As hard as it was to make life seem like normal, I was trying. I was really struggling to believe this was real, but at the same time I knew I had to take care of my kids. I had no idea my husband was capable of being unfaithful to me, so who knew what he would do next. I had to think clearly. I was constantly praying for wisdom and direction. I was still willing to fight for my family; I just had to be proactive on both sides. Even in my anger, hurt and disgust I knew the next step I had to take.
Thankfully those dear friends that spent the night praying and talking with me came to my aid again. He and their daughter took my kids to see a movie while she and I went to make some financial arrangements.
It was while we were sitting on the deck waiting for our friends to arrive that I got a text from Patrick. It read, “Denise, can I come home?” What? Again, I had no idea what this meant. I didn’t take it to mean anything. Who knew what was going on in his head. Just about 5 hours prior, he was leaving with someone else and didn’t love me anymore. I texted back, “Yes, we have a lot to talk about.”
The kids went to the movie and I continued with my plans. I was still a shaking, nauseous mess, but my mind was working!
When Patrick drove up, he looked like I felt…crap! I was able to make some very bold boundaries with him in that conversation. I told him that I was very unsure what this visit was about. If this was a token visit, and he was unsure about what he wanted, he was not welcome in our home. The kids and I were not going to be treated like welcome mats. We had been treated unfairly enough. He agreed. Huh?
Frankly, I was confused. I continued to tell him, if he was done with HER for good, if she was dead to him from that moment on, he was welcome in our home and he was welcome to sleep on the couch. He looked terrible. It must have been pretty hellish to carry all that guilt and shame. Then I encouraged him to call a friend from “home” that he’d been avoiding all day. He did just that, went to his car and made the call.
He walked in the house and informed me it was over with her. He had texted her, ending it and letting her know he was working on his marriage. I read it and proceeded to delete her from everything I could think of.
Now, there we both were. I had no idea what to do next. I had such a mix of emotions. I was thankful for his change of heart, I was fearful it wasn’t real. I was disgusted at the sight of him, but I was glad he was sitting on our couch. I was angry, hurt and humiliated. I honestly thought about how Jesus must’ve felt, He was totally without sin yet he was mocked, humiliated and betrayed. He took all my sin to the cross. He forgave so freely. As much as I wanted Patrick’s sins to weigh more than mine, they didn’t. I’m just as much a sinner as he is. His sin was made public, it was far reaching, it was devastating to so many, and came with a ton of consequences. My sin may not be as far reaching, or as out in the open, but it’s still ugly and I’m still in need of forgiveness. It was thosese thoughts that were swirling in my head and challenging me to do what I didn’t want to do, but was the right thing to do…forgive him.
When our children arrived home they weren’t really sure what to do either. My youngest was happy he was home. My oldest looked at him with pure disgust. My heart was so heavy for all that their little hearts and heads must have been burdened with. That night we all slept in the living room; my reasoning, simply being because I couldn’t trust this man as far as I could throw him. I had his phone and his keys. How long would he be willing to keep this up?
The next day felt so strange. We knew we had to talk about so much. We did. We talked and cried, talked and cried. He would give me space when I needed it. However our future was VERY unclear. We assumed the church wouldn’t really want him on staff and we knew for sure the mission no longer needed his services, so housing and jobs were clearly needed. As we talked that day, I wasn’t sure how we could heal if we stayed there in Arizona. In my mind it held places of exact polar opposites. On one end, it was a place we loved, with people we loved to serve and so incredibly beautiful. On the other end, it would always be a place where we had been through hell and back and I didn’t know if I could live there and truly heal from the hurt.
An invitation came that afternoon from friends in our home state. They offered us a safe, soft place to land. We prayed and asked God to show us what to do next. After talking some more, we both felt it was the best move for us. We needed off that mountain. We needed a fresh start. We needed to take this leap of faith for our family.
So, being the emotional wrecks we were, we began packing. I was so unsure and yet so completely sure of so much at the same time.