[Guest Post by Krista Pettiford – We met each other through the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild. She is a gifted and talented writer, and I am absolutely thrilled to have Krista share her story about her family. If you know of any broken families who might need encouragement, please pass this one along!]
I was married and had four children when I became a Christian.
Before that, I was very worldly. Though I had been raised by religious parents and even went to Catholic school for my early education I never had a real example of godly living.
When I met my husband I was an unwed mother of two young children. Though he wasn’t a born-again Christian, we both believed in Jesus–and he loved and accepted me and my children. We began living together, and had two more children before we got married. We had what seemed like a wonderful life.
He is very well off and gave me everything a worldly woman could wish for, nice houses, fancy cars, vacations and shopping trips, plus a nanny and a house keeper. We did lots of things as a family, and just the two of us. But then his aunt invited me to church and everything changed.
I became a born-again Christian and went eagerly after the things of God, but we began to walk down two very different paths.
Instead of things getting better and being able to experience my new life in Christ with my family–we began falling apart. My husband was not ready to accept the changes in me, nor was he ready to change. I was young in the Lord with zeal and passion, but lacked wisdom.
I tried to win him to the Lord with much talking but that just pushed him further away. We became unequally yoked. Our marriage did not survive the change. We separated three years after I became a born-again Christian and eventually divorced.
Once again I was a single mother, only this time I was a Christian.
However, I didn’t blame God, He was my refuge; instead I blamed myself. Because of the life I lived before I became a Christian guilt and regret weighed on me heavily. The thought of not having the opportunity to be a Christian family with my husband was overwhelmingly difficult to face.
During the time of our separation I prayed for my husband to come back. We dated, spent holidays together and still did things as a family, but he didn’t move back in. Instead we had an open door policy which meant we had keys to each other’s places but he still wouldn’t commit. When we finally divorced, he continued to pursue me–but wouldn’t commit.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was in an unhealthy relationship of compromise without boundaries.
I lived this way for several years.
The hope of things coming back together fogged my judgment.
As for dating other men, I chose not to for my children’s sake. I decided to become a single mom by choice. I figured they had been through enough being first a blended, then a broken family. Looking back, I believe not dating other men was the right thing to do but I don’t believe dating my ex-husband without any boundaries was right. It left me and my children hanging on for years until he finally moved on.
He eventually stopped seeing my children that weren’t his, and their hearts we broken.
Through it, all somehow the joy of Lord was my strength.
When he moved on–it pushed me to move forward. Our lives had been held hostage by putting my hope in him. When I finally let go, instead of falling into the pit of nothingness and hopelessness that I imagined was waiting for me I found a freedom that is truly indescribable.
Moving on allowed me to start dreaming again and was also healthy for my children.
All four of my children, now ages 23, 19, 17 and 15 were affected by our unhealthy choices in some way or another. Though children are resilient, some things only God can heal–and He has, in many areas. We’ve moved on as a new kind of family and have learned to accept who we are and cherish each other.
Though I understand that no story is the same, many people are going through similar situations. The fruit of what my children and I went through is being able to sharing our story truthfully with others so they can make better choices.
Worshiper and follower of Christ, Krista Pettiford is the mother of four children in a beautifully blended family, the women’s ministry leader and a prayer leader in her local church. She is an author, and an IT manager by day with degrees in Information Technology and Biblical Studies. She once lived like Martha, Mary’s busy sister. She longed to live a balanced life but it seemed to escape me for many years until she finally found the key–living like Mary, at Jesus’ feet first. Now she enjoys sharing the steps to create a life of surrendered balance and how to have Mary Moments™ at Jesus’ feet first, with other busy women at kristapettiford.com.
[Photo: Krista and her four children]