My husband told me that I need to share our testimony, because it will bless your heart. I know he’s right, and I know it will bless the hearts of many Standers as well. So here it goes:
After 10 years of marriage, my husband asked for a divorce. I was devastated, but it took this to utterly break me before God. That night, I didn’t go to sleep, but the Lord led me to scripture after scripture. I finally fell to my knees before my own sin. I couldn’t look away, blame, or give excuse for all the selfishness, pride, disrespect, disobedience, and rebellion that I had lived in for all 10 years of our marriage. Instead of feeling anger or betrayal toward my husband, I saw exactly the unlovable person I had been asking him to love all these years and I understood. The Lord changed me that night. I didn’t become a different person overnight, but each day God would strip away another layer. Immediately, He led me to a group of women who were standing for their marriages! They led me to Rejoice Marriage Ministries where I learned that I was a “Stander,” and my husband was a “Prodigal.” (Luke 15) I loved that! It was so apt.
I believed my husband when he said there wasn’t another woman, but the Lord was preparing me for a different story. After a month of standing, the Lord was asking me if I would stand even in infidelity. See, God knew the hardness of my heart. If I had initially known my husband had found someone else, I would have never been broken. I would have raged against my husband and would have felt justified as I took everything he had. But then, I would have never stood in the gap for my husband’s soul either. Now, I know that everyone around me knew about the other woman, but wouldn’t tell me. That was God. It took His work in me and gentle nudges to show me what His marriage covenant really means. As you know, that covenant made before Him has no stipulations. I did not vow to love until my husband cheated. I did not accept a ring only until my husband’s love disappeared. I vowed until death, and God was holding me to that vow. It didn’t matter that it was the worst day of my life when my husband finally told me about the OW, or that the next day was the hardest day of my life when I helped my husband move out. I believed that God would bring him back. All of this, my husband knew, but he wouldn’t “come to his senses” for a while yet.
I was commanded by God to do 4 things:
1. To stand: When I was so overwhelmed with how determined my husband was in pursuing this divorce, I told God that I didn’t want to fight this battle and I didn’t want to have to try to find a Christian lawyer to defend my stand. God spoke 2 Chronicles 20 to me and let me know quickly that I wouldn’t have to find a lawyer, nor would I have to fight this battle. It was HIS battle, and He was going to win it for me!
2. To wait: I thought this meant that I would have to wait for my husband to come home, but God said I was to wait on Him and the work He was going to do in our lives.
3. To be silent: Whew! If you only knew me, you’d know how nearly impossible this is! But God was working and nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). I tried so many times to reason with my husband and point out what God was showing me, but it wasn’t my place and it only hardened my husband’s heart toward me. Through this, God showed me that I am nobody’s Holy Spirit. I can’t convict, and I can’t change a person’s mind. That is God’s job, but He showed me that what He does lasts forever, so I’m glad I can’t change anyone…it wouldn’t last. God told me that no man could change my husband. HE was the only one that could change my husband and I needed to let HIM work!
4. To be still: This was the hardest command. As my husband progressed in the Far Country, I saw the state of his soul. I couldn’t believe a born-again believer could believe the lies Satan was telling him. Satan takes the Word of God and twists it to fit what the flesh wants, which you, Charlyne, taught me only leads to doing the will of Satan (2 Tim. 2:26)! My husband was trying to find biblical justification for all of his actions and what his flesh wanted. Obviously, he couldn’t, but he gave it his best effort. Needless to say, and he finally admitted it after he came home, he was miserable out in the Far Country, even though he told me then how “peaceful” he was! (Standers, don’t believe anything your Prodigal says!) There were many days I would lie on the floor in our home begging God to release me from this stand. I didn’t want my husband anymore after seeing where Satan had taken him. I didn’t want a man who would cheat on me. I didn’t want any of this! But God would let me rant and rave, then remind me of ALL the promises He’d given me and remind me that this path, though excruciating, was His best for me…I wonder if God doesn’t fight dirty sometimes! LOL! Daily, I had to surrender my will to Him, believing He knows what’s best.
Eventually my husband sent me an email that said he believed God had finally answered him and he decided to end the relationship with the other woman. I was amazed and the day after that email, the Holy Spirit told me to rejoice. Ah, but Satan wasn’t done yet! A few days later, I discovered that my husband was still talking to the OW and was beginning to doubt coming home. As the days drew closer, my husband was determined that he wasn’t coming home and may never come back home! I was prepared for false starts thanks to your ministry, but the Lord reminded me that HE had told me to rejoice. So instead of me telling everyone that my husband wasn’t coming home after all, I would say “He says he’s not coming home…” Our God has a bigger plan, and thankfully, He’s greater than man (Job 33:12). I invited my husband to our house for dinner the night he came in from offshore. Although he resisted, he finally agreed to come. I had a vision to run to him when he came home, just as the Father did for the Prodigal. When my husband pulled in, he parked in the back of our yard to collect one of his trailers. I ran across our yard in my bare feet smiling the whole way. When I got to him, I jumped into his arms and bear-hugged him. He was laughing and smiling. He says now, that when he saw me do that he knew he wouldn’t be able to leave! 🙂 That night he kept trying to leave, but God wouldn’t let him. I told him that I understood if he couldn’t stay…I knew God would bring him home! Finally, after watching him wrestle to the point of exhaustion, he started drifting off to sleep on the couch. I told him to come to bed, but he said he had to do something first. He went out to his truck where he left his cell phone and texted the OW that he was staying home. Now I understand the struggle: she had told him that if he ever came back home, they were over. She ranted over texts, but he just turned his phone off and came inside. That was the night my husband came home and slept in his own bed with his own wife. He’s told me that was the first sound night of sleep he had through all of it! I have to admit, Charlyne, the restoration of our marriage has been more difficult than even the standing. But God has reminded me that He is still working on the other side of that mountain, and He’s not done yet. He’s only just beginning to work! I want to encourage other Standers, that God doesn’t work the way we think or expect. His ways are higher than our ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts (Is. 55:8-9). I thought my husband would be broken much the same way I was, but it’s been a slow process with God revealing His Truth in doses. I’m still learning to obey those 4 things God commanded me. Just because my husband is home and our marriage is better than it has ever been, doesn’t change where we’ve been and who we are to become. I will forever be a Stander for my husband and our marriage.
Now for the “special” blessing I’ve saved for last. God gave me a lot of promises while my husband was in the Far Country, and I look forward to God fulfilling every single one of them. The first promise He’s answered is the return of my husband. The second promise was confirmed yesterday. What I didn’t tell you, Charlyne, is that for 10 years I have been barren. However, God promised me double and with that came the promise of children. We are pregnant with our first child! Standing and restoration has been hard, but I still believe my God is greater and He knows what’s best! “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” – Luke 1:45
Thank you, Charlyne, for Rejoice Marriage Ministries. You and Bob have been used by God to forever change my life, and the life of my husband. God has also used you to change our family tree and, as Malachi 2:15 says, to produce “godly seed.” We love you!
*** Update 2015 ***
Since this writing, God has fulfilled His promise of a double portion He gave to me while JW was in the Far Country. We not only have a son, Ian, but also a daughter, Ariel! 🙂
Isaiah 61:7 (KJV) 7 For your shame [ye shall have] double; and [for] confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
The Father continues to bless this couple once considered barren and infertile! We have a second daughter, Annelise. Her name means, “Graced by God’s bounty,” because we have been! 😉