When Shelley’s Biggest Fear Came True

When I walked down the aisle in my home church on October 10, 1992, at about half past five o’clock, I never imagined that less than seven years and two children later, the man waiting for me at the end of that aisle would no longer be my husband. Never.

That fall day in 1992 was picture perfect. Our friendship and marriage seemed like it had everything going for it. Although we were both young, the pastor who married us and walked through our premarital counseling with us stated, “You two are more prepared for marriage than many 30-somethings I know.” As a young bride-to-be I paid attention to important indicators, like how he treated his mother, and managed money. I even made sure I didn’t have unrealistic expectations for our life, once we walked back up that aisle together as man and wife.

By the end of 1998, though, I began to suspect that something was not right between us. Our marriage in general was one of high highs and low lows. I consoled myself time and again with the thought that “he might do THIS, but he would NEVER do THAT.” I felt guilty for allowing myself to even wonder if he was being unfaithful. The worst my mind could imagine was that perhaps an inappropriate friendship had formed. And if it had, I wanted to nip it in the bud before my biggest fear came true.

On January 1, 1999, my husband said words I will never forget: “We are both good people, but I don’t believe we are good together.” The next few months were a nightmare, as I agonized over this relationship and tried with all my might to salvage it—whatever it took. Although his relationship with another woman did not come into the light until mid-March that year, I knew something was going on. My then-husband moved in and out of our home 3 times in those 3 months, before finalizing his decision to leave permanently on April 1.

We have two daughters, who were at that time 4 and 2 years old. My 4-year-old took it the hardest, and said so many times that I lost count: “Mommy, tell me again why my daddy doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to live with me?” How does a mother look into the innocent eyes of her 4-year-old child and answer this question?

My life—as I knew it—was over.
I felt hopeless. I felt violated.

I felt damaged. I felt like dying.

At that point, I had NO idea how much good God had in store for my children, for me personally, and for our future together. I learned something powerful in that season in my life: God’s ability to be good to us is never contingent upon someone else or what they do. I had NO idea how much my God would redeem me, my story, my daughters, and our lives in the way He can redeem anyone who wants a second chance!


shelley headshotShelley Hendrix is wife to her best friend, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host — but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Click here to learn more about Shelley, who is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks and the author of Why Can’t We Just Get Along?