We all look for a hiding place when stormy times come. Someone to keep us safe and offer help. Author Darlene Turner is a spunky, spark of delight when you first meet her, but beneath the surface has a deep, tender faith earned through rough years dealing with divorce, a husband who was secretly homosexual, and building a new future for her life. No wonder her suspenseful fiction has won so many awards – she’s turned every life lesson into great stories with a Canadian twist. I’m so grateful to share Darlene’s story with you as part of the #LetResilienceArise guest blog series in hopes of encouraging others who are in the dark corners of life, and long to be safe in His embrace at last.
A Perfect Love Story
by Darlene L. Turner
“Will you marry me?” he said on bended knee. He opened the velvet box and revealed a large diamond sparkling in the candlelight.
“Yes!” She squealed and held out her left hand in anticipation of what it would look like on her finger.
Every little girl dreams of hearing this question. She starts planning her wedding as she dresses Barbie in her gown and places her at the altar to meet Ken. The happy married couple then begins their fairy-tale life together.
I was no different. I envisioned my perfect white flowing gown, the teal bridesmaid dresses, and all the guests staring as I floated down the aisle. I wanted the life that included the man of my dreams, children, a house, and the proverbial white picket fence. Did it happen?
It seemed so. I met a man. We dated and fell in love. A few months later, he proposed and we started planning our perfect wedding. It went off without a hitch. We began new jobs, found a church, made friends, and settled into our wonderful world. Life was blissful.
Or at least I thought so.
Five years after we said I do, my husband walked into my place of employment to see me. His downcast face terrified me as my jelly-like legs moved toward the lunch room.
Then the unspeakable happened. My perfect fairy-tale life shattered in a second.
“I’m not happy. You’re not the person I married, and I’m moving to Toronto to think things through,” he said.
My jaw dropped. Dumbfounded, I struggled for words until they finally tumbled out.
“What do you mean I’ve changed?”
He couldn’t answer me.
“Is there another woman?”
“No,” he said, and left.
Bewildered, I sat in confusion and stared at the wall. I barely remember making it home that day.
My world was over, shock set in, and I wandered around in a daze. I began to lose weight and didn’t care. I asked all the typical questions. Where was God? Why would He allow this to happen? I shook my fist and yelled.
My husband came back a few days later to pick up some of his things, and I confronted him. I needed answers. I suggested counseling. He said it was too late, and he didn’t love me as a wife anymore. Defeat settled in. Once again . . . he left.
Days turned into weeks, and I slowly began dealing with the pain of loss as I tried to put some normalcy into my life. I went for counseling, stayed with family and friends at times so I wouldn’t be alone, and threw myself into the arms of my church family. They surrounded me with unconditional love.
Many times, I sat in my rocking chair with music blaring. Tears poured down my cheeks as I swayed back and forth, letting the words of the song soothe my soul. It was almost like Jesus wrapped His arms around me and sang in my ear. Gradually, God became more real to me than I thought possible.
Even though I began the healing process, something kept plaguing me about my husband, and it wouldn’t let me go. Because of a situation that had happened earlier in our marriage, I finally realized why he walked away. He didn’t leave me because of another woman. He left because I was a woman. He wanted to live a life of homosexuality, and I wasn’t part of that plan. I confronted him, and he confirmed my suspicions.
Wham! New fears surfaced. What would people say? What about HIV? Should I get tested? Anger returned and uncertainty set in. What was wrong with me? Wasn’t I woman enough for my man?
I went through all these emotions and asked myself if there was anything I could have done differently. Why didn’t I see any signs? Or maybe I did and just wouldn’t face the truth.
Sadness washed over me at the thought of being another divorce statistic. I wondered if the church would shun me, but I knew I needed help, and once again, I reached out to my family, friends, and counselor. I threw myself into God’s loving arms and clung to the words of Psalm 91:4. “He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge.”
Months later, when I met with my husband and we signed the divorce papers, I felt calm. With the bitterness gone, I knew it was time to move on. So, I did.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy. I did get that HIV test and found out I was OK. I went through a roller coaster of emotions, but God kept reminding me of His unconditional love. He brought people into my life to help me through the rough patches. He knew exactly when and where to place them.
I discovered through counseling, I had suppressed my personality during my marriage and lost my true identity. My self-esteem went downhill. Eventually, I took on a new character—one that wasn’t mine. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until after my husband left that I discovered my mistake.
Through counseling and prayer, I started working through the pain of my divorce. When joy began peeking through the dark clouds in my life, my self-esteem grew and my personality emerged renewed. I was me again. A special woman who became stronger through this incredible journey.
I was naïve because I never thought this type of situation would happen to me. I made the mistake of never asking God to protect my marriage. After all, Christians are safe from homosexuality and divorce, right? I laugh as I type these words. We think we are immune to divorce and when we marry, it’s supposed to be forever. Unfortunately, there are times when the circumstances aren’t that simple, and it’s OK to let go.
I had many friends and family who supported me throughout this time, and I’m thankful for their non-judgmental attitude. This experience has taught me to always remember to do the same for others. It has also revealed to me that, when someone is hurting, saying “I will pray for you” means so much more than giving pat answers.
After I worked through the anger, confusion and defeat, I chose to forgive because I didn’t want the bitterness to creep in and consume my life. No one flocks to a bitter person, and I wanted people to see the joy God had given me. And they did. Even today, people ask how I dealt with being married to a homosexual, and this opens the door for me to share my story. What a gift it is to help someone going through a similar circumstance!
Just like the eagle shelters her babies from the cold and danger, God took me under His wing and kept me safe from harm. He wrapped me in His tender embrace and held me. Then, when He knew I was ready, He set me free and full forgiveness came. I moved on and eventually my dream of that perfect love story came true. More perfect than I ever thought possible.
Darlene L. Turner writes romantic suspense. Her love of mystery began as a young girl when she picked up her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her own writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and changed by the Christ-centered message. She’s had numerous articles published and is a Craftsman Alumni of the Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild.
She’s a finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence contest, Great Expectations contest, and a double semi-finalist in the 2017 ACFW Genesis contest. She won the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Golden Leaf Award, placed second in the Indiana RWA Golden Opportunity contest, and was a finalist in the 2016 ACFW Genesis contest. She lives with her husband in the Forest City of London, Ontario. She blogs weekly at www.darlenelturner.com where she believes there’s suspense beyond borders.
Find her on social media:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darlene.turner.902
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/darlenelturner
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/darlene-l-turner/67/646/428
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/darlenelturner/
What is the Let Resilience Arise series all about?
Elizabeth Van Tassel is a wildfire survivor who lost every possession and her home in 2007. Since that time, she’s been cultivating fiction and nonfiction projects of her own to inspire kids and adults alike with her lessons. But she’s also developed a wonderful network of amazing authors in all different genres and professions who have compelling stories to boost you or perhaps a friend you know who’s struggling with a similar challenge. Subscribe to this blog (on the home page HERE) for these articles and a monthly newsletter to come to your email or stop by again for more amazing stories. Also have your teens and tweens check out their own page and posts HERE. Want to share your story with others or have Elizabeth share hers with your group? Contact Elizabeth HERE and she’d love to discuss bringing lessons of hope and new beginnings to your group too.