repercussions {day 2}

realhardloveToday’s Real. Hard. Love. story is an anonymous one from a friend of mine. She’s not going to share her name, out of respect for her husband. Maybe someday he’ll be willing to share openly, but now’s not that time.

We’ve been friends for a few months, but this part of her story is new to me. I didn’t know she was carrying this burden. It makes me wonder how many other friends share her pain. I’d venture to guess it’s a lot.

I think all of you will be touched by what she shares. And some of you are gonna be hit hard. I’m praying God shows you what he wants you to do after you read it. And sending you a great big hug in advance.

That’s it from me. Here’s my friend:

It’s hard, in a way, to know where to start this story. When do I hit you with the punch?

Because from the outside we look pretty normal, like any other couple. We go to church, we go on dates, we have a kid, we’re pretty average.

But we have our struggles. We have our secrets like everyone else.

You see, before my husband was with me, he was with another girl.

And he got her pregnant.

And then, because they were scared teenagers in high school, they decided the best thing to do was have an abortion.

All this before I met him. And I remember how afraid he was when he first told me. The strongest man I knew: afraid. Because I held the power, I held the power to reject him. To withhold forgiveness.

But I didn’t. This didn’t change my feelings for him. My God had extended forgiveness to him and by His grace, He helped me to forgive him too.

I wish I could say the story ended there, that everything was hunky dory after that. But it wasn’t. These things, they weren’t without their struggles.

First, I had been insecure for a long time. Such a long time. And this revelation did not do much to help that. I was a virgin when we got married; he was not. I was so afraid I was going to be compared to this other girl. I had no experience, what if I was bad at sex? What if I wasn’t as attractive as this other girl? What if she was better than me? I feared that he would leave me and go back to this other girl. I feared all these things for the longest time.

I am sure my husband got sick of reassuring me over and over again that none of those things were true. I know I hurt him by being too insecure in myself to trust him and take him at his word.

But God is good, God is so faithful. And after time and prayer and patience on the part of my husband, I no longer feel threatened by this other woman.

But that’s only half the story.

Because the baby. Oh, that little baby. My heart grieves for that baby. I’ve cried for that baby. Even though I didn’t know my husband then, I feel like that baby is part mine. He or she would have been my step-child. My step-daughter or my step-son. And I would have loved that child like they were my own. I do love that child like he or she is my own. There is an empty hole in my heart for that child.

But that secret. Oh, how we wrestle with that secret. My husband has realized that God’s forgiveness covers even those which others might call unforgivable.

But it has changed me. The things people will say when they don’t realize who is listening. The things people will say about what my husband has done. They hurt me. It’s like, don’t they realize he already feels guilty enough? People give him labels when they’re talking about a situation they don’t even understand.

And it’s hard learning to work around it–and the way it’s affected him. Nobody wants to leave a party early, but you do, because you want to give your husband grace when he can’t handle being around a child who is the same age as his would have been.

It’s learning how to navigate his birthday–something he doesn’t want to celebrate because he realizes he’s denied his own child a birthday. But obviously I want to celebrate him because I love him, so how do we find that balance?

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t tough–real tough. It’s continual practice in patience and love and forgiveness, because even when you think you’re past it, even when you think it’s something you’ve put behind you, something will happen that will remind him, and you’ll have to work through whatever that new situation is, even though it’s messy, and even though it can hurt.

Thank you, friend, for sharing from your heart.

If any of you reading this know my friend’s pain personally and want someone to pray for you, let me know. I’d love to pray–and so would my friend.

9 thoughts on “repercussions {day 2}

  1. Sharon

    To Marla’s friend: Thank you for sharing your story. I am truly amazed at how you have grieved for this baby and would have welcomed him/her into your life. Not all spouses would be able to (or willing?) to be so gracious.

  2. Shanna Lehr

    I sure appreciate your friend’s vulnerability. This is Real.Hard.Stuff and so good for us to consider. Thank you Marla and thank you to your precious friend, whose journey is teaching us “grace” at it’s finest!

  3. Gretchen

    Thank you. As someone who grew up staunchly pro-choice, God has been softening my heart on this issue for years. I so appreciate the way you grieve for this child, and that your husband does, too. By the previous sentence, I do not mean to say that I’m happy you grieve. It’s just…those are things no one things about during the duress before and during an abortion. The grief lasts. This post is beautiful. Saying a prayer for you all, right now.

  4. Rachelle

    When I was a teen our youth pastor’s wife shared a similar story, except she was “the girl” in the scenario. I learned then that people we talk to everyday, who appear to have it all together,sometimes have hurts that are incomprehensible.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your grief and
    reminding me to love others fully because we really don’t know the burdens they carry.

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