Megan’s response…

June 30, 2011 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

[Kris says:  Last night, a Sovereign Grace pastor functioning as a go-between for Kerrin’s estranged wife Megan emailed me a pdf that contained her story, with a note that she wanted me to publish it.  Megan herself has not been in touch with me.  I have no idea if she plans to comment here, either directly or through her go-between, to clarify anything or answer questions, as Kerrin has done.

(You can access Kerrin’s story here and here.)

Please note, in her original version, Megan made a stylistic choice not to capitalize anything.  For the sake of readability, I’ve edited her writing (except for some of the quoted personal emails, which appear in itallics) to follow conventional capitalization rules.  I may have missed fixing a few words, but otherwise, everything is as Megan’s go-between sent it to me.]

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Megan writes:  I have sought to be extremely careful and discreet on my blog regarding the very personal, painful events transpiring in our family over the past two years; but due to the rumors being circulated [Kris says:  Is it really a “rumor being circulated” if her husband shares his perspective of what happened to him?] and the questions being raised, I thought it would be helpful to share my side of the story.  No doubt my words will be subject to misinterpretation and misunderstanding, but the fact of the matter is, I would much rather have conclusions drawn and judgments made on my words, over the speculation resulting from hearing a one-sided perspective.

I’m not looking to justify myself or defend my actions here.  Honestly, I just
want to know that if our children ever happen to come across these postings,
there would be no doubt that mommy loved their daddy very much, no matter what he did, and that she did everything she could to restore their relationship.  I
pray that you hear my heart.

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It was two years ago, almost to the day, that my husband first began expressing his differences of belief to me. We had met and married in a local evangelical church, served together for many years in leadership and on the music team, and were preparing to join our friends Eric and Lisa Simmons in planting a new church in Arlington, Virginia.  [Kris says:  Megan and Kerrin met at Covenant Life Church, the flagship congregation of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  This is a crucial detail, as there are quite a few folks out there who do NOT consider CLC to be just another “local evangelical church.”] These theological disagreements were sudden and unexpected.  We spent the next 6 months dialoguing back and forth, as I sought to understand his new way of thinking and how, as a wife, I could follow and support him as he led our family in a different direction.  We made significant changes related to the parenting, discipline and education of our children.  While it was a very difficult season of conflict, it was also so very good in helping me think through and re-evaluate why I did what I did. I came to see issues of preference I held that just really didn’t matter, as well as, the core issues of my faith that did. I spent many hours reading books and searching the Scriptures as I sought to own and defend my beliefs to the husband who no longer believed them.

In December of 2009, my husband informed me that he no longer wanted to participate in the Arlington church plant and would be looking for a new church elsewhere that we could attend as a family. while this was a painful decision process, I encouraged him to look. we agreed that I would continue attending our old church with our four children, until he found a few options we could visit together. God did a great work in my heart over those months, bringing me to a real place of faith in seeking to follow and support my husband in where he wanted to go. my only appeal was that we go to a church that preached the Bible as God’s Word and the Gospel clearly and faithfully. I communicated my desire to follow him verbally and via email, writing on June 15 : “I do want to explore the option of church together. I have hopes that maybe GraceDC would be a good fit…I don’t care where it is. If we can find a church that both of us can be at. I want to be there. Banish the thought from your mind that I am not open to trying other churches.”

I never received a response. I started doing my own church research, and even made a few suggestions of options to check out; but he seemed increasingly disengaged.  By the end of June, he concluded that we were going to be unable to find a church where we would both be happy, and told me to just do whatever I wanted.

From that point on, communication between us virtually ceased, apart from figuring out scheduling and life logistics.  I was confused and torn, knowing that continuing to attend the church where I was only seemed to be making matters worse, but not knowing where else to go, alone, with my four, soon to be 5 children. I tried to get direction from my husband as to what would make him happy, but he would give me none.  From my perspective, his church attendance had dwindled and all but ceased, so I couldn’t attend with him, even if he wanted me to. Our home life deteriorated. I continued to seek to pursue and draw my husband out, trying to understand and get a window into his turmoil; but he was increasingly silent and absent.

I offered verbally and via email that I go to another church by myself, if that would do anything to help our situation. I pleaded that we agree to disagree, that we accept our vast differences and continue to love each other despite them. I wasn’t trying to convince him to think differently, I just wanted some mutual respect and tolerance.  I wanted to try to help, but I didn’t know how. I knew he was miserable, but he had shut me out, and I didn’t know how to get back in.  On November 15 of 2010 I wrote:

believe it or not, my ‘stand’ has never been that I will only go to a sovgrace church.

I suggested other churches, remember?

what is important to me, is the reformed theology you despise.

you want to attack something, attack that…

that the Bible is the Word of God.

that we are a sinful people in need of a Savior.

that Jesus is the only way, truth, life

and no one comes to the Father except through Him.

because honestly, those are the things I care about.

and I don’t care what church I go to as long as those things are being taught.

but it seems rather late in the game to be going back to the church discussion…

please just know that I love you.

I want to be your wife.

I want us to be a family.

whatever that may look like.

and I will keep pleading for that, until you say you are done.

Again and again, I told him that I want to be a family, that I love him no matter what he believes, and could he please try to make “us” work, to no avail or response.

In the fall of 2010, two weeks before I was due to be induced with our 5th child, my husband emailed to inform me that he had quit his job. Around this time, we also began receiving notices from our mortgage company in the mail regarding delinquent payments. It was an extremely stressful season with a non-communicative husband, a new baby, no income, and a house heading for foreclosure. I began attending church in Arlington, hoping that distance from our former church would help somehow.  Our financial situation worsened, as my husband had no success in the job hunt. I found out that we had lost our insurance coverage, and started preparing for the loss of our house as well.  A new British passport arrived in the mail, and I found British citizenship documents for our children on my husband’s desk.  It seemed imminent that he had some plan in the works, but when pressed he refused to divulge anything about what he was thinking.

In February of 2011, I came across a check written to a name I didn’t recognize.  I googled the name and discovered it was for a divorce lawyer.  My husband was out of town for the weekend, visiting a friend, at the time.  As soon as he returned, I confronted him with the check and told him I was not leaving his room until he told me what was going on.  At long last, he announced that in 2 months he was leaving for Europe where he had lined up temporary work.  He told me we were going to abandon our house, and I was to go live at my parents with the kids for a year, at which point we would join him.

After the initial shock, I started asking questions… how will we be provided for in his absence?  Won’t I be held responsible for the financial ruin he’s leaving behind? After being MIA over the previous 9 months, and then leaving us for a year, how would this help our family situation? I had pleaded often over the summer that we get help from someone, anyone.  My husband’s grandmother had even offered to pay for us to go see a marriage counselor she knew; but he declined.  If he wasn’t willing to get help here, I didn’t see how going there would improve our situation.  Given the lack of care for me personally, physically and otherwise, I didn’t feel it would be safe or wise for me to move overseas.  There was no indication from him that his treatment of me would be any different when I came.

The day after our conversation, I went by myself to meet with the counselor, recommended by my husband’s grandmother.  He listened to my recounting of the past year, and encouraged me to go see a lawyer.  At this point, my biggest concern was provision for myself and the kids, and protection in the financial matters at hand.  I scheduled a meeting with a lawyer, making it very clear that my intentions were in no way vindictive or out of a desire to end our marriage.  She counseled me to file for a legal separation, which in Maryland is defined as limited divorce, so that I would have a financial commitment and be able to make decisions for the children in my husband’s absence.  In the end, this act really seemed the only way to guarantee accountability.  It also provided documentation of what was taking place, enabling me to get insurance for myself and the kids through the state. My hope was that this measure would help my husband see the severity of his actions, and open the door for us to dialogue about our differences. I was truly heartbroken that I just didn’t see any other option.

I began packing up and selling off our possessions, alone, as I prepared to move myself and the kids into my parents basement. For logistical reasons, and to try to serve the kids in separating the trauma of the major life changes going down, I made the decision to move at the beginning of April, rather than waiting until my husband left, May 2. In mid-March, I found out that unbeknownst to me he had listed the house for short-sale in anticipation of the foreclosure, necessitating the move as well.

After the move, my lawyer unsuccessfully tried to have the papers delivered for three weeks.  They were finally received, via certified mail, just a week and a half before my husband’s scheduled departure.  As soon as I knew he had received them, I sent an email on April 18 pouring out my heart :

I don’t really know what to say, even though I’ve been writing this email in my head for weeks now. You should be proud of me… I went to people outside of my “social group” – a counselor and a lawyer – and this is what they counseled me to do. I really don’t feel I have any other option at this point. For over a year, I have sought to reason, plead, compromise and convince you to try to make our marriage work. To no avail. At the end of the day, no matter how much I want it, it takes two, and you have given me nothing. If I had any hopes that my even considering going with you would make things different, they were dashed by your email (of February 25) which gave no indication that you either wanted or planned to change the way you relate to me. You seem completely blind to the irrationality of your plan and the damage that has already been done. I hope you understand that if I am not being cared and provided for here, there is no way practically, emotionally or physically that I could go to a place where I have no other support. I t would not be safe or wise for myself or our children.  I had hoped we could reach some sort of agreement.  That we could try to work things out, or meet with a counselor; but that didn’t seem to be an option.  You have been completely closed to any sort of reasoning for quite some time. I don’t know what else to do but protect myself legally, in hopes that you will see the severity and consequence of your actions.

I don’t know that I will ever understand why you gave up on us so soon…why you seem to think our relationship is not worth fighting for.  I fought as hard as I could to make it work, and it truly breaks my heart to have reached the point where I feel there is simply nothing more I can do. The offer stands to seek some form of counseling or mediation together. Don’t view this course of action as me throwing in the towel. The choice, the initiative, is yours for the taking. S how me you want to try to make this work. You have broken my heart, my world, and my trust. I feel like everything I hold dear has been torn down and trampled upon. My husband, my family, my home, and life as I knew it are no more. I’ve looked to you for affection, provision, security, protection, and love. You seem unwilling or incapable of giving it.

I closed the email with : somehow, I still love you. I don’t know how else to explain the fact that I hurt for you more than feel anger towards you. I will never stop praying.

A few days later, I received word from my lawyer that my husband had filed a countercomplaint for mutual and voluntary final divorce.  It seemed he was done and wanted out, and had no desire to try to work things out.

I had lost my home, my financial security, my way of life, and now my husband and the father of my children.  It was a devastating blow.  He left the country, without so much as a word to me, and we didn’t hear from him again for over two weeks. I wanted to give the kids space to process what had happened, but still comfort them when they were grieving. I encouraged them to email daddy when they were sad, because that was the only method of communication we had.  We went back and forth, trying to establish some sort of temporary agreement, with no success.  On May 17, I received an email with a phone number and skype address.  Shortly thereafter, I began receiving emails from my husband demanding I let him speak with the kids, although he never even tried to call.

I was hesitant to set up a regular phone time, in light of nothing in writing.  Relationship without any responsibility didn’t seem fair; but seeing that there was little hope of an agreement being signed, I arranged for a weekly skype.  The first took place on June 5.

There is still nothing in place for the provision for myself and the kids.

Needless to say, the past few months have been extremely full, caring for five children on my own, as well as working to provide income for our expenses – legal fees, rent, groceries, etc.  In addition to walking through my own grief over all that has been lost, I have been seeking to help our children deal with the life changes as well.  Our world has been turned upside down, but God has been faithful. He has provided for us thus far, and I trust He will continue to do so. My comfort is found in His promises. His nearness is my good. I pray that He will restore our family and redeem this situation, and would be so grateful if you would do the same.