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We were both single parents when Jerry and I met. He had been alone for six years and his three sons lived with their mom an hour away. My son, daughter, and I were a contented trio; their father had left two years earlier.
I admired how Jerry spoke of his sons with love. His visits with them were at his parents’ house and usually required an argument with their mom before she’d concede. Seeing him struggle emotionally with these conflicts just endeared him to me more. It helped me understand why his visits weren’t more frequent.
We dated for a year and were married. Even after witnessing his strained communication with his ex-wife, I was still surprised when she wouldn’t let the boys attend our wedding. The three little carnation boutonnieres left abandoned in the florist’s box reflected the loneliness Jerry hid in his heart.
Honeymoon behind us, real life stretched before us promising joy, and life did not disappoint; we were happy. As I accepted the task of managing our finances, I was astonished to find that Jerry had become woefully behind on his child support. Having struggled myself for years without support of any kind, I was furious!
I knew he paid monthly, so how could he have fallen behind so? Didn’t he realize how important this was?
I spoke the four words husbands everywhere dread: We need to talk.
With embarrassment and sorrow, Jerry confessed to the comfort he found with his head buried in the sand. I tried to understand the reasons. The child support agency had initially stockpiled his checks and cashed them all at once. A job change reduced his income so a judge had lowered the amount. He was unsure of the amount and paid too little.
Seeing his pain, my heart broke. My love for Jerry grew stronger as we faced this challenge together. We made an appointment to meet with the child support agency.
They verified the details and, after getting the amount straight, we made a plan to catch up and moved forward. Visitation remained strained, but continued.
Jerry’s paychecks were small and our part even smaller. Still, we tithed 10% to God. Our sacrifices drew us closer as a family and more reliant on the Lord who met all of our needs and many of our wants. It was an exciting time of seeing God move in our lives daily.
Blessings came to us from unexpected places.
Our children are grown now and are our friends. Jerry makes more money, and, while I don’t long for those lean days, I thank God for the trials that brought our little blended family closer to Him and closer to one another.