Many of you know my story because you have shared this blog journey with me for long enough to have heard my back story woven in and out of my writing. For those who don’t, the very short version is I was married very young to my high school sweetheart, and after several years of my codependency and his affairs, our marriage ended in divorce. God has brought so much healing into my life and the lives of my sons over the past 14 years for which I am eternally grateful. What I did not have back then was a real life friend who had ever walked that path ahead of me who could show me hope in their life. I did not have anyone who shared the feelings I was going through. Or someone who could voice my fears for my kids.
I am so excited to share a new book that has been released this week by my friend and worship pastor, Jonathon Edwards. His new book Left, is an amazing resource if you have ever been abandoned by a parent or spouse. It will show you the honest pain, and the breathtaking hope we have in Christ. I could not be more excited to share this excerpt with you!
“[What] makes sense is that mommy and daddy stay together, because we’re a family and to us that is what families do. We believe they stay together. We believe they help us rather than hurt us. We believe families should make us feel better, not worse. But the truth of our stories is that this isn’t the case. Our families don’t make sense to us. Our families make us confused. They make us unsure. They make us doubt. They make us lose trust.
Because my father left my family.
And I will never forget it. I kept asking my mom where he was and why wasn’t he home. I wanted to know why he wasn’t eating dinner with us and why his car wasn’t in the driveway. It bothered me. It kept me up at night. I didn’t know how to process being home and living life without him there. I remember feeling so vulnerable and exposed. I remember being so uncomfortable. I had so many questions and so many concerns. It was here that I was reluctantly introduced to the empty space that would begin making its way through every aspect of my life. This vacancy, this void, was everywhere.
As I began re-imagining life and attempting to re-learn what my days, nights, holidays, meals, tee-ball games, Saturday afternoons, bed times, and home was going to look like, there was so much of this empty space. It was taking over. There was space in the living room where his big, blue leather chair used to be. There was a space at the end of the table where he used to sit and tell us jokes and talk about his day and tell me to always eat over my plate. There was a space in the driveway next to mom’s van where his light blue Honda Civic used to be parked. There was a space in his bathroom at his sink where his toothbrush and toothpaste and deodorant used to be. There was space next to mom in their bed where he used to sleep. There was space in new pictures and on the mantle at Christmas where his stocking used to hang and in the laundry basket where his dirty clothes used to be.
But his clothes weren’t there. Our laundry basket didn’t have any of his t-shirts or pants or socks. All the clothes in the basket were too small for him. We didn’t have any daddy clothes to wash.
The days and months unfolded with this ever-present, physical emptiness forced to be tolerated by a mind too young to comprehend anything inside this new way of life. I didn’t know what to say or how to act.
It was a whole new world to me and this new world I was in was much different from the one Aladdin and Jasmine sang about. Normal became foreign. Everything was strange. Everyday I woke up hoping it was all a dream, hoping that I’d run downstairs and there he’d be in his blue and white bathrobe with his brown leather slippers, drinking coffee and having breakfast doing his crossword. But once I woke up he was nowhere to be found and he left me nothing to help navigate and comprehend the hell I was in. He didn’t leave me any instructions or guide to help me weather this monster of a storm that he created. I felt broken. I felt lost. I felt abandoned. There was no warning, nothing on the news to tell me where to go, or how to hide, or how to stay safe.
There was nothing to warn me that everything I knew, everything I called home and everything I called family, was going to shatter. And in the aftermath, there wasn’t a class to take. There wasn’t an instructional video to watch. It all just switched. One day he was there.
The next day he wasn’t.
Just like that he was gone.
And just like that there I was.
I hurt for answers, clinching my fist while screaming into my pillow. I cried for them. I’d lie in my bunk bed, my mind racing, aching to know what happened. It was a mystery. A giant riddle. No matter how hard I tried, nothing helped. I found myself on my knees begging for some kind of deliverance. I just wanted to understand. I wanted to understand something that I don’t think ever will make sense. I wanted to understand why families break and why parents leave. I wanted to understand why my family broke and why someone hadn’t come to fix it.”