This is the beginning, of a story that has no end, because with marriage I don’t believe in endings unless they end with “until death do us part”. This is the longest blog I’ve wrote, but I pray with all my heart, you will take the time to read into Blake and I’s story with an open heart.
July of 2018 was the hardest trial I’ve ever had to go through. It ripped me to shreds, made me second guess if there was a God and nearly made my decision to end my life for good. That trial was Blake and I’s marriage. Through this trial we have learned about marriage, unconditional love and most importantly Gods purpose of marriage.
For those of you who don’t know me or know Blake, we found a love for each other at 16 years old. I was pretty broken when he found me and little did I know he was broken himself. We were two broken people that somehow found each other and found a love for each other. At 18, we made our move to Nashville, TN. This was a dream of mine that I had, had since I was 10 and I could see no other future than living in the city I loved. Being in Nashville I became closer to God than I ever had been, I lived and breathed to do as He wished and wanted nothing more than to know what his purpose for me in life was.
The hard part about that decision, was that 2 years later God would ask me to make the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Blake missed home more than anything and his love for his family was strong enough to pull him home. God asked me to chose between Blake and my career. Blake and I were engaged at the time and I kept asking the question, “How is that fair?”. I have to give up my dream for a guy? That doesn’t seem right. I promised myself I’d never let that happen. I prayed constantly on what to do. I prayed to God “if you want me to let Blake go, tell me. And if you want me to let living in Nashville go, tell me.” During this time God was silent. There was no signs for either decision and I became lost and searching for answerings. That was when I started reaching out to others.
I reached out to my pastor back home and we FaceTimed to talk about what was going on. At the time we were in the midst of doing our marriage counseling and the conversation ended in a bit of disaster with neither of us compromising on anything.
Atlast we sat down and talked to our pastor in Nashville together as a couple. After our sit down and lots of tears I felt like I didn’t get to say what I needed to and ended up meeting with him without Blake to talk about my true feelings and what my worries were. I’ll never forget what he said. He told me, “God has no boundaries, wherever you go, wherever you are, He will always lead you to where your purpose is if you trust in Him.” After I left, it was a bold answer that I needed to trust that if we moved back He would lead me where I needed to be. That I must not chose Blake, but chose God and his plans.
I was angry and frustrated, because how God! How could you do this to me! How could you make me chose between my dream and Blake. I reached out to many others searching for answers, any that told me to stay, but every person, musicians, pastors, parents, friends and family ended their conversations and left me with a feeling of needing to chose Blake. I remember a phone call to my parents and my dad saying “what if you never get where you want to go with your career and you decide to let Blake go? What happens if you lose both?” That hit hard and again I was left thinking that my decision was to chose Blake.
Angerly, I called schools back in Minnesota to see if they would book me for Saphire’s Courage Events. Before I called, I said out loud, “Fine! If you want me to move back so badly, you’ll book me schools.” Thinking that no one would have an interest in my events since I had left Minnesota. I was confident I could test God and choose to stay because of that reason. I started calling. One school booked, and another, and another and another. I put the phone down and cried. I knew then, that I had to move back. And I had to move back now.
Blake got home, and I told him that we were moving back and moving back in 3 weeks. We packed up our things and I left my dream behind me in the rearview mirror. That decision broke me.
Blake and I got married September of 2017. Our wedding was beautiful. Everything I could have ever wanted and the best part was that I loved being able to plan it. I found my love for decorating and planning weddings in that very moment. My heart was full as we said I do and Blake and I cried knowing that we were finally married. I was scared to give a piece of myself away because I had been broken before in past relationships, but I loved Blake and that’s all that mattered in that moment.
In front of 280 people we promised to always be together through good and bad. A promise that later on, was hard to keep.
As the year went on, Blake and I grew apart. I grew angry and resentful towards him for “Making me move back here.” For “Making me give up my dream to live in this stupid small town of nothing.” (All of that was not true. But those thoughts raced through my head. I for one, was the one that decided. I had a choice and I made it.)
Fast forward to June. The end of June, I messaged my pastor in Nashville and told him I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t live here in this town, I didn’t want to be with Blake anymore. He wrote back and said
“I know that God has given you a powerful testimony- along with some amazing gifts and talents. My experience has been that folks who possess all this are the ones that Satan likes to pick on the most. I want to remind you that God is way better at His job than Satan is. You still have a mission and a calling despite your geographical location. I’m going to pray that God makes it obvious to you- in a way you can best understand- what He wants you to be focussing on right now.”
I left feeling so much better and ready to be the wife that I needed to be. Little did I know, the way God would make it obvious to me, would be the hardest thing yet that I would have to endure. A few days later I left to Bismarck the first weekend of July.
I came home from Bismarck after doing a promo video for my courage campaign. I was so excited to tell Blake about it and so excited to see him. I messaged him thinking he would have dinner made when I got home or something since I had been gone the whole weekend. But he didn’t and he was at his parents working on his motorcycle. I freaked out. (All along, Blake hadn’t been giving me the love I needed or making me a priority and that’s what I needed from him. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t allowing him to lead, nor was I giving him what he needed in our marriage.) and on that day our marriage broke in a matter of minutes.
Blake decided the next day, he was leaving. I was so in shock. How could he give up on our marriage so easily? He was in a dark place and looking at him, his eyes and heart were cold and wanted nothing to do with me. It was like he was a totally different person. Like this darkness came over him and I had lost my husband completely. I thought to myself, how could this be happening? How could we have let this get this far? We haven’t even made it to the first year of marriage yet and we’re already ending it? The next part of our journey rips at my heart. And as I write this tears stream down my face.
A long time ago when I was younger I watched a movie with my family called Fireproof. I remembered how God had transformed that couples marriage and led them back together. I watched the movie and downloaded all the days of The Love Dare. I started on day 1.
“Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient bearing with one another’s love.” -Ephesians 4:2
The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience, and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, chose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tounge than to say something you will regret.
I followed these guidelines strictly and prayed that God would rip open my husbands heart and lead him back to me. I cooked every meal and although he left it sitting next to the bedside, I kept going everyday. He no longer would sleep in bed together, but I prayed to God every step of the way on what to do next. And this time God was so loud I could hear him boldly leading me on each thing I did. I crawled into our guest bed and wrapped my arms around him. I prayed over and over that his heart would soften. He pushed me away, but I was told by God to not give up.
Through this, I realized I got my answer. When I was faced with the opportunity to leave, when it was easier than ever to leave, pack up my things and go back to the place I loved, the place I longed for (Nashville), I still chose Blake. I knew at that moment the answer was clear. Blake was more important to me than music. Our marriage was more important than where I was living.
Through this process I had friends and family that led me towards Blake, with a few exceptions and Blake had friends that led him away from me. I say this because most of us don’t realize that we’re not being a godly, true friend, if we tell our friends to “do what makes us happy and to follow our hearts and do what we feel is best.”
“Don’t just follow your heart, your heart can be deceived, but you gotta lead your heart.” -Fireproof
Marriage is something that should never be broken and to be a good friend, is to lead your friend to do as God wants us to do and mend their marriage back together. Going through this journey, God gave me people that led me to Blake and never stray from why I was fighting. All of them deserve recognition because without them, Blake and I would be signing divorce papers.
Randi, everyday when I got into work, you told me every morning, to never give up. You showered me with love and never allowed me to surrender and let my marriage fall apart.
Lacey, you held me everyday for an entire week and read bible verses to me for hours as I lay on your couch and cried.
Gramma and Grampa B, thank you for reminding me that marriage isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Your marriage inspires Blake and I more than you could ever know.
Millie, you prayed over me, and gave me words of wisdom that I will never forget. Our story was simlair and knowing that I had you to look up to made me fight harder for my marriage. Never looking back.
Savannah, thank you for your out pouring love. Your messages of prayer and your willingness to call me out on my bullshit when I had every excuse to give up.
Hampton, thank you for leading me towards Blake and also teaching me to look to God for my answers and trust Him with this journey.
Pastor Randi, thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to me, message me, and guide me throughout everything. I’m a thousand miles away and you still cared enough to always give me advice.
Marquelle, thank you for encouraging messages and helping me to run to God.
Pastor Paul, thank you for guiding Blake and I and bringing up topics that we never even realized we needed to work through. Thank you for being patient with us as we worked through our compromising.
Topanga, thank you for your late night phone calls that kept me alive and kept me striving for my final goal. I love you more than anything.
Mom, there’s no words to tell you how thankful I am for you. Because of you, I never stopped trying. You messaged me every morning telling me don’t give up. You sent me bible verses and prayed with me for hours over the phone. You believed in my strength and you knew that God had bigger plans for our marriage. Every single day, you messaged me words of wisdom and I can’t thank you enough for never allowing me to give up and for leading me towards God and Blake.
The Walkers, thank you for allowing me to fight for your son, for loving me like your own daughter and pushing me to find somewhere deep the love I have for your son.
Matty and Jakki, you brought us in for marriage counciling after the fight, and asked us a question that made us a realize the love we have for each other. You gave us hope that God has a different purpose for our marriage and guided us in the direction to finding that.
Kelly and Jim, thank you for letting me cry on your couch and making me go back home to Blake even when I wanted to drive away and never look back. Thank you for praying for our marriage and reaching out to Blake in a way I didn’t think was possible.
To the others, that helped me through this long week and months after of healing. I want you to know, that there’s nothing I could ever do, to thank you enough for your patience, your kindness and your willingness to never give up on pushing me to fight for my marriage.
On day, 6, something happened to me that words could never describe. Instead of Blake’s heart ripping open, my heart was ripped open. And the love I felt for my husband and the trust I had in God was mountain moving. Nothing and no one would get in the way of our marriage and I knew God was standing firmly right by myside.
I went home and cooked a fancy candlelight dinner, got dressed up and waited for Blake to come home from work. He got home late, and I waited patiently knowing that he might just go upstairs and not even come and sit down. He came home. And he sat down to eat. He sat across from me, and my heart filled, because every moment like this was a stepping stone to his heart softening. We actually talked, and that night we slept in the same bed. The next few months were nothing short of hard. The healing process had to begin for me and for him. I now had a new understanding of what marriage was. And that, changed everything for me.
A few weeks after I wrote a letter to Blake and we sat in bed and cried. Blake’s heart was softening and I could feel God pushing us together more than ever. At church on that Sunday, something happened to Blake that changed him forever. His heart had finally ripped all the way open and the love he had for me was unstoppable. We sat down for communion and for the first time ever, Blake asked to pray for our marriage. We held hands as he sat there praying, and emotions overcame us and we both cried. God had done something to our marriage that could never be explained. The love that we once thought we had for each other, wasn’t even close to what we knew love was now.
Although this is my side of the story, I know one day Blake will share his with an open heart. Everyday he’s shown me how thankful he is that I fought. He’s so thankful that when he gave up, I didn’t. I got to show him, the love that God shows us daily. He loves us even when we turn away from him, when we get angry at him, when we let him down and when he hate him. He loves us so unconditionally that nothing could ever break our bond and that, was what he intended marriage to be all along. Blake and I learned a lesson early in our marriage, that gave us pain and hurt, anger and regret, but he used that to show us an incredible lesson that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
When I get angry on days, when I’m hurting from what happened, God reminds me that we went through this not only for ourselves but to help others mend their marriages back together and show them the unconditional love that God shows us. Blake and I have already saw glimpses of the beginning of what God has in store for our marriage. Already, we’ve been able to lead young couples down a path to mending their marriages. We’ve gotten to share our story with others, who are struggling just like we were and be there for them when they feel like giving up.
A month ago, I was upset about not speaking enough at schools and events and told Blake that I felt like I had no purpose and didn’t know what to do. He looked at me with wide eyes and said “What if God didn’t want you to speak about mental health all your life, what if it’s something more? What if he wants you to talk about marriage and your faith.” I stood there in shock, realizing at that moment that Blake had never said more true words.
“Maybe you went through it and survived it just so you could help someone else make it through.” -Toby Mac
There’s so much more to our story and our journey, and if you ever need a friend to talk to, our door is open, but if there’s anything you get out of reading this, I hope that you see a few things. That marriage is worth the fight. The 5 love languages are a firm foundation of a marriage. Submit to your spouse and love them unconditionally even when they give up. Love them and show them the love that God shows us. And lastly, if you allow God into your marriage, your marriage will change in a way you could have never even imagined.
Love is a choice and Blake, I can honestly say with all my heart, that I love you more than I ever have. There is no one out there that would be better for me, and everyday, every moment, every second, I will chose to fight for you.