I was sound asleep when my husband came to the room.
“I’ve done something awful,” he began.
I tried to shake off the grogginess as the details began to spill out. My husband, the pastor of our church, had been having an affair for the last year. Her husband had discovered transcripts of their online conversations using key-stroking software.
As the truth began to sink in, the questions swirled in my head. Do I stay with him and try to make it work? Do I leave? If I leave, how do I support my three children? Why did he need someone else? Was I not enough? What will the church think? Will they think I am somehow responsible? How could he humiliate the name of Christ?
As the night wore on, I found myself email after email detailing the intimate details of their secret life. I came to realize there had been an unwelcome third party in every moment I had shared with my husband.
Despite trying to reconcile, the pull of his illicit relationship was more than he could resist. We eventually separated and divorced.
I have now been a single mom for nearly six years, and it has been the most amazing and rewarding journey! I have found a new depth to my relationship with Christ. I have seen God provide for my every need. And, I am now seeing God open doors of ministry in ways I never dreamed.
How did I journey from a scared, insecure woman struggling with the rejection of a spouse to a place of healing and wholeness? I could talk for days, but I will give you three simple words.
Surrender. In the early days, I found myself running from God. But, he relentlessly pursued me, called me to get my security from him. Eventually, I found myself unable to resist his loving pursuit of me.
I vividly remember the day I just paused and said, “Lord, I don’t want this journey. But, if this is what you have planned for me, I will take it. Don’t let my pain be in vain. Do an amazing work in me so you can do an amazing work through me.”
He has faithfully answered that prayer.
Forgive. I’ll never forget the day I encountered “the other woman” at a funeral. I kept hearing the still, small voice of the Savior calling me to extend forgiveness. Out of obedience, I walked up to her, wrapped her in my arms, and said, “I forgive you. If we will let him, he will take this mess and use it for something beautiful.” Even though I wasn’t sure I meant those words, God allowed his forgiveness to flow through me. I walked away FREE!
Forgiving him has become a daily choice. I keep a note on my bathroom mirror that simply reads, “Pray for him.” As I faithfully pray God’s blessings over him, I find the anger and bitterness melting away.
Thrive. God called us to an abundant life (John 10:10). I made the decision from day one that my kids and I would not survive this season; we would thrive! And, thrive we have! My kids have grown in so many ways! They are no longer shy, quiet kids; they are amazing leaders with hearts for God! We laugh together. We cry together. We live abundantly.
I never dreamed my life would turn out the way it has, but I wouldn’t trade this painful journey for anything.
Although your former state was ordinary, your future will be extraordinary.
Job 8:7 (CEB)
About Dena Johnson
Dena Johnson is a single mom of three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie. She strives to follow Christ each and every day, and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the everyday experiences of life and turning them into Biblical lessons for her children. She is often accused by her oldest of “going Biblical” over everything in life. In her spare time, Dena works as a Registered Nurse. She also writes for crosswalk.com and blogs at Dena’s Devos. If you would like to contact Dena, please feel free to contact her at DenasDevos@yahoo.com or through her blog.