Four years ago I had my identity stolen. It was horrendous, terrifying.
It left me broke and broken. I questioned if the nightmare would ever be
over or if I would ever feel secure again. Every day I would fix one
piece of the mess only to have another nasty little issue rear its hateful head.
So how did it happen? Did a clerk at the mall copy my data off my check?
Did someone steal mail from my mailbox. Or did I lose my drivers license
or have my purse stolen? No, and with apologies to those who have had the
above nightmare happen, I tell you that I would have given anything for
that to occur instead.
You see, my identity loss came at the hands of the person I loved most of
all. My husband. The guy to whom I had promised forever. The man whose
children I gave birth to. The man who had promised til death do us part.
The man I had loved with all that I was and all that I had. For 13 years.
He went from sharing my dreams to killing them. From drying my tears to
causing them. From being the repository of my trust to betraying me. And
I was completely undone.
No marriage ends without storms and troubles and ours had been a long
time dying. We went from nurturing each other to hurting each other and
neither of us could understand why or how to fix it. And each of us
buried our head in the sand and hoped that tomorrow we would wake up and
everything would be better.
I thought that if I could only work harder, longer, do this, fix that,
then he would see my value and appreciate me and come to
love me like he used to. Lord only knows what he thought,because by
now we were reduced to talking in cliches unless it was about
the kids or some other safe topic.
I realized one day, and expressed to him that every part of my being was
an offense to him. Sadly he agreed. By now what I didnít know, was what
so many other spouses donít know though the signs are staring them in the
face like a fifty foot billboard. There was someone else. This someone
happened to be a good friend. So she was naturally there, baby sitting my
children, visiting in my home, going together to church parties and worst
of all, listening to me while I essentially cried on her shoulder while
my marriage foundered. I thought she was just a good friend of my husband
until one day I noticed that I was really watching a courtship.
I should have spoken. I should have screamed and yelled and raised all
manner of hell. I should have banished her and him from my home. I should
have, I should have....but I didnít. I couldnít. My soul was frozen. My
heart was bruised. So broken. And I wanted so desperately to make things
right. But how, how could anyone make this right.
I ceased to know who I was. Or care. I was a wife. I was a Mommy. I
didnít want to be anything else. I worked, not out of ambition but out of
necessity. For thirteen years I knew where I belonged and where I was
going. And with whom. And now I was lost. In the wilderness. In the fog.
And in so much pain that I rode the roads at night praying for the
courage not to turn the wheel off the bridge or into the wall or the semi
coming the other way.
Without him I didnít want to live. I couldnít live.
There was no hope, no future. I hung on to each day with fingernails,
hung on for my kids, only for my kids, because for me there was nothing
to hang on to.
Nearly my entire adult life was wrapped up in us. But now
there is no us. And the life I prepared for no longer existed. The one
for whom I worked, played, laughed and loved didnít want me. Violently
didnít want me. Wanted someone else. Why? What did I do so wrong. What is
so ugly, bad, stupid about me that I am no longer acceptable. What then
should I be. Who then should I be. Because if he doesnít want me who
will. Who am I? The role for which I prepared has been taken away and
given to someone else. Someone else will share his joy and his pain.
Someone else will share his heart and his bed. Someone else will lay
roses on his breast at the end of his life. It should be me.
When I wake up in the morning I am no longer wife. No longer will I say
proudly "My husband." With whom shall I go to those places we planned.
Who else can I share the memories of when our children were born or
smiled or walked. The shared holidays and shared history are just history.
And I, who values family relationships above all am bereft of my most
important possession. How do I teach my kids who they are when I donít
know. How do I keep from destroying their memories of their dad when so
much of the memories are built on lies. How do I see the parts of them
that he gave, the furrowed brows, the lithe stomach, the round little
butt, without dying of remembrance. How do I craft a new life when I want
so badly the old. Who am I if the best of me wasnít enough? Wasnít
worthy? Wasnít loved?
He knew me when I was young and supple, before life took away the first
blush. Now I am tired and more than slightly worn. Who will want someone
very much less than perfect. Someone that is too busy to cook and too
tired to clean and just too darn tired. Someone whose stretch marks were
caused by someone elseís children. Whose breasts droop from nursing
someone elseís children. Whose arms hold someone elseís children. Whose
memories both good and bad are filled with someone else. Who will cherish
me and more importantly who will cherish these children, his and mine, as
much as we did. Who can discipline them in love when they do not truly
belong. Who will they run to when they need a protector. Who will teach
them about life. About love. About marriage. Me? The reject, the failure.
Me, the abandoned, of no value. Who dear Lord, Who? How?
I believe God made this marriage. I believed God could save this marriage.
I believe God hates divorce. So how do I fit God into this identity loss?
Does God also reject me as not good enough? After all, many and fervent
were the prayers. Countless tears were shed at the foot of the cross. I
did not visibly bleed, but I bled pain from every pore and every cell. I
bargained, I pled, I screamed, I cursed. And finally, very finally, I
gave up and let go.
"God", I prayed. "I have no one. Even worse I am no one." "I donít know
who I am or even who I want to be. Help me. Show me. Teach me. Heal me".
And slowly, so slowly that I didnít see or feel it happening God began to
One day I felt the sun. One day I saw a flower. One day I could
feel the breeze on my skin. It felt good. One day I smiled. Long days
later I laughed. Once. Then again. I stroked my daughtersí face and felt
hope. I ran and felt strength. I prayed and felt God. And felt good.
It is four years later. Four years since who I was became who I was not.
Four long hellish, hopeless, endless years. Four years without an
But this I have learned. God did hear and answer my prayer. For
my identity was based on something and someone that could go away
at any time. And it is a very big load to ask someone to carry anotherís
identity. Too big a load for any human. And too fragile for me to give to
I needed to become loved for myself, flaws and all. I needed to
be seen in all my ugliness and found to be accepted. I needed to love
myself, value myself and respect myself. Myself alone. God took what I
thought I needed and gave me Himself. And I have learned that He is
enough. And because He is enough so am I.
I have a new identity now. One God and I are crafting together. It
encompasses almost all the titles I had before. Oh, not the one of wife
and lover. I am not yet ready for those. But it includes the titles while
not being dependent on them. It begins with the title Beloved of God. As
for the rest, there is an eternity to discover.
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