I received that box of darkness on Christmas Eve 3 years ago, when I discovered my then husband was cheating on me again. I stumbled through Christmas that year, trying to make it as normal as possible for my children, and in the New Year, limped through several months of false wreckonciliation before realizing he had never stopped seeing the other woman, despite telling me that he had. I then filed for divorce, which was finalized right before Christmas last year.
This year marks the third Christmas without my ex-husband, the second that we’ve been divorced, and the first that I’ve been without my children, who spent the holiday with my ex-husband and the woman he cheated with.
While I am disappointed that my children were not with me for Christmas, and can’t help feeling the unfairness that my ex and his girlfriend “won” despite their cheating, I am alright. Sitting here alone on my Christmas getaway, I feel a surprising sense of peace. Like the quote says, I now realize what a gift it was to have opened that box of darkness and have the light of truth reveal years of lies, deceit and abuse, sending them scurrying for cover like cockroaches.
And not only has that box of darkness has proved to be a gift, but one that keeps on giving:
It gives peace
But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so…
God has called us to live in peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15
When I discovered that my ex-husband was still seeing the woman he was cheating with a few months later, despite his claims that he’d ended it and was committed to repairing our marriage, I announced to him that I was done and wanted a divorce. After making that decision I immediately felt so calm that I initially attributed to denial or numbness, but it was actually a sense of peace. That decision meant I no longer felt I was going insane from his gaslighting, or worried about if he still thought about her, or if she still tried contacting him. Unrepentant about his adultery, and increasingly brazen with it and his lies to me, my ex-husband had effectively left the marriage, and I was and am, at peace with that.
It gives truth
You shall know the truth and
the truth shall set you free. John 8:32
Yes. The truth will set you free, but as Gloria Steinham so wisely added, it will piss you off first. The truth that he’d been cheating throughout our relationship. The truth that he had been withholding attention and affection. The truth that my increasing sense of anxiety and depression was rooted in years of insidious emotional abuse set me free.
The continued revelations of truth 3 years later – that’s why his “work wife” always glared at me; he did deliberately sabotage my efforts at a career and financial independence – sets my heart free from the hurt a little more.
It gives redemption
the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand
and redeemed you. Deuteronomy 7:8
Just as Israel was redeemed from the slavery and the grip of Pharaoh, God redeemed me from the bonds of a marriage that was emotionally and psychologically abusive. And just as with the Israelites, God has seen to it that since the divorce I am safe and provided for, sometimes in ways that feel as miraculous and mysterious as manna from heaven.
It gives Emmanuel
Emmanuel which means
“God is with us” Matthew 1:23
Another truth is that while in that union with my ex, I was not in communion with God. However, during those long, lonely nights, weeks and months after the separation and divorce, when I felt abandoned and utterly alone, God would comfort me, and assure me that I wasn’t alone. That He was with me. I am most grateful for this gift.
Though I still hurt because of the betrayal, I can now see what a gift that box of darkness truly is.