Letters to the Editor 11-07-2003

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2003

Wishing things had turned out differently

Dear Editor:

It may seem unusual that I asked to have this open letter printed in the newspaper, but I think it is important.

A couple of years ago, my life seemed to be falling apart when my wife of ten years left me and we divorced. I made the decision to get my life right with God, which was something I had failed to do during that marriage. I was raised in church and knew better, but I let other things take priority. I did not raise my children in church and it was becoming painfully obvious that by not doing that, I had failed them as a parent. Especially with my oldest daughter. I prayed to be able to change all of that. I began working on my relationship with God, fully trusting him for spiritual guidance.

It wasn't long before I met someone who would have a huge impact on my life. Her daughter and my daughter had been friends for years, but she and I had never met. I know now that she was my soul mate. She had raised her daughter from the age of 3, by herself. She was a Christian with a strong moral background and she made sure her daughter was raised in church, as she was, and it was very evident. We got along great from the beginning and began to spend all of our time together. My daughters and my grandmother loved her and we all fit together perfectly as a family. Very soon I became a member of her church and we were very active there. For the first time in my life, I knew I was happy. I loved her more than I thought I could ever love anyone, but there would be no happy ending.

After several months, I asked her to marry me and she said yes. We got married at our church and all of our girls were in our wedding. It was perfect. But then I allowed Satan back into my life. I won't go into the details and I won't try to make excuses, but I will say that no matter how hard you think you can "go back", you never really can. Thoughts were put into my head that were the result of another person's shame and guilt, and I am sorry to say that I fell for it. As a result, I made the biggest mistake of my life and divorced my new wife, who loved me heart and soul. I hurt her, her daughter, her family, our church family, and my family. It didn't even seem to be enough for me to divorce her because I continued to hurt her in other ways too. It was like my pride got in the way of what was right. I even told lies about her to ease my guilt. That only made me feel worse.

I know that nothing I can say or do now will change any of that, but I do want her to know that I am sorry and that I regret it all. She always said I would. I guess it is true that you never really realize what you have until you no longer have it. I truly wish her the best in life because she certainly deserves so much more than she's gotten. Especially from me.

I hope that God can forgive me for all the pain I have caused so many. I also pray that all the ones I have hurt can forgive me too.

Robert Lynn Stephens

Andalusia, AL