by Allyson Stanley
Could it be I was that naïve, or was there something more to my decision? How could I have gone against everything I knew to be right? Some call it the seven year itch, I call it stupidity. The grass in my yard had lost its luster. On the other side of the fence was lush green grass and a world of promise. His promise was, “I’ll treat you like no other man will ever do,” and he kept that promise. Until this day no other man will treat me that way again!
I will call him Teacher, because I learned so much about myself and life from him. The Bible says that what Satan meant for harm, God will use it for good to those who serve him. I was anything but Christian at that point in my life. Soon, when I had reached the point of no return, I found God again. I had surrendered a good man who truly loved me for one who thought he did. I went chasing after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I never found it. I soon discovered how foolish I had been. I found myself several states from anything I could recognize as home. It was as different as night and day. Nothing I had grown up with was in this man’s land.
The Teacher was introduced to drugs and alcohol. He fought hard to leave this life behind, but unfortunately his past came creeping back into his life and he changed drastically! He became cold, resentful and a complete stranger to me. He seemed to enjoy doing all he could to tear my soul from me. The only thing that kept me going was my infant son. Watching my son grow was supposed to be the best years of my life, but I don’t remember much of them. I was so depressed that I cried all the time. Thankfully, I had a video camera and kept it running. I now watch the tapes and smile as I see what I missed. I ran on autopilot each day. I made sure my son was taken care of and that was all I was able to do. I didn’t care if I bathed, brushed my teeth or combed my hair.
My greatest joy was in knowing bedtime would come and I could sleep away some of the stress. I had no family other than his and I hid a lot of things from them so they wouldn’t worry. His family was good and kind and I didn’t want them hurt. It was hard to hide the truth when they saw so much with their own eyes. The sad part is they blamed themselves for not raising him better. It was not their fault in any way. He made his own choices and no one was going to talk him out of them! Once the alcohol and drugs took control the person they raised disappeared.
Year after year passed, night after night I stared down a dusty road waiting to see if he made it home. The whole time my stomach was tied in knots as I waited to see him or a police officer pulling into my driveway. I never knew when I’d get that call that he was dead or had killed someone with his vehicle. It was a terrible way to exist. He’d finally make it home late at night. He’d wobble his way from the truck to the house. I never had to ask if he was drinking. His slurred words, half-closed eyes and falling asleep while standing up said it all.
When he was like this I was afraid to sleep until I knew he was completely passed out. He would decide to cook for himself or go to bed with burning cigarettes. I can’t count the times I found where he had stuffed his hand beneath the pillow and burnt holes down to the mattress. When he cooked, he would fall asleep and burn things. I finally put smoke alarms in every room of the house.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and moved out. I was scared and all I could do was trust God to keep food on the table and a roof over mine and my son’s head. I always knew in the back of my mind that Jesus had never left me, even though I had pushed him aside. I could still feel his presence with me no matter what mess I was dealing with. I honestly believe that even as a child, I belonged to Jesus.
My faith was strong as a child because I didn’t know how to doubt. Mom and Dad struggled to make ends meet like most families do. Mom had gotten down in her back and couldn’t stand up to cook much. My dad worked long hours and his biggest love was biscuits. Mom would normally make a pan of over a dozen biscuits for Dad. After a few days of no biscuits, Dad said, “I hope you’re feeling better tomorrow, I miss my biscuits.” My childlike faith kicked in and I snuggled to Mom’s side and place my small hands on her back. I asked Jesus to make her better so she could make Daddy some biscuits. Mom was instantly healed!
I’ve been told by preachers that Satan hates me. That is no surprise, he hates anyone trying to live Godly. I was told that I had grace upon grace and that Jesus saw every tear and felt my pain. That Jesus would make things right to keep pressing forward. This all sounded good, but at the time I was under so much stress I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The day I walked away from the stressful situation, I began a trial of faith.
I found a job in the town we moved to, minimum wage of $5.25 an hour and a promise of 20 hours a week. I grabbed it since there were so few jobs in the area. This wasn’t going to be enough to even pay the rent, so I had to lean on Jesus for the rest. I had no one to help with my now eight year old son. But my boss was awesome. He put my son first even before his needs and would let me bring him to work with me. Not once did we go without, money from churches back home showed up and food came from the local church we attended.
My land lord helped me when he could, my boss let me buy food at cost. I had more now than when I was with the Teacher. God did not fail me! I felt like Ruth in the Bible – I couldn’t leave because my in-laws needed me. The Teacher was out being a teenager and his sister was tied up with her career. I stayed until they passed away. The whole time I was dealing with this, I was praying for my ex-husband who loved me so dearly. I prayed God would give him someone to watch over him and love him.
Twelve years later, we got back together. I think God has a sense of humor! He has been supporting and caring for the child of the man who helped destroy our marriage. He treats him as if he were his own. The Teacher’s life is a sad one. I can’t help but feel sympathy for him. He lost everything and everyone who ever cared about him. I never thought a time would come when I could write about this without anger and resentment boiling up in me. I tried several times, but failed. But thanks to a lot of prayers, I not only was able to forgive, I forgot.
Words by Deborah Malone: I want to take this opportunity to thank Allyson for sharing her story. I know how hard it must have been for her to write it. We all make mistakes in our lives, they just look different. I love the story in John 8 where the Pharisees brought the adulteress woman before him. Let’s see what Jesus had to say.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8: 1-11 NLT