Second Chances

It’s been almost 20 years since my husband and I got married. The first 6 or so years can be likened to a fairy tale gone wrong..very wrong. I don’t like to get into the dirty details, but we were headed to hell in a hand basket at Mach 10. When we met, we both partied..rather hard in fact. Without telling all of the sordid tales, there’s not much we haven’t done in “the world” ..with a few exceptions, because we both HATE needles.. even getting immunizations puts me in a mental freeze. The ONE tattoo I have was enough needles for me..but nonetheless..the things we DID DO almost destroyed our lives, our marriage and our entire family was suffering.

You know that verse from the bible about people who tear down their own homes with their hands? Yes, that was us.

Charity after charity had to help us and we had used up every resource in our town trying to stay afloat all while punching more holes in our ‘boat’ along the way. We were ‘drowning’.

One awful night.. I finally left and called the police. I broke. I had enough. Words cannot describe how broken I was..but apparently I wasn’t broke enough.

We were on the verge of splitting up when a man invited us to yet another church. (eye roll) Would this be the one where we could be on a road to recovery? I didn’t know if I had it in me to try again. I didn’t think my husband did either..but we thought we’d try.

After about a month there, it was obvious that he wasn’t ready, yet I couldn’t keep going down the same destructive path.

It wasn’t long before his downhill spiral was just too obvious to the church, our neighbors, and the few ‘friends’ we had. I had to get my 2 girls and myself out of there. He was barely coming home at all at that point anyway. His drug abuse and my endless ugly nagging was tearing us both apart and our girls witnessing all of the ugliness.

And I’m giving you the cleaned up version of our past filth.

Those years were an utter nightmare, but somewhere along the way my husband finally came back to town…after being off the radar for 3 months. Not knowing if he was dead or alive was something I would never want for anyone to go through. No one in town knew where he was. I called the hospital, the jails, I googled for him. He was..gone.

Those 3 months felt like a lifetime.

At bed time each night I would hear the sweet little voice of my oldest (who was 5 at the time) “Where’s daddy?”

Night after night.

Biting my tongue, trying to find my own composure, I calmly told her, “we’re going to trust God with daddy and he knows right where daddy is and I believe that God is ministering to daddy in ways we can’t.”

Kissing her forehead and tucking her in for the night…knowing she will ask the same question tomorrow… it got more difficult.

I refused to give her any doubt and had to fight my way through the dark valley myself, but I just had to figure this ‘faith thing’ out.

Without dragging you through all of my story in one blog post I will simply say that everything we went through was something I would not wish on my worst enemy. The ugliness of our past has no bling to it at all, nothing to sift through, the only gold you will find is who we are today and how we have reconciled, fought hard to save our marriage and now we’re approaching 20 years of marriage.

And yet we are still growing and making our way though life…with our blessed second chance. He should have never come back to me and I should have never taken him back…well some people believed that…but we didn’t. Most people we knew at the time wanted us to get a divorce. Our problems were too much for our friends and loved ones to handle. Our ugliness was breaking all of them too.

It got to where I hid it all. I stopped talking about our problems and for the sake of my own sanity and faith, I had to stop leaning on them for a listening ear.

We were the prodigals, my husband and I. We made our way ‘home’ in His tender embrace, he wiped away our tears and kept all of them in a bottle. Our pain and turmoil yielded many tears and those tears are sacred to Him.

Could it be that he has shelves and shelves of large bottles of all our tears and perhaps, could it be possible? That he may be using all those tears to water us now and bring forth fruit on our tree of life?

We have a springs forth from our hearts..from the brokeness of our past.. to help others to get a second chance.

Because someone else’s ugliness is not too much for us to handle hearing about. We’ve been there.

We know how dark the valley is for them and how hard it is to find others who are willing to hold their hand and walk with them through the darkness.

Our prayer is that they will look within, as we did..and realize the light is within them and their brokenness is how the light shines through...Serena Woods says our brokenness makes us into lamps.

People don’t need to be enabled, they need to be lifted up so they can realize their potential and have confidence that they can make it through.

But it doesn’t help when they look over the horizon and see raging hostile people ready to stone them to death.

We got a second chance at life. Can you give people a second chance?

If not, can you at least remain silent so others can?

Grace, it’s so radical that some find it to be offensive while others find their way back to life through it.

There are three people on my heart today…

  • Casey Anthony
  • Kevin Schatz
  • Elizabeth Schatz

Casey pleaded not guilty and that infuriates people!

Kevin and Elizabeth pleaded guilty…and that infuriates people.

You see even a repentant heart that fully confesses doesn’t soothe the hostility and rage in the hearts of some people.

And yet Jesus said that if you hate in your heart YOU have already committed murder.

Guilty as charged…all of us.

I’m not asking anyone to allow these 3 people into their lives, to support them financially, or allow them to baby sit your children…but may I be so bold as to ask… be silent.

Hold your tongue. Bind your rage.

There are ministers of the Gospel of Grace who are reaching out to offer the same second chance we’ve been blessed to receive..because grace is what saves us.

When we forgive others, our Father forgives us.

And whoever is forgiven much, will love HIM much.

How will Casey, Kevin, and Elizabeth develop a deeper love for Father? Through grace, it’s the only way.

Jesus made the way possible..the door is wide open and we want to minister grace so they can discover this healing within.

Don’t block the way!

Where can you direct your energy..the energy that drives your anger over lives lost…? That energy can be shifted, reshaped, and formed into something positive.

If you have a heart to minister grace..the grace that gives us all a second chance, won’t you please join the many of us by raising this awareness of grace?

Joy did.

Sarah Markley did.

Can you raise awareness about books that deceive?

Elizabeth Esther did.

The community at No Longer Quivering does this on a regular basis.

Because while we can minister grace to bring healing to the lives that have been broken, we also need to put our feet down as a educate people of the dangers of some forms of child ‘discipline’. It’s a preventative measure.

And don’t forget to pray…for the victims. They need healing.

The Schatz children will have a life long journey to find full healing..but it doesn’t help them to grow up to see the constant rage the community has over their sister’s death. No one hurts more than they do. And a couple of those children are old enough to read what you’re all saying about their parents. So please use your words wisely… use grace. Otherwise your hostile words heap more coals on their innocent, precious heads.

face boy child by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

My precious son, Timmy. Who never had to see his mommy and daddy’s past.