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Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Love Story, Part 2

This is "Scarlett." Doesn't she make a beautiful bride?

The husband and I met Scarlett a little over five years ago, when we visited our church for the first time. Scarlett and her husband Ashley announced their pregnancy to the congregation that very morning and I could tell, even as a newcomer, that this was a much longed for event. When Scarlett and her husband introduced themselves to us during the church coffee hour, I offered my congratulations to them. Something in my tone must have clued in Scarlett because she stopped - really looked at me - and then smiled when I shared, "we are in the process of adopting from China."

We instantly connected, Scarlett and I, amid a sea of fertile women.

The husband and I clicked with Scarlett and her husband, eventually joining them in their small group Bible study. Through them - and their group - the husband and I met two other couples whose company we truly enjoyed. Tonggu Daddy and I felt connections begin to grow at a time when we desperately needed them to, since five of our six closest couples friends had moved out of state during the previous year. Tonggu Daddy and I hoped to develop strong friendships with these three couples. Both of the other families already had small children, however, so we felt most connected to Scarlett and Ashley... two couples awaiting their first children.

Then life happened.

The husband and I adopted our Tongginator and entered into a whirlwind of pediatrician visits, early intervention, attachment difficulties and stress. Scarlett gave birth to her adorable baby girl. My sister's family moved in with us for six months. Tonggu Daddy switched jobs. Then he almost died. Rosie got sick. So did the husband's father. Throughout those two years, we met with the same families in our small group.

And the connections? Did not deepen.

The husband and I fretted behind closed doors. Something felt very "off" to us within the group, but we could not figure out what "it" was. The other couples seemed so very close with one another... we felt like the odd men out. Were we imagining things? Did they just not like us? Why did these couples seem to get along so well while we remained standing on the outside, looking in? With much sadness, after nearly two years of seeking deeper friendships, the husband and I left the small group and, soon after, the church. We felt like everyone there simply tolerated our presence. We felt completely alone.

The husband and I spent the next two years drifting from church to church, trying to find (or create) a good fit. (That's when we stumbled across the Chinese church we occasionally attend.) Still... God didn't seem to have a home for us. The husband and I found ourselves, once so committed spiritually, drifting further and further away from any type of church community.

And then... one day... a little over a year ago...

I ran into Scarlett at a local grocery store. And she told me that she and her husband Ashley had spent more than a year in counseling before finally separating, then filing for divorce. Because Scarlett's husband? Had - and was still - having an extramarital affair. Scarlett shared that at first she felt devastated, then committed to working through it, but when Ashley refused to stop the affair, she truly had no choice except to end their marriage.

I felt so very sad for her.

I felt even MORE sad when I learned the identity of the other woman. Because Ashley's affair? Was with one of the wives from our former church small group. (Umm... no wonder the husband and I felt out of the loop when we attended small group. No wonder something felt "off.") Scarlett and the other woman were friends... neighbors... and members of the same church community. It was double the betrayal. Still, both families committed to saving their marriages. One family moved to a neighboring town so that the two families would no longer live down the street from one another. Scarlett and Ashley began attending a different church to give each couple the space they needed. And of course the friendships between the foursome completely ceased to exist. Despite all of this effort, the affair didn't end, eventually leaving Scarlett a single, stay-at-home mom with very little support.

I felt devastated for her.

But then... one day... just a week or two after our talk...

Scarlett ran into someone at a local coffee shop. It was Rhett, the innocent husband whose life came crashing down because of The Small Group Affair. Rhett, a guy the husband and I had always liked. Rhett, a now single dad caring for two school-aged daughters. Rhett, who shocked himself by gradually falling head over heels in love a second time.

With Scarlett.

They married last weekend... a testament to God's redemptive love. Scarlett and Rhett found love amidst the ashes. For God will turn to good what others meant for evil (Genesis 50:20). A divisive, grief-stricken anger grew into a shared love. And two who once looked at each other as painful reminders of their pasts grew to embrace a future together as one.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love NEVER fails... even when it seems like it might.

(And I told y'all it was a soap opera-ish and God kind of story.)

35 comments:

Johnny said...

Great story. I almost had to draw an org chart to figure out the players, tho!

Buckeroomama said...

Aww! That left me with a huge smile on my face. Thanks for sharing their love story. :)

(That passage? It was one of the readings during our wedding.)

bbmomof2boys said...

Yep, even through grief we can find love. Pretty amazing how God worked this out!

Hugs,
Carla

Aus said...

Well good morning! First off - I love the "Gone with the Wind" thing there! Secondly - got to be true - nobody could make up a story like that! And finally - I do love Paul's writings - but sometimes I wonder if he shared a little too much wine before he picked up the pen! (OK - in that era more like a quill meets chisle....for the life of me can't recall the name of that writing tool they used!) Wise cracks aside - it just re-enforces for me that even men like Paul couldn't always get the grasp of God's Plan...but then again - that's not always meant to be understood by us mere mortals! Who'd have thought that God would bring these to together in a way like this? ;)

hugs - aus and co.

happygeek said...

Wow. That's something else.
Congratulations to the happy couple.

Marla said...

WOW, that is absolutely amazing!!! All the best to them, they deserve this happiness!

epin said...

Great story and awesome ending. I wish the happy couple much joy in their marriage. And Shania Twain also had a similar happy ending to her now ex-husband's affair with her close friend.

Lisa said...

goosebumps I tell ya!....goosebumps! Thank heavens love & goodness always prevails!!

Thanks for sharing the virtual feel good fuzzy!! :)

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

I hate that "something's not right" feeling. Congrats to the lucky couple! God is good.

Patricia/NYC said...

Wow!! That is some story!! Congratulations to the lovely couple!!

Lots of good news this morning...check out "Tell Her This", if you haven't already!!

Joanne said...

Ooooo, I have chills - what a wonderful story ~ I wish them a lifetime of love & happiness!

Carla said...

Wow! An amazing story. I wish them much happiness...and LOVE!

autumnesf said...

Totally amazing!

Dawn said...

After this story and the creepy guy story, I'm thinking you have the spiritual gift of discernment!!!

Beauty from ashes - isn't God great at what He does???

Blessings!

Annie said...

Wow!!! That is incredible!! Good for them and she does make a beautiful bride!!!

Sharie said...

That is a wonderful story; sounds as if they did find love among the wreckage.

Sherri said...

TM,

I am living this nightmare with my best friend, who learned of her husband's affair with a friend of hers nearly a year ago. My friend filed for divorce yesterday, because the affair hasn't ended.

It makes me so sad that the divorce rate for Christians is no different than for the secular population. It makes me sad that men, as leaders of their households, aren't standing strong. Yes, I know, it takes two to tango.

Reading this story gives me hope that my sweet friend will find her own happiness after this mess settles. I can truly rejoice that your friend has found happiness, because I know the depths she had lived in while trying to restore the marriage.

Aunt LoLo said...

Awww...a God-directed love story, indeed! I don't really believe that God MAKES tragedies. We do that all on our own. However, He is the MASTER at spinning a happy ending out of the silver lining left behind.

Thanks for sharing...and congrats to Scarlett and Rhett!

jen@odbt said...

What a love story. So glad to read the happy ending. God does work in mysterious ways.

Myrnie said...

I...just can't imagine. So happy they've found joy! I hope their children are doing well...

alece said...

...sigh...

mumma to many said...

Lovely!
Yes sometimes plans are made for us without our knowing!
Hugs Ruth in NZ

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Beautiful! He makes all things new!!

Briana's Mom said...

What an amazing story. Truly amazing and wonderful.

Suzie said...

What a great story! Much happiness to both of them :o)

Kristy said...

I am just overwhelmed with warm and fuzzy feelings. I absolutely loved this incredible story of "found love". God is sooooo good.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Wanda said...

I am quite overcome. Stunned really. What a beautiful story (and told so well).

Our of ashes, indeed!

Dita said...

Ah, a life well lived is the VERY best REVENGE!

Fantabulous story, TM....you make things so darned juicy but this one really WAS juicy!

(see the bible study group wasn't about YOU and TD after all!!)

Janet said...

WOW. That was so good. I can't believe it. What strength they must have, to overcome such betrayal. May God bless them in their marriage.

Stonefox said...

That's amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

a little leprechaun said...

aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

Shellie said...

Awesome ending!

Alyson & Ford said...

Have you started your book yet?
You have a "Bestsellers" way of telling stories.... I'll buy the first copy!

Isn't it amazing that sometimes knowing something isn't "right", we assume that it is all about "us"; when in fact, most of the time it is others who are needing the help.
Thank you for reminding us of that. I shall share that we feel on the outside of a few social circles; one is at our church too and we have been there forever. Maybe it is time to move on....

Alyzabeth's Mommy for One Year!

Jean said...

Okay- this was even better then you promised- wow!! I love it!! PTL! I am so happy for them!

It s a good thing you two felt out of sinc with this group. Thankfully, you did not belong there!!

Thanks for sharing this!! It is a day maker!!

CC said...

So, let me just try to get this clear...

The betrayed husband and betrayed wife ended up falling in love? Is that how it works?

Wow! Pretty amazing how God heals broken hearts!!