We continue one with Denise’s story. If you missed any of it click here to start at the beginning.
We were making progress. Sometimes I felt like we took three steps forward and four steps back. But in reality we weren’t moving backward at all. We had bad days, but that didn’t move us back. We had been through so much in such a short time. It was very hard to process it all. I still was having a very difficult time accepting that this was my life. Our counselor was so crucial in our progress. He helped us map things out and make things tangible. We were so incredibly grateful for his help.
We had been back in Indiana for four months and our host family had some life changes as well. We knew we needed to leave their home but we were not yet able to afford rent. I was still job hunting. Patrick had taken a pretty hefty pay cut so just getting by without rent was a challenge. We were scared. We had absolutely no idea where we were going to go, so we prayed.
Within a few weeks the our prayers were answered in a huge way! Out of the blue, a friend of ours called and told us we could live in their basement. She knew we were praying about housing but she didn’t know any of our details. She really had no idea of the miracle she was bestowing upon us. She said we were welcome there as long as it took for us to get back on our feet. Oh my goodness!! Who does this happen to? Twice? Who allows a family of four to move in their home WITH two dogs?? Our two sets of wonderful friends, that’s who! All I could do was thank God for their abundant generosity! Just amazing!
One hurdle we hadn’t jumped, was finding a church again. We knew what we were looking for. We knew how we wanted to feel. We just had to find it. I knew it may be like searching for a needle in a haystack, but I knew the perfect place for us to continue our healing process was out there.
Meanwhile, I had gone to a women’s day retreat with a friend. I had an amazing day and laid down some major burdens; the biggest being, forgiving HER. It was so different to forgive my husband. I knew the real him. I knew how crazy life had been. (I’m not making excuses.) Maybe the difference was after the fact – I saw how truly broken and sorry he was. I could see daily how he was doing everything to gain trust back. But forgiving her was so much harder. It shouldn’t have been. She was a sinner who needed forgiveness, just like me. I’m ashamed to say it took me months, and to be painfully honest, it’s still a daily choice I have to make.
One on particular Sunday we decided to try a different church. We really wanted to land somewhere. It was a bit of a drive but we were going to give it a go. Just riding there that day I had a good feeling. We parked, and no joke, we were greeted in the parking lot. When we got inside there were fellow inked and pierced people. It definitely had the, “come as you are” feeling and was super welcoming. Check, on two of our prerequisites. We sat through the service enjoying every minute of it. As we left that day, we knew we had just found our new church.
We had been going to our “new” church” for a couple months when they really started promoting life groups (small groups/Bible studies). I really had no intention of plugging in too deep. Not to mention I had been burned badly from my last small group experience. The thought of sitting with other couples and making myself vulnerable again really made me quite nauseous. I heard one sermon that just cut me to the quick. I knew God wanted to use the exact setting that had hurt me, to heal me. Really?? I tried to bargain, it didn’t work. I knew, we knew, we were supposed to sign up for this. UGH! Seriously, the thought made my hands clammy and my heart race. I think I actually uttered something like this, “Ok God, I know in my head that you know exactly what is best. I’m trusting you. This better be freakin’ awesome.” Nice, I know! However, I keep it real with Him, He can handle my stupidity.
But if I had even known a tenth of how “freakin’ awesome” it was going to be, I wouldn’t have believed it…