There should be a funeral for dead marriages. There isn’t.
At first, the rain fell softly outside my bedroom window. Soon it increased in intensity. What began as a light mist quickly turned into a torrential downpour. The closed blinds could not shut out the lightning bolts that pierced the darkness. Thunder rocked my already frayed nerves that kept me up most of the night. The light finally arrived but the rain continued to pound relentlessly.
I dressed and ran out the door. I didn’t know where I was going. Part of me believed I would never return. I wanted to run away from everything—life; Tim, my husband; the future, the past, the present—mostly I wanted to run away from myself. I wandered down the street through the pouring rain soaking through my clothes. I was a bad wife, I convinced myself, and deserved to be punished and sentenced to a life of misery. I walked around a fenced-in retention pond and headed down a pathway into the woods. I was ready to end my life of thirty years—a life that I saw no value in—wasted.
“God, why have you abandoned me,” I cried out. “Where are you?”
Lightning imprinted and disappeared across the angry sky. I felt fearful and fearless, in control of my thoughts, but my emotions spun out of control.
A stream bordering the woods near my house caught my eye. I approached the crest of the hill and was surprised to see it rambling on in the distance; I climbed down the slippery slope as raindrops seeped into my cold, waterlogged clothes.
As the rain fell harder, the sides of the creek turned to mud. I lost my balance and stumbled down the embankment as the cold water oozed into my shoes and socks. I smeared the slimy mess over my arms, legs, and face, and into my blonde hair. The smell of the rancid water sickened me. I continued to cry out to a God I wasn’t sure I believed in anymore, but if He did exist, I was angry with Him.
“Where are you?” I cried out. “Why don’t you save my marriage?”
Over the seven years of marriage, I had kept my faith hidden because Tim couldn’t or wouldn’t relate to that part of me. If anything, he had belittled my search for understanding of the deeper things in the Bible, much like others had bullied me as a child. Anything from the Bible always stirred up controversy. I dragged Tim to church despite his protests because it was too hard to go alone. All Tim’s promises of a wonderful life as a doctor’s wife and supporting me so I could return to school had vanished—the way of everything else in the marriage.
The religion classes I took at Santa Fe State College had given me an academic understanding of the Bible, but not the kind of heart knowledge that reached down into my soul. With the resignation of the pastor a few weeks earlier at the church we attended occasionally, Tim vowed never to go back. Rejected and feeling unloved, I’d given up.
The limestone from the muddy creek burned my eyes and scratched my skin. How many creepy, crawly things filled the water that covered by body? I rolled over and stared up at the darkened, gray sky. Is this all there was? Was there nothing more to live for?
As dirty as I felt, it wasn’t enough. There had to be something more I could do to become the ugly, dirty, unloved person that I was. I climbed out of the creek and headed back to the house. The rain had let up but not the seething pain that lashed out at me. When I returned to the house, I washed off the dirt in the shower knowing I had not accomplished what I wanted.
Then I remembered the pills in the medicine cabinet. I tried to dismiss the thought but I couldn’t. I wanted my torment to end. Rejection consumed me. I longed to be loved, held, and needed. I felt like God had abandoned me. The lies were deafening.
I opened the medicine cabinet and searched for pills—anything I could find. I pulled out several bottles—an assortment of Tylenol, Bayer, and other things accumulated during our marriage. Not concerned with what they were, I opened each bottle and threw the contents on the table.
I sat for a long time staring at the scattered pills that threatened to end my life. They spoke my name, called out to me, and taunted me. I was in a trance. I took them and made a face—my face, with a mouth contorted into an upside‑down smile. Nobody could hurt me anymore. I took pleasure in the fact that the last act in my life was mine, not something somebody did to me.
As I reached for the pills, I was stopped by something far bigger than myself. A voice spoke to my heart out of the recesses of time and space, a word‑thought that was not of this world. It was not an audible voice, but it was as real to me as if it had been.
I saw myself standing in front of Jesus, outside the gates of heaven. He was waiting for me. From his lips came a question I had no answer to.
“Lori, how can you do this thing when I died for you two thousand years ago? How can you throw your precious life away?”
I stopped. The words were said in a gentle, pleading tone, spoken in a language I understood. I was in the presence of Goodness, even as I sensed a spiritual war waging in the unseen world around me. I felt fallen angels battling against the armies of God.
Demonic beings wanted my soul and unseemly forces beckoned, “Take the pills and end your suffering. You belong to us. Nothing in the world of light will ever change you because you are unlovable.”
Evil is relentless, especially when it thinks it can win. The clamor would have been deafening if my earthly ears could have heard it, but the battle belongs to the Lord. He knows His own and I was His. The choice was mine, though, to choose life over death. God’s unconditional love lets us choose who we will follow, a love that does not condemn or control. Would I allow love to conquer hate or would deception convince me that despair was the only answer? Could I accept forgiveness as the path to freedom? Did I believe Jesus loved me, would never leave me, and had forgiven me?
I closed my eyes and prayed for deliverance from the darkness.
Jesus stood before me, His eyes seeing through to my soul. Hope would emerge if I could believe in His healing power. The Risen Savior created a sense of calmness where chaos had existed. An overwhelming sense of peace enveloped me. Love pierced the darkness and Hope raised His scarred hands, reminding me of the price it cost Him. The shadows began to lift, grudgingly at first, refusing to accept defeat. A veil of light embraced the dark surroundings and the demons fled. They recoiled because they could no longer see. They were lost—lost in the darkness because the light had blinded them.
I knew at that moment, that I couldn’t do this heinous thing. I no longer believed the evil—an evil that tried to hurt me. I had been deceived. The fallen angels knew they had lost their hold on me—at least for the moment. The screams of hate by the demonic powers slowly trailed off as the darkness dispersed, leaving behind a cat-o’-nine-tails reduced to whimpering.
They would go in search of their unsuspecting next victim. For the moment, I was free from their taunts. An overwhelming sense of love caressed my soul. A deafening silence waited on cue for the celebration to begin. God’s angels began to shower me with grace.
The Immortal Being of the universes cast out my despair with His perfect love and covered me with mercy. No longer fettered with chains in a dungeon of defeat, I was free. For the first time, I felt loved.
I was now at one with “The One” who knew my greatest need. He embraced me as I had never been held, loved me as I had never been known—unconditionally. I was given another chance at life. Poor in spirit, I had seen God.
I quickly cleared the brightly-colored pills off the table and threw them away. Their enchantment had lost its magic. No longer condemned, I was a new creature, a new person, redeemed by the Redeemer. Exhausted but renewed, I had seen a great light. Jesus had won—life over death. A celebration was at hand. If the rocks could have cried out, they would have.
Jesus said in Matthew 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
“God, please show me the way,” I begged. “Please forgive me.”
For the last twenty-six years, God has never left my side, but I will never forget the day He delivered me from that demonic death knell. I thank God for reaching down and saving me, the wretch that I was. Little did I know then the great plans He had for my future.
By the grace of God, since that experience, God has restored my life many times over. I finished college and obtained my Master of Arts in Creative Writing. God brought me two beautiful daughters from the ends of the earth that are now fourteen and twenty-one. I was blessed with a job that allowed me to stay home and even homeschool them. I have published four books and lead a network of Christian authors from around the world.
Most of all, my relationship with Jesus Christ has never wavered. Even though at times I’ve made mistakes and disappointed Him, God has been faithful and provided for all of my needs. I feel blessed for the doubts I once had because God showered me through those dark days with His perfect love and gave me hope. God is sufficient to meet every need, even when I am weak; and for that, I am thankful.