So after my last post “You Love Some. You Lose Some.” where I talked about being in a co-dependency group on Valentine’s Day, I got a few messages from people saying that they too struggle or have struggled with co-dependency. I wanted to share another story from the beginning of my journey.
It was about 8 years ago. I had just returned from getting fast food and was sitting in the parking lot of an extended-stay hotel where my second husband and I were living while we waited for our condo on the lake that we had just purchased to be ready for us to move into. I was dreading walking back into that hotel. This was an extremely abusive relationship in every way you can imagine. I sat in the car, heart racing, palms sweating, and knew I couldn’t take one more day. I had reached my breaking point. I picked up my cell phone and called my sister. You see, my husband had completely cut me off from my family for about 6 months, but I was willing to risk him seeing her number on the detailed phone bill because, depending on how this phone call went, I would either be back in my home town or dead, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because either way he couldn’t hurt me. I asked my sister if I could come and stay with her. I told her that things had gotten so bad that I couldn’t handle one more day. I didn’t tell her that if she said no I was going to take every pill in that hotel room, but she said yes – as long as I saw a counselor as soon as I got there. The next morning after he left for work, I packed my things, got in my car, and drove home.
“Look around, Ariel. You are in the same group. You are at the same end.”
After about a month of him “getting saved” and “getting his life right with God,” he convinced me to come back and work on our marriage. Things were great for about two weeks. We started going to Celebrate Recovery and Re-Engage together at a church here in Dallas, Texas. This is where I had my first “Ah- Ha” moment in recovery. I was sitting in a large group of women and as each one went around the circle and shared their story I sat there in shock and judgment of a lot of these women. “At least I’m not into…” I’m not proud of this by any means. As I heard one after another share about their experience with drugs, alcohol, pornography, prostitution, abortions, homosexuality, and other things I classified at the time as being worse than my issues, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. “Look around, Ariel. You are in the same group. You are at the same end.” It hit me like a ton of bricks that the enemy, Satan, was so crafty that he would use whatever weakness he could to destroy someone’s life. It was in that moment that I knew I could never judge someone for where Satan had tried to get in and destroy their life. As I continued to go to CR and Re-Engage to try to be a healthier me and a better wife, I was learning how to set boundaries. Those boundaries were not being accepted very well, and my husband and I were worse off than before. God was actually being used against me. Instead of hearing things like, “You’re such a terrible wife because you don’t…” (PG version of what was actually said to me) like before, I was hearing things like “If you were a good godly wife then you would…” I was being asked what I was talking about in my meeting and then being restricted to what I was allowed to talk about.
A few months later on a hot summer night, he and I were at our condo doing some renovation work when a huge fight broke out between us. I seriously don’t know how one of our neighbors didn’t call the police on us. I yelled something at him and slammed the front door as I went out onto the porch to smoke a cigarette. I was bawling. I could barely see through the tears and barely talk through the sobbing. I looked up at the sky and saw two stars that were right at eye level, just like a child looking up into my daddy’s eyes. I stared at those stars as if they were the eyes of God himself. I raised my arms as if to grab the sides of His face. I didn’t care who heard me. I called out to my Heavenly Father, “Would You please just stop what You’re doing for a minute and look at me? Look at your child? Look at your daughter? Do you see what is happening? Is this the abundant life You always wanted for me? That you planned for me? Please Do Something!!!” I just stood there with my arms raised to heaven, sobbing. Again, I heard His loving voice speak to my heart. “No, this isn’t the life I had planned for you. But I’m not controlling. I made you smart and give you a choice.” I dried my eyes, took a couple weeks to get the rest of my affairs in order, and left. Over the next couple years, I found a new Celebrate Recovery group and a wonderful counselor, threw myself into church, read so many great books, listened to so many good sermons, and surrounded myself with Godly counsel. Things aren’t perfect. I have ups and downs: times when I give into my desires and my way of doing things, and times when I am walking so incredibly close with God I think my faith could never be shaken.
I tell you all of that to tell you this: THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE! Don’t believe the lie of the enemy that hope is lost or that you are beyond repair. Your Heavenly Father and Creator is always there ready and waiting for you. It doesn’t mean that life will be perfect and that you will never be hurt again. But if you allow Him to, He is waiting for the opportunity to pick up your broken pieces and repair your life.
If you are struggling or know someone who is struggling with anything – whether it seems so small that it doesn’t really matter or too big to deal with – please let me encourage you to talk to someone. If you have a good bible-believing church in your area, start there. Google search “Celebrate Recovery” and find a group in your area. If you don’t even know where to start, then message me and I’ll help you find someplace to get started.
If you get nothing else from this blog post, please know this: