Barb how did your restoration actually begin?
I believe my restoration began when God first got my attention. When we married 371/2 years ago, we were both in Bible College and in Christian ministry together. Three children are now grown and married. We had been "going through the motions" for appearances for many years. In January 2015, my EH told me that he no longer wanted to be married to me. He said we are "good friends", but he had ZERO romantic feelings for me -- I was like his mother or sister. Needless to say, I was devastated and cried myself to sleep many nights, pouring my heart out to the Lord, asking “WHY?” We spent that year separated, although sometimes living on the same property.
I did not understand all of God's wonderful principles then, and wasted the first six months of our estrangement seeking to discover what was wrong with him. I finally came to the point of “letting go”, and since God hates divorce I knew that if it happened to me, He would be my only companion for the rest of my life. My EH had said that “nothing” would change how he felt. But “...nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 HCSB) is what my HH said.
How did God change your situation as you sought Him wholeheartedly Barb?
In November of that year, God finally led me to the help and support I so desperately craved. I found How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage for my Kindle. I did not immediately purchase it, but while on the way to talk with my prayer partner (who was the ONLY ONE I had ever confided in about my situation), I heard the song ‘Restore’ on the radio. These lyrics shouted out to me:
“I know you're feeling like it’s falling apart and it can't go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore"
I immediately purchased the Kindle download that day. After just a couple of weeks, I sent my prayer partner this text:
“I'm reading the book now – How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage. It's exactly what I was praying for: Biblically based, not using the world's philosophy or man's logic – just God's Word.” You see, God really does lead us when we seek Him alone for direction and discretion.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.“ (Jeremiah 29:13 HCSB)
What principles, from God's Word (or through our resources), did the Lord teach you Barb during your trial? *
As you can see above, God was showing me the principles in His Word even before I had begun the online courses so freely offered by RMI. I learned so many wonderful principles through the daily study of His Word as laid out in the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage book. Each chapter took me one step closer to My Beloved.
I was reminded afresh that I am clay in the Potter's hands: “Yet Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands.” (Isaiah 64:8 HCSB).
I was reminded that this is a spiritual battle and the battle is the Lord's. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12 HCSB).God used going to see the powerful movie ‘War Room’ with my mother-in-law to drive this point home earlier that fall.
I saw 1 Peter 3:1 in a whole new light — “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,“ (NASB). I began to put Him to the test. Believe it or not, these words of wisdom were given to me by a dear (now departed) saint at my bridal shower! My mouth is forever getting me in trouble – if not saying the wrong thing – saying things at the wrong time. It was time to actually live by this principle.
The other main eye-opener for me came in Proverbs 21:1 — “The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (NASB). I finally grasped the principle that He not only could turn my EH’s heart back to me, but that He had turned his heart away from me so that I would pursue HIM. I was in the ‘Renewing Your Mind’ course by that time.
Barb what would you say were the most difficult times that God helped you through?
Since my restoration happened relatively quickly after applying the principles learned in the online courses, the truly difficult times were in the previous year of separation. God was always there providing for my every need. My EH had not abandoned me financially, but I didn't want to ask him for anything, so God became my “go to” Person and I always came out of it smiling.
The time I struggled the most was when I had let go and really thought there was no hope for restoration and my EH put out “feelers” and invited me to spend my winter time off with him, not in the Recreational Vehicle (RV). You must understand, I had not yet read How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage or watched the Be Encouraged eVideos where Erin tells us that when we don't want it, that's when it begins to happen. God helped me through that struggle by leading me to the Biblically-based How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage book. This may seem strange, but I just knew that there were challenges that I would have to face when we were together, that I didn't have to deal with while alone. I felt selfish, and then guilty for feeling selfish. I guess you would say I was double-minded.
What was the “turning point” of your restoration Barb?
The turning point in my restoration came when I began taking the online courses and journaling every day in the ‘What I Learned’ forms. I've never enjoyed writing assignments very much, but when I thought of it as just talking to My Beloved, it actually became a pleasure. I only wish that I had journaled throughout my entire life in that way.
The next turning point came when I finally confessed my sins that contributed to the estrangement with my EH. I put this off for a long time – writing and rewriting what I would say. He just said, “Wow! Is that all?” and I smiled and left the house.
Tell us HOW it happened Barb? Did your husband just walk in the front door?
When my EH came up north for a family gathering (among other things) he actually stayed in the house with me. And then, in the middle of the night, he reached out to touch me and hold my hand. This has not happened for years!
Then he asked me not to make plane reservations before I came down south again, so that he could come and tow my car down for me. I said, “And when would you like me to do that?” He said, “Anytime you're ready to leave your position.” You see, up until this point, he had asked me not to resign my position. Surprising me to, just before the kids all arrived at our house, he put his wedding band back on! The children actually noticed before I did. They also noticed him talking in terms of “we” and “our”, not “mine” and “hers.”
Barb, looking back did you suspect or could you tell you were close to being restored?
I did suspect that we were getting closer to restoration. When I left to come back north, he hugged and kissed me goodbye at the airport, and a beautiful bulb garden in bloom was delivered as soon as I arrived home. I started to panic a little, because I felt that I still had so much more that needed to change in my life. Erin (through her Be Encouraged eVideos) also warned me to “get my house in order”. So I did! I de-cluttered and cleaned and busied myself like never before in my life. Then, just three days later, as I was completing Day 26 “Sowing and Reaping” and sending encouragement to others, my EH contacted me (via text) and gave me the first real hope of our restoration that I'd had in over a year. Praise You Lord!
Barb would you recommend any of our resources in particular that helped you? *
I would highly recommend the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage book to be read, re-read, highlighted, basically wear it out. Also the online courses and Be Encouraged eVideos, the Daily Encourager, including both Daily Devotionals.
Do you have favorite Bible verses that you would like to pass on to women reading your Testimonies? Promises that He gave you Barb?
I have already quoted some of the most meaningful Bible verses in my testimony. I have over 200 index cards chock full of verses, but I will seek to “limit” my space today. These are quoted from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) unless otherwise notated.
Isaiah 40:31— but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 51:7— Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My instruction: do not fear disgrace by men, and do not be shattered by their taunts.
Proverbs 3:5-8— Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.
Psalm 20:4— May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.
John 13:7— Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”
Proverbs 21:30-31— No wisdom, no understanding and no counsel will prevail against the LORD. A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the LORD!
Isaiah 30:18 (NASB)— Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
The Message (MSG)— But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.
And so many more...
Would you be interested in helping encourage other women Barb?
Yes, I have prayed that God would use this season of my life to encourage other women.
Either way, Barb, what kind of encouragement would you like to leave women with in conclusion?
My primary word of encouragement to all women is from the words of James 1, “Consider is great joy, my [sisters], whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4 HCSB).
Dear friend, don't become weary, but wait on the Lord. He is able to do the impossible, as long as you are willing to let Him. Win your husband without a word—trusting that the Lord will speak for you at the appointed time—when your HH is all you want, need and live for.