The long road home

Dear friends,

It has been so long since I have sat down to write. I have missed you.

Several months ago I received what we shall call the news from my husband. I won’t share here what that news was because isn’t everyone’s story their own to tell? I have had many friends receive the news over the years.  For some it is a financial investment that has gone to ruin, and now their home is gone and their lives will never be the same. For some it is the story of succumbing to the siren song of an addiction (be it alcohol, drugs, porn, pain medication), and now everyone is left clinging to the edge, fighting their way back against abuse. For some it is another that has taken their place, and now they are looking at the ruins of love wondering how and if they can rebuild. The news, my friends, comes in many ways – none of them pretty and none of them fair. All of them cause hurt and grief. All of them wound. All of them take time to rebuild, time to recover, time to heal. The news in this home is private – sharing the bad decisions and heart wounds of someone else is not today’s story.

But here is a hard and glorious fact –
Sometimes being broken against truth is the best thing there could be. In the past three months I have seen and understood the hope of the Gospel more fully than I could have ever imagined. I can honestly say that until this painful journey, I didn’t really grasp the hope that we can be free, that in Christ we are okay, that we are grounded. The hope that means my sin doesn’t control my destiny. That means that when I sin I don’t have to hide. Because Christ has paid the price, friends. It is all covered – which means I am safe to expose it. My husband can be safe to expose it. We aren’t stuck. Do you hear that, friend? You aren’t stuck. In Christ our story is never over until we see Him. And the sweetest promise? When we do finally see Him, we shall be like Him. There is no hopeless situation in light of the Gospel. What a steadfast anchor that is for us, indeed.

I once read that the Kingdom of God is like a city built into the side of a cliff. It is very easy to stand on the cliff edge and feel so close to the city. You can literally drop stones into its very heart. You are close in proximity, but not in relationship. In order to actually get into the city you must be willing to leave the cliff edge and follow the path, which winds down and through a forest. In fact, while journeying towards the city you will be further from it by proximity – but closer to it by relationship.
My husband and I are on that journey. Not that we weren’t Christ-followers before, but in many areas of our life there was a lot of “stone dropping” and not as much “path following”.

I recently saw this story about how the Gospel changed one man’s life. And everything in me says “yes”.

So that’s where I am now. Saying “yes” to a hard, but glorious road.

I am praying for you today, friends. Praying that you will have the courage to say “yes” as well.


P.S. If you know what book the cliff-kingdom story is from, can you tell me? I can’t remember and I want to give that author his due.

30 thoughts on “The long road home

  1. I have missed you and have prayed for you. Thanks for sharing what God is working in you. We are all on the hard, but glorious road. Often, though, we don’t say “yes” as you are doing. I pray I will say “yes” every day.

  2. Dear Annabel,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and family. About 2 months ago, I also received ‘news’ via an explicit text message sent by someone to my DH’s phone. I was surprised to see this, betrayed and yet it confirmed the reason behind his lack of interest. Love believes the best, so I did not expect this at all and was blind sided. We have a Redeemer who heals and delivers. We are also on a healing journey and although I am hurt by all of this, I still have hope. Despite this, our God is still faithful and gives us new mercies daily.

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart. I know what it is to feel heartbroken and I’m so sorry to hear that you found out some bad news. God does not intend to have anything kept in the dark. It can be so painful when things are brought to the light, but you will have amazing growth because of it. When my husband’s sin struggle was revealed to me a little over a year ago it was heartbreaking, but my growth and faith in Christ has been the best it ever has been! A good friend of mine said “god reveals what he intends to redeem.” Praying for you.

  4. Annabelle,
    I’m so sorry you are going through such a painful situation. My wonderful husband struggles with an alcohol addiction and it is truly heart-wrenching for me at times.
    I have noticed that I have particularly difficult days for a couple days each month. I have learned (rather than succumb to my emotion and react) to simply take a day or two of restful grieving. I might go for a run, spend time on the couch in the word, journal, and freely shed tears. Rather than take it out on my husband, I simply let him know that I am struggling and if he asks what I am struggling with, I’m honest with him. I’m learning to fully rely on Jesus to be my refuge and my strength and to trust God with my uncertain future. It’s excruciating at times, but I am surviving…and at times actually thriving.
    I pray the same for you. To thrive amidst the pain you are experiencing. It’s mind blowing the freedom that God has for us when we rely on Him for our daily strength.
    Blessings to you, dear sister!

  5. My dear sweet sister in Christ Oh how i feel your pain. It was January 2nd 2012 that the spirit of God had been preparing our hearts for the news. The conversation was heading in the right direction and the holy spirit whispered”it’s time”. I walked over to my husband and told him the news. The brokeness of sin led me to realize that God is all i need. He is big enough for me. I never experienced pain and loving mercy at the same time before. I understood the cross like never before! !! It should have been me-just like the song says. Thank goodness God had a plan. A year later my husband and i walk together really doing our best to full fill our roles as husband and wife according to God’s design not ours. Not easy but so much better. We have been redeemed and you will be too! God loves you too much not to! Praying for you.

  6. I don’t know what to say other than my thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope your marriage is able to heal and come out even stronger.

    My first husband lied to me and betrayed me in so many ways – the lies about his drug use, the lies about our finances, the broken promises of his violence stopping, the broken promises of him getting off drugs and back onto his psych medications and ultimately the betrayal of finding out he had dozens of mistresses.

    Of course he never even had the decency to tell – I would find out when debt collectors would call, or when I’d find his drug stash or when his mistresses emailed to tell me about his previous mistresses to try and justify their own actions – or simply coming across his mistresses discussing their relationships online at sites they didn’t know I was a member of (or one of them deliberately posting where she did know I was a member).

    A husband’s betrayal is crushing like no other because they have shared your body, particularly as a christian woman when you have never shared your body with another, that is why the lies and betrayal (particularly sexual betrayal) is so crushing.

    But whatever your husband has done, take heart in the fact he came to clean to you and wants to work things out. I know your pain is huge, but he is taking the first step to healing the relationship.

    Take care and I’m glad you were able to come back and post so that we know you’re still out there and still holding on to faith and hope.

  7. Sweet Annabel,

    I have missed you so! I’m happy you’re back, but sad that your family has been heartbroken. I will lift you in my prayers. The city and the cliff analogy that you used is from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. My small group is currently going through this book and like any other Lewis, it’s amazing. Praying for peace on your journey down the mountain and into the City.

  8. I just figured out that the wife of a new friend who moved to our city used to be suffering from Leukemia. She had to undergo chemo, not hard to see how much she must have been suffering during the period. She just got news that there is again something suspicious in her images and she may need further therapy. My wife shared the news today, and we both felt sad …

    We have all heard success and failure stories of horrible illnesses, but let me try to share some perspective about my take of life and incidents as harsh as this or as simple as daily events.

    It is a big show, (like a movie or a game) in which all of us are playing and in the end, the best players — given their roles and abilities — are going be rewarded the highest, be respected the most, be valued highest, be closest to the most valuable position, to the Lord. Every single action is accounted for. The rules of the game are quite clear, the guideline are given, yet everyone needs to use their minds and hearts to figure out their best role. The instruments are given, eyes to see, ears to listen, minds to think, hearts to love or hate, … Actions are chosen by players (whether they realize the way they want or not) and everyone is responsible for their own thoughts, understandings, struggles, efforts, words and actions (not necessarily outcomes). The main goal is to find the right path, that is the best play, which should be sincere and full of sense.

    There is a great rule to success: respect everyone and everything as much as they deserve. But to understand how much they deserve devotion of life and thought and effort, a clear thinking mind and a believing heart is needed. A successful choice brings more faith, even if the outcome is not pleasant. Soon the need for light is observed. Darkness kills the souls. Light comes from Lord and only Lord. The honest, pious and thoughtful find the path and are guided and blessed in the end. Find the right way of life. It is so hard but quite worth it!

  9. I have kept coming back to your blog, hoping that you would come back, too. I am so sorry for “the news” you’ve had to process, but I am so grateful you are giving it over to God’s healing process. I, too, heard “news” from my husband back in January. We had been suffering for years (hence my even finding your blog) and I finally asked some hard questions. The answers to those questions began the hardest period of our lives, but through it we are both finding healing and an intimacy we would have never known otherwise. God is good. That sounds so cliche but it is true!

    I am praying for you, that you and your husband will find exactly what God wants you to discover through this hard time. That you will both find healing and strength to recover. That what the enemy meant for harm is rather planned for your good. If you ever want to talk, please get in touch with me.


  10. Annabel,
    I just stumbled upon your blog and it could not have come at a better time. I am 28, newly married (2yrs), and dealing with many issues spoken about here.

    Your words, wisdom, honesty, & faith have brought me some much needed grace & understanding. I realize this comes at a time when you yourself are in need of healing, and I am praying you find it. Swiftly if it all possible.

    I merely wanted to say thank you. You’ve helped me see things so differently within a few minutes of reading, and there was much for me to hear leaping from the pages of this blog.

    Now… back to reading some of your archived posts!

  11. I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. The news whatever it may be is something I fear given the issues in our marriage. I will keep you in my prayers. While in our 13 years I have been given “the news” before about 2 into our relationship. But given the “lack of interest” I often fear that “the news” is coming again. I am however very glad that you are back writing, and I hope to hear more from you, I have read your blog from the very first post and I love your writing and your downright honesty. Thank you so much and I pray that all goes up hill from here for you!

  12. I read this the day you posted it, and I continue to run back to it several times a week. Your words – honest and raw and pure – challenge me to uphold that same respect you give your husband in those moments when my broken heart cries out in pain. “The news” is indeed hard, whatever the situation.

    Thanks for touching base and sharing in the midst of the shadows and fog. I will continue lifting you and your husband before our loving Father and gracious Redeemer. In Jesus’ name, my dear sister. In Jesus’ name…

  13. So good to have you back, Anabel! You’ve been on a lot of our minds, and I never stopped hoping and praying that everything was okay. Thank you for your transparency and we will continue to pray for you and your hubby. You’re an amazing woman of God and I believe with all my heart that God will make a way and show light out of this situation. He has a purpose! God bless!

  14. I am still lifting you and your family up in prayer, Annabel. You are right in that we all receive ‘the news’ at some point and ‘the news’ takes different forms. Being broken through ‘the news’ is not what we want to endure. I have flashbacks sometimes about when my ‘news’ was revealed. I don’t ever want to endure that kind of pain again. But, I know that if ‘the news’ were to be dropped on me again, the Lord will again, carry me through. And my ‘news’ actually revealed some of my own sins. So, he carried me through and helped to refine me so that I could be more like Christ. “Return to your fortress (God), you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you,” Zech. 9:12. Keep a firm grip on your hope, Annabel. Christ’s promises are the goodness on the horizon.

  15. Your blog is a great blessing to me, thank you for sharing your struggles and insights as God works in your life and marriage. We are starting over after 25 years. As I have determined to seek God and to please Him in my life and marriage He is blessing. Some days seem too hard, but He is faithful. Praying for your struggles and look forward to hearing from you again here.

  16. Thank you for your honesty. As one who has been through crazy highs and lows in a (so far) 4-year marriage, I am often seeking fellowship and wisdom online as this kind of hurt and pain is so inherently private. So often I find Christian marriage blogs that are wonderful, but sadly not relatable to my situation. They leave me simply saying, “I wish…” I love that God is using you in your pain. What a redeemingly beautiful thing to come out of the ugly and heart-wrenching stuff you are forced to deal with right now. Take comfort and rest in your safety in Him and know that I am praying for you as I seek Him in my pain as well.

  17. I got ‘the’ news over a year ago now. I was devastated, broken and I died inside. Now, more than a year further, we are healing and I believe we will be stronger once we are ‘there’, but will have to continue to work very hard. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I really believe that can be possible.

    I wish I could be there for you!

    Mara x

  18. I feel so sorry about what had happened. God has plans and we should be thankful for all the trials we have gone through. We will just think of it as a challenge in life. Thanks for sharing your story. Very touching

  19. Hi friend,
    Longtime since we heard from you. Praying to God that things are getting better and you are able to continue spread the message you did in the past. God bless you.

  20. COME BACK….. I scream at my computer. Please, Come back!! Annabelle, I need you. In my own selfish needs, I desparately want you to post again. Your blog was the Lord speaking right to me through your words. I finally found words of wisdom that are if you are in my home, my heart, my marriage. I am praying for you healing, your situation and your heart so that someday maybe you will come back and help so many again!!

  21. OH Annabelle…….I received my “NEWS” today. My heart is heavy and broken. My life will change forever with the decisions I am forced to make now that I am aware of this “new’s”. Because of the actions of someone else, my hill just got steeper to climb. The clouds, fog and lightening are pressing in. Tears fall like rain and they just keep coming. There is nothing but darkness and pain. Yep, everyone gets “the news” eventually. Today was mine……

  22. I still think of you. I bet my “news” was similar to your “news”. I bet ALOT of husbands with ‘low sex drive” have the same ‘news” our husbands have. I am slowly digging out of this deep hole. Some days I just crawl under my favorite blankie and stay there for hours. My body is numb and my heart is broken, forever. I have read your last post a hundred times…..maybe more. If our “news” IS the same as I suspect it is, I wish we could walk through this journey together……I feel so alone…..

    • I totally agree with you SJR – that many of us have the same, heartbreaking news. I received mine back in January of 2013. If you want to communicate with me, I’m here for you. My husband has undergone intensive treatment and our marriage is going through a real transformation. It’s been a hard, hard road. I still haven’t spoken openly about it to anyone we know, save my sister. Through our intensives, we have come away with a wonderful friendship with a couple who has gone through similar issues. Please get in touch with me if you want to.

    • Your note tore at my heart, SJR. I Alfred with what you said about the commonality of low sex drive and “the news.” I, too, received “the news” about a year and a half ago. I didn’t think I’d ever heal from the hurt and betrayal, but here we are, working on our marriage today. If you want to talk, I’m here. I have a very neglected blog, but would be happy to share my story with you.

  23. Anabelle… where and how are you?
    I pray that you have been able to get through this situation.
    Facing despair, hanging on to our faith, fighting with all that we have…
    I hope, as the word of God says, that “all is well” for you.

  24. Hi, I finally have an account and I can share with you how much I miss you!!! Please let us know in just 2-3 words how you are doing. We need to know you are alive and trusting in Him who is able….

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