Her husband beganabusing her from the very start of their marriage.
I started to think, if this is life, this is a living hell.
“My first marriage was very brutal, physically. The man I married had a drug and alcohol problem which fed his anger. I became his punching bag. I was angry with God and felt He abandoned me.” Each beating was worse than the last and Linda felt she was inching closer and closer to her own death. Afterwards, he always promised he would never hurt her again. But it never stopped. When Linda found out she was pregnant, she was scared not only for her life, but also for the life of her unborn child.
“I started to think, if this is life, this is a living hell. I don’t want to live in this life anymore. I took pills into the little shed behind our house and sat there, contemplating and crying. Then I started thinking about the child inside of me. If I killed myself, I would be killing her too. I couldn’t do that to her. God stopped me.”
After her daughter was born, she felt she had to make a choice - stay in the marriage and die or divorce him and live. “I made the decision to run with the fear and the knowledge that if he ever caught me, he would kill me.”
I am not going back there unless you take me on my death bed.
Linda managed to escape her situation in Amarillo and moved away, but she was very angry with God for what He had let happen to her. Once in Florida, she told God she would never return to Amarillo. “I always said to God, ‘I am not going back there unless you take me on my death bed.’ Well, be careful what you say to God.”
Soon after Linda was diagnosed with lupus and the illness progressed further and further. She returned to Amarillo to take care of final business before her death. That is where she met Ken. “She was going into remission when we met, but I witnessed relapses as time went on. We learned to never take life for granted. I learned patience and understanding as those relapses happened. It’s never easy for her and therefore painful for me as well.”
Somehow, in the middle of it all, we fell in love.
At this point, Ken and Linda had both been married twice before and, following their previous unsuccessful attempts, they together swore off a third marriage. They agreed to be friends but, as Ken describes, something unexpected happened. “Since we both considered our relationship a friendship and were both so radically against marriage, we were unafraid to share our pasts with one another. We unloaded our baggage, which made this friendship different than any other friendship I’d had before. Mine was concerned mainly with my first marriage and many other embarrassing and very shameful things; for Linda, hers was concerned with her first marriage and how it took her to a place of distrusting men.”
Linda had constructed a fierce wall of defense. “For a long time, I always thought I had to have control over everything in my life because I was never going to let anyone have control over me again.”
Ken knew a kind and sincere heart hid behind the stone facade. “So there we were - two completely lost and broken people who happened to find one another. Somehow, in the middle of it all, we fell in love. We got married in August of 1995 and certainly believed in our commitment to one another, but we did not include God in the mix yet.”
Linda felt God pulling her back into His arms.
A few years into their marriage, Ken felt God calling him back to church and asked Linda to go with him. Ken felt an immediate change come over him as the relationship he started with God when he was seven began to grow.
On the other hand, Linda’s first experience back at church since she was a teenager was very uncomfortable and surprisingly emotional. Linda had spent the last twenty years wondering if God cared about her at all and had not allowed herself to cry for the past 15 years. She sought a physical explanation for her sudden burst of emotions and eventually chalked it up to hormones or exhaustion. However, as she returned to church time and again, she knew it was God’s love. Linda felt God pulling her back into His arms. “He touched my heart in such a deep way. And this was the beginning of a major change in our marriage as we let God in.”
- Next >>