Coach Karen, CPLC, APSATS-C
Welcome! (Well, kinda.)
I’m sorry you’re here.
It means you're dying inside. It means you're hurting intensely. It means that you're not sure what to do next or what is happening.
That’s why I’m here, my friend.
I have personally walked through the fire with the Lord. I’ve been healed by His Grace (with a lot of tears, prayers, grief, and help).
How Do I Save My Marriage?
In my mind, we had started as naive teenagers and grown with God into a beautiful family dedicated to serving Him.
But I began to feel a little tug of fear, of confusion. And things started to change, our lives very quickly and drastically turned into something I could have never imagined. Ever.
My husband’s heart began hardening. It seemed he wasn’t interested in me anymore. Spending time with our children appeared more like a chore for him. He sought out fun in other things like music, surfing, or hunting. Something just didn’t feel right in my gut. His hobbies and passions were overtaking our marriage, our family, and I could feel the distance and division steadily growing between us. I would try to talk with him, but he didn’t care to listen.
This went on for a few years – him exhibiting these patterns, me continuing to try to bring him my hurting heart and talk with him about it. I did everything possible to stop him from heading down this road, yet he seemed to keep slipping away. I tried everything.
Could things get any worse? I thought I was doing what God wanted me to. I was making an honest effort to respect my husband. I tried to love him through whatever he was going through. I tried to give him grace, to be understanding, and offered to help him in any way I could. I really tried. Even though he wasn’t respecting my heart or my emotional needs. I tried and I tried. And cried and cried.
I thought if I did this or that or looked a certain way that his heart would change. But it didn’t. Nothing I did mattered. I began to lose clarity and got lost in the mess. I eventually reached such a point of desperation that I couldn’t be quiet anymore. I freaked out, screamed, and begged. He walked away from me in anger, leaving for the night in a rage. I began to realize then that there was absolutely nothing left for me to do, except to keep praying for him and for God to change his heart.
Conflicts continued to permeate our marriage. A recurring cycle ensued where he would get extremely angry, blame me, walk out, and then not come home. He’d sleep at his office and turn off his phone off all night. I would call and cry out to him, but he would raise his voice and say such awful, hurtful things that I would shut down and say nothing. I became apprehensive to speak up at all, so I resigned to tolerating everything instead, out of fear of losing my marriage. I had lost my voice. And even though my heart was hurting, no matter how I approached him, he wouldn’t listen and didn’t care. He refused to give me honest answers for why he was leaving and clearly wasn’t willing to work things out. Most birthdays and holidays were ruined with verbal outbursts. Worst of all, our kids were exposed to terrible situations they never should have seen or heard.
I was still so afraid of losing him that I continued to put up with it all. The reality was, I had already lost him. My mind was flooded with unanswered questions like, “How in the world did I get here?” “What happened?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Why wasn’t I enough?” “Why doesn’t he love me anymore?” I attempted to write him a letter, hoping it would cause him to feel at least something, since he wouldn’t talk to me in person. But it didn’t work. He ignored it, never responded, and he never even read it. I began to believe the lies that I was insignificant.
After My Husband Left, My Life Fell Apart.
On Mother’s Day weekend our youngest son nonchalantly told me that, “Daddy went surfing in Mexico.” The second he said it, I knew deep in my gut that he had left me for good. He hadn’t told me he was leaving and I knew he wasn’t coming back. My worst nightmare actually happened. I cannot even describe the anguish in my heart. I was utterly devastated and didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the day. How would I face everyone? What do I say? I wanted to curl up in my bed and die.
There I was, sitting all alone in our farmhouse overlooking the chickens, goats, and peacocks wandering aimlessly. My dreams completely shattered, my life completely lost.
The process of letting go that followed that day was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’d cry every night for hours, leave messages on his phone with no response. How could he not care? How could he not miss me, or us? I would repeat these questions over and over. I felt like I was nothing but a piece of trash thrown to the side of the road. And I allowed my circumstances to affect me in many unhealthy ways. During those first few weeks my hurt and despair would drive me to text or call him, crying and begging. Again, no response. John was gone and my desperate cries did nothing. Every attempt to interact with him only left me sicker inside. I had to constantly remind myself to cry out to God. Because I knew He heard my cries. He cared about me.
After some time, I finally started to realize that I could only be responsible for me and for the ways I acted and responded to the situation. My crying, begging, and pleading was only making me absolutely miserable. I was a disaster.
It was in this realization that I started to hear God gently whisper to my heart . . . Will you let me heal you, Karen?
After My Husband Left, I Had No Choice But To Turn To God
I began to understand that it was time get out of God’s way and let His will be done. With this understanding, I was ready to surrender completely. I was ready to give my whole heart to the Lord, as well as entrust Him with my husband’s.
After years of tirelessly trying to do things the way I thought God wanted, I was ready at last to hear the way He wanted to work in me. And it was so freeing – freeing to let go and give it all to Him. I felt God was all I had left as my entire world crumbled before me, but I began to genuinely believe that He was all I really needed. His peace graciously kept pouring into my heart and into my deepest hurts.
I said our marriage vows when I was eighteen. At the time, I didn’t understand what the covenant of marriage meant, but I meant what I said. And being a believer now, I knew in my heart that I was called to stand in the gap for my marriage and my family while I waited on God’s timing. I knew our kids were all watching my actions. I had told them about Jesus their entire lives, and now it was time for me to walk the walk and tangibly live out my faith before them. All the while I continued to hear God speak softly to my heart, saying, “Wait on Me, not your husband.” He reminded me again and again not to rush into any decisions. That I had time and needed to focus on my own heart first, before worrying about anyone else’s.
It was the hardest season of my life. I messed up often and made plenty of mistakes but thankfully was given a whole lot of God’s grace as well. I began to truly believe that I was going to be okay, even if my husband never came home. I was ready to trust God with the outcome, and although I never stopped praying for our marriage, my focus had shifted. I started to gain new insight and deeper understanding during my prayer time. I went to counseling and began to find my own worth and value in Christ, once again. I learned what healthy, loving boundaries looked like. I did some really deep work in my own heart and I started to see my circumstances from a completely different perspective.
I had a lot of pain to process and many losses to grieve, and I also had to accept my new reality and the fact that my life was never going to look the same again. It was no longer the life I had been living and loved, now it was a life I was forced to live and didn’t want.
I was no longer caught up in fear or in anxiety about my husband’s whereabouts. I stopped driving by his house and spending hours frantically wondering and searching for things. I began to see him differently and was able to feel compassion and empathy towards him. I started praying for his heart in a different way. I knew he was in God’s capable hands, and I knew The Lord would pursue his lost heart relentlessly. In fact, I actually began to feel compassion for my husband, realizing how miserable he must have been to be living the way that he was. I knew it probably wasn’t easy to pretend to be okay with walking away from your marriage and your children with no regrets and no feelings.
I actually started sleeping through the night peacefully. I even started to laugh again! I didn’t think I ever would again. I was finally moving forward with my life and finding the balance between remaining faithful and waiting on God. Waiting on God is pretty cool, once I completely surrendered - Anon did that too, as you've likely heard in the podcasts.
God was molding, sifting and refining my heart. I struggled often, but I would get myself back up and re-fix my eyes on Jesus. It’s so easy to lose sight and focus when panic and fear set in. I certainly struggled with that. But God remained faithful and gave me the peace I needed in those moments and helped me hold steadfast to His promises. I needed Him so desperately at times. He continued to prepare and equip me for the next steps of my journey. Because it got even harder.
Even though my husband was battling conflict within himself, God brought him to a place where he was finally ready to surrender.
Thankfully, during that year, he started to see the truth in clarity. The Lord opened his eyes and his heart began to soften as the lies he had bought so easily were finally exposed for what they really were.
Things finally came to a crossroads and my husband finally stopped running. He came over to our house one October night, we walked out back to his office, I was terrified, where he disclosed years of lies, an addiction to pornography and the most painful, betrayal. In one short minute, my heart shattered all over again into a million pieces. Our family was already deeply broken and our kids had no relationship with their dad, it all looked too impossible to ever overcome. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
The weeks following are some of the ugliest parts of our story. My entire being was paralyzed. I went numb in the shock. Intense pain and trauma set in, I really struggled to make it through each day.
Completely broken, both of our hearts surrendered, both of our hearts trusted, and both of our hearts opened up to healing. We were in deep crisis and at times we struggled to see a future of redemption. But day by day, moment by moment, I walked by faith. As I did, the Lord began to redeem and restore everything. He stood with us in the miry mud – His beckoning arms reaching out to my husband in the deepest, darkest pit, and His comforting arms reaching out to me in my inconsolable anguish and despair.
My husband was completely willing to rebuild the trust I needed and he learned to hold my hurt and hear my pain.
As I look back today, I see the Lord’s goodness and presence has been evident throughout my life. God waiting patiently to take away my burdens and pain. I eventually came to a place of complete surrender and trust in God. God works on my heart and transforms me.
My husband and I stand as witnesses to the God’s faithfulness, recipients of His unending grace in the midst of our darkest days. Through this journey we have grown stronger together and closer to Him. We now openly embrace our brokenness as a beautiful blessing that will forever keeps us continually dependent on our Redeemer.
His redeeming love restored our marriage and healed our family in the most miraculous ways. Only God can do the impossible. You see, our story isn’t so much about our marriage restoration as it is about Him who restores the broken. He will never waste our pain instead, He transforms it into a beautiful passion with a powerful purpose.
In order to serve other women, I graduated as a professional Christian life coach from Christian Coach Institute and completed my training through APSATS.
My passion is to guide women step-by-step through the healing process, from setting boundaries to establish safety to process difficult memories and healing them.
I coach women toward hope, healing, re-discovery of their worth, with new perspectives through empowerment, equipping and finding purpose, growth and joy out of their deepest pain. I share my story at Christian events, podcasts and serve with Newlife Ministries and XXX Church ministries. I would love to connect with you, and hear your heart.
We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
Under His wings,