After many internal wrestling matches going back and forth, it’s finally time to break the silence. It’s time to share my side, time to fill in the gaps, time to answer questions and do what I’ve wanted to do for over three years now.
The cat is out of the bag completely, so to speak, when it comes to the happenings of our lives “playing out” since July of 2017. What I’ve wanted to keep under wraps, in the hopes of keeping my family life private and restoring my marriage is not an option anymore. On July 15th, 2020, Sports Illustrated released a 3 Chapter; a 3 part online article series on my, now ex-husband, former NFL player, former outspoken Christian, and a man very different from the one I married back in October of 2001.
Sports Illustrated, along with other avenues — USA Today, ESPN, various sports radio shows and local news reports — have given their take and analysis of what happened to who many referred to as such an endeared long time Packer and local hero. Along with many of the current news reports, hundreds of YouTube videos from my ex-husband’s point of view are just a click away, for all the cyber world to see.
For close to 9 years starting in 2001, life for me was already an NFL fishbowl. It came along with being a wife of a professional football player in this small Green Bay community who adore their beloved Packers. In the last 3 years however, it seemed like that fishbowl turned into a sort of theme park aquarium with large plexiglass windows of people peering in, noses to the glass, checking out all the activity taking place under the clear, blue waters.
If you haven’t read any of these articles, the nutshell version is this. My ex-husband and I were a large family with 7 children and a family who loved God. We were a couple who desired to live out Christianity to those around us, who wanted to see marriages flourish, and who encouraged parents to raise up their children in the ways of the Lord. We desired to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the way we lived. It wasn’t fake, it was who we were. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we loved each other, we loved our kids and we loved being a part of a community where we unashamedly wanted to share Jesus.
That all changed in 2017, when my ex-husband ventured out and came across a different kind of “ministry,” a different teaching that would take him on a complete 180 degree turn into a whole other different direction from where we were going. Although there would be a small few who would describe it differently, my husband of 16 years decided to join a cult. Life as I knew it was forever changed — a marriage broken, children in the middle, friends and family in total confusion and a community in shock. Never in a million years would I have ever seen this coming, yet here I am.
After the SI article came out, as expected, people came out of the woodwork to reach out to me. Some people knew stories here and there, and some were hearing all this for the first time. With such an extensive, well thought-out and thankfully accurate article, lots of light has been shed on how things evolved up to this point. With almost every text, email, or phone call, two sentiments I heard over and over were these:
The first , “I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through that.” The second, “I can’t even imagine how you endured.”
As I said in the beginning, it’s time. My heart is almost bursting , wanting to respond to those two comments. My purpose in starting to write is not only for my own continual healing, but moreso to share the goodness of God through it all — to comfort those in affliction like He has comforted me in mine and to point people to resources that helped to equip me for this battle. Amidst the crazy, intense, and sometimes incomprehensible experiences my family has gone through, we’ve endured, we’ve grown and are blessed through it — all because of the faithfulness of God.
His love and sustaining power are something I can no longer contain. My intentions are not to bash, fight or put anyone down. My desire now and has always been since this season began is, “God, if I’m to go through this, get glory from it!”
This has been a long time coming, as I ideally wanted to write my stories in chronological order. After actually going through the worst of it over 3 years ago and now juggling the duties of home and children, I just have to write as the Holy Spirit gives it to me. I can’t tell you how excited I am to share God’s faithfulness through it all. So it begins… pieces of the puzzle.
Lord, You are good and faithful! From the beginning, You carried me every step of the way. You know the beginning from the end and nothing is a surprise to You. You love me and You’ve given me Your Word, Your Holy Spirit and Your strength. Thank You, that I can rest in the fact that You work all things for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. Thank You, too, that what Satan means for evil, You use for good. As I reflect on who You are, and magnify who You are, then all my trials and struggles are put in their place, so small in comparison to Your greatness. To You always, be the honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.