Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Our servant [David] has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hairs, struck it and killed it.
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear.
1 Samuel 17: 34-36a
In my book Not Bitter. Just Petty. I wrote a poem called “FloJo”. I wrote it after I left my temporary support hearing. I was personally broke and broken. I had used every dime I had to retain the services of David Coaxum. My first lawyer and I were not ordained to walk together to the end. God made that clear- painfully clear- but clear.
In walks David in the most divine way. When I went to court that October, I had no loose change in the van and a negative balance in our joint checking account. I could not pay to park. I went in with my head held deceivingly high. I met David in the hall. He told me to have a seat. We talked and he said let me talk to his lawyer. He returned and said I got some extra funds for you per month. I said, “Okay”. Bewildered, I didn’t even realize we were negotiating.
We talked a bit more, he said he’d be right back. He came back and said I got another bit. I cried. I was anxious; would they make him pay the attorney fees? Mr. Coaxum said your husband isn’t wanting to do that. He said let me go back and get that last bit of money you need for you. “Do it then”, I thought.
When I left court that day, I had a check in my hand. “Mrs. Burton, put this in your own account. You don’t have to let him see what you’re doing. It’s time to have your own account.” With his firm but gentle advice, I got the push I needed to face what was happening. His expertise and compassion helped me to finally understand the horrible circumstances that required me to hire a new attorney.
As I continued to walk alongside David Coaxum, I understood that God wanted me to have this man by my side at that hearing. With his presence, God showed my husband (the man He ordained to be by my side) that, even if only temporary, God was able to send me a covering. My brother in Christ, David Coaxum, transformed into King David and I wrote FloJo as a tribute to his work for Christ in the family courtrooms of the DMV. It was also my farewell letter to the life I was leaving behind.
On this journey, I joined a lot of marriage restoration communities. Searching for support to keep the faith in God that I could honor my vows until the very end. I was successful. It was full of ugly embarrassing tears, midnight professions of love to my husband’s pillow, blank stares at the RIB’s suggestive Facebook poses, angry, insulting emails I sent to my drafts email box too afraid to send them to the man hurting my heart. Many, many days of biting my tongue not letting that Camden, Alabama spirit out of my mouth. I triumphed over my own nature and remained meek and mild — relatively.
In those communities, though, they give dangerous advice. They say no divorce lawyer is a Christian or else they wouldn’t be helping. This is wrong and it’s sinful advice. I can tell you David Coaxum was God’s mouthpiece in my case. He has put me on a leash when necessary and he has been outraged for me and told me as a brother in Christ that I’ve been accepting the wrong thing. As I wrote in “FloJo”, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down on January 29, 2020 and in my verse King David Coaxum let out the final shout. Amen.
The lion came for me, and he had me in his mouth. The grief. The depression. The despair rendered me lifeless in his grasp. David, though, was put in the game and killed the lion and his bear.