Toward the end of our marriage, my ex told me he didn’t think that he would have made it through his cancer treatments and the unknowns through that process—what he called the hardest time of his life—without my support. I appreciated the gratitude. While I can’t be sure, I don’t think I would have chosen to treat him any differently even if I had known what was stirring in his heart. But it’s hard to reconcile that situation, season, and choice with the hardest time of my life, because he not only didn’t return the support, but he is the one who dispensed the pain. He wasn’t just not present for the hardest situation in my life. He was the cause.
But I wasn’t alone. Just as I appreciated his gratitude when he reflected on the hardest time of his life, I have gratitude throughout the hardest time of my life. So what if he chose to cause pain instead of ease it? I still got to choose how to respond. I’m not thankful for his deception and disrespect. I’d have to think long and hard to find much thankfulness that directly involved him. But that’s okay. That was his choice, or series of choices. I could have chosen bitterness and unforgiveness and deflected the disrespect, but I chose differently.
Some days, I think all I had the energy to choose was survival. Coping and healing were overwhelming at times. But there was hope in every day. Gratitude permeated the little details of life. I was grateful for family and friends. I was grateful for faith. God’s provision, presence, and peace was abundant—even overwhelming at times. God gave me glimpses of hope, assurance the waves of coping and healing wouldn’t drown me.
Several years have passed, and my gratitude has deepened. Walking through a blinding storm with God often clarifies some things. I have a lot of growing to do, but my faith in God is more authentic and refined than perhaps ever before in my life. Why share this glimpse of my journey today? Because someone needs to hear the encouragement to keep going. One step, one breath, one moment. It seems too much. And it is too much for you, but it is never too much for God. Choose him. Trust him. Invite him.
You’ll be grateful.