In 2013 my husband had an affair, and he asked me for a divorce so he could be with the other woman. I don't know how else to describe the months that followed for me personally, other than by saying it was a season drenched in the Holy Spirit. He is near to the broken hearted. His word is alive and active, like healing salve to open wounds.
Faithful, real, present. That’s how I found God when my marriage collapsed. Other facades came crashing down around me, but God’s word held up true and firm. The Lord never abandoned me, but instead strengthened, shielded and empowered me. Looking back, somehow I can say it was the sweetest season of my life because He was so near.
Today my marriage has been completely restored. My sister Shannon says when God restores something he brings it back to his original intent. Which was great, because my marriage before restoration wasn't really anything to fight for. But my husband and I learned so much about grace and redemption in that season, we will never be the same again.
When I read Lysa’s news of her husband's infidelity and impending divorce, I read it with a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach. Although the Lord draws near to his own, there is no pain I know like the collapsing of a marriage.
Selfishly, I was relieved when I got to the part of her post where she wrote she would continue serving in her role at Proverbs 31. See, Lysa has been a personal champion of mine. I am publishing my first book this year and to say that Lysa has been instrumental through this journey would be a gross understatement.
She not only offered her personal endorsement, I also drew from resources such as Compel, She Speaks, and other P31ministries.Like countless women, I have been drawn closer to Jesus because of Lysa’s dedication to pursuing what seems to come natural to her— building other up.
Lysa continued building me up even in the midst of her own trauma. I had no idea the circumstances she was up against in her personal life. My pastor, Mark Pfeifer has said, "Rarely ever does God change your circumstances. He changes you. He didn't die to redeem your circumstances. He died to redeem you."
Lysa’s circumstances are like many of ours, beyond our control. I am so proud to battle beside a woman who does not stand on her circumstances, but stands on the word and in the faithfulness of God.
I’m grateful for God’s healing of my own marriage, and I am a big believer that God restores broken things. Even still, staying is not always possible or healthy, and sometimes could even be flat our rebellion when God has prepared a way out of a destructive marriage.
Honestly— I feel like the outcome of our marriages, be restoration or otherwise, is not the point. The point is how we react to the circumstances we are faced with. How will we allow ourselves to be shaped into the image of God?Will we crumble under the tension of our circumstances or will we stand firm in the faith, pressing on, continuing to fight the good fight?
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before King Nebuchadnezzar they asked God to save them, but had the audacity to say that even if he does not, we still will not bow down, Oh king.
Lysa is a shining example (even though I know she did not ask to be one) of what it looks like in the even if he does not circumstances.
After pleading with God to save her marriage, and then not getting that answer, it would have been understandable for her to not only step down from her leading roles, but wallow in pity for a bit.
In my own battle of infidelity I realized that crumbling and wallowing in defeat was not an option. I realized that shrinking back and letting that situation define me or devalue me was not Christ-like. Because I am made in the image of the living God. I do not have the option to hang my head in shame, because I have no shame. That's the beautiful work of the cross.
I for one am thankful that Lysa is continuing to fight the good fight. I’m glad she did not crumble, or shrink back into the outfield, or worse, hang her head in shame. For therefore, there is no shame in those who are in Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1
I only wish I could hug her myself, bring cheesecake to her door, and then do her dishes….things that dearest friends did for me when I was in the trenches of heartbreak.
But then we trek on, regardless of the outcome. And God is faithful, even if he does not.
Shauna Shanks is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. She shares fighting for her marriage in the upcoming memoir A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save her Marriage (Zondervan, available June 27, 2017). Shauna and her husband, Micah, who is a police officer, have been married for more than a decade, and they live with their three boys on an Ohio farm. www.shaunashanks.com