For years after our divorce, I loathed him. I honestly didn’t care if he lived or died. There were days that I prayed for God to take him. Are you shocked? Don’t be. I know it sounds harsh, but I’m just being real. And honestly, I know I’m not alone. I share my story all over, and many women have acknowledged that they have felt the same way. We are human and emotions are powerful.
Despite my feelings, and despite our divorce, however, God continued to do a work in me. Just because we were divorced didn’t mean my relationship with him was over. We had children together and God uses relationships to teach us how to love. He uses hurts and offenses to teach us how to accept His grace.
Eventually, a funny thing happened. I graduated past the loathing stage to a place where I loved him “as a brother in the Lord”. In reality, I only tolerated him. When I saw him at family gatherings, I couldn’t wait until he was gone. It was an effort to be around him. In my opinion, he was still guilty, fallen.
I was better.
But that wasn’t love. It was judgment and self-righteous tolerance. Filthy rags.
That all changed a couple of years ago. I was waking up one morning and as I barely opened my eyes, the Lord gave me a glimpse of Bob. He was running down the hallway toward my bedroom. He was restored, renewed and full of joy. He was young and healthy. As he approached my doorway, he didn’t stop running. Instead, he threw his arms into the air and like a best friend exploding with joy to share some wonderful news, news that couldn’t be contained, he dived onto my bed as if it were a swimming pool.
He laid on his back, arms crossed over his chest with his eyes toward the ceiling. A smile bigger than Texas spread across his face. I never heard the news he wanted to share, but it didn’t matter.
He was different, restored, complete and whole.
How do I know it was the Lord? Because never in a million years could I conjure up such a thing. When God gives us glimpses of the future it equips us to transform our vision. We may not be able to explain how we know it was God. Others may think we are weird or somewhat crazy, but when God speaks, we just know.
The Bible says that His spirit testifies with our spirit. It’s an undeniable inner witness that we can not ignore.When God speaks, He doesn’t need a lot of time. His truth is sharp and precise, condensed and powerful.
Literally in about 5 seconds, He showed me a glimpse that remains today. It has completely changed the way I see my ex. I don’t see him addicted, wounded or disabled. I don’t see him as a victim of post traumatic stress disorder, having survived an accident that killed his son. An accident for which he was responsible. I don’t see him incapable or full of bitterness and sorrow.
I see him transformed. I see him whole. I see him restored. I see him as God sees him on the other side. On the other side of our circumstances is victory. That’s what He has in store for all of us!
For the past couple of years, I’ve gone from tolerance to trust. Trusting that He who began a good work in Bob will complete it. I’ve also learned something about love. Love never fails. Love hopes. Love trusts. One version says that love always believes the best in others. That was a real eye-opener for me because I was flat out guilty. Guilty for believing the worst. And even worse than that, I taught others to believe the worst. You see, my children inherited my perception long ago. Children learn what they live. I taught them to judge. I taught them to condemn.
I shared this vision with my family at Christmas. Yes, I know it’s weird, but Bob comes to our home for the holidays. Celebrating holidays with John and my ex may seem strange and awkward, but it’s the place God has us, not just blended, but shaken and stirred. He uses adversity to refine us and the easiest place to find adversity is in relationships.
As I shared the vision of seeing Bob completely restored, I saw the concealed shock on the faces of my children. To hear their mother validate their father, to see their mother praise something she formerly despised, to witness her lift up their dad without evidence of any change to support praise was something only divine intervention could accomplish. And I know it touched a place deep inside of Bob. Validating him in the presence of those most precious to him deposited worth. And Worth is changing him. Over the last several months, I’ve seen belief rise up, and self-hatred leave. I’ve seen faith increase and fear leave. And I believe that I will see generations change. My children will see a miracle. Their shame will melt away and hope will prevail.
Today, I believe the best for Bob. And believing the best has manifested in the way I treat him. I no longer have to try to love him. I just do. Because it’s not my love that spills out to him. It’s God’s love. And God’s love is effortless.
Last week, three days before the accident, Bob did something he’s never done. For many years, he’s been desperate to see his children more, but his limited disability income and the lack of a vehicle gave him little opportunity. When Brittany and Garrett turned eighteen and standard visitations were no longer in effect, he had to rely on them to come see him. Misery and Self-Pity made him difficult company so holidays were about the only time they saw each other. Family holidays were not celebrations, they were obligations.