Wednesday, December 11

i was in rehab.
Jesus used every tool He
had to pull me out of my denial.
i needed to face myself. forget will.
terrible withdrawals.12 days of NO
sleep. no relief. a nightmare. 
down to 104lbs. at 5'8".
too nauseous to eat. 
could smell cigarette smoke
in the carpet. the walls. i have
never smoked. but the
odor settled in my hair...made me
more sick.

and will was in chicago.
stunned. swimming in his own
nightmare. i had filed for separation,
and received full custody of the
children. divorce was never in
my vocabulary, but i was so hurt
and broken, and i had to stay alive
for the children. because of my
love and devotion for them,
i had become a tiger. until you
know what someone has suffered, 
you can't grasp the severity of
the wounds.

the 12th night,
i was in my room. cranky,
bitter roommate asleep. pain
racked my bones. my soul. i
began to crawl, on hands and
knees. tears dripping off my nose.
deliverance. my prayer. my longing.
at any cost. i could almost taste
freedom. sweet. a cool, damp
cloth on my wounds. begging,

and Jesus came.
He touched me.
i became whole at the
center of my core, and began
to heal. more and more every
day. no longer blind. my hair
pulled back. tight. long ponytail.
the lost, blind, hopeless, enslaved
woman. SET FREE. i walked out
of wounded, powerless a serene, competent
adult. never to forget all i wasn't.
always to remember ALL Jesus is.

after a year of sobriety... a steady
diet of peace and deliverance from
fear for the children, i invited will
to move to california with us.  
God opened a job for him. he took turns
sleeping in the boys' rooms.  i
began to see old behaviors, but i
longed for miracles, and i was a
different woman. i drew healthy
boundaries, but things began to
unveil. not good things.

will was brilliant in areas.
he taught four, impressionable
sons how to have strong handshakes, 
and look people in the eyes.  
he lived out for them
that you love one woman your
whole life; a wandering eye is
sin and weakness. we all learned
to target practice and climb mountains 
and hike to hidden places and fish.  
i believe he did the best he could see.

inspite of terror in my throat,
i felt God challenge me to
walk back into our marriage.
to stand before our children, and
confess we both failed...and with
God's help would become what
Jesus desired. our closest friends
flew in. for me, it was pure obedience
to the still, small Voice.

2mos. later,
will was diagnosed with
renal cell carcinoma.16 mos.
after,november 27, 2000, as he
told each of the children to take
care of me, and he'd see us in
Heaven, he peacefully stepped over
into God's house. my father-in-law,
dr. henry brandt, said at his
memorial service....
"will was a bitter, angry man
until five days ago...when God was
able to open his eyes.."

when Jesus was born, the angels
said, "fear not..." and Christmas
is the celebration of redemption
and hope and peace on earth.
life is a battle. marriage takes
hard work, forgiveness, and Christ's
miracles. i don't know why i felt
led to share all this. it leaves me
raw and vulnerable....but it is
the story of love. that it is never
one's fault, but both, in a marriage
if it fails....and only Jesus can
redeem us. do your best.  
sometimes, only one is willing to
change. just hold on to pure love.
i have no answers or lectures. i'm
at the back of the line. i sin every
day. some days, i can only crawl.
more than anything, i long for my
children to see and feel God's love
all around them...and to forgive
all the wrongs they didn't deserve.


  1. Dear ann,
    Thank you so much for sharing your love story with us. I Gave God Time was such an inspiration to me when it came out! Your redemption story reminds me of the Fall and the original sins we all inherited post the Fall. The man's sin being wanting to "lord over" the woman, and the woman's sin being waiting by the phone for her man to call. Instead of developing herself and her God given gifts. if we all could put our relationship with Jesus first and foremost, what pain we could avoid in our personal lives! What gifts He has given us all to develop! But only if we have the backbone to do it.
    Throughout it all you have selflessly used and shared your gifts to benefit others... May we all learn from you! Blessings,

  2. Thank you for being brave enough and honest enough to share your story with us. I love all your books and hope you will consider writing another one specifically about the issues you had in your marriage. I think it would be of great help to many. I know "Seduced by Success" accounts part of your journey but not so much the real marriage issues and Will's illness. I know your boys are proud of you and your strength. May Father God continue to bless you as you travel the road of faith.

  3. Your authenticity inspires me. We all are DYING inside to know that at one time or another we aren't the only ones DYING inside. Thank you for having the courage to share your journey. God Bless You...

  4. Thank you Ann for feeling the nudge of God to write these memoirs and memories so that others who struggle deeply, especially in marriage might not feel alone. I admire your obedience to follow through and be vulnerable so that others may learn and grow and seek Jesus in the midst of severe trials. I would echo what Elizabeth said- a book on marriage is so needed in the Christian world to address the hidden hurts and wounds that the enemy preys upon to destroy rather than heal and build up persons so they can love from their heart. So many marriages that are on life-support and close to failure might be redeemed with understanding, wisdom and helps. Thanks again for your beautiful transparency, courage and honesty- your writing touches the soul of many wounded warriors of faith who need an anchor. Bless you Ann and your precious sons!

  5. Ann:

    I remember you so well, we were all buying your books and like humans do, christians included, elevating your story to a fairybook prince and princess... Isn't it amazing how each one of us have a story, and a book we are writing with our lives, and in each book there are wins and losses, successes and many failures. The constant is God... and the final chapter is known to all of us who know Him.

    I so enjoyed stumbling across your name and blog after so many years. Thank you for such an honest sharing. It isn't the wonderful glowing successful stories that grab my heart, it's the testimonies of sinners saved by grace, just like me.