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Divorce Doesn’t Give Wife Freedom

The Doss’ love story began in youth ministry. Casey was a young preacher, and Lindsey was, a gifted dancer in a well-known teen worship and performing arts group.

“What I love the most about Lindsey was she was fun loving, she was spontaneous, she was easy going.”

“And Casey was an incredibly godly man, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this man is way out of my league.”

They fell in love and married on Valentine’s Day in 2005.  Casey was 22 and Lindsey, 18. A few years later, Lindsey gave birth to two girls and the couple continued to work side by side in ministry. But underneath it all, Lindsey struggled with feeling accepted growing up, stemming from a strained relationship with her father. Lindsey’s suppressed feelings began to surface three years into her marriage, as she became consumed with her identity as a dancer and her priorities shifted.

“I was pouring all of my time into dancing.  All of my closest friends were much younger than me. And even beyond that, you know, even beyond age, they were just in a different phase of life. You know, I was a wife and a mother. And whenever they, you know, went out to a movie, I wanted to go out with them. And I was going to leave the kids with Casey, and go out and kind of live my life and be free."

Lindsey found the extra attention she was looking for in a co-worker, which slowly developed into an emotional affair. When the affair was uncovered, Casey gave his wife an ultimatum.  

“I basically told her, I love you. I want our marriage to work more than anything else in this world. But this relationship with him is over. And don’t ever speak to him again. And she said no, that’s not –that’s not going to happen.”

“For me to stay with Casey means I have to give up this, I don’t –I don’t want that. And so, I left.”

Lindsey moved out and filed for divorce. Although the relationship with her co-worker didn’t last, she began dating other men. Meanwhile, Casey hadn’t given up on their marriage.

“But I’ve got to do the right thing. If for nobody else, my daughters. I want to be able to look at them and say, I did everything I knew to do. I did everything all of these leaders in my life told me to do, and I did. They would tell me reach out to her, send her this, call her, and I did everything they asked me to do. But I never questioned God because I knew God was pursuing and speaking and dealing with her in His way. And then at the end it would be her decision.”

The couple had been separated for two years, and the divorce papers were prepared to be signed, when Lindsey began to have a change of heart.

“I thought this would be freedom and I’m not happy. Now whenever I would –whenever I looked at pictures of Casey on social media and I would see him with the kids and see him, you know, smiling. Thinking I miss that. You know, I miss him.”

One morning she opened her Bible to the story prodigal son and allowed God to speak to her heart.

“It said, ‘And he came to himself.’ God reminded him who he was. He reminded him of who he was supposed to be. And he said I will go to my father’s house and say father, I have sinned against you. You know, can I serve as a servant in your home? And I remember thinking—I remember thinking, I would rather be Casey’s maid than to live the way I’m living right now. I wanted to be right. I wanted my marriage. I wanted my family. I wanted my husband.

In January 2016, Lindsey reached out to Casey and they arranged a meeting to talk.

 “The only thing that gave me hope was when she walked in. I’d never seen that deep of a repentance.”

“I just want you. I just want to be your wife. I want to be our kids’ mother. That’s all I want. I’ll give up everything. And I said, but ‘I’m sorry’. And then he said to me, ‘I don’t want you to leave. I want you to stay.’  I should be the one hugging you and kissing you. I should—I should be the one trying to make you feel better. And here you are doing it to me? Why? And knowing, you know, the depth of forgiveness and the depth of love he had for me, I’ve never seen a more beautiful picture of the love of God, the forgiveness of God.”

Over the next few months, the couple began to heal. They agreed on new boundaries to protect their relationship. Today their marriage is completely restored. they even have a new addition to their family.

“Our marriage now, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. She’s my best friend.  We have a new son. The healing it’s brought to our children, just the unity, the oneness in our home.”

“You know, everything now from the sound of his Pepsi can opening at the house, it’s the most beautiful sound in the world. You know, of hearing him walk through the living room in the morning, it’s the most beautiful sound. There’s nothing like it.”

The couple lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where they have planted a church called Hope Unlimited. Lindsey shares a detailed account of their story in her book called The Way Home.

Now, when the Doss’ celebrate their anniversary on Valentine’s Day, they are reminded of love that forgives and restores.  

“Only God did it. And Valentine’s Day is where I celebrate His faithfulness. I look at my family and I think, I don’t need anything else in the world.”

“Now, it’s so far beyond, you know, just an anniversary. It’s a celebration of life in the same way that it’s a celebration of love. And it’s a celebration of God holding true to His word. It’s that He is a merciful and forgiving God, that He is willing to take something broken and make it whole.”

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