Our love story is unusual, unlikely, and completely created by the Lord. God allowed something beautiful to come from my devastating reality of a love lost.
This is our story. Johnny & I both wanted to be apart of sharing our story. We bounce back & forth between the two of us in an attempt to share our own perspectives. Our prayer is that you enjoy our love story and hopefully in some way find encouragement.
|This is me, Brit.|
I think that every little girl dreams about her wedding day. The dress, hair, and her daddy giving her away to live happily ever after.
I am a Texas girl from a small coastal town. I grew up in a wonderful home with the sweetest parents in the world. Our home was filled with a whole lotta loving Jesus, laughing, nonstop silliness, and love. I always knew I wanted the same for my life. Around the age of 14 I started writing letters to my future husband and praying for him. Whoever he may be.
My freshman year of college I became friends with this very sweet guy. We were always together, hanging out, and eventually we started dating. He was everything I had dreamed of, for my love, to be. We had so much fun together. At the end of our sophomore year we got married to become husband and wife. We were so excited, very much in love, and we moved off to finish college together at Texas State University.
Hey! This is me, Johnny.
Meanwhile, you have me. An Iowa born & raised guy. My family moved to Texas right before my 18th birthday. We moved from a small town of 5,000 people to Houston 4,000,000 people! must say, a bit of a shock.
The fact that we didn't have to drive an hour anymore to go to the mall was nice. Although, I would later find out how much I missed a small town life but I have learned that home is where family is. Thank the Lord I have the best family in the world. our home was always filled with laughing, love, doing something outside, and of course the Willard interrupting. I had always dreamed about having a family, getting married, and growing old with my wife. I remember as a young boy I hated to hear people talking about the rapture because I was not yet married! HA! Silly, I know, but at the time it was a big thing to me. If only I would have known WHO (Brittany) God had for me, I would have relaxed and not have been so worried.
Back to Brit
Eight months into being married & living in San Marcos my loving husband became someone, on most days, that I did not recognize as the man I married. The lifestyle that he chose to live was not one that was ever us. I have decided to not talk about all aspects of this relationship but I will say that on the good days I felt like I knew my husband, but there were few good days at this point. My life was filled with nights of going to sleep feeling as if I did not know who was really sleeping next to me. Every evening was extremely overwhelming. I lived continually not knowing how the night was going to play out. Often I slept on the floor of our tiny bathroom apartment because for many unsaid reasons, I felt the safest. The man I married & loved had over time convinced me that I was not beautiful, unintelligent, and controlled every aspect of my life. At one point in time I secretly (from friends & family) dropped out of college to work full time because my husband had convinced me that college was never going to happen for me so I should just drop out and earn more money.
Let me say this; Marriage to me is something beautiful & sacred. When I married my husband I vowed to love, honor, and respect him for all the days of my life. Even in the good times & the hard times. I meant those promises. During this time, I just kept thinking that these were the really bad times. There were glimpses of good here and there that kept me believing it would be okay. I kept praying that this nightmare of life would soon be better if God could just get a hold of him again. I believed I could get passed everything that he had done to me at that point in time.
One good morning, my husband brought me flowers and asked me to lunch. After, I went home and he returned to work. Ten minutes later my husband walked through the door beat red, shaking, yelling, and explaining everything that I did wrong. (Rarely did I do much that was right, so this was not too out of the ordinary). The difference about this rant was that he looked me in the eyes to tell me he did not love me and did not want to be with me anymore. Followed by, get out of our apartment. Then he went into our room to lie down on the bed. I just remember repeating over and over, "What, what, what are you talking about?" After hearing his rant yet again, this time with my back pushed against the wall with him yelling directly into my face, I shakily walked into our living room, sat down on the floor, looked up, and said aloud, "I need you Lord".
God truly held me in that moment. I just sat there in shock after hearing the man that, at one time, I knew was going to love me forever, take care of me, have babies with me, and grow old with - tell me he did not love me. I just remember asking how can this be? Although on most days I did not feel loved, I really did love my husband. Regardless of everything he did to me I still wanted my marriage. The hell that I was living in had become my life. My world. It was all I knew in that moment. By Gods grace I left our apartment that day. A few days later he confirmed to me all the secrets he kept from me, but I had always known were going on in the back of my mid. Although I knew his secrets before he confessed them, I just continued to love and honor him regardless of the betrayals. I valued our covenant and held onto the hope that it wouldn't always be this way.
The next several weeks are nothing but a blur to me. I was a walking zombie just going through life taking one day at a time, because that is the only way I knew how to live. To make the story shorter I went back home to live with my parents & left college for a year. During that time I fought to get my husband to talk to me, because I didn't know what else to do. He was in such a dark place in life that was so unfathomable to most. He would not talk to me. The few times he did it was just as before, he continued to speak to me with so much hatred, anger, no respect, and zero regard for our marriage. After months of wanting him back and him once again manipulating me to believe it was entirely my fault and that I was to blame for his actions I had to make a choice. I had to stop choosing to continue to accept his abuse. It is interesting because before this relationship I could never understand why women chose to stay in abusive relationships. I always asked, "Why don't they just LEAVE him?" One day I had the most sickening realization that I had become, that woman. In that moment, I had the choice to choose to take him back or to say no to the abuse. Honestly I was torn. I vowed to love my husband forever. I started having feelings of should I let myself be treated like this forever? How many other woman, are too many? I had become the woman who wanted her abuser back. One day while driving through town, I remember staring at myself in the rear view mirror saying aloud, "How did I get here? How did I become this person? Who am I?"
Some time later, I was completely overwhelmed by emotion from finally accepting my husband had betrayed me with other women, hurt me deeply in so many ways, and now having the rude awakening that I had become that woman. It was too much to take. One morning around 6 am at my parents home I found my way to the small hall bathroom & laid myself on the floor. I began praying on the cold tile floor. Saying to the Lord, "I can not do this, I do not know what to do, I want my husband back - I do not care what has happened - but I can not keep fighting for someone who doesn't want me, does not love me, and is so cruel, please take this out of my hands." After several hours of literally crying out to God, I heard him say, "It's going to be okay." I got up and began to feel like I could kinda breath again. I was able to eat without becoming sick and could carry on a conversation without crying. God completely took over.
I am forever changed by that prayer time on the bathroom floor.
Let me give you an idea of what I looked like at this time. This was me. I don't know who took this picture of me, but I am thankful it was taken. This pictures means so much to me. It shows where I have come from & where I never will go again. It represents the abuse, denial, and the complete state of despair I was in but have overcome through Jesus Christ. He is truly my savior, my joy, my freedom! A scripture I hold dear to my heart is Psalm 51:8,
"You have broken me, now let me REJOICE!"
Over the course of a few months I slowly started to resemble a functioning human being. Shortly after making the decision to stop accepting the abuse I chose to start working hard to become whole again and allow Jesus Christ to be my guide. One day, my dad walked into the kitchen after golfing with the youth pastor from his church, this guy.
This stranger was all smiles, full of life, and seeped happiness from within. This was not someone that I wanted to be around.
The thought of being around anyone other than family scared me because I was very emotionally unstable. It was possible for me to burst into tears at any given moment while in conversation. This guy poured out happiness and my lifeless self was unable to absorb his energy.
This is Johnny again
From the very moment I first met Brit all I wanted to do was be her happy. Although I had just found out what had happened in her life, I just wanted to bring her some joy. I remember a great Texas cold day when we were sitting on her parents trampoline just talking. I made the statement, "If the only reason I am in your life right now is to bring you happy then that is what I will do.
Be your happy."
Even though I knew there was something about this girl! I wanted to be around her more than a little while. I called my mom and told her, "There is something about this girl that I LOVE!" We just began hanging out, getting coffee, going for walks, eating, and watching movies at her parents home. It seriously was awesome getting to know her. Then again, it still is :)
Yes, there were moments of breakdowns. Moments of crying. Many silent moments of just sitting still next to her. Moments of running in a park without ever saying a word to one another. Then there were moments of laughing out loud. And then there were moments
of uncontrollable smiling.
And those moments for me were, truthfully, some of the most amazing times of my life. I saw her at her worst. I get to walk with her to her best.
Back to Brit
I remember asking my mom what man, that loves God & desires to serve the Lord is ever going to want to be with me. In my mind, my divorce meant I was like poison to any man that loved God & wanted to be in ministry. I truly believed there would not be a single man, who sincerely served the Lord, that would want anything to do with me. (That was the enemy lying to me)
I had been so broken. God truly restored my heart and mind so quickly from the loss of my marriage & the deep hurt that such a betrayal had taken. However, for a very long time my happy-go-lucky spirit was no where to be found. There are a lot of things that I do not feel I need to talk about that occurred during the time I was married to this individual. Basically I was emotionally beaten down to the point that I was unrecognizable to my friends & family. Physically I was me, but that was about it.
One day my dad said to me, "My baby girl is starting to come back, I have missed her. You will get there soon baby. It is all going to be okay." Those words broke my heart. I was determined to get back to the me that I loved being. Through much self therapy (a ton of jogging, drawing, writing, praying, dancing, singing, and drives in my car) the old me started to come around. For an extremely long time little things would make me burst into tears or flash backs of memories I wanted so badly to forget would come to mind. In time those became less frequent. I had become a newer version of me. I loved it!
I needed to be reminded on a daily basis that it was okay to be happy, to laugh, and to smile. Johnny let me know that it was okay to feel important and beautiful.
He took me back to the silly me that was stolen from me. His smiles are truly contagious. It is impossible to not forget your worries when you are around him.
I know that he is in control.
God took such a broken girl and turned her life into one more precious than her imagination could ever have dreamed up. Johnny asked me this question the first week that we met, "All I want to be is your happy. If I am in your life for a few weeks or a few months. Then that is what I am. Just your happy for now.
Would that be okay?" I said, "Yes."
"Can I always be your happy?"
My answer again was, "Yes."
Six months later, on our wedding day my husband sang to me a sweet love song to let me know,
"I will be your happy, through the good, the bad, the pretty, & the sad."
I hope that you enjoyed our story. In ways I hope that you are encouraged to know that God loves you. In every situation and circumstance he has you. He is still in control.
My life is a testament of God's faithfulness.
Please feel free to share your love story with me. Send me an email or a comment because I would love to hear it!