You can read the first part of our story here: Part One
A few months later Ryan and I said our vows and began our life together. All the while, our relationship with Mark began to grow and thrive. Even though Mark went through a few more rough times he always came out better than he was before.
Due to personal issues and problems at work, Mark had acquired a large debt of back child support. Ryan and I discussed many times what we should do about it and he was adamant about forgiving Mark of the majority of the debt and even decreasing the amount he paid monthly. My husband knew that this was what God wanted. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure but Ryan kept saying how we all deserve a break and that one way we could really show love to Mark was by doing this. I was skeptical at first but we met with the lawyer to let him know and can I just tell you that he thought we had lost our minds. He must have said, “are you sure” 15 times.
Later that day, I made the phone call to Mark to inform him of the decision we had come to. You would have thought that I called to tell him he won the lottery. He couldn’t believe that we were willing to do that and he was continually expressing gratitude towards us. Somehow this one act of kindness opened up a whole new world to us. A world that was so much better than it was before.
Not long after that, Mark informed us that he developed a tumor and would require surgery, hospitalization, and radiation treatment. We brought the boys back and forth to visit him when he couldn’t drive, prayed for him every night, and took the boys to the hospital to cheer him up after he had his surgery. It was a rough time for all of us, especially Mark, but we made it through. Just like families do.
As I did things that showed love, even when I didn’t feel it, I noticed something. We all began to change. Mark became more conscience of his promises to the boys and steady on his child support payments. He worked straight through the time when the tumor was steadily growing and immediately went back to work after the operation, all to take care of his sons. He called them more often and he began to sound like the happy man I once knew. Mark is a fun, kind hearted and intelligent man. He has survived major things in his life and I know that God will one day use those tragedies to help others become triumphant.
It constantly amazed me that I would catch myself being concerned for Mark’s well being. I can only describe my change of heart as loving him like I do my brother. Though he still does things sometimes that drive me crazy, he is still family and we still love him. We still respect him. He is not the same person he once was and neither am I. We have a genuine concern and respect for each other. Do I wish he would do more? Of course, but I’m sure he thinks the same of me. I won’t hold him to any expectations that I can’t meet myself.
The change in my boys has also been earth shattering. They are going from children who regularly acted out in anger to children who are calm and loving. They are well-mannered, productive, and a pleasure to be around. They smile much more now too and that makes us all happy! Well, this was true until the puberty monster came along and attacked two of them. Now they cry and yell at the drop of a hat but that will be over soon, right? *sigh*
It is amazing what a little love can do. It starts out slow and gradual and then it begins to blossom into something so large that you can barely contain it or comprehend it. That small seed that Ryan planted years ago changed everything. His example to me caused me to act in love towards Mark. My example to Mark caused him to act in love towards us. Our examples caused our children to act in love to everyone. I just stand in awe sometimes and wonder what it would have been like if Ryan would have just ignored God and blown Mark off and acted the way I used to. What a miserable life that would have been. Love speaks volumes. Just listen. I did.
On Father’s Day 2008 the boys called Mark to tell him Happy Father’s Day and do you know what happened? Mark asked to speak to Ryan and as I heard Ryan say, “Well, Happy Father’s Day to you too man!” I thought to myself, “Love speaks more loudly and brings more positive results than any other action.”
…and it is an action.
For all you prayer warriors out there,Mark is suffering greatly from the radiation treatments he received to remove the tumor. His right arm is so full of fluid that he looks like Popeye. That is what the boys call him anyway. I’m told many breast cancer survivors have this condition as well. In any case, the treatment is expensive and not covered by his insurance. Please pray that the condition will improve on its own or that he will have the funds to obtain treatment. This condition has greatly hindered him for some time and it would be great to see him back on his feet again.
I am still haunted by the things I went through during my divorce but with God’s love and grace I am being healed. The only answer is His answer. That is the only way to overcome these things. Act in love. If you are on the verge of divorce try acting in love beforehand. You never know what God can do!!