This is my Story

2016 was going quite well.  Of course there were the usual bumps in the road, but family life was great, my health was going well, I had some plans for writing, we were loving ministry, everything looked pretty good.  I had a few concerns about life in general that I started praying about, but other than that, I was happy living at the camp and homeschooling my kids.  Life was good.

I fell asleep contented one Sunday night in October.  I was tired and went to bed early.  I was woken up by my phone ringing.  It startled me because there aren’t really any great phone calls late at night.  I picked up my phone and saw it my close friend’s husband.  Which probably meant something not too serious, so I picked it up calmly.

It was literally a phone call that would change my life.  

He told me that he thought our spouses were having an affair.

I threw on my coat and boots and headed outside searching for answers.

A couple of hours and a lot of details later, it was confirmed.  My pastor husband and my closest girlfriend were in a relationship.  

After confirming that my husband was choosing to stay with me if I would have him, I called my brother - who listened to me sob for a while, comforted me, and then helped me walk logical steps.  Which was exactly what I needed and the first of God’s many graces in those first days, although I didn’t see it yet.  I tried sleeping but couldn’t.  I finally asked my husband to take the kids to my moms the next morning and said I needed to go for a drive.  

After driving a few hours through the night, I knocked on the door of our friends’ house at 7am.  They covered me with love and hugs and time and talking and silence and pancakes.  Basically, God poured out His love and grace on me through them.

Because my husband was in the ministry, we didn’t have the option of keeping this a secret, not that I’m sure I would have anyway.  He would need to quit his job, we would need to move since we lived on church property and because of several circumstances, we also felt that we needed to switch churches.

Since I became an adult, and especially after I became a mother, I started having an emergency plan.  You know, so I would know what to do if Michael died suddenly.  When my kids were little, it was more of just a financial plan because I would never move away from all the family help that I had.  But a few months before this fateful phone call, I completely switched up my emergency plan.  The kids were all older now, I had built in babysitters, and I wasn’t loving homeschooling as much as I had in years past.  

So I decided my new plan was to move to Barrie, Ontario, if Michael died.  There was a great church there with people that I loved and an awesome Christian school.  On the downside, it was three hours away from any family.  But, like I said, built in babysitters.  I even told the Pastor’s wife there that summer, that if Michael ever died, we’d be neighbours.

Within 24 hours of that phone call, the decision was made.  We were moving to Barrie.  Michael needed a new job, we needed a fresh start and some distance, and our kids had friends there.  God had shown me my new emergency plan just ahead of time so it would be in place when we needed it.  Michael hadn’t died, but we were definitely in the midst of an emergency.

That first week was filled with horrible conversations, hard decisions, moving away, the last time in our old church, taking our kids away from everything they knew, and it was awful.  I didn’t sleep more than a couple of hours a night.  It was two weeks before I could stomach three meals a day.  I cried more tears than I ever thought possible.  

Writing about this all has been more difficult than I thought it would be.  Its not just a recounting of events, its a remembering of sorrow.  But I have to tell you all about it, and all the things I learned, and I intend to do this for a year or so.  Why?

Because God.

Because without God my story would be so sad and it would have ended there. 

But it didn’t.

I want to spend a whole year bragging on God and showing you all the ways that He weaved grace into my life.  I want to tell you that forgiveness is possible.  That reconciliation is beautiful.  That God will pick you up and carry you through the very hardest times of your life.  That your kids will be ok, that you can be too.

God poured His extravagant grace all over my life.  And if there’s hope for me, there’s hope for you.  I can’t wait to tell you more about how good my God is.

Jennifer Holmes2 Comments