I laid in bed suffering from the insomnia caused by my broken marriage and my even more broken heart. I hadn’t slept more than a couple of hours a night for months. When you hear about a friend’s marriage failing, you might have sympathy, but you probably don’t think about how the emptiness of her bed matches the emptiness in her heart, but it does.
I dreaded going to bed because I knew I would lay awake mulling over every single detail of my husband’s decision to walk away from the life we had built together.
What went wrong? What could I have done differently? Where was he? What was he doing? How could I possibly continue to fight for our marriage alone? Would my children ever recover from our mistakes?
It was constant and it was absolutely miserable, but this particular night was different because I had finally been given some wise advice. Someone who had been through a similar situation said not to focus on the past and everything that had happened, but think about and actually visualize what you want to happen in the future. At this point, I would try anything to stop these excruciating thoughts from keeping me awake at night.
So, I closed my eyes and started thinking about what I wanted to happen. In this nighttime-daydream, my husband came home. He apologized sincerely for all of his wrongs, professed his love for me, literally swept me off my feet and flew me to Las Vegas where we renewed our vows in a quaint little wedding chapel. We lived happily ever after. End scene.
Now, I’ve never even been to Las Vegas and I can’t tell you why on earth in that moment that was the best possible scenario I could think of, but it was. It made me oddly pleased with myself in that moment. I decided that when I went to bed and couldn’t stop thinking of the mess my life had become, this was the scenario I would visualize to replace those debilitating thoughts of rejection and abandonment.
But then I heard that familiar voice speak directly to my heart.
“It is going to be so much better than that.”
Better than the little wedding chapel in Vegas?? Not possible! Even if he did come home, which seemed so impossible, I thought I would be lucky if we were even able to have a civil conversation again.
“It will be better than you can imagine.”
That promise stuck in the back of my mind as I continued to be obedient to His voice, find answers and strength in His Word rather than the world, and commit myself to fighting for my marriage no matter how many people gently told me it was a lost cause and that I deserved better.
Like my daydream, he did come home, but it was in fact better than I imagined. He looked in my eyes through his tears and admitted all of his wrongs. He sincerely begged for forgiveness. He held my hand and told me he had always loved me. He thanked me for praying for him and for believing in us. The man I knew and loved so deeply was back.
What I thought would be an awkward readjustment back into married life was actually more beautiful and romantic and exciting than the first time I fell in love with him as a wide-eyed, hopeful teenager all those years ago. Our ugliness and imperfections had been exposed and we loved each other more and grew closer not just in spite of them, but because of them. God cleaned up our mess in a way that only He could have.
Almost a year later, I write these words as I sit in a breathtaking piazza in the heart of Florence, Italy where my husband and I are celebrating all 15 years of our marriage, both the beautiful and the ugly ones. But more importantly, we are celebrating the birth of a brand new relationship.
As I sit and take in the sights and sounds of this indescribable country I’ve always dreamed of visiting, a destination that seemed too out of reach even for my daydreams, the voice reminds me of His promise.
“Better than you can imagine.”
It’s painful to think about how many tears were cried on that pillow during those months I spent alone. I don’t like to think about it, but I also know that somewhere there is another broken wife sobbing on her pillow and I want her to know that she’s going to make it. Her story might not look like mine and it might not end the same way, but she is going to make it.
No matter what is keeping you awake at night, whether it be physical pain, worry, hurt, confusion, fear, or a broken heart…you are going to make it, too. If you give it all over to our Savior, He is able to turn it around for your good. He can heal your broken heart and fix the irreparable. He loves you and His plan for your life is better than you could ever possibly imagine.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21