Sally* has been married for 14 years. But when she turned 40 two years ago, she took a good look at her life and decided that she wasn’t satisfied. She didn’t come close to accomplishing the things she had dreamed of doing when she was in her 20’s. Even though she was thankful for her husband, who was an electrician and their 3 kids, she was depressed and angry about her life.
Then Sally met a man who told her all the things she wanted to hear. All the promises of a bigger house, nicer car and the dream of starting business. Except the business he was talking about opening was his own car repair shop, not the florist shop Sally always wanted.
I’m sure you already know the ending of this story! Sally had an affair with this man and lost most of her retirement money in the “investment” in his car repair shop idea that went nowhere but in his pocket. As soon as he got Sally’s money, he took off and moved on to the next “victim”. Sally woke up out of the fog she had been living in to find her marriage and finances in shambles.
Sally’s husband was devastated. Sally tried her best to make amends and rebuild trust with her husband. They tried counseling, but Sally’s husband couldn’t see his way past what happened and filed for divorce. Sally just got served with the papers and is grief-stricken.
How can you take another step when you feel like you can’t cope with how you’ve hurt for yourself, your husband and kids? You question how you could have been capable of doing something like this? How you could have been so blind and easily deceived? How to face family and friends? What am I going to do now that my money is long gone?
When I was active in Stephen Ministry, a national Christian based lay-person caring ministry program specifically geared for one-on-one lay care for people in emotional crisis, I saw both sides, men and women, who may have been at a vulnerable place in their lives, made big mistakes, acted out of character and are now in crisis. And since I’m not a licensed counselor, it’s from this place that I say the following.
What I saw was most helpful was to get into counseling as quickly as possible. That may be with a licensed counselor or if that’s not an option, counseling at a community center or church, even if you’re not a member there. It’s important for 3 main reasons. First, to start at the process of forgiving yourself. Second, to find out what the real root cause for what happened and why you acted the way you did. And third, to get the coping skills to deal with the fall-out – in this case, the divorce and all that goes with it.
For Sally, when she was in grade school, her mom, a single mother, didn’t always have enough food in the house. Sally developed a fear of not having enough of the basics in life (food, clothing, etc.) Hitting 40 was a “trigger” for her and she acted out.
Now Sally has the support that she needs around her from other women who are walking through similar situations. Sally is working through the process of apologizing to family members and friends. Step-by-step, she’s dealing with how her life is changing as a result of the divorce (selling her house, sharing custody of the kids, and so on). She’s also working on getting her finances back in order so she can eventually apply for a small business loan to start her dream florist shop. Each week, it gets a little easier for Sally.
If you’re at a vulnerable place in your life and you’ve made a bad money decision or you’ve been arguing with you husband. Don’t wait until you’ve at a place of no return. It’s not really about the fact that he burned the chicken for dinner. Take the time to find out what the real root cause of why you’re really upset. You’ll be much happier and healthier over all.
It will be okay. There’s no place you can go that is so far that God can’t redeem you and turn everything around for your good. Even if you caused it. He forgave everyone, once and for all. Perfectly! He forgives you, too.
In His love and care,
*Sally isn’t a real person. Even though this story is fiction, it represents a situation that many people find themselves in.