I was tearing my family apart and I just wanted it all to be over. I wanted my life to be over. I wasn’t a good wife or a good mother. I wasn’t good for anything, and I truly thought my family would be better off without me around to continually screw things up.
The uncontrollable sobbing was making matters worse. He was terrifyingly angry, but he had every right to be. I had messed up again. I tried so hard to be good and I would be for a while, but one little mistake and before I knew it I would be in over my head again. As I cried harder he yelled louder. One of the children would scream for it all to stop. It didn’t end well. It never did. I was tearing my family apart and I just wanted it all to be over. I wanted my life to be over. I wasn’t a good wife or a good mother. I wasn’t good for anything, and I truly thought my family would be better off without me around to continually screw things up.
Altering bank statements and checkbook entries, secretly opening credit card accounts and personal bank loans, caught in the payday loan trap, and a multitude of other deceitful financial practices controlled my life for more years than I care to admit. This was my secret life that no one knew about until things would get so bad that I would confess to Greg, my husband, that we didn’t have that balance in the bank, but rather thousands upon thousands of dollars of debt. Greg was rightfully upset that first time I told him. He said we would get through this and he borrowed from savings I had not touched and settled the debts. He would try to set up safeguards. When I had (unknowingly to him) once again racked up debt, I would find ways to get around those safeguards. He continued to get upset each time I would confess and would again bail me out, until this time. Greg was angry with me and Greg was angry with God. We entered a very dark time in our already fragile marriage. Throughout these many years we both continued to faithfully serve at church. We both knew Jesus and believed we had a Christ-centered home. We were good at keeping up appearances. But now Greg was done with church and although I would go with the children, I was drifting far from God.
I was good at hiding my financial indiscretion from our three children. However, I was trading precious time that I could spend pouring into them for worrying and planning how I would get out of yet another mess. The fights, though, were not hidden. It all was beginning to take a toll on them that still makes me choke up as I write this. Divorce started entering into the arguments. Greg made it perfectly clear that if I didn’t get my act together that is how things were going to end.
At some point in time in all this mess, our youngest child Sarah, had been going through her own difficult times. We knew surface details, but she didn’t share the deepness of it with us. He struggles were having an impact on her emotionally, physically and spiritually. God was good to our little girl and wrapped His arms tight around her and restored her. She still had these messed-up parents. Sarah had seen the beauty of God’s grace and mercy in her life. She knew that God could gather our family in those same arms of redeeming love. She began to pray. Those times of prayer would soon include her brother, Jason, and in time their oldest brother, Philip. Each of them went through their own brokenness, though they came together to pray for healing for our entire family. It was a process as we experienced God’s arms enveloping us -- the experience of the ugliness of repentance and the beauty of reconciliation.
It has been many years now. While I would like to forget so many of those years, I do not want to forget because there are days that I just need to remember how God rescued me and how he rescued our family. I remember so I can lavish myself in the beauty of grace, mercy and forgiveness that was showered upon me by my Heavenly Father, by my husband and by my children.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:1-3
Author: Lori Zastrow