Seven years ago this month, I walked down the aisle to marry a man whom I loved and cared for. I was terrified. I was excited. I was not ready. I was not all in. I had no legitimate doubts, he looked good on paper, we got along, we loved each other, he was very gracious and forgiving to me for my sins, but deep in my heart, I knew it wasn’t forever.
I never thought it would be divorce, but I knew we wouldn’t grow old together. Maybe one of us would pass away, but never divorce. I held part of my heart back because of that. I never fully let him in. I was a scared child. I was 22, I was in college, I didn’t know who I was, what I was, and I didn’t fully trust that I would be loved should the worst parts come out.
I didn’t love my heart, I didn’t love who I was, so how could anyone else? I hid myself away. So did he, and we drifted apart, although we got along and enjoyed time together. We enjoyed our travels and living abroad, but our conversations were not the depth they could have been had one or both us risked our whole hearts.
I lived in shame. Shame of not being who I was supposed to be. I wasn’t a good wife, I was moody, struggled often, and controlling. I was ashamed because I wasn’t happy in my marriage. I felt trapped.
And then, he left. And I was devastated, heartbroken, desperate for answers, angry, and hurting. However, I was not surprised. After I unearthed secrets and lies, I came to realize that neither one of us was truly ourselves with each other.
In counseling one day, we discussed over and over again the betrayal and lies and devastation. And my counselor said to me “You know, when he left, it was probably the most merciful thing he could have done. He gave you a gift”.
I had never thought of that. He gave me a gift. He was merciful in leaving, letting me struggle and nearly drown. He knew it wasn’t best, he knew it wasn’t right, and divorce never pleases God, but I am certain that what was meant for evil, God used for good.
When he walked out the door that September day, I started becoming who I am. I started realizing that I don’t really love beer that much, but I love sports. I started to think that maybe dark hair was better on me, and going to bed early was beneficial. I realized that I want tomatoes on my salad, and I don’t want to listen to that music. Maybe running to Jay-Z or Justin Beiber is ok, more than ok, maybe it was my preference.
I’ll turn 30 this month, and I am far from arriving (if we ever actually arrive) at the destination of “finished product”, I still struggle to know if I truly like something or do I like it because I want to please you, or do I like it because you hate it. I am still becoming Kacy. I am still becoming brave. I am still learning to let go of perfectionism and procrastination (which are one in the same). I’m slowly becoming a woman who will sit in her anxiety rather than control others to make it go away. I’m learning to speak kind words when I want to spew venom (I struggle with this often, ask Collin.) I’m learning to love my heart, who God made me to be. That I’m ok. I’m loveable, desired, and cherished by God.
And I am convinced that sending me on the journey of becoming was the best gift my ex-husband ever gave me. And I want to inspire others to become fully themselves. I want the journey to wholeness for those I love to be one of joy, not sorrow. I want the catalyst to be less painful than mine. I want to know that in becoming myself, God used me to help someone else break out of their shell.
Take advantage of the gifts others give, even the ones covered in thorns. The beginning of the journey to who you are in Christ often comes at the hand of another. It is often easier to blame than grow. Easier to run than challenge. Easier to pretend you did nothing wrong.
It’s easier to drown and hide and pretend. It’s easier to be the victim.
It’s not worth it, and I’m thankful everyday for that merciful heartbreak that launched my journey of becoming whole. Just as Joseph told his brothers “What you meant for evil, God used for good”. God will use it.
Yes, and amen.
Kacy Neinast lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a special education teacher and advocate of those with special needs and loves her job. She spends her time running, reading, and enjoying those she loves. Kacy believes in reinventing what it means to be a woman who loves the Lord and longs to help others learn to love the Lord with abandon, freedom, and a greater understanding of grace. She writes here.