Families Torn

July 18, 2000

Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (NIV)

While reading the prayer requests, I often see a distraught family member asking for prayer for a loved one with an addiction. I would like to share with them one of the most painful times I remember. As I write, the memories bring back the tears.

It happened five years ago. My family was torn apart by Satan. My husband had become distant. He was staying out late at night. He quit his job. The money I made barely covered the bills, yet nine times out of ten it didn't go for bills. It went for his cocaine addiction. He would be gone for weeks and then show up on my couch shaking and going through withdrawals. I didn't know where to turn. I kept trying to work and take care of the kids as best I could.

I couldn't take any more, so I had to ask him to leave our home. Friends and family were telling me that I had done the right thing and several were even nice enough to go and pick up the packet of papers that I needed to file with the courts to get a divorce. Every time I would start to fill the forms out, I was overcome by such a feeling of loss. I put them in a drawer and waited.

I didn't hear from my husband for over seven months. I didn't know if he was dead or alive. I was afraid I would get a phone call saying he was found in the street. I knew I still loved him. I was being pushed to divorce him, yet I couldn't. One day I was thumbing through the local paper making my grocery list. As I turned the obituary page I gasped. My last name was there in big black letters. I trembled as I tried to focus on the column, my heart racing. It was my mother-in-law. She had died of a heart attack. I was relieved, but still deeply saddened. I felt for my husband's pain. I didn't know what to do, so I went out and bought a card and signed our names to it and sent it to my husband at his dad's home.

I also started praying. I prayed that my husband would be delivered from the cocaine that seemed to possess him, and that we would become a family again. That went over well with everyone. They couldn't understand why I would love someone who had caused me so much pain. One day I was reading my Bible, and a verse just seemed to jump from the page. It was Proverbs 10:12: "Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offences." I found great comfort in that. Love covers all offences. I read it often. I prayed and I waited.

Right before Christmas there was a knock on my door. It was my husband. He asked if he could come in. There was something different about him. He seemed very afraid. He was trying to stop doing the drugs and was sick. He didn't know where to turn or what to do. I told him that I loved him.

The road was long and hard, but today, five years later, my husband is still clean and sober. He is a Christian and gives testimony. There was much pain and hurt to overcome in our marriage, but love covered it. I know that this was one of God's many miracles. For those who are going through trying times, and especially those who are dealing with a loved one's drinking or drug problem, don't give up hope. Put yourself out of harm's way; it is okay to love from a distance. Hit your knees and pray for God to deliver and he will do it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, evil is all around us. Many families are being torn apart by drug and alcohol abuse. Lord, bring those families the hope that you have given others: hope for a future. Deliver those lives from the evil that seems to control them. Bring peace to those who love them and who wait and watch helplessly. Amen.

About the author:

Trish Dukeman
Homosassa, Florida, USA

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