Several years ago I discovered my husband was having an affair with a mutual friend. Although I wanted to try counseling or prayer - anything to repair our relationship - my husband preferred that we go our separate ways.
I felt as though I were in a bad dream. My emotions swung from anger to sadness, but I clung to the fact that I could trust God for renewal and a new direction in my life. My deepest prayer the first week of our separation was from a line in the chapter on marriage in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "Sorrow has its reward. It never leaves us where it found us" (p. 66).
I also called a Christian Science practitioner to support my prayers during this difficult time. I wasn't just concerned about me, but also about the emotions that our children would feel with their parents separated. The practitioner reassured me that I would find "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). He also urged me to look for "that which comforts, consoles, and supports" ("Science and Health," p. 582).
Indeed, my family was a huge comfort during this time. So was my church family. I hadn't told many people about my situation, and, one Sunday, a member asked me where my husband was. Tears welled up in my eyes as I replied, "We've separated." She hugged me and said, "Thy Maker is thy husband, honey" (see Isa. 54:5). I felt the strength of her love and the truth of that statement. And I knew in my heart that all the love, support, and husbanding of God would always be by my side and wouldn't leave me comfortless.
One morning, while commuting to work, my thoughts seemed noisier than the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson I was listening to in the car. In a flood of tears, I turned off the CD and shouted: "I have had enough! I've tried my best to be a good wife and mother. I pray regularly and go out of my way to help others. I do not deserve to have such an upheaval. I want this struggle to stop right now. I want my home and family back intact!"
Then, when I'd finished shouting, God spoke to me. I didn't hear the words audibly, but the message was clear, calm, and strong: You are very good. I am lifting you up. Stop struggling and accept this promise. This was such a dramatic moment for me. It occurred to me that I had perceived everything wrong in this situation. I wasn't a victim; I was being protected.
This new perception redeemed for me the time I'd spent married to my husband. I realized I'd been struggling with believing that maybe I hadn't been as interesting, fun, or as pretty as I could have been to keep the "home fires" burning. But this assurance of God's love and care for me helped me see that moving forward with the divorce was a progressive step for our family. I also saw that I didn't need to blame myself.
Then I thought of our children. I realized how overwhelmed I'd felt hoping to put a new dad in place for them. But I was reminded of the fine qualities of father and husband that were exhibited in the men in my own family. I saw that God's fathering didn't have to come in the form of a new husband for me - and my prayers reassured me that these qualities and examples of men in our lives would surround my family no matter what happened.
Also, I knew that I would not be able to afford to keep the house. But just as I had learned that the qualities of father and husband are not confined to the limits of one person, I was also learning that the qualities of home are not limited to a house. The day after I decided to sell the house, a man showed up unannounced at my door and asked to buy it. I hadn't advertised or even secured an agent to sell it.
This man's daughter had been through a hard divorce years earlier, and he arranged for her to talk with me because he felt that I had something special to share with her through my faith. I was so surprised when he closed on the house and said he didn't need my house anymore but had decided to follow through with the purchase because of my helping his daughter. He paid my asking price and didn't require any inspections or repairs. For me this was further evidence of the divine support that the practitioner had told me to look for.
For the first time in many years I was free of my debts. I even purchased a sweet home and was able to enter into a new business.
My former husband and our mutual friend got married, and I can gratefully say that our children enjoy a good relationship with their dad and his new wife.
God's care has given me the strength to resist self-pity, resentment, and anger. I've learned that despite the storms that may rage around us, we can do better than survive - we can maintain our joy and find renewal.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.