Feb. 17, 2022

Dear Younger Me

August 23, 2011 was the worst day of my life.

In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago. In some ways it seems like yesterday.

I still remember the emotions of that night and the days that followed. Some days those emotions come flooding back. But most days they don't anymore. Some days I wish I could forget it all. Some days I don't want to forget it at all.

Mercy Me wrote a song called "Dear Younger Me." Although the story behind the story is quite different from my story, the song always caused me to think...If I could go back and talk to the "younger me," what would I say? Would I try to change what happened? Of course I wish those events would have never unfolded, and I'm sure Heather would go back and tell her younger self to not make the same decisions again...but we are who we are today because of what happened in 2011. Actually, we are who we are because of the decisions that we made after the events unfolded.

If I could write a letter to the younger me on August 23, 2011, this is what I might say. Maybe this letter to the younger me can be an encouragement to anyone facing a marriage crisis like ours:

Dear Younger Me,

Through the pain and devastation, believe that God still performs miracles. The world will tell you something different, but God can heal your marriage. It may not look the same as before, but God can actually make it better than before.

Don't miss the opportunity to learn and grow. Anger, shame, bitterness, embarrassment, hopelessness...you will experience them all. Don't let them drown you. Don't let those emotions overshadow what God can teach you, and the man that you can become through the devastation. As you depend on God, because there is really nowhere else to turn, soak in his grace, mercy, and wisdom like a sponge. Take the time to care for your own heart, and come out on the other side a new man.

You can live with resentment, anger, and bitterness, but you should choose to forgive your spouse and forgive the others that hurt you. Not only is forgiveness a biblical commandment, but living with anger will only make you a slave. You don't have to condone the actions to forgive, and forgiveness does not make you weak. Forgiveness will make you a man...an honorable man that God will uphold and sustain through the trial.

Things will never really be the same, so be willing to embrace the change. You may have to change friends, jobs, churches, etc., but they are all part of you becoming a new you. Changes obviously need to be made or you would not be experiencing this trial, so welcome the change and be willing to make all of the necessary changes.

Finally, fight for your marriage. You made a vow that said "until death do us part." There will be plenty of days that you will want to give up, but your marriage is worth fighting for. You married your wife because she is your best friend and you love her. She is worth fighting for. Don't let her mistakes or your mistakes destroy your unity. Keep your vow that death will be the only thing that will separate the two of you.

Older, Happily Married, Me