Time to talk about the hard stuff.
I had already had the little cross and then I added on the paw prints and the holly. My dog, Reno, almost died. Thankfully, he didn’t. I call him my little Christmas Miracle, and then got this tattoo added on to the cross. It was three days before Christmas and two dogs came into my yard while I was shoveling – sneaked through the gate while I opened it to shovel the other side. Everything was fine at first and all of a sudden one of the dogs picked up my little eight pound toy poodle in his mouth, bit down, and would not let go. I wrestled with this 60 some pound American bull dog rott mix to get Reno out of his mouth. When Reno started yelping I knew he was really hurt and continued to wrestle the dog. Finally – I have no idea how – I got Reno free and put him in the house. After this I had to go after my other dog who had run out front and fend these dogs off some more, and when I returned I bathed Reno in warm water and looked for wounds. For the most part, he seemed fine, but stiff, and I rushed him to the animal emergency room. Turned out he had internal bleeding from lacerations in his bowels. His blood pressure wasn’t even reading and he needed immediate surgery. They had to do everything to save him. Reno needed blood transfusions, plasma transfusions and protein transfusions. The veterinarian did not even count the number of lacerations because there were so many; he said it was like he had been hit by a car; there was so much trauma – the bill ended up being $3,000. I was in the ER with him from about 7:00pm to 1:00am – the whole time I never stopped praying for God to save him.
Before this I was only somewhat a spiritual person. I had never really gone to church and spent hardly any time reading the Bible. I knew I believed that there was some higher power and occasionally said little prayers, but that was pretty much the extent of it. This night, I prayed over and over and over and over: please save him, I promise I’ll go to church, I promise I’ll read the Bible, I promise I’ll do better, please just save him. By 1:00am Reno was in critical condition, but alive, and they told me to call around 7:00am to check on him. Needless to say, I was a wreck – hell I am wreck trying to write this. I didn’t sleep and kept praying through the rest of the wee hours of the morning. Over the next day and half I visited him at the hospital and he slowly creeped out of critical condition. The first visit was heart wrenching. He looked awful, obviously, and was hardly responsive as he turned his back to me. The second visit was more encouraging as his tail wagged as the vet put him in my arms. By Christmas Eve I had him home as a trial run and he only returned to the vet to remove his stitches. My little Christmas Miracle.
Now I had to fulfill my promise. My best friend has been asking me for some time to come to church with her – NEO Church, a more modern approach to worship with a band playing every service and a pretty hilarious pastor. I finally took her up on her invitation and started going to church every week, reading the Bible, doing devotionals, and participating in all sorts of Bible studies. It was great and I was baptized on Easter in 2014.
Then during the summer of last year, my marriage started falling apart. It started falling apart the instant we got married. I won’t write paragraphs and paragraphs about everything that was going wrong, because I could, but tons of smaller issues had been culminating since we got married and getting worse, and one aggressive incident in particular made me worry. He didn’t hit me, but I never thought in a million years he would act the way he did and it scared the hell out of me! Last summer, everything was at its worst and I was having tremendous anxiety over the situation – I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t eat and I was dropping weight fast. Divorce was brought up and my anxiety only grew as I struggled with making the right decision and fighting ensued about the situation between my husband and I. I ended up having my first panic attack at work and had to leave. I thought I was dying – the chest pain almost sent me to the hospital. My husband was very up and down through the whole process before divorce and he eventually got papers and we filed – court date set. Our arguments only confused me more and angered me more as everything I disliked about him was amplified what felt like one hundred times. And my family was upset, but they didn’t seem to understand that what seemed so sudden to them was three years of trying to make this work from my perspective.
The Bible says we are not supposed to get divorced. So what was I supposed to do? The decision I had to make was so stressful for me, I am even shaking as I write this: do I try to make it work – possibly never succeed and be miserable the rest of my life, allow this person to treat me horribly, constantly for the rest of my life….or…do I let the divorce happen, risk damnation because of my own selfish need for happiness? I ended up choosing the latter.
Although I am much happier now and far less stressed and my health has returned, I still struggle with this decision – was it the right one? Was I completely wrong? Should I have sucked it up, knowing what the Bible says, and just continued to pray and hope it all worked out? And if my marriage did not improve – tough – after all we suffer as Jesus suffered. Well I already made the decision – am I forgiven or damned – is this a test I failed?
On the other hand, God had to have known this would happen. Were the past three years a lesson so I do it right the second time around? I have a boyfriend now and our relationship is wonderful. How can something so good, someone who treats me so well, who makes me a better person, be wrong? Does the Lord understand the sin we swim in everyday in this sinful world and forgive me, or is that presumptuous, wishful thinking? Do we, perhaps, not follow the Bible to the letter because it was written by men who had sin in them, and we must listen to our souls and hope the Spirit is guiding us?
I don’t know.
I have distanced myself from my friends in Christ, my mentors, the Bible and my devotionals because of my confusion, not really on purpose; it just sort of happened. I am trying to get back into everything and reconnect, but it has proven difficult, especially when some of these people are supposed to act Christ-like and I feel like they are judging me for my decision. Well, judging others is not very Christ-like at all; however, I guess even the best of us are sinful. Forgiveness, right? 🙂
When I was passionate about Christ, I felt great, in all the ways we are supposed to when we are in communion with the Lord. I do want to get back to that, but I need guidance and advice and support – different points of view. I would appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks.