As a young, BYU graduate, the word divorce has always been taboo. In my religion, we believe marriage is sacred, eternal, and something that is worth working towards and sacrificing everything to create a selfless and beautiful relationship. So naturally, when I knew I was supposed to marry the man I did, I thought the rest of my life would be hearts, stars and bubbles and that we would live happily ever after. I wasn’t blind to the fact that marriage required a lot of hard work, but I also knew that if both my eternal companion and I put in 110% percent, we would create something beautiful that would last forever.
My parent’s have an incredible marriage. They both give a lot, serve a lot, and love even more. They are never scarce on their affections, acts of service, and public affection. In fact, as kids – sometimes we were a little grossed out by their constant kissing in front of us. As an adult, I can’t help but smile as I watch my parents hair slowly turning gray and yet their love for one another growing stronger each day. My dad tells my mom how beautiful she is at least 10 times a day. He still opens doors for her, brings her home chocolates, flowers, and is constantly dropping everything on his list to spend time and make her feel loved. All I ever wanted was to marry someone exactly like my dad and be loved and treated like the princess he always told and showed me I was.
It’s hard to feel that way when the person you’ve chosen for eternity, loves everything else but you. But through that experience, I have learned that happiness is a choice. Happiness comes from within. And most importantly, strength comes from the Lord. Over the last few years I feel as though I’ve been through the refiners fire, and I am sure there is more of that in the years to come. I’ve been beaten, broken and my soul torn more than I ever imagined possible. And yet, through it all – God has been with me. He is everywhere. As I continued to turn to Him in my times of great despair, He always comforted me, brought me peace, and assured me that I was never alone. I always had a smile on my face – not because I was faking it – but because my happiness came from within.
Though this is not how I ever pictured my life, the hardest decision I ever had to make was to let go and let God. I pleaded with Him to allow me to stay in this marriage, to fight for my companion to undergo a change of heart, to fall in love with me, to treat me right, and to turn to the Lord in repentance and humility. I fought the answer I received as I struggled and let my heart and wishful thinking take over. My pride also got in the way, as I thought about what others would think and what kind of “stamp” this would permanently put on my forehead. But as I drew closer and closer to the Lord, He assured me everything would be ok.
Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Not because we want to, but because the choices of others can sometimes permanently affect our eternal growth and progression. As much as you want to change someone and do everything in your power to make them choose the right, we all voted for agency in the pre-mortal life. And agency is sometimes a hard pill to swallow when you watch those closest to you making poor choices and stepping away from the iron rod.
Though I had been told the same answer many times, I continued to go to the Lord daily for strength to follow through with it and to also clarify that I was understanding Him correctly. One morning when I was once again in the temple He directed my thoughts to the story of Nephi when he was asked to kill Laban and take the plates. Though I had never related to this story before, it suddenly became very real. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions, no matter how wrong or painful they may seem, to let better things fall into place and to allow God’s plan to move forward. His answer to me was very clear as I was told, “Your work here is done.” With tears running down my cheeks, I suddenly understood that the choices and direction my companion was headed was somewhere I couldn’t follow him. It wasn’t my lot in life to stand by a companion any longer who abused me, constantly cheated on me, lost the light of Christ and had had his priesthood taken away. It was very clear that I needed to move in a different direction and that there was nothing else I could do to help him. It was once again, time to let go and allow God to take care of him in His own time.
For years I have continued to grow closer to my Savior, as He was my constant and very close companion through a difficult marriage. I often felt stuck, or trapped, as I wanted so many beautiful and righteous things to take place in my life, but were not possible because of the choices of my companion. Though this road ahead of me will be long and perhaps very rocky as I get a fresh start and create a new life, I have no doubt that this is what God needs me to do. I believe that each of us has a very important mission and work here to do. In fact, I believe we are given many different callings, tasks, and people to take care of during this mortal realm. I can say without a doubt that I did marry the right person at the right time, and that I was supposed to go through what I did to teach me, to make me wiser, and strengthen my testimony on a daily basis. It was a lesson and experience I was meant to go through to grow closer to my Father in Heaven and to better understand his plan for all his children on earth.
I am excited for the path that lies ahead. I am not afraid, nor do I feel alone, because I have felt the Savior with me every second of every day. He is leading me and already I have seen miracles and opportunities that He is blessing me with. Though this was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make, it was very clear that this, in the end, would be the best choice for me and the only way for me to accomplish what the Lord needs me to do.
This blog is not meant to be a social pity party, as I thank the Lord every day for the trials I’ve been given that have only made me stronger. But rather, as a way to document my journey into an unknown future. My faith is strong and I am excited (and perhaps a little impatient) as I wonder about the road he will lead me down next. I hope my story and experiences give others courage, faith and an understanding that each of us are individually known and loved by our Father in Heaven. We are created in His image and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He gives us mountains to climb so we can become stronger, and then blesses us with opportunities to help others climb the mountains that we have already conquered. No – I am not encouraging divorce, as I pray it is something that no one dear to me will ever have to experience. It is a painful and very ugly process that leaves many scars and wounds. But I hope that anyone reading this will find strength in their own individual trials and faith in the Lord’s direction and timing. We all have an idea of how our life is going to go, planned down to the minute as a perfect fairy tale. But in reality, our lives are not our own. We are here to do a great work that is unclear at times, but if we press forward in faith and confidence, we will see miracles unfolded before us.
As I have already undergone a lot of healing from this experience, my thoughts often turn to the story of Lot and his wife in the bible. I have found that the times I am in a lot of conflict and feel that my choices are cloudy, it is because I have one foot turned forward, and one looking back into the past. To truly heal, move on, and have faith to follow where the Lord leads us, we cannot look back. Yes, we can reflect on lessons learned so we do not go through those again, but it is imperative to have both feet facing forward and to keep our focus, thoughts and actions in the present moment. Never turn back, as Satan will taunt you and distract you with “what ifs” and “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s”. Heavenly Father does not work in fear. Faith and fear cannot coexist. The minute I begin to fear, or to look back, I quickly clear my head and turn to the Lord to keep me strong and looking ahead at the good things to come.
This video has been powerful in many different instances in my life, but today it rings truer than ever before. I know without a doubt that I did make the right choice 5 years ago, and I also know without a doubt that I made the right 5 years later. I can’t say I know what lies ahead on the new road I’m taking, but I know in all surety that it is the right road for me.