I stood barefoot on the concrete watching the taillights as they faded away. The picturesque night belied the gravity of what had just occurred. From the moment he arrived he carried a defensive air about him. He requested to speak with me alone, and we made our way out back to the closed-in porch. He took my hands, looked into my eyes and asked that I go back home with him. For a brief moment I considered doing so. He seemed rational, even loving in that moment. Perhaps it had been an instinctive reaction, but something inside me froze. As I pulled away I vaguely remember speaking the words, “I can’t.”
His eyes flashed with anger. Smiling, he outwardly held his composure. Breaking into a cold sweat, he tried again. Appealing to my reason, he said he needed help sorting out bills. Appealing to my heart, he said our children needed us to be together. Appealing to my morals, he argued the sin of divorce. Appealing to my conscience, he reminded me of all who were being hurt by my actions. The more he spoke, the tighter the walls closed around my heart.
My lack of response only served to agitate him further. His fury quickly boiled into rage. Pinning me against a dresser, his face inches from mine, he screamed threats and obscenities at the top of his lungs. The regression of his mental state was evidenced by ever increasing bouts of public rage. He slammed his fists on the dresser loudly bringing my mother to the door to confront him.
I went inside in an attempt to gather my thoughts. How could I let my children leave with him? I had spoken with my attorney again that very day pleading for any other option. He advised if I did not let them go I could be held in contempt of court and risk losing joint custody. My worst nightmare would be to lose them to his full-time care.
I did not understand why others couldn’t see the danger. I didn’t want my children to hate their father, nor was it my wish to cut him out of their lives. I only wanted for them to be able to separate the healthy from the harmful…to take the good and be able to remove themselves from the bad. Nothing made sense. I began to question why I was even fighting it. I began to wonder if it would be best for all if I just went back home and got it over with.
So there I stood there watching him drive away with my babies. He had raged. He had thrown a tantrum crawling across the floor explaining how I had wronged him. Raw, painful emotions ran through me with each thought. I would never forgive myself should anything happen to them. I wondered in his state of mind whether he would drive safely. I feared this being the last time I would ever see my children or hold them close. I feared they would never heal from this time in their lives.
People must have been praying for me because in the midst of the horror of that moment, a sudden sense of peace fell over me replacing the horrible panic in my heart. I became aware of the sudden calm of the quiet fall evening. My eyes were drawn to the heavens sprinkled with stars. The brilliant moon bathed the pasture behind the house, and the last glimpse of the setting sun outlined the shadow of the trees creating a beautiful contrast against the night sky. I closed my eyes, my soul soothed by the silence.
I can’t honestly say I fully understood the majesty of the Power behind the unmatched beauty I beheld. I only know that I was drawn to place my hope in something, Someone, much bigger than myself. Amid all of the confusion my soul found a sense of order while staring at the heavens above. And somewhere from my childhood the words of an old familiar hymn came to mind.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.