We were confident that we were safe; we were so in love, we went to Church, we were cute together. That would never happen to us, but then it did. My husband abandoned me for another woman. Our marriage was dead, a complete shock to everyone, including me.
Scared and craving normality, a gift was delivered to me in the shape of an old friend from school. This amazing woman, who was walking through her own fire, reached out to me in mine, and told me to read the start of Isaiah 43:
These verses really illuminated off the page to my hurting heart. Extraordinary promises from God, but I couldn’t fathom how I was going to trudge through what was ahead of me, the fire of betrayal and abandonment, and not even be burned. I was already experiencing physical symptoms from the pain.
I didn’t need to know how, I just had to cling on to God, cling to His promises and trust Him to do what He says. It wasn’t easy, but easy wasn’t promised.
After we reconciled, we started working our way through another difficult season, three months in we started going to what is now our Church – !Audacious Church. We arrived with the stench of our fire clinging to us, if you got close enough to us, you’d know we had issues. Getting rooted in our Church changed the course we were on, it changed everything!
God was ridiculously good to us; He revealed to each of us what we needed to do. Some steps prolonged by one or both of us, often unnecessarily, but God was patient and drenched us with His peace and grace.
At some point we came out of the fire! I say ‘some point’ because neither of us can pin-point the day it happened. It was a process but we knew we were out, our hearts healed, both of us transformed, our marriage resurrected into something that others and we were recognizing as beautiful.
God has been speaking to me about that time through His word. In Daniel 3 it records how three men were thrown into a fire for not worshipping an image of the king:
Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
Daniel 3:26-27 NLT
We came out of our fire not carrying the hurt around with us; we didn’t even smell of the smoke of that fire! If we didn’t tell you, you’d never have guessed our marriage was dead in 2011 (even if you set up secret cameras in our home!).
How would people have been able to smell the smoke on us now anyway? I believe any lingering unforgiveness, our attitudes to each other, the way we spoke to and about each other would have caused a bit of a stench!
One thing I know, whatever you’re walking through, however bad it looks, however you got there – whether you put yourself there, or you got delivered there by someone else, there is One who will choose to be in that fire with you, and is able to lead you out to a place where you don’t even smell of smoke! He is the Lord God Almighty!
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
Daniel 3:28 NLT
We’re eternally thankful.