Steve and Amie Bradley

A Picture of Steve and Amie

By Amie Bradley, re|engage Facilitator

Many times, in the on again off again two-year separation from my husband, I would tell my friends, “I’m done.” My complaints escalated especially as wounds kept reopening for what seemed like the hundredth time. “I’m done,” became my go-to phrase when the emotions of bitterness and anger overwhelmed me like an avalanche. The hopelessness I felt in our marriage clouded my lens in every area of my life. I was done trying to act like I was okay. I was done wearing my wedding ring. I was done worrying about what others would think. I was done fighting.

I knew we had five kids that wanted and needed stable, married parents, but that was not enough motivation for me to fight another day for my marriage during that time. The slippery slope to divorce felt inevitable. Isolation and anger seemed easier than living in community and having hard conversations.

As I walked through the lonely path of despair toward divorce, “I’m done” became my theme most days. I thought, “I’m done pursuing healthy habits for myself. I can eat or drink whatever I want, who cares. I’m done pursuing healthy relationships, anyone who didn’t think divorce was a forgone conclusion for us would be pushed away from me. I’m done praying for healing for my marriage.” If I prayed at all, I prayed that my kids would survive the consequences of a divorce. I thought pursuing a better future wasn’t worth it. Feeling my emotions was too hard. I would show up each day and grind through my tasks, not wanting to feel anything.

During this time a good friend said to me, “I’m going to pray that you feel God chasing after you. I’m going to pray that you feel like you are the one he leaves the 99 to find.”

Her simple prayer at the time made me very angry. I was exhausted from being “the one.” I didn’t want to be the one that could not have a happy marriage, the one that walked through the world with a lens of bitterness, the one that struggled to sleep every night, the one who cried behind sunglasses driving through carpool. I desperately wanted with everything in me to not be “the one.”

What I did not want was what healed me. Being the one that God chased after became my saving grace. He slowly broke through the bitterness in my heart. As I ran, He pursued my heart. As God chased after me with truth and love, my heart started to soften, and hope started to seep in slowly. Eventually the meaning of my phrase, “I’m done,” changed.

The definition of my daily theme changed in my heart. My thoughts and actions started to change. “I’m done trying to do things on my own. I’m done trying to figure out how to save my marriage. I’m done trying to control how much hurt I would allow in my life. I’m done worrying about the choices my husband makes. I’m done with keeping the doors to divorce open in my marriage. I’m done chasing anything over daily dependence on the Lord.”

As the definition of my theme and phrase changed, my circumstances did not change. My heart changed in the midst of hard circumstances. I was done with circumstances controlling my next steps. This new resolve to relinquish the struggle to be in control gave me the rest, peace, and joy that I needed to finish the battle.

My heart change created a new lens of hope that allowed me to see my circumstances differently. Seeing the fight for my marriage as a battle worth fighting changed me. Asking my husband to forgive me for breaking our marriage covenant changed me. My heart change saved our marriage.

God chased me and found me. He changed us. He changed the path our family was heading down simply by reminding me that He alone was enough. I can now say, “I’m done with pursuing anything but oneness in my marriage. I’m done trying to do all the work in my life on my own. I’m done and I'm so thankful!”

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