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God Restores Hope

Van Weaver is our Butterfly Ministry Coordinator at Trietsch and today she shares her personal story of restoration:

I met Nate in 2011. We went on a first date and instantly felt a connection. After that date, he came over for dinner every night for a year. After that first year, we decided to move in together, became engaged, and married in 2013. It was a whirlwind and so exciting, fun, and amazing, until 2016. It became common for us to get into arguments that I didn’t understand. I would ask him to help when he got home from work or comment that I needed more support or connection, and it would turn into a screaming match. While I was 6 months pregnant with our daughter, after another intense night of arguing and fighting, he confessed to me that he was an addict. My first reaction was to be the dutiful wife. I reassured him that we could get through this together, and I’m not going anywhere. He promised to quit, and I believed him. At the time I didn’t realize I was stepping into a life of continuous manipulation and deception or that the manipulation had actually begun when we first met.  
 
Our marriage was strained, home was broken, and life was riddled with lies, excuses, and turmoil. I never knew what kind of mood he would be in when he walked in the door, and the emotions of the house shifted depending on his mood. I lived in fear everyday. Fear that he had passed this genetic predisposition to my children. Fear of relapse. Fear of saying or doing something wrong, as to start a war. Fear of him getting upset and leaving for weeks on end. Fear that he was dead in a ditch somewhere if he was 15 minutes late. Fear that my family would find out. Fear that he would squander away all of our finances. I was resentful, hurt, angry, and always afraid. I began to lose myself in fear and lack of control. I had owned and operated a bakery, which I had to close. The little things that I had loved to do, like dancing in the kitchen with my daughter, were promptly suppressed when he walked through the door. 
 
In 2021, we were not happy. I was happy all day until it was time for him to come home from work. I was happy with everyone else and every other aspect of my life except for him. My world was a battlefield, tiptoeing through a minefield of his emotions and mood swings. He was withdrawn. He didn’t help with anything pertaining to the home or interact or engage with the kids. All he did was work, come home, and retreat to the bedroom. I knew that there was something wrong with him, but he made me believe that something was wrong with me. He said that I needed professional help because I had never gotten over the fact that he is sober. He accused me of wanting him to remain an addict. He was so successful in gaslighting me that I went to the doctor to have my hormones, thyroid, and blood tested to find out that I was the healthiest person the doctor has seen in years. Then I saw something about an Al-Anon meeting here at Trietsch and went to my first meeting. Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else's addiction. I cried through the first 3 meetings. These people were sharing stories of their lives, but it was as if they were telling my story. For the first time, I was not alone. I had hope again.
 
This is where my restoration begins. The Al-Anon group helped me restore my serenity and peace. I gave everything over to God and actively sought out guidance after years of slowly losing my way. My confidence began to grow, and I was learning to love myself again. I had to let go of the things I couldn’t control. Soon after I began attending the meetings, my husband left again. My daughter was furious and hurt. She was yelling at him and said all of the things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t say in my role as wife and mother. I then realized that I was not protecting my kids and shielding them from his addiction as well as I thought I was. I packed his belongings and told him to stay gone. No more enabling, no more making excuses for him, no more covering for him, no more lying for him, just no more. I know that he loves us, does not want to be an addict, wants to be better, but he just couldn’t….so I couldn’t anymore either. This went against everything I believed because marriage was forever, but I filed for divorce. My family did not judge, which was my fear, and have wrapped us in warmth and unconditional love. 
 
He on the other hand was in disbelief that I actually went through with it. He was angry and took all the money. Remember, he was our sole provider. I had continued baking on the side, but the money I earned baking was our fun money for vacations, clothes, sports, and extracurricular things. How was I going to be able to support myself, 3 kids, and a dog as a stay-at-home mom with only a side job baking cupcakes? 
 
This is where God restored me and re-ignited the fire that was put out. God made me to be fierce, determined, innovative, resourceful, and smart. These traits helped me get through elementary school when I did not speak any English as a kindergartener. They helped me to play soccer and run track with people twice my size in my youth. They blessed me to be the first in my refugee family to attend college and graduate. They allowed me to have a rewarding career helping the forgotten population of persons with intellectual disabilities. God’s gift of determination allowed me to open up my own business at 30 years old and receive local and international accolades. Then God gave me the blessing of realizing that my newest dream was to be 100% available to my children. I call it beast mode. It was time to go into beast mode again. I was no longer fearful and knew that God has given me the resources and ability to weather this storm. 


 

My sister enrolled her son in TEC preschool and was just browsing the Trietsch website when she found a job listing that she said would be perfect for me. The job lined up with my first true passion, working with persons with special needs. The job would  allow me to remain 100% available for my children, continue to bake from home, and provide for us. I applied and got the job. Somehow God knew that I needed to be nearby. Literally, my office is underneath the Sanctuary. God knew that I needed to be with these sweet, perfect children so my faith in people and love could be restored. I was in an uplifting and positive environment where everyone is actively trying to better themselves and the better the world.  This church is a place where trust and respect are given freely, not privileges to be earned.  The members and volunteers of the Butterfly Ministry are transparent with no agenda, no secrets, no fear, and no expectations. They overcome every obstacle with a genuine smile on their face and exhibit unwavering love with every fiber of their being.  They experience true joy, true sadness…every emotion exactly the way God intended us to experience them, whole heartedly.  Working with them again has healed me in every way possible.  Healed my heart.  Fed my soul.  Restored my desire to learn.  Restored my faith in God.  Restored my faith in myself.  Restored me so that I could restore my children and restore my life.
 
God knew exactly what I needed.

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