Ten Years.

In many ways it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  In so many other ways, it really does.  Ten years ago at this time, I was two months pregnant with John Henry.  And, his dad left.

I guess I never imagined I would be in that place.  I certainly never saw myself divorced.  I never thought I’d be a single mother.  It was the single most heart-breaking, devastating time in my life.  Words were said that pierced me.  Actions taken that floored me.  And, I couldn’t imagine that my life would ever be restored back to where it was.

I spent the next few months busying myself with work, getting ready for a baby, and involving myself in the community.  I traveled to Chicago to an Arts Conference hosted by Willow Creek Church.  I headed up the campaign for my uncle who was running for County Commissioner.  He won, by the way.  And, I joined with city leaders in putting together a Memorial Service for the one year anniversary of 9/11.   And, in my down time, I cried.

But, I also prayed.

I prayed scriptures over Bryan’s life every single night of my pregnancy.  I prayed blessings over him.  In the middle of my pain, I cried out to the Redeemer.  And, I released forgiveness little by little until I no longer carried any anger or resentment.

I was still heartbroken.  There were times I would feel sorry for myself.  I’d cry the ugly cry.  My countenance would be less than inviting.  I remember during one of my pity parties, my dad told me, “You never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.”  Of course, I knew how I was going to feel.  Exactly like I was feeling at that moment.

Until one day, you wake up, and the weight of it all seems a little less.  The hurt isn’t quite as painful.  And, before you know it, you are smiling.  And, you are staring into the eyes of a little blue-eyed baby boy who has changed everything.

September 24, 2002, I held John Henry.  I looked at my parents and said, “My world is right.”  It was.  The hurt was still there.  But it became less.  A few months later, Kris Takle flew into my life.  Literally.  Six months later?  We were married.  Six months after that?  We were pregnant with Anna Takle.

And, now ten years later?  My life is full.

It is redeemed.

I never believe that divorce is God’s best for one’s life.  But, I do believe He is a God of redemption and will make good out of messes.  I will never write about the nit and the grit of the words said or the actions during it all.  I really see no need, honestly.  It’s not where I live.  I don’t ever want it printed and posted to hurt John Henry or Bryan.

As for Bryan, he has allowed God to work in his life.  He is a great father to John Henry.  He is a great friend to Kris.  And, Kris is a great friend to him.  We celebrate holidays together.  We have vacationed together.  We aren’t “normal.”  We really didn’t think “normal” was working.  So, we just do things differently.

I would defend Bryan’s name until my last breath on earth.  Because, he is a good man.  And, I am forever grateful to him for John Henry Landreth.  I have learned more about compassion and forgiveness because of that little boy than I ever imagined possible.

John Henry is a constant reminder to me of how GOOD God is.

Anna and Jett are constant reminders of His redemption.

And, Kris Takle.  Well, you know what he is.

The one who made my heart beat fast again.

It’s been a good ten years.


Filed under disappointment, divorce, gratitude, Life Experiences, Love, Motherhood, prayer, Writing

14 responses to “Ten Years.

  1. Ginger

    Sad, but true…not nearly enough divorces end in this situation. What a testamony for John Henry to follow! His childhood will be an experience of love, and there are not many stepfamilies that can say that. I am in a stepfamily complete with in-law and grandchildren, and mine is the total opposite of what you’ve said here. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time unable to change…for now. Burned too may bridges along the way. Maybe one day God will “undo” this mess and redeem our lives♥

  2. Julie

    Absolutely, hands down, without a doubt, my very favorite blog yet! 🙂

  3. Julie Cordova

    Just amazing!!!!

  4. Lori B.

    I for one am so thankful, not that this happened exactly but that you and Bryan gave it to God & allowed that redemption. If not for these experiences you may be a different person today. And the person you are ministers to us all. Love you!

  5. maryclaire

    love this, and you, Pastor!!!

  6. Brenda

    You made me cry but give me hope. I remember those days just like yesterday. I am so glad I am a part of your “normal” not so “normal” family. John Henry is a true gift from God in so many ways. You will be able to pastor and minister to so many because of the experiences that you have lived and overcome!

  7. Brandi

    Wow…I wished everybody wasn’t so “normal”. Jesus certainly wasn’t. Love you!

  8. Phyllis Terrell

    Dusty, That was beautiful.

  9. Casey

    What an amazing testimony! I never thought divorce would ever be a word that would have affected my life either. God has a plan..youcan always trust in that. I cried harder & longer than I ever thought possible as well. And one day it stopped. I am stronger, forgive easier, and love harder because of it. We to are not “normal”. We do holidays, dinner, dance recitals, and school events together. We chose to be diferent. And Katie is better off because of it!

  10. Jenna Rogers

    All I can say is you are amazing with words! You have such an incredible gift. Thank you so much for posting this. You have also given me hope. I still struggle every day with the constant hurt and void that divorce has left in my family. I struggle with questions from my 2 beautiful girls about why and how. I do not know why. I cannot tell them how someone could hurt me so deeply, let alone my two precious children. I cannot answer why someone can act as if nothing is wrong with divorce and adultry and can live their ilfe every day as if nothing has happened. But there is a reason for all of this. The pain has lessened. The anger is still there but more for my children and what they are missing by having a “whole” family than for me. I am praying every day that one day I can be where you are now. And I can forgive. Totally. And finally be free! I am on my way. I am totally depending on the Lord for removing these feelings from my heart and from my family. I am depending on the Lord to help me see that my girls and I are a family now.Just the three of us. But it is taking time. Thank you for your message of hope and healing and forgiveness!!!

  11. michele mathias

    What an AWESOME story of God’s work in you and your families life!!
    Thank you for sharing Dusty!

    • Divorce is never a good thing, it’s un-natural and it never goes away. Coming from a family of divorced parents I vowed it would never be a part of my life, that love and commitment would prevail. Sadly, I did experience it, not once, but twice!
      My first marriage ended after eight years, leaving me with two beautiful girls, ages 2 and 6, who were completely devistated. Although he was not a very active part of their life, he was still “Daddy”. We went our separate ways with very little communication and even less interaction with the girls. I found myself not to be just a full-time mother and provider but a full-time daddy, with two professions, Dental Hygiene and Interior Design.
      As the years went on the girls and I had developed a very close bond. There was little time for my “sad time” or even time to recoup and recover. I resigned myself to the fact that marriage was not a trip I wanted to take again. My girls were my first priority and I’d not met but one man I would even consider devoting my life to and sharing my children with.
      All that changed one afternoon when I answered the door to find the first “love of my life” standing there smiling and with a silly laugh he said, “you don’t know who I am do you”.
      It had been close to eleven years since I had entered into single life. I was independent, successful, somewhat comfortable with myself and the girls were awesome. Why now? And why “him”?
      For 9 months he commuted, between Georgia and Michigan. He resigned his job in Michigan, relocated to Valdosta with a comfortable job and 2 months later we were married! “Let the life begin”! And that it did! Sadly we were unable to mesh as we had hoped, he had never raised children and I was very set in my independent life style. We were two adults acting like children trying to “play house”. When times were good they were very, very good. But when times were bad they were very, very bad. We grew further and further apart and ultimately after 23 years we divorced. This time the divorce included not only our 2 girls but we shared a son-in-law and a 4 year old grandson. I was totally blindsided! I had retired and for several months felt that we had finally made it, that we were growing closer, communicating successfully and the walls were coming down. Obviously, he didn’t share the same outlook. After 2 gruling years of trying to reach a settlement, it was over! But was it really over? We communicated occassionally, sometimes pleasantly, other times no so. Circumstances alinated him from the girls, our son-in-law and heartbreakingly from our grandson.
      Over the course of years I had spent time with two different nice men, both who were friends from my past, but once the relationship began to take on a serious side, I took off. I had very little interest in meeting anyone and was content with being by myself.
      Fourteen months ago a series of conversations took place between David and I, mainly centered around his heart felt desire to be a part of our grandson’s life. Prior to that point I did not feel he was ready for the commitment but at this time I felt he was in the right place with God to be the peron he wanted to be for our grandson.
      Little did I know, that God had also been working in the hearts of both of the girls. Within 3 weeks David was contacted by both girls and a time had been set up for all of us to get together for an evening including dinner. Needless to say, there were many tears, hugs and I love you’s! To see the crystal blue eyes of my grandson dance with joy as he ran to David, throwing his arms around him and saying “GRANDGUY” was truly a gift from God!
      Today we are united, sharing our family. David and I had made a commitment to forgive, put the past behind us and be friends. After 23
      years of marriage, which included the near loss of both of the girls, we realized that we would always be there for each other no matter what the circumstances and that we woud always love each other, but that the future did not include reconsilation.
      Over the past 8 months I have realized a great deal about myself and what the Word of God instilled in me without my even being aware of it. I’ve cried, I’ve prayed and I’ve grieved, but it has all been necessary. I believed in marriage, I believed marriage was a covenant with God and my husband but in my heart I had not accepted that divorce nullified what God had ordained.
      Today I am facing reality. I still cry and at times I grieve, but I’m healing through God’s love. I have realized that my inability to move beyond a friendship relationship was because in my heart I had never accepted divorce. As a reunited family we are doing great. We laugh, recall the fun times, share holidays and time together, We’re still in a learning stage but I truly believe we are all where God wants us, I thank Him for the gift of forgiveness, the gift of insight, the gift of un-conditional love, and the gift of laughter! We will move forward and I am sure that God will bless us and guide us through whatever plan he has for our lives individually and as a family that was lost in the chaos of divorce yet re-united through His faithfulness.

  12. connie Gordy

    Dusty, you don’t know me…I taught Kris at Pike County High. Even though I haven’t seen him in several years, he is one of my all time favorite people. I am glad he made your heart beat faster and hope he will continue to do so for many years to come. Tell him hello, and God bless you and your precious family!

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