As she drove onto the grounds of the retreat center, she prayed she'd be able to get through the check-in process before the tears came.
As soon as she shut her room's door, the weeping began. Had it really been only two hours since that horrible conversation?
The emotional part of her skittered away from the review, not wanting any more of the lashing pain, but her rational mind took over. She thought, "Well, I have to think about it--that's why I'm here. I have to make a decision, and I am here to sort things out and seek God's face."
Okay, then. Going back a few years...
She had been content enough in her single life, convinced that marrying was simply not in the plan. Then, along came the proverbial "man of her dreams," and, at the time, she felt certain that he was a gift from the Lord.
Now, she wasn't so sure. They had wed after dating about a year, and had been married four years, with a two-year-old son, Sammy. Sammy was definitely a 'daddy's boy,' and that made the decision even more complex. Her heart broke at the idea of tearing her little guy away from his "Big Papa."
But could she actually forgive, and ever trust her husband again?
"Technically..." he had said.
"Technically I have not cheated on you. I know what I did was wrong, and it's so over, but I don't think I deserve this third degree about what exactly I did or did not do."
And he did not look her in the eye through the entire discussion, not once.
"So," she thought, "he very likely didtechnically cheat on me, and lied about it, and tried to turn things around to make me feel guilty for questioning him about his actions. Real nice."
Wounding her further was the fact that the revelation had come as a complete surprise to her--out of the blue, thrusting her into the black.
So, she had asked her mom to come get Sammy and keep him for a few days on an emergency basis, then had flown out of the house herself as soon as her mom's familiar vehicle pulled into the driveway, giving no explanation.
"It couldn't be helped. I couldn't tell her in front of Sammy, and didn't know what to say, anyway." Still she felt bad.
Yep, bad. For whatever reason, the bed and chair didn't appeal to her, and she found herself sitting in the corner of the closet, knees to chest, alternately sobbing, bawling, or sniffling.
The big issues: infidelity, God's will for her husband, for her, for Sammy, for marriage in general, trust, vows.
The old, tired issues: the thought that somehow, obviously, this is my fault...I mess everything up...I knew I wasn't good enough...I knew I couldn't possibly deserve the happiness of a solid marriage and home, children, etc., and I was right, wasn't I?
Then, curiosity: who was she? How long had this been going on? Had he cheated before? How dumb am I? Did Sammy know? Did others know? What would everybody think if this "got out"?
Rage and hurt toward her husband made a slow but definite turn toward a new target: God. Her mind screamed, "How could You let this happen? You know I had my doubts."
Through the long, deep night, she sifted and thought, cried and wrote, and was pushed and pulled by her tumultuous emotions, there on the floor of the closet. When at last she saw the first rays of dawn creeping in through the blinds, she sighed. She didn't have an answer, and was no closer to a decision than when she had arrived.
She also found that she was was stiff from sitting curled up on a tile floor all night. As she slowly and carefully made her way to her feet, her eyes caught a simple plaque on the back wall of the closet. She tilted the desk lamp up so she could read what it said:
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
--Psalm 28:6-7, NIV
Thank you for visiting this prayer closet.
My heart trusts in him, and I am helped. She nodded and smiled, though her heart was still breaking, breaking. "I came here to make a decision, and I have," she thought.