I have been utterly terrified by sharing some of the latest with my growing blog family.
You see, upon my husband’s arrest, I was swiftly swept up by those who wanted to feed me a convincing story. I believed and shared. Oftentimes, the first story we hear is the one that sticks with us, right?
I will never forget, when in talking with a precious friend about my thoughts and concerns, how she opened up an often referenced church book where it stated the fact that anyone who commits murder cannot enter the celestial kingdom, for they cannot repent of it. At risk of being scolded a second time for relaying the following, I must, for the prompting was strong.
Even in the midst of immense anger and betrayal, I was able to receive a clear feeling from the Holy Ghost. If I was to put that feeling into words it would sound something like “This concept is not for your husband, Wesley. You need to do your own investigating.” It’s as if that feeling became a part of me, and radiated to help reel in answers even when I wasn’t actively searching. Months and months would go by, filled with many individuals finding me and freely feeding me stories of Wesley. Sometimes the tales were unbearable, for it was much to take in. I mean, the pain that comes with hearing about such manipulation from the parents of your lifelong love is enough to squeeze your heart out! But, I still wanted nothing to do with him. I didn’t know who he was. I had experienced enough of his mental infirmities in the short time we lived together in marriage that, after what I thought to be true was told me, I knew divorce was okay.
What I did want was to grow closer to my Savior. I needed to. I needed to feel that title of His in abundance. I. Needed. Saving! So, I did what was required for it. I did everything we are all counseled to do. But I over did it. One could say I took the simple commandments a little too far. But, it was all to help me, really. I had an intense urge to grow as close to Jesus Christ as I possibly could. And, almost without my permission, as that relationship grew stronger, He showed me the way He saw Wes. I wasn’t even trying to see Wesley, but I was being guided to behold Him in the way Christ does. It was truly a beautiful experience, but one that at times seemed to come before I was ready.
You know the Lord has a specific message for you when you go into the temple fasting about one thing, and not a single message you receive in there has to do with what you are fasting about, but rather the healing and mending of the family bond you didn’t intend to heal and mend, but rather sever. The list goes on, but I think you get it.
It took eight to nine months for the Lord to inform me that the better path would be to stay sealed to my husband. It took another year to convince me to actually stay married to him. And it took seven more months to get me to move to where I could actually see him more than once a year. Talk about the natural man! But, boy, did I need all that time to prepare… And so did my sweetheart…
You see, I heavily promised to divorce that man. I wouldn’t accept a single letter from him for fifteen months, and he knew not to even try. I wanted nothing to do with him, based off what I knew to be the truth of what imprisoned him. But, the Lord had another plan. The Lord had always had another plan for us. And without my silence his way, he wouldn’t have healed so much, from so many wounds placed long before our sealing. I wouldn’t have been able to heal either. But, the hardest thing now? Being seen.
Not by Wesley, not by the Godhead, or my daughter or myself, but from everyone else. So often when I think I can talk about the latest trials, due to my husband’s incarceration, with another I just assume they see me. Oftentimes (I feel) they don’t. Now, do you know what I mean when I say “see?” It goes beyond love. It’s like how our Father and Eldest Brother love us. It’s more than a human love. Or it can be when one has rend the veil, or when one has no dark glass over their eyes at all. All of which may seem impossible to most, yes? Anyway, coming back from a slight tangent, when I really sit down and talk with someone, they question. And as much as I ought to expect that, I still wonder. Don’t they know me? Don’t they know I am not a battered woman? Don’t they know I make no major decisions without clear counsel from the Lord? Don’t they know me??
I feel tasked to finally relay what I know to be the truth to those who deserve it. It took me almost three years of seeking clarity from the Lord concerning it all. It took almost three years to piece together all the rigid and intricate pieces I was being handed in the most random of orders. It took me so much dedication to view things from a higher plain in order to not be fooled by the lies. And even today, as I felt a burning in my bosom to relay to the one I felt deserved the truth the most, it was not received well at all… Though I cannot blame him…
There is much that is still required of my family. And we will do, in faith. The Lord has been showering us all in tender mercies since…well…decades ago. Our bond was never coincidence, and it still is not. The road is endlessly difficult. If not in one way then another. But, I love it. I love it because the growth that has come from us all has been miraculous, and I wouldn’t trade any of it – no, not any of it – for anything greater than what the Lord already sees fit to bless us with.
On January 29th, 2015 I was quickly found by someone who was adamant to share his/her version of the story with me. On July 29th, 2017 I was finally told the truth of it all. Truth I knew because of the mouth it came from. Truth I knew because when I took it to the Lord and asked “Who do I believe?” with which His clear response was “Believe your husband.” Truth I knew because of how it felt when I relayed it to another. For the first time, speaking the story of what I knew had happened left no trace of tension in my body, but rather flowed with ease (and all made sense!). Our bodies know truth from lies, and my body was pleased to finally be stating only fact about the case. Every message the Lord sent me finally found validation from what my husband was prepared to tell me. Prepared because my intercessory prayers were answered. He really was drawing nearer to his Savior that whole time! He really was repenting! And though I find myself in a tough position, wanting to tell the world what I know, I know it is not necessary. This matters to me. It matters to my husband. My daughter will one day understand, and the Lord has known all along. And we all have peace because of it.
I am so grateful for a healthy mind and spirit. I couldn’t have made it this far without extreme stretching and refining. Agency is beautiful and powerful, but it is even more so in the Lord’s almighty hands.
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~ Tiana Swank ~