My initial journey began when I was led to RMI in July 2004. My husband and I had been married for 20 years when he left, I was his third wife. I was separated from my husband with two small children who cried for him everyday. I was desperate to find a solution to put my marriage back together. Even though I grew up in the church, I was given a lot of bad advice—advice that went against God’s Word and what He commands us to do and not do.
It was while I was at work that He led me to type in the words “marriage restoration” and instantly He led me to Restore Ministries International. I read Erin's testimony and thought it was the most incredible thing I'd ever heard. No one, not in my church, my family or any friend had ever given me any hope like I received from RMI that day. I knew then that God would restore my marriage and He was the answer I had been looking for and didn’t judge me for which marriage it was for me—He cared and loved me too!
My husband and I were separated for two and a half years during my Restoration Journey. During that time, I devoured the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage (often known as RYM), A Wise Woman, and the Workers at Home books. I couldn't get enough of God’s truths that were contained within their pages. The more I read, the more broken I felt and the more I knew that unless I submitted my life to the Lord, things in my marriage and my life would never change. I was in so much emotional pain that I knew God would have to completely heal me.
Although God did heal me of my pain, I was only willing to let Him heal me partially. I only did what I needed to do to bring my husband home. The Lord was not my primary focus, and I didn’t consider Him as my Husband. I fooled myself into believing that God had changed me completely, but He wasn’t through with me yet.
After God restored my marriage to my husband, I was ecstatic and once again the Lord was no longer first in my life. In addition, I put off helping others, as God wanted me to do, and once again fell into that ditch of contentiousness. The old destructive anger and spiritual arrogance resurfaced that had torn my home and life down before. I wasn't walking in God's forgiveness or in His amazing love, which meant I found it almost impossible to forgive. Sadly, this went on for years. However, God in His love and grace for me showed me mercy and blessed me (and my husband) with two restoration babies, which I prayed for during our separation!! About that time my husband said that he felt unloved, and I didn’t trust him with my feelings or to make any of the financial or other decisions for our family. 🙁 Eventually the inevitable happened. I tore down my house and once again— God removed my husband from me.
This time I just knew that God would not restore my marriage. I was so angry and "fed up" that I didn't want Him to restore it. We were separated numerous times prior to this final one and both of us had even committed adultery during our marriage. I even stopped wearing my wedding ring when I found out about the new OW. I felt extremely hurt, angry, discouraged, humiliated, and rejected all over again. I didn't want the constant reminder, when seeing my wedding band, of my pains and failures, nor did I want to be physically attached to my husband.
That’s when I began to believe what others were telling me about my marriage -- there was no hope, my earthly husband would never change, and I should just divorce him, move on and find someone else. I was completely double-minded. I would have days when I wanted my marriage restored and days when I didn't. Whenever I considered divorce, God would bring me back to His Word and confirm to me that He hates divorce and doesn’t want this for me. Even my church told me adultery was grounds for divorce, but I knew in my heart it wasn’t right, and then when I read the chapter “Ask God” I did and knew this is what He wanted. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I did remember the peace and love I felt when I'd gotten closer to the Lord the first time on my Journey and I wanted that feeling back.
My two older children were full of anger over the separation and the two younger ones were confused. Neither my family nor my in-laws wanted us to remain married. In fact, my in-laws remained friends with my husband’s second wife. However I wanted God's best for our family and victory over everything the enemy was trying to do to destroy us. I lost hope that my marriage would be restored again especially since I received the truth twice and still messed up.
Through the teeter tottering of my emotions, God kept bringing the RYM book and Wise Woman books, and it’s principles to the surface of my mind. I knew I wasn’t the wife God called me to be. I learned the principles detailed in these books but had stopped applying them. He kept pursuing me about them and finally I gave in, thinking that perhaps I should re-read them and re-join RMI. I obeyed God and rejoined RMI. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me!! I learned what my role as a wife and mother was, and that the Lord was to be first in my life in everything I do. I felt such conviction when the truth was revealed to me. It started such a desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord. I finally found the truth that I'd been looking, for but couldn't find, not even in my own home church.
I enrolled in the courses offered through RMI and began studying God's Word regularly and reading the Encouragers and Praise Reports daily. This helped to re-establish hope in my heart. I promised the Lord that I would let Him restore, rebuild, and renew my life. Unlike the first time, this time around I found my First Love, surrendered my all to Him, and discovered that narrow path that leads to the abundant life God has for me! He taught me that no one is ever going to love me more than He does, and that He does not like when I place other people or things first in my heart where only He belongs.
He reminded me the importance of forgiveness and how to watch what I say to those who have authority in my life, especially my earthly husband. God showed me how to be the Lord’s bride and have a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to Him. He taught me how to love those who are unlovable and unforgivable. He led me to be nonjudgmental and understanding of others so I may have healthy relationships and not put myself in a position to be abandoned or abused. He taught me how to be an encouraging woman; a minister of reconciliation to other hurting ladies and the Titus woman that Erin and so many others who send in encouragement have been to me.
The Lord showed me how to be obedient through my sufferings. He taught me how to take every concern and every aspect of my life to Him and to trust only Him with my life—both daily on earth not just for eternity. Through my tough times, God prodded me to submit blindly by getting out of the boat like Peter and keeping my eyes centered on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. The Lord taught me how to enjoy every day of my journey with Him. He showed me that He is never going to leave me or forsake me. God taught me so many wonderful things that I did never knew and was never taught in my church.
Those wonderful things the Lord showed me were not easy to learn. I had to constantly die to self and press into the Lord closer, so He could increase His presence in my life. There were times where I had to show love and respect to those people who were out to emotionally and spiritually harm me. And that’s when the Lord showed me how to turn the other cheek. "But I [Jesus] say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it. “Treat others as you would like people to treat you...” You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked." (Luke 6:27-31,35) For the first time in my life, He became my all and everything and I was no longer concerned with earthly matters, including my marriage. I was content to live a life of “singleness”, as Erin and so many women in this ministry have expressed they too came to a place of being willing to do—alone with my Wonderful Husband.
I did not give my marriage or the affairs of my husband any more thought. I kept my focus on the Lord and His promises to me. Soon after my change, my earthly husband would tell me (or our children) that he was coming home, but it no longer mattered. I continued to encourage others. I had, and still do, have such a deep desire to live a life that not only pleases the Lord but also a desire to help other hurting women to put their faith and trust in the Lord. I wanted, for a few years now, to be more fruitful in my life. I was genuinely delighted hearing or reading restoration testimonies for other women. It’s only when my focus was completely off of my marriage and I was content in my circumstances, that the Lord blessed me with a final and completely restored marriage.
My encouragement to you who are reading this is to really seek the Lord. Give Him your whole heart in every area of your life. Don't hold anything back. It may be painful but only for a season. On the other side of pain is healing and restoration. I highly recommend ALL the resources that this ministry offers -- the books, videos, daily Encouragers, the courses -- everything! Each resource helped me to renew my mind, restore me back to my First Love, and to rebuild my life on the solid foundation of God’s Word. Don’t resist following any of the principles, such as letting go of your church. It was being absent from the church where I enriched my relationship with the Lord.
All I can say is that I am eternally grateful for this ministry. For Erin, all the Ministers and Ministers in Training who opened up their lives and encouraged me to keep pressing into the Lord and to not give up or put my focus on what doesn’t matter. It amazes me when I think of it or talk about it, but I wouldn't change one thing that has happened on my Restoration Journey!
It is my heart’s desire for God to use me to help other hurting women, including my daughters, helping them NOT build their lives on the sinking sand of the world’s lies about their roles of being a wife, mother and child of the King. I don't want to just go to "church" where I don’t have an intimate relationship with the Lord. I want to be able to lead my daughters and other women by word and deed, to desire to be all that God created us to be. The Lord placed a desire in my heart to be a Godly wife and to honor my husband and be the helper suitable that He intended for me to be, but I won’t let Satan win and take my focus off of what really matters—Him!
Don’t let the enemy destroy you or your family thus leaving a life legacy riddled with sin to your children and future generations. God has an incredible Lover for you that you can't even fathom if you just let go of everything and everyone. He is such an awesome God and has such wonderful plans for us—being loved by His Son.
The Lord wants and deserves to be First in our hearts and in our lives. We've been giving that position to our spouses, or children or jobs, or even churches, and none of them has satisfied us and instead has destroyed us. I encourage you to give the Lord your heart and hold nothing back. The life He has for you will blow your mind!
~ Rita in Louisiana, RESTORED, Minister who is currently working with our newest RESTORED Marriage group to help women after they are Restored.