Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I usually keep my blog posts strictly about being a survivor of rape and incest and related issues or topics.
This post is different from any others I have published before.
I have mentioned before that my husband rescued me from my last rapist, my fathers cousin. He did not know at the time he was rescuing me from a living nightmare. I have not spoken to how my husband and I began though. That changes today.
For so long I have not gotten to tell my side of my own love story.
So many people have tainted it with rumors and accusations. Few have ever cared to ask me what really happened. It was a forbidden love but, an everlasting one.
When I met my now husband over six years ago I had no idea he would be the love of my life. We worked alongside each other for a long time. He was married and I was in an on again off again relationship.
When his wife left, (Three years after we first met) I was there. I was his friend and I was removed from the "church" enough that I was trusted with the details. I won't try to pretend it was an innocent love by this point. I was very attached to Pastor James. I knew there was ongoing trouble in his marriage but, I was not any part of it. I did not want to stay friends though, and neither did he. There was an ever growing bond between us. The chemistry was undeniable even though we did our best to ignore it for the longest time. Yes, there was very much an emotional affair before she left but, she did not know anything about it until after the fact. Not that it makes it any better. It was wrong.
I had always had a deep respect and care for Pastor James but, it was gradually deepening. I thought I was doing my best to contain my affections but, Pastor James took notice. He was unhappy, and he had tried time and again in his marriage to make it work. He was committed to his family and keeping them together, but he was done playing games. That is what it felt like to him when she left, a game. She wanted him to follow and he refused. The details beyond that are not mine to share but, I am not why she left. When the news finally broke to the public that he was getting a divorce, people scrambled to find something or someone to blame. It was not long before suspicion arose about there being something more between us.
So many people spoke out of turn and said I was the reason for the separation. I was why she left. I was the reason the children cried at night missing their father. I was a home wrecker, per the church people. Everyone flocked to the defense of the poor first wife, and I was just the whore in their eyes.
Truth is, she left and he didn't chase.
I cannot speak on their marital history as I was not there and speaking out of turn is the very thing I am against.
What I do know and can share, is this... I am not the reason she left. I am the reason she did not get him back.
I do not say this with pride but, as fact.
My now husband, Pastor James, took me in and rescued me from a rapist. He did not realize that was what he was doing at the time. He only knew I was afraid and needed a place to go, and for whatever reason my own family was not safe. Because of his ever growing love for me and the fact he was on his own at the time, he did not hesitate to keep me. He did not care what it looked like to the church. He did not give any explanation for his actions, he just acted.
Of course because of the wagging tongues of everyone who spewed lies (before we became an actual couple)... being together surely must have proven their lies to be true. (sarcasm)
I know the damage done by the choices my husband and I made back then. I know the struggles of the children and heartache of my husband. Yes, I am even painfully aware of the pain we caused the first wife. She did not deserve the hurt she endured on our account. Outside of that I did not, nor have I ever felt guilt for my relationship with my husband in the beginning of us. I remember waiting for the guilt to set in but, it never did. I was in love and falling even more hopelessly, deeper in it with him everyday. I am not in denial of all the wrongs we did. I am a woman who made a choice with a man she loved and together we chose us over everyone else. Of course on the outside looking in, people did not understand nor care about our side of the story. They rather enjoyed talking about and fanning the flames surrounding this scandal.
I know every single accusation thrown at James and myself by church people.
"You make me sick!" "You're a false prophet" "You're just his little church whore, he will leave you once he gets bored of you." "I hope you rot in hell for the betrayal you've done here" "God can't protect liars and adulterers" "Hypocrite" "Naive stupid girl" "He's nothing but a N*****!"
These were words from church people, God's people, leaders of His flock. People who did not ask any questions, but only hurled accusations from rumors they'd heard or made up. I was not welcome in town or near my parents home where my Nanny was dying of cancer. I barely made it to her funeral and it was made clear to me that I was only welcome to come if I was alone. My family turned on me, they had no ability to speak to me in person but, they did send plenty of emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls letting me know I was a failure. There was no love or forgiveness anywhere. My "church" people and blood relatives had cast us out. These people watched me grow up. Yet, none of them ever asked me about it. They just pointed fingers. One person even compared beating cancer as less painful than the horrendous betrayal they now faced. (This person did not even attend my husband's church.)
When we moved from that small town just over three years ago it was a non - "church" person who came out and helped us. So many of our true friends have stayed in touch with us since leaving. Others STILL talk about the "scandal" between that pastor and that little home schooled girl.
Those who took sides and decided the first wife was an innocent victim in everything, did nothing but talk about it. No one took care of her or her children. Things like "My heart aches for her and her children" "I can't imagine what she is going through" "She deserves better than what that low life gave her" were said.
These words and more were shared all over social media. Good for them for saying the right things. Shame on them that it was the extent of the "Churches" actions to help her in her dark hour. She was on her own with what ever income she could make and the child support she received long before the divorce papers were even filed. I bet few if any of those people are still in touch with the first wife and her family but, truthfully it does not matter.
Where are they now?
Where are those people who had so much to say but little to do. Their lives moved on, their opinions (no matter how UN-factually based) shared and none of them are a better person for it.
Some took the time to make troll/fake twitter and Facebook accounts just to harass and spy on the accused. I was deeply hurt realizing how few people (none actually) believed in me enough to reach out once again in my life. They pretended to have pity for me but, I'll be damned if they really cared about me getting hurt. I don't really care where any of them are. None of them are or deserve to be in my life today and for that, I am grateful.
In those early days and months (and even still) it was/is James and I against the world.
We gave up everything for each other. Well, he gave up everything, truth be told I didn't have anything to lose. He stood with me at his side and faced all the ugly accusations and attacks, never refuting or arguing with anyone about any of it. He stepped down as pastor of his church and took me away with him. We spent several weeks packing up almost 20 years of his life before me. We shared some of our most beautiful, painful and bittersweet moments during that time. I stepped into a roll as his partner and caretaker. He was hurting and had much to work through but, I was there to take care of him, give him space, be his sounding board and soft place to fall. I put aside the hell I had just escaped from. I ignored the calls, texts and attempts by my family to harass me. My whole focus was on my love and helping him in his dark hour after he rescued me from mine.
We did not step into our relationship in a Godly way, a church preferred way or, even an ideal way. We were two broken people in the middle of storms in our lives and chose each other over it all.
We were selfish and owned it. We made a choice and we are still together and have a family of our own.
For all the trials we have faced and endured together, I would not have it any other way.
I stood by his side while he went through the long process of separation and divorce. I waded through the complications of it all, finding my place in this new chapter of our life together and it was all worth it. In turn he white knuckle gripped through the lies, fear and ugliest parts of my recovery as a new survivor. It was all so much harder than it ever had to be, but that is a whole other blog post.
I went from a single young woman to a relationship and marriage with four step children who may never love me, or even like me. I came into my marriage knowing that I will never have the option to be a mother to more than one child of my own. I chose that.
My now husband went from one broken-to-failed marriage into a relationship-and-marriage with a broken survivor or rape and incest. The odds were and are still stacked against us.
The truth is, in today's world especially, the odds are stacked against us all. This difference is, we chose each other and in the end (though it is not advised to do so in this order) God.
Yes, at moments I wondered if we would ever get married. There were even some moments I thought we might not make it to the next. While pregnant with my son there were some harsh realities faced about life without anyone but each other. No mother to call for advice, no church to ask to pray for us. No, they were (and are) all still busy being hurt over choices that had nothing to with them.
In spite of it all, here I am today, happily married to my best friend and looking forward to a hard and beautiful future together.
I have my one brilliant son and I am thankful. I have my four amazing step-kids and I pray for them and their mother daily.
To those who spoke against us then and still today, I forgive you.
I ask forgiveness from only those who matter and the rest I give to God. Ours is story of emerging from deep dark brokenness to a strong force that found their way and to God, be the glory.