My husband is a minister, and I am his third wife. He has two other children by two other women, both ex-wives.
(I used to think I wanted the superpower of mind-reading. But aren’t you glad I don’t? Me, too.)
How did this happen? Well, let me put your minds at ease by saying that his two previous marriages were in the B.C. years. You know—before Christ. Okay, so that won’t ease everyone’s minds, but that’s alright. We all have our faults. My husband and I are just some of those rare individuals who are very forth-coming about their faults. You have to identify a problem before you can correct it. Believe me–we have learned to be super stealthy self detectives : )
So what was the problem?
Think of my husband as a present-day Jonah. He knew at a very, very young age that he was called into the ministry. But even at a young age, he had a drug problem. And his mother was in on it. Oh, yes—she drug him to church every time the door was open. She drug him to church Sunday morning. She drug him to church Sunday night. And, yes, again on Wednesday night. But he enjoyed church. As a little boy, the pastor would even allow him to come up on the platform and sit next to him. (We are so thankful to you, Bro. Long, and the deep impact you made on Jimmy. You will never know the influence that you made on his life.)
Alright, so none of that really sounds like the problem, right? Well, Jonah ran. And so did Jimmy. He ran so hard and fast away from God, ran with all of his heart, all of his soul, all of his strength, and all of his mind. And every morning he found himself staring into the deep abyss of eyes that belonged to a Godless man.
I first met Jimmy at work. He was a few months away from being married. I was in my third year of (a bad) marriage. I didn’t like Jimmy. He was cocky, so very sure of himself, so “I’m better than everyone else” of himself. Instant turnoff. Besides, I was married. We didn’t talk much. He stayed in his cubicle, and I stayed in mine.
As time wore on, my job blended with Jimmy’s, and we began to see each other on a daily basis. We worked together in the tech department along with 2 other people. We all went out to lunch several times a month as a group. One day, the other 2 weren’t available. But I was hungry. And I was lonely. And he was nice to me. And funny. He opened doors. He laughed at my jokes. He was getting cuter by the day. He treated me like a gentleman treats a lady, which was far from the treatment I was getting at home. Which Jimmy knew. He was all too familiar with decoding finger-print sized bruises on women’s arms. He was all too familiar with being lonely himself.
We had a nice lunch. It was our first time alone. Nothing happened. It was just a friendly lunch.
But there is such wisdom in not allowing yourself to be alone with a man.
Especially if you’re in a rocky marriage. Especially if he’s in a rocky marriage with a baby on the way.
Remember that part about Jimmy being far, far away from God? He wasn’t the only one.
Knowing is Only Half the Battle
I was also raised in church. I can’t say that I had a calling on my life to be in the ministry from a young age. I didn’t have a pastor that allowed me to sit next to him on the platform. I was never really involved in church. As a teenager, I viewed church as a way to hook up with guys. But I did always feel a drawing of the Holy Spirit. That should have been enough. I knew better than to do the things I was doing. That should have been enough. I was married, and his parents were leaders in the small church we attended. That should have been enough. But I was headstrong. I was going to do what I wanted to do. Consequences schmonsequences. Oh, the schmonsequences!
The rest of the “From Mayhem to Ministry” series can be read over at Musings of a Minister’s Wife.
We learn by listening to each other. If we are wise. Leave a comment. Leave a story. Leave some wisdom.