The Battle. The War.

My joints ache. A deep bony throb that calls for the intense heat of the tropical noonday sun to penetrate and release the pain. But the cold drizzle and unseasonable cold intensifies this arthralgia that belongs to someone who is much older than my 30-some-odd years. This is the ache that comes when I enter an intensely emotional season.

The past two days have been rough. It’s been back to the drawing board as anger and hurt well up inside of me causing me to seethe. And fret. And pace the floor like a caged animal. Two days of this passed before I accepted the need to come before the Lord. To cry out for wisdom and a softened heart. I have seen what happens when I allow my anger to take over.

It’s a gory, bloody mess.

My words are sharp and laced with poison. I aim for the most sensitive part of my husband soul and I am an expert markswoman.

But not this time.

I won’t repeat past mistakes.

We have been apart for several days while I visit family in the North. His work would not allow him the time off so I hesitantly agreed to our separation. The concern about what this time may undo was legitimate.

A couple weeks ago we had hit a pretty low point. Not only was he talking about leaving, I saw it in his eyes. I felt it in the distance he maintained. I knew it when I embraced him. And it terrified me. It shook me to the core. My fear only intensified when I realized that it would be done civilly. Without anger. There would be no throwing things, no heated verbal battles. It would be gently explained to our children and then we would part ways. Saddened by love lost but holding out hope for better luck in the future.

My husband’s heart was gearing up to walk away as mine was starting to yearn for him. The very day that I asked him to give us a second chance he admitted that he may not want to stay.

God’s timing is pretty amazing as well, however. Just when my husband decided to call it quits, God placed in me a fierce determination to fight for what was left our marriage. And I did.

The battle was fought on the spiritual plane as I bombarded the Throne Room with my desperate ineloquent prayers. Afterwards I was able to come before my husband and ask him to stay. To keep the promise he had made 12 years ago. We were lacking the emotions, but we could honor the commitment. It was a long night. But when he looked at me and said, “ I promise I won’t ever leave you.” I felt almost giddy.

That informal renewal of our vows has kept me grounded. When I was raging and wanted to leave, I remembered my promise to stay. When his actions left me feeling empty and it seemed all hope for love was lost, I did not throw in the towel. When I could not remember why we were staying together, I remembered our vows. My emotions ran the gamut but my commitment refused me the freedom to act on them.

Fast forward to this week. I knew our time apart may create new challenges. The distance awakened past hurt. Without his presence to remind me of what still possess, I only remembered what we had lost.

Yesterday, I was dumbfounded when I recalled my desperate pleas for him to stay. What woman in her right mind asked a man who so clearly did not love her to stay? Why would I ask a man who had brought so much sorrow down upon my head not to leave? The fear that I would find myself on this end of another painful affair overwhelmed me. I prayed for a way out while prayerfully resisting the old habit of sending hateful texts and cryptic messages. It was an exhausting day that stretched into the wee hours of this morning.

Knowing that this could not continue, I asked a seasoned prayer warrior to join me on the battle field this evening. I have emerged exhausted but precious ground has been won. I gained wisdom to make some hard decisions. I have found the strength to let go of some hurts and found the forgiveness I needed to extend to my husband once more. My heart has been softened.

This particular battle has only just begun. The time on the battlefield has set into motion events that must be bathed in prayers. This new leg of our journey will be harder then what we have already passed through. The war is far from over.

But I find strength when I remember that God has consistently given me those things needed to cultivate healing in our marriage. He has given me His love for my husband. When I needed to fight for our marriage, He placed within me the passion to do so. When I needed to be gentle and loving he has given me the strength to be soft. I have never had to manufacture what was needed. It has always been provided.

Well, I have no words left for tonight. The ibuprofen has finally kicked in. The deep ache has subsided. My eyes will barely stay open. I need to sleep. I will see my husband tomorrow. I have a long car ride in which to pray and prepare. I am so thankful that God has gone before me. The Victory belongs to the Lord.