In addition to a chapter this week, I’ve got a teaser for you. (Click to watch on YouTube) Now the video says AVAILABLE. It’s not quite available yet. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s live. I finished my edits this week so it will be headed out to the editor very soon. In the meantime, Chapter 2 is below. Thank you for reading!
I have never felt so powerless in all my life as I did the moment I heard my front door close behind Jan. I should have stopped her. I should have done everything in my power to keep her from leaving, but I couldn’t move.
Still in shock from the revelation, still wounded from the secrecy, I was angry at myself for my naiveté. I felt a deep shame for being deceived for so long and a growing anger at my wife for perpetrating it.
I had prayed for Jan since the day we met that she would know the depths of God’s love for her, that she would experience the reality of living in the fullness of His grace, but she seemed bent on resisting it.
For years, I prayed that God would do a work in her heart, that she would become my partner in ministry the way my mother was for my father, but the answers to those prayers seemed to come in opposites. Her workload never decreased. Instead, her responsibilities grew, even more so after she was named the head cardiology nurse. She is extremely gifted, but she chooses not to use her gifts in ministry. She agreed to be on a couple of temporary committees at church and that’s it. How can I persuade people to lead or teach when I can’t convince my own wife?
In the beginning, that’s one of the things I loved about her—her independence. She’s thoughtful and analytical, but reserved . . . I fell in love with her almost as soon as we met.
I was canvassing the campus as part of an evangelistic outreach team and Jan was one of the students we talked to. She had never heard the name of Jesus until we talked, but she was engaged and insightful, and I’d rarely encountered someone so hungry for the gospel.
I led her to Jesus that afternoon. I discipled her, nurtured her faith, led by example. What went wrong? God in heaven, what went wrong?
I stepped into our bedroom, and the air seemed thick, smothering almost. The bed was perfectly made, the spread pulled tight. Nothing was out of order, not so much as a stray sock on the floor or a forgotten retail tag lying about. But that was typical Jan.
The dog crawled out from underneath the bed, eyed me carefully, then went back to his hiding place. He didn’t like me. He never had. Jan talked me into getting him for the kids, for Maddie especially, but Malcolm was Jan’s dog.
I dared to sit down on the bed, our bed. We celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary this past summer, and honestly, I could probably count the times we’ve made love in this bed. At first, I chalked it up to her being in graduate school, then to being a new mother, or trying to work and raise a family, then hitting forty. I never pressed her. I thought it would be cold and demanding to question her. Apparently, I should have questioned.
I should have done the work necessary to uncover this long before now. I shouldn’t have needed my associate pastor slinking in here revealing the shortcomings in my own household.
I snatched the pillow from the bed and whipped it across the room. Then I cried. I cried with the pain of shame and abandonment and betrayal and injustice. The tears came until I was dizzy and empty.
Read the rest of Undone Chapter 2