s a personal and private matter, but I have him in my heart.” What an answer! “In my heart?” God was out there somewhere, distant, abstract, put away in my mind.  He was just there in case I needed to mutter a prayer to Him. God was like a spiritual insurance policy, mostly forgotten, remembered only when needed.

I lacked a relationship with God. When my dreams were broken, I felt lost, empty, and anxious. I felt rejected and abandoned by Gene and defeated by a force that was bigger than anything.

Turning point

“Jan, would you like to visit our church?” asked a friend. Somewhat uncomfortable I accepted this invitation to her Christian church. My shattered heart ached for someone to make it whole again. For years, I heard Bible verses at my own church.  They reached my ears and quickly vanished. But now, broken and desperate, those same verses pierced my heart with the sharpness of truth and revelation.

I stopped my sobbing, wiped my tears and looked to Jesus. I made the decision to say ‘yes’ to Him and invite Him into my life. Like opening my hand to let go a helium balloon, I released the grip of desperation, anguish and confusion. I saw with clarity where I’d been and, more importantly, where he promised to take me. His reassurance caressed my heart.

It was as if Jesus was silently scooping up the broken pieces of my heart, dusting them off and wiping away the hurt and the pain. He was then lovingly and gently placing each piece in its proper place. Once whole again, He filled my heart with His kind of love, the unconditional and everlasting love. I made Him the center of my life.

My renewed heart had no room for self-pity, resentment, vengeance, or anger. I felt able to forgive. This genuine forgiveness brought about freedom, and with it, the wisdom to make decisions logically and calmly. With serenity and confidence I gave Gene the freedom to stay or to leave. Whatever his decision, was I would win. If he chose to stay, Christ would take care of healing our marriage. If he left, Christ would also be the one who would fill the void of his absence.

Gene surprised me one evening when he came home and announced that he had put in his resignation. As a sign of his commitment to the family, he would seek other employment. He was willing to start over with no distractions. I am convinced God honored this decision on his part. He led him to another position in a company closer to our home.

Although delighted with his decision, I was still cautious…would this last the life of our marriage? Rather than doubt or question his renewed commitment, I made my own decision to focus on God and on his promises.

What I had thought was important in our marriage—financial security, material possessions – stopped being important. What I’d disregarded before became the most important aspect of our relationship. Although it was uncomfortable at first, we began to pray together and made it a nightly routine.

Thirty years later and more in love than ever, I can look back at the series of events that took place, I can assure you, that God knew what he was doing.  When my world and my marriage were falling apart God was there to pick up the pieces.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “ I waited and waited and waited for GOD. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.   He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. (Psalm 40:1-2, The Message).  That is exactly what God did for me.

Is there an area of your life that needs restoration?

God is waiting to help put the broken pieces back together.  In the Bible it says that God loves the world so much that he sent his son to suffer in our place so that the slate can be wiped clean.  Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross forgiveness is available for everyone.  No matter what has happen to us, no matter what we’ve done.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord, I need you now more than ever. I want your peace of mind. In the midst of my broken heart and my pain, I turn to you. Jesus, I ask you to forgive my sins and to give me your peace and comfort. I open the door of my life and put my trust in you.

If you sincerely expressed that prayer to God, you can know that you have a personal relationship with Him. He will be your comfort. God promises us “peace that passes understanding” in other words peace in a world that doesn’t make sense. You can know peace and hope even when your world is in turmoil. You can be restored.  God does not change. Ever.

One Response to “Out of My Horrible Pit”

  • Mags says:

    What a wonderful post – I was searching for some comforting words to tell an acquaintance who is headed toward divorce. What I want to scream is “STOP!” “PRAY!” then act… I’m still not sure what to tell her, but I was really moved by your post.
    Many thanks,
    :) Mags
    My own Christian Blog: everydayplaces.blogspot.com

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