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{}   *My Heart Aches* 


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My Heart Aches

by Michael T. Powers
(From the book: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter")

My heart aches tonight...

I ache for a wife and mother whose heart was broken and whose dreams were shattered when she heard the words, "I'm having an affair."  A mother who doesn't have time to worry about herself, and is looking to her children's needs. As she goes about her daily life, she is stopped cold by images that make her physically sick. She tries not to let them flash through her head, but they still come. The images of her husband with another woman... While she was in the hospital, the day after the birth of their fourth child, and he was with another woman!!!  The images stop her in her tracks, and she doubles over, while bile rises to her throat...

At times, every fiber of her being is crying out. Crying out for answers. Crying out for help. Crying out for the strength to face each day. A woman who has been forced into such activity that she doesn't have the proper time to think things through, let alone deal with the curve ball life has thrown her way. A woman who, while at work, is suddenly overwhelmed with emotion and has to find a private spot to let her grief run its course, or is forced to bury her feelings inside, just to meet her daily responsibilities.

My heart breaks for the woman who works full-time, and has been forced to take on a second job to help ends meet. The time she can spend with her little ones is filled with thoughts of what might have been. She's so tired. Oh so tired. "Mom, could you read us the story?"  She tries concentrating on a children's book...and wakes up with a jerk of her head. "Mom! You said you would read us the story!"

I ache for these women who feel a sense of betrayal so deep, that their self-worth has been stripped away to expose the nerve endings of their inner beings. When the air of reality washes over these nerves, they scream inside from the pain, and then slowly return to the dull ache that never goes away...

I ache for a teenage girl, whose sense of security has been stolen, who is torn between her mom and dad. One moment she is angry, but before she can deal with her emotion, it changes to confusion, then sadness, then bitterness. "WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?!  WHY GOD?!  WHY DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO MY FAMILY!?"

Which parent to believe?  Which one to trust?  Who do I blame? 

"Maybe it is because of me..."  She tries to push the thoughts away.

She deals with it in the only way she knows how. She locks her feelings inside in a place that will never see the light of day... But she is sadly mistaken if she thinks she can avoid dealing with her feelings. Someday, somewhere, they will come out, and if they haven't been dealt with... I shudder at the consequences.

She deals with the stares at school. She hears the whispers. She hears the rumors.
She doesn't want to talk about it. "Why do people keep asking me if I want to talk about it!!  Just leave me alone!!"

But when she goes to bed, and tries to find some much-needed rest, her thoughts haunt her. She can be strong in front of her friends and family, but when she is all alone at night, she lets her guard down... She thought it was for the best. Her mom and dad were constantly fighting!  If they get a divorce, there will finally be peace in the house...but there is no peace, only an open wound, as another family is torn apart. A wound that is ever so slow in healing, and leaves scars that will affect everyone for the rest of their lives. The silence of the night is broken by her sobs.
My heart aches for the little children. Beautiful children, who have been thrown this way and that way, as their parents try to get back at each other.

"You have a new mommy now."

"Don't tell your father I let you do that."

"Why can't you be a big boy for mommy and stop crying?"

"If that is the way you are going to act, you can go live with your idiot of a father!"

I cry for these children who are growing up way before their time, who are being forced into things they should never have to deal with at a young age. Children who just can't be children anymore.

I cry for the little boy at his soccer match. He scans the crowd before his game looking for his daddy. He's doesn't see his face. The match starts. Every chance he gets, he looks toward the parking lot to see if his dad is coming.

"He told me he wouldn't miss this for the world!"

The little candles of light in the boy's eyes start to flicker, and then die out.

Another promise broken. Another scar made. Another life affected.

"What do you mean he cried when I didn't come?  I know I told him I would be there, but he has to understand that I have a life, too. I don't have to be there every time, do I?"

But as the father hangs up the phone, he knows he let his son down. If he goes to the game, his new wife will get on him. She doesn't want him to be there. She knows his first wife will want to sit by him as they share their son's game. He hates dealing with the yelling, so he takes the easy way out.

My heart aches for a father and husband. A husband who is at home while his bride is gone late into the night. Sometimes she doesn't even come home. He plays with his young daughter, but his thoughts are elsewhere. As he tucks her in at night, he forces a smile, kisses her, and tries to make up still another story as to why Mommy didn't come home. Does she even care about him anymore?  Does she even care what it is doing to her daughter?

I ache for this woman, also. She runs from her problems, goes from this person to that, as she searches for something to fill the void in her life. She will look back on this time and weep bitterly. Weep for the times she missed out with her young daughter. Weep when she realizes that she had everything she was searching for right at home.

I weep for a husband who felt he had no choice but to leave his wife and children because of too many fights, too many conflicts, too much pain. He wonders if he made the right decision, but he tells himself it was for the best. He tells himself that if he stays, things will become worse, so he tells his wife and children he is leaving.
"I just don't love her anymore. We can't make it work."

He wonders what this will do to his children, how this decision will affect his life. He wonders if there was any way he could have made it work.

I hurt for a husband who listened to the world, a husband who once stood before his bride and promised to be faithful...promised for better or for worse. The words had no meaning, and now he thinks he is rid of his problems. He listens to the lies that come from his mouth:  "I'll make a new life with this woman. I'll be happy. I owe it to myself to be happy. The kids are young; they will adjust."

Although he is now with a different woman, he finds the problems he ran from are still with him. He tries to tell himself otherwise, but he knows now. So many lives damaged, so many promises have been broken that some mornings he can't even face himself in the mirror.

My heart is torn for a wife and mother who is left to cope, whose life crumbled around her when she heard the words, "I'm leaving you."  She feels the pain with every heart beat, and is left crawling on the floor of existence, slowly searching for the pieces of the life she thought she had. She ponders what is wrong with her and is left to deal with the feeling that she is not attractive enough anymore. She thinks, "If only I had done this, he would have stayed."  She saw it coming, but never thought it would happen. The fights were more frequent, the intimacy was gone, the communication was nonexistent but she never thought it would happen. She is left reeling and dizzy, as she searches for answers, and tries to untangle the mess her life has become. Some days she calls out to God and wonders how she will make it through another day.

I ache for a woman who purposely set out to destroy a family. Oh, she doesn't call it that. No, she tells herself that he obviously wasn't happy with his wife; she is the only one who can make him happy. The delusion continues as she plans her new life and family with this man she slept with while he was still married, meeting in secret places, lying to cover what was going on. Never once does it occur to her that he will betray his vows once again.

"No way will he cheat on me. He loves me!" she tells herself.

That's what his first wife thought...

I weep for these families... I pray for these families...

I ache...

Too many lives are being destroyed. Too many futures are being snuffed out. Too many children have no place to feel secure, no place to run to when the cares of the world grow too burdensome. Home is not safe anymore. Home is not... home anymore.

Kristi and I have seen so many families broken apart that we often wonder if it might happen to us someday. What chance does any marriage have in today's world?
However, we refuse to get discouraged.

I know that God can change lives, and heal emotional wounds. I know that God can impress upon a young couple to honor their vows. I know that He can take a hopeless situation and bring people back together again. I have seen it. I have seen couples give their marriages to God, and seemingly hopeless situations become strong marriages again. But it takes work. Lots of work!  In fact, if we knew before we got married how much work it was going to be, I don't know if we would have walked the aisle together. I honestly believe, though, when people love each other the way God intends, it becomes easier. When I treat Kristi with love, honor, and respect, she wants to do the same for me. When I stop trying to change what I think is wrong with her and instead change the things I know are wrong with me, our relationship improves. The more she looks to my needs, the more I want to look to her needs. When we stop listening to the world, and start listening to what God says about relati!
onships, miraculous things happen! 

The most important thing my wife and I have learned in our seventeen years of marriage is that love is not a feeling; it is a decision.

Let me write that again: 

Love is not a feeling. It is a decision.

Kristi chose to love me early in our marriage. If our marriage were based on how she felt, she would have left me years ago. While I have never cheated on her, I was not there for her emotionally, and I looked totally to my own needs and wants. But through it all, Kristi chose to love me. She chose to love me when I hurt her with my words, when I sacrificed her for my side of the family, when I placed my athletic endeavors above our relationship. When the romantic feelings were gone and dead, she chose to love me. When I chose to love her back, the feelings she thought were dead came alive again!  You see, when people choose to love, the feelings follow.
God worked through Kristi to get my attention and to start making me into the man of God I needed to be. I am still a piece of clay that God is molding and shaping, and I still have a long way to go, but I know that our relationship grows stronger every day. We still have our setbacks, but God will continue to make us into the husband and wife he wants us to be.

My heart continues to ache for the situations we have seen in the lives of those around us, situations that have no winners. However, I have learned something from each broken family that I see. I have learned that it can happen to anyone, including Kristi and me. With each ache that I feel, I develop a stronger resolve to make my marriage work. I learn to depend on God more in my relationship. I vow that I will make a loving home for my children to grow up in, no matter what personal wants I have to set aside. Most of all, I am forever grateful for the incredible wife that God picked out for me in advance, and for the Godly men and women that He has placed in our lives as mentors, friends, and examples.

This world needs spouses who will honor their vows, parents who will place the needs of their children before theirs, and children who have a loving home in which to grow and blossom into the spouses and parents of the future. It is time to break the patterns. It is time for people to stand at an altar, look into their soulmate's eyes, and tell each other that divorce is not an option, to vow that they will make it work, no matter how hard it may be at times, to stand up to what the world so enticingly whispers in their ears. The grass is not greener on the other side. If everyone takes care of their own lawn and garden, as they watch it grow and bloom they won't even be able to see the other side!

Michael T. Powers, 2000

Write Michael and let him know your thoughts on his story!

Michael T. Powers, a youth pastor, resides in Wisconsin with his wife Kristi and their three young boys.  His stories appear in 26 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup Series, and he is the author of his own book: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter". For a sneak peek or to join the thousands of world-wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit:


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This Week:  "You Were Formed For God's Family"


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

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