The Game of Life thumb1

If you missed any of Denise’s story you can catch up here…

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7


So, just like that, we were packing and making preparations for another major move in a few short days. That week was full of meetings, goodbyes and tons of emotion. To be honest there wasn’t a ton of packing. We decided to sell most of our possessions and only take with us what we could fit into our 2 vehicles. We did however, have a lot of sorting, giving away, and deciding what we couldn’t part with. With two kids, two adults, and two dogs we weren’t taking much.

Our friends had offered us a place to land for an undetermined amount of time. They were willing to let the six of us invade their home, knowing full well we had no jobs and would be emotional wrecks. Patrick and I felt incredibly blessed and knew the Lord was opening doors for us. All of this was pretty overwhelming. So I did my best to push it all down and just focus on the job at hand; getting off the mountain as fast as possible.

I would say we made good time, in five days were headed back east. I was humiliated, fearful, angry, sad, and still nauseous and shaking. On the other hand, I was hopeful and excited, knowing I had to trust my God for our every need. I knew in my head what HE was capable of. Now it was time to put that faith into action and really believe and act on it.


After three days of driving we were back in the “home” state. It was starting to become all too real. My life had taken a huge nose dive. Here I was in a state that I thought I’d never call home again, living in a home that wasn’t mine, getting ready to enroll my children in a different school, go job hunting, and deal with all the emotion and feelings of being betrayed by the one person in the world who should’ve had my back. I was a complete mess and that was putting it mildly. I was holding it together on the outside. On the inside, I had way more doubts than I was willing to admit. The hope I had just a few days prior was waning. What in the world had we just done? Was this the right decision? Will my kids be ok? Will my husband remain on this short, honest, repentant leash for long?

I remember the next few days/weeks being so haunted by the thoughts of what people might be saying. I had no idea what was being said in Arizona either. I felt terribly ashamed and embarrassed. I know of all the things to be thinking, that shouldn’t have been a priority. It was so very hard not to though, especially when you see people in the store and they whisper as they try to nonchalantly look in your direction.

Patrick and I were being richly blessed and we were trying hard to focus on that. Just a week after landing, we were able to start counseling. An organization that we had prior connections with helped pay for our therapy. The first initial meetings were so hard. Everything was so raw. It was making me deal and feel with everything I had worked so hard to shove down. Patrick was dealing with his own demons. However we were learning how to communicate with each other to help and not hinder any more. We had homework and were practicing all the tools we were acquiring. We had specific ways to gain back trust and accountability. Don’t get me wrong, we had some very difficult, painful days, but in the midst of the devastation, were small doses of healing.

Another blessing came in the form of a job for Patrick. I was still job hunting too but I was thankful for the time to focus on our family.

The kindness of our host family was amazing. They gave us space, they gave us love. They gave us a roof over our heads. I don’t know if that has ever been a fear of yours, but let me tell you, being homeless humbles you in a bazillion different ways! I no longer look at anyone on the street and justify why I shouldn’t help them. Everyone has a story. Everyone! Some stories are sad. Some are asinine. Some stories were brought on by sickness, addiction, job loss, and some by sin. However, I don’t want to be the person that looks the other way and pretends to know why people are in the places they are. Quite frankly that’s none of my business. What matters is, the Lord has opened my eyes and given me a new heart of compassion toward people! My personal life experiences have taught me a lot about who I am, who I’m not, and who I want to be!  So slowly we started picking up the pieces to our life…

Click here to read the next installment…

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  1. At this point, our similar paths split as I was not given the opportunity to go through counseling and work things out in our marriage. I have only been an observer and encourager as I watch others follow this path of healing and rebuilding trust…never looks easy and often what keeps those moving forward while doing this is their implicit trust & faith in the Lord to get them through & out of the valley. Courage, endurance & perseverance combined with trust & faith in the Lord…powerful.

  2. It is a sad story, but at the same time a learning experience. I did not have the opportunity to read from the beginning, so today i did read the 8 chapters. Looking forward for the happy end.

  3. So glad you had a chance to read the whole story. It’s incredible and inspiring. Can’t wait to continue to share more!

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