CONVERSATION: How an Atheist Brought Christ and I Closer

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Here we were...back in counseling. Or should I say, "Here I was," since my spouse wasn't even showing up after being told he was abusive a few weeks back.

I sat in silence. I felt so defeated. I had no idea what else I could possibly explain to this counselor that she didn't already know. I could tell that she wanted to say something, but was unusually quiet. Finally, she spoke.

"I have to ask...why are you staying in this relationship? Why are you still allowing yourself to be treated this way?"

I immediately felt defensive and snapped back, "Umm, because I'm a CHRISTIAN. God HATES divorce."

The look on her face was one I had not seen before. It was one of great sadness.

She said, "Look, very rarely do I get involved in religion when it comes to my clients. I myself am an atheist. However, the moment that my client continues to place themselves and their children into an unsafe situation based on their 'god' is when I have to step in. Do you truly believe that this is right?"

I left that day feeling even more defeated. What was I doing? What did I believe? Was I being an enabler? Was I putting myself into this toxic situation because it's what God wanted for me?

I thought back on the last few years of my life.

Every time I went to a Christian for advice I usually received a response along the lines of:
"Well, staying married is better than the sin of divorce."
"You clearly haven't tried EVERYTHING."
"You aren't being physically abused, right? So it can't be so bad?"
"Read your Bible more!"
"Stay + Pray."

No one at church wanted to hear about the holes in walls. No one wanted to hear about the fear I lived in daily. No one wanted to hear that I had completely lost my identity. No one wanted to hear about not having access to my debit card for weeks at a time for making my spouse angry over the dishes. No one cared about the porn addiction among other infidelities. No one wanted to hear about how my toddler had started screaming at me in the same fashion my spouse did every evening. No one cared about the alcohol abuse. In their minds, the weight of a toxic marriage was nothing in comparison to the weight of divorce.

How was this possible? My head was spinning. When non-believers saw me continue to go back to the same lie of a marriage...were they perceiving that the God I serve is unjust? Was it possible that I was actually disrespecting God by staying?

I realized I had some digging to do. I told myself that for the next few months I was going to pray about this instead of talk about it. I wanted to be sure that I was actually living in God's will instead of all of the humans around me. After all, who was I trying to please?

As I searched and prayed for guidance, I came across this verse in Ephesians, "You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. He's using us all irrespective of how we got here in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together."

I know this was written by Paul in regards to gentiles, but I couldn't help but feel that this was directly speaking to my situation. I realized that I was believing a lie that being divorced would mean I was no longer a follower of Christ or worthy of Him. Jesus loved me more than I could imagine. He paid a price for my sins, including the sin of divorce. My broken marriage wasn't a surprise to Him. He knew what I was going through daily and the sacrifices I had made mentally and physically. This divorce was not going to be the end of my walk with Christ. It was not going to separate me from His love just as gentiles weren't separated. I still had just as much right to the name Christian as anyone else. He was still my cornerstone. He was waiting to help me move forward in building my life in Him...all I had to do was ask.

That night I prayed, "Dear Lord, I never thought I would be here. I truly feel like I have done everything I humanly can to help this situation. I'm tired. You know that in order to move on with my life, I will need a full time job. Please be here for me as I move forward with what I believe you are leading me to do."

I opened my laptop and signed onto Indeed to look for a job. Four minutes prior, a full-time job had been posted with the exact pay I would need to make it on my own. I applied and was hired the next day. I filed for divorce a few months later and never looked back.

A new life began for my child and I. We were free.

My chains were gone...thanks to Jesus and an atheist.

LM ACTION: Not only am I very proud of the person who authored this post, but I am encouraged to be a better listener. I hope to remember that I won't always have the right answers...and that's okay. Sometimes listening and praying may be a better response than whatever I could come up with.

Ephesians 6:18: In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

-- Cayla

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1 comment

  1. This person's post was like watching her come out of a cave of darkness into the bright and warming sunshine. It is inspirational.