by an anonymous author
He left on a snowy morning in mid-February. I had never before seen my father cry, but the day he left my mother and moved out of the house, red-rimmed were those blue eyes he had passed on to me.
I was seventeen when the perfect world I thought I lived in shattered around me. Like a neighbor boy’s baseball puncturing the glass pane of a living room window, the truth of what was happening to my parents’ marriage, to our family, caused a crash that has never fully repaired.
Through the whirl of the next few weeks, my father’s overnight bag was packed and unpacked as he flip-flopped between our house and wherever he stayed when he wasn’t there. My heart turned ragged when I caught my mother sobbing, when I had to change my college application papers multiple times to reflect my parents’ separation—unsteady marriage—separation, when I looked at my little brothers’ stony faces and couldn’t offer comfort.
Those were easily the worst months of my life—a nightmare come true. What I thought had been one of the truths I could count on—that my parents had decided divorce was not an option long before—lay laughing at my feet. I felt mocked, betrayed, deceived, and hurt. Only my mother’s faith in Jesus anchored me.
I missed my father when he was gone, but when he was staying with us, I would look at him and wonder if he would be there in the morning. It seemed each time I would stop wondering, he would be gone again.
Even years later, sometimes I still panic when I come home and his car isn’t in the driveway. He’s left again.
Before that February, I was that girl. That girl everyone could count on to teach Sunday school, to graduate homeschool with an honor cord around her neck, to go to college on a full scholarship. When my father left, I felt as if that girl was a lie.
Didn’t the horror of what my father had done cancel out the good Christian girl image? Didn’t the brokenness of my family forever decree that I too was broken?
Didn’t the betrayal my mother suffered mean I too would one day be abandoned?
Then, right there in the mud of sin my family and I were sludging through, Jesus met me in a way He never had before.
See, I thought I had to come to Him and beg. But instead He stooped down into the broken, the lie, the pain, and He reached for me.
Because He did, I kept breathing, I kept walking through the last work of senior year, and I kept crying healing tears even when I feared if I cried, I’d never stop.
That hard, hard year, I realized how gentle Jesus is. How loving. Isaiah 30:18 says,
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.”
It’s true, you know. God gets up off His throne just to show His children His great compassion. He knelt in the shattered shards of my hurting heart and reached out healing hands to hold me.
My father left my family. But God never did. Families are hardly ever perfect. God always is. I struggle with trusting others, especially men. I struggle with fearing that this tentative truce my parents have called is only temporary. And, yes, I struggle with seeing God as a loving Father now that my earthly one has failed me.
But when my struggles overwhelm, I look back at that seventeen-year-old girl and I know…when He says He will never leave nor forsake us, He means it. When He says we can trust Him, He means that, too. Not because that means our world will never shatter, but because it means He’s there to hold us when it does.