Day 5 Securing Your Success 5:
"Special Insights to Restoration"
but first a Restored Marriage Testimony
Two Years of Adultery Now Restored!
A couple of weeks after my husband and I shared our testimony at our church, I saw a woman dragging another woman by the arm toward me. “There,” she said, “you need to talk to her.”
Though this testimony may appear quite similar to another testimony you read recently and a fraction of another testimony you will read in today's lesson, I assure you this is new and all of these are different restored marriages. The reason they look familiar is due to us having so much activity happening in our home church during a period of time when each of these were submitted, one after the other!
But before you read this testimony, I would like to first share the greatest blessing from the seeds I began to sow in our own church. Seeds that led our pastor to begin sending women in marriage crisis to me, rather than to his paid counseling team.
One Sunday morning after the service, a cute young lady came up and asked me if I was Erin Thiele. She introduced herself, her name was also Erin, and she told me that she had been searching for help online for her mother who didn't have internet. She said she found our site and recognized me right away from my picture, seeing me every Sunday praying up front with my husband. She said to make sure it could be me, she double checked to see where we were based, which was in the same city as the church.
Erin told me about her mom and her desire for restoration. I listened, then offered to bring her a book the following Sunday to send to her mom (who lived in another state). Erin offered to just buy it online, but I assured her this was part of what we did for our own church. The following week we met again so I could give her the books.
Over the course of the next few weeks she often came over after the service to ask me about many different spiritual things, not really much in regard to her mom, but for her personally. I was in awe of this young redhead and the magnitude of how earnestly she was seeking the Lord and wanted wisdom from an older woman.
One day after talking to Erin for a while, I walked over to my oldest son and pointed her out, saying "Hey, what about her?" and his response was a quick, "She's too short." Well, yes, she is a full FOOT shorter than my son (she's 5' 4" and he is 6' 4") but they sure do make a cute couple!
Yes, Dallas and Erin were married in Hawaii (a destination wedding) in 2007 and they gave me my first granddaughter, Imogen, in 2009. I was blessed with 2 more granddaughters in 2010 and another grandson—in 2010 we almost doubled what we had. I now have 7 grandchildren. Isn't this a huge blessing?! You never know what God has planned when you begin to minister to other women! I am so blessed to have 3 amazing new daughters who married my sons and a wonderful new son who loves and cares for my married daughter!
Now back to today's Restored Marriage Testimony that happened in our church.
As I said, this is similar, but not the same testimony as the other woman who you read about in an earlier lesson. This time I spotted the two women heading my way (a couple of weeks after my husband and I were asked by our pastor to share our testimony one Sunday morning at our church).
When they got closer, I saw that I sort of recognized one woman, but didn't really know her, and she was almost dragging the other woman by the arm toward me. “There,” she said looking at me, “you need to talk to her.” The woman standing before me didn’t share anything about her situation, but I knew why she was there. I just began to speak to her as the spirit moved me and as I did tears began running down her face.
When I had finished I asked if she had one of our Hope Cards and she shook her head no. When I went to my purse, I didn’t have any cards left (after we spoke we had dozens of people come up asking for them), but noticed the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage book that I had brought for another woman that night for after the evening service (I began carrying one in my purse every Sunday morning and later began keeping a full box in our trunk). I told her (as I told the other woman) that God had obviously wanted her to have the book since the other woman had not shown up, which was also common for them not to show (but later I remembered it was for the evening service, but God used it to help her feel God had heard her prayers for help). Handing her the book only caused more of her tears to flow, running down her cheeks and onto the floor.
Then several days later, a woman came up to me and said, “Excuse me Erin, do you remember me?” Then she went on to tell me she was the lady I just told you about, who I had given a book to. She said that her husband had been in adultery for over two years (that she knew about, but it was probably longer and with more than one women; thankfully she didn't ask or snoop after reading the book). She told me that the day we met she had come to the end of any hope for her marriage, and had planned to end her life, when "out of nowhere" this other woman (she didn't even know) grabbed her arm and brought her to meet me.
She said that she went home and read the book over so many times she lost count; even reading it through the night. She finally found hope and wanted to live again. She said that each time she read the book, God started to change her. She said that she didn’t really "do" anything except read it over and over and that it was God who had done all the changing in her. So awesome!!
Then she said that a few months later her husband had come home for a visit “unannounced and unexpectedly” and couldn’t believe how different she looked, acted, and reacted. He was so drawn to her that he wouldn’t leave. To make a long story short, he moved back home!!!! But that’s not all. She said that her husband asked if he could come to church with them. When she told him she no longer went to church, he asked if she would be willing to come WITH him, since the following Sunday was Father’s Day (which was an answer to her children’s prayers)!
That morning our pastor preached a powerful and convicting sermon about being a godly man for your family and when our pastor asked the men who had not been that kind of husband and father to come down, her husband went to the altar to repent!! Her husband has continued attending church and a couple of weeks later even volunteered to work at our 4th of July celebration!! She said this is so “unlike him”!!
(I didn't see this woman and her husband that 4th of July, but I had seen another woman who also got a book I had brought for someone else; a woman who drenched my hands and feet with her tears!)
Then she went on to tell me that although her husband is definitely through with the OW, the OW continues to call frequently to try and get her husband back. She said that when she starts to fear, she goes back “to the book” and finds peace that “what God began HE will finish!” And that she needs to focus more on who her Husband really is that made her husband want to come home.Then she thanked me and left.
At one point, about a year after we shared our testimony, I lost track of how many Hope Cards and books I gave out, but I realized once more the impact this had made. One morning the Lord had me turn around in the middle of a sermon and just scan the congregation. Our family always sat in the front row (amazing because my husband was never a front row kind of guy. I always sat in the front in school, but now this is where he chose to sit).
When I turned around in almost every section I could see RESTORED couples! This church is a mega church of 10,000 at the time, so this is pretty significant! These women chose to stop going to church, then be led back to the church by their husbands who had come home!
My ministry really began with just one woman who met me at a fast food restaurant, then in two rooms provided by the church, when I didn't even go to those churches (after my conviction of waiting for and leaving room for my husband). We church hopped with my husband in the lead, then found this amazing church when we moved from Florida to Missouri. It was there that we were asked to be on the leadership prayer team, as a couple, and where I began sowing more Hope Cards, then books, and watched a harvest become ripe about a year later.
"Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves'"—Luke 10:1-3.
I want to thank the Lord for allowing me to sit in the front row of His miracles of restoration. Not just in my church but due mostly to being called to simply help women by handing them a Hope Card, a book, speak lovingly to them especially when they are crying, and then leave the rest to the Lord!
I also want to encourage each of you to seek God and ask if He is sending you to spread hope.
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'”—Isaiah 6:8
Dear Jesus, I am nothing and You, praise you Jesus, are EVERYTHING!!! How You could take a sinner like me, how You could take a tragedy like divorce, how You could take all of this and then allow me the privilege of using me, a vessel of wood for Your good use just proves how utterly awesome You really are!!
~Trish in Missouri, RESTORED, submitted by Erin in Missouri
Securing Your Success 5
Our final Securing Your Success is a personal message from Erin to our Ministers in Training Team.
These lessons below were actually written to help train our Ministers: Women who answered the call to help just ONE other woman—a woman just like YOU.
HELLO and Good Morning Ministers,
When the first Marriage Encouragement Questionnaires first began coming in, we had some deep concerns with some women who were not improving in their restorations, so I began discussing this with some of our long time partners who had experienced a restored marriage, asking them their thoughts.
As always, our team began SG "seeking God" for wisdom based on this verse,
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him"—James 1:5
Since our ONLY goal and purpose is to be sure that we were as effective as possible in our ministry to women, I decided I'd like to share a few things that the Lord spoke to me about.
Below you will find a list of concerns that our Marriage Encouragement Team look for when they read over the submitted questionnaires. I believe that the truth will set you free and these women free. Use these as a means to look at yourself, first, and use the many truths to set yourself free. Then seek God to know how you can help the women who you will be ministering to someday.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye"—Matthew 7:1-5
A LACK of BROKENNESS
When I began to seek God to give me more insight and wisdom in regard to why some women are restored and others are not, what the Lord showed me was a vision of two women whom I met within weeks of each other at my own church years ago.
One woman came to me and could not even SPEAK she was so broken. She wept as I held both her hands: her tears covered my hands, dripping over and drenching my feet!!! In the end of my whispering in her ear about what God wanted to do for her, I handed her a RYM book. I never saw her again until months later. She walked past me at a 4th of July celebration holding hands with a man, who I found out later was her husband!! They are still happily restored ten years later. He gave his life to the Lord and they are serving in their church together.
Yet just as God did in the book of Proverbs, He carefully showed me the opposite to this broken woman. Only a week or so later our senior pastor called me to the front of the church after service one Sunday morning asking me to speak to a woman whose husband had just filed a divorce that Friday.
When we sat down in the back of the church, she didn't want to listen to the encouragement that I was trying to share with her, and she was definitely not broken! This woman was angry and therefore needed no comforting from me. Instead, she began to yell at me about her husband! I stopped her at least three times, maybe more, by putting my hand up (like a stop signal). After another attempt to talk to her, I finally stood up and told her to forget getting my book (that I had earlier tried to tell her was in the church bookstore that our pastor said they would give her free, since she had 6 small boys and clearly needed help). And interestingly I did NOT have a book in my purse that morning!
She was shocked as I stood up and told her not to go get my book. I told her, quite honestly, it would do no good. Over the next two years the Lord made sure I saw her periodically. She was an "out of control, contentious mom" with "wild children." She did a LOT of volunteer work at the church, but her spirit was one of anger and self-righteousness. To this day I know she is not restored, and not remarried either (who would want her and her wild boys?). However, she remains going to church as if church attendance can save her.
*In every application we get, we look for women who are not broken, that they need no comfort, and who basically yell or whine (on paper) about their husbands or their situation. We know from experience, and from seeking God for wisdom, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him"—James 1:5, that it is not only futile to try to help, but dangerous to them and to our Ministers in Training. We cannot allow women who are angry to enter or continue on in our programs.
We do offer books because who of us was not contentious when we arrive. Usually it is once we read the books that we see ourselves for who we are and the mistakes we made that led to the marriage collapse. But once a woman gets to the place of where she should be broken (by what God has allowed in her life), and He hasn't been able to get her attention, how can we?
Which leads to the next thing the Lord showed me to watch out for...
When seeking God for women who we can see are angry, the Lord brought me back to a woman early on in my ministry who was also extremely angry. After she disrupted our meeting during her first visit, we sent her away for the Lord to "break" her. We each knew that unless we had personally gotten to the place of brokenness, we would never have been open to and desperate enough to allow God to change us.
This woman did return, broken, and her marriage was restored. Then, however, about a year later, we heard that her contentiousness had returned. Within the same year we heard ON THE NEWS that her husband had murdered someone! And then in disbelief we also saw this woman on the news too! She was screaming and causing a huge scene for the cameras. After her husband's trial, he was sentenced and now is serving a life sentence, we heard from everyone, from those who knew her, that we all believed she drove him to it.
Two years into serving his sentence, she and another woman from our first Restoration Fellowship group came over to my house one day. They came to let me know that God had finally broken her. Soon after her husband was incarcerated, she divorced him— just as so many people had told her she needed to do. But this day she came to tell me that once she had divorced him, she knew that it was HER all along who was in the wrong in their marriage. She began to weep bitterly (I had never seen her cry). She began repenting to me for all she had done that led to where her husband now was, and then she told me that she and her husband had agreed to remarry (now while he is still in prison). She told me she was going to wait for him to be released, to live together as a married couple should, which I believe may happen, when he comes up for parole in 2018.
This woman went back to studying A Wise Woman with her ePartner, and the two of them were also doing a study with their daughters (who now may be married since they are the ages of my older children).
The point is, there was NOTHING I could or we could do as a group to change either of these women (from my church or from my fellowship group), only God could. Only GOD can. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus"—Philippians 1:6.
That's why we do not accept women who we can see have not been broken by their current crisis. We instead send women away who are not broken and/or are angry, so that God is free to lovingly bring in more and more crises until the woman is no longer angry, but broken.
It is at this point, of wanting HIM to take over while she rests in His loving arms, that she will find peace.
*In every application we get, we look for women who are angry. We know from experience, and from seeking God for wisdom,"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him"—James 1:5 that it is not only worthless, but dangerous to our Ministers in Training, to hang around women who are angry since you can't control them and it could cause any one of us to fall back into our own contentious ways—heaven forbid!
"Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge"—Proverbs 14:7
NOT REALLY WANTING OUR HELP
Finally, the Lord brought to my mind the dream He showed me when I tried to help a woman who did not want to be helped.
In my dream I was in Ocean Gate, New Jersey in the water off the long dock where I had saved a teenage boy when I was just 9 years old. His buddies had dared him to jump in, knowing he couldn't swim, and when he didn't come up, they ran.
I was the only one there and was much smaller and untrained at saving a drowning victim. Years later, as a teen, I became a life guard. With no one else around I grabbed him from under the water and pushed him up to take a breath, pushing him closer and closer to the ladder. Finally he grabbed on to the ladder just as the life guard made it to him who pulled him out and pulled me out too because in the act of rescuing him, I almost drowned.
In my dream, I was there again, and as I looked around I saw a sea of women crying out for me to save them. I swam to the closest woman, grabbed her, and pushed her to the ladder. Then I swam as fast as I could to the second woman. But this woman fought me hard, flailing her arms and screaming at me. After a long fight, she broke away and sank in the dark waters. Once she was gone, I could feel my exhaustion. But what horrified me the most was that when I looked around, I saw only HALF of the women who had been crying out for help—the other half had drowned while I was trying to save the woman who fought me.
For years I had nightmares, screaming out, reliving this dream. This time the Lord used this dream to show me a principle that our ministry lives by, which is to keep me from foolishly contacting a woman on the recommendation of someone else that she needed help. We adopted a policy that we have followed since that time, which is simply that we never contact anyone—they need to contact US if they want help. When they choose to come, they usually come in a state of brokenness.
*This is true for any of you who want to give out Hope Cards. Just because a woman is in crisis doesn't mean she is broken or looking for the truth. And if you try to help not only is it possible for you to drown, while you argue with a woman, all around you there are silent prayers from women who are crying to God for help.
INVOLVED IN OTHER MINISTRIES or COUNSELING
A day or so after the Lord showed me the message of my dream of women drowning, the Lord took it and has expanded it's meaning. In my vision I saw two life guards, each calling out from two sides of a huge swimming pool, with the victims unable to know which way to swim—who to listen to.
In the dream He told me to say nothing, but instead swim out after the "passive" victims, women who stopped struggling, and also women who had sunk to the bottom of the pool. Each woman I pulled to the side of the pool— HE would revive them as I swam out for more drowning victims.
The interpretation of this vision, God said, is that women who are getting support from any other ministry, we should ignore. We need to let them go and allow them to go ahead and swim in that direction. Within a few strokes, each woman would find the water is shallow enough to STAND. If at anytime a woman gives up trying to save herself, then our ministry and our Ministers in Training need to be there to pull her to the side—to allow GOD to resuscitate her.
And since I taught lifeguards and CPR, I know how horribly dangerous it is to try to revive someone who is already breathing, and even more dangerous for life guards to try to save someone who is drowning and still fighting. Life guards are taught to keep their distance or they, too, will drown. Only passive victims, those lying face down or have sunk are victims safe to approach. If they are flailing, we keep something, like a rescue buoy between us and them. I think of our books or Hope Cards as our buoys (that is not a revelation from God, just how I think of it).
Though I have witnessed hundreds of restorations, there are very few restored who consider themselves "standers" and have adopted the "covenant" theologies that women have been indoctrinated to believe. With these women, it becomes just like an addiction that appears to be impossible to break.
This addiction often leads to aggressive behavior that gets deep into souls, and very few come to us in a spirit of brokenness, which is necessary for God to restore a marriage.
What standers promote feeds the flesh. It also encourages women to pursue their husbands and their marriages—not pursuing the Lord as we encourage you to do that heals every part of you.
To explain how difficult it is to break this addiction, we have had two former ministers who were unable to do so. Both grew spiritually but their EH "earthly husbands" always were first in their hearts. It's not just sad, but it can also be dangerous.
Recently we heard from a former minister who also followed the Standers mentality, she, like so many others were/are obsessed with hanging on to a man regardless of him wanting to leave or be with another woman. To understand how dangerous, here is an email we wrote soon after she submitted her Marriage Encouragement Questionnaire and realized Heather's husband had attempted to kill her.
We are writing to you with what we sense is URGENT. Based on what we read, what you wrote in your form, led to our Team to stop and pray for you.
What you shared is indeed shocking and all we can say is that you are going to have to choose between doing things with God or doing things on your own. By getting involved in what your husband and the OW is doing, you've put yourself in grave danger, as you already know. For the sake of your children, don't get more people involved, but if this is what you feel that the Lord wants you to do, go to the police, do it. Don't do something partially, but do what He is leading you to do— all the way.
When Christians try to do "Christian" things (like how you have forgiven your husband and tried to talk to the OW), but then do the same thing the world would do (contact a detective friend and confront your husband about his sin), then that is when things can get very dangerous. Remember how God spoke of lukewarmness, which is a little hot and a little cold mixed, and that is when He spits it out.
Don't risk your life by doing a little bit of both, not only for your sake but for your children's sake. Yes, He hates divorce, but He hates murder just as much. And by trying to hang on and stop your husband and the OW you've put yourself at risk. Please trust God and do whatever He is asking you to do.
We will continue to pray.
Marriage Encouragement Team
Not letting go had pushed the sin her EH was already in, and who with the OW, had decided this was their only way! The statistics are that on THIRD of all women murdered (in the U.S.) are killed by their husbands "male intimate partners"!
Also interesting, is that though Standers and Covenant Ministries have been popular for a very long time, only recently has this mentality of pursuing men after they leave become common for women in the world. Even women who are not married, and so many who have been used, abused and cheated on. Read what it says in Isaiah 4:1 NET Bible:
“Seven women will grab hold of one man at that time. They will say, 'We will provide our own food, we will provide our own clothes; but let us belong to you—take away our shame!'” When I began this ministry in 1991 the mindset of women was that no one would even forgive a husband who they caught cheating. And if a man walked out on them, they would say, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" good riddance. For me to even want my marriage restored was repulsive and sickening to women. It's been more than 2 decades later and so much has changed, I honestly never would have fathomed that this verse in Isaiah would actually be exactly as it says!
Though it's popular, it's heartbreaking to see women who are so desperate to have a man that they will not only provide for themselves, but also provide and pay the man's debts, while at the same time giving themselves physically (married or not). It's like a prostitute who pays her clients to use and abuse her.
Yet, let's return to not only it's dangers emotionally and financially, but to not let go can be extremely dangerous. And as mentioned above, it is a stronghold in women's lives that is almost impossible to break, like any addiction. Recently we heard back from one of the sweetest ministers we've ever had with us. She wrote to let us know the turn of events after she left on her Sabbatical. Prior to her leaving her husband (with the encouragement of the OW) who had confessed to trying to kill her again, here is part of what she wrote.
It has been awhile since I have had contact with RMI and I felt led to contact. I have been seeking Him and growing more and more with Him. This time with Him has been amazing!!
When I took a sabbatical last year, I thought I was being prepared for Restoration. All the “signs” were there. Every prayer request I had asked for was being fulfilled. My FH’s wedding to the OW was called off by her, he had filed for bankruptcy, and the last thing was he had asked me for financial help. I truly thought restoration was around the corner :).
We all had a wedding to go to in September and he told the children that he was happy to hear I was going. I cannot explain the praising I was doing, just thanking Him for all the wonderful things He was doing and continue to do.
At the wedding they had asked for anyone married under a year to join the bride and groom on the dance floor……….. My FH and OW got on the dance floor and shocked the entire family. They had gotten married in their backyard a few weeks prior, only them.
By His grace alone I spent the entire weekend hanging out with my FH and the OW doing everything together as we all celebrated. Inside I had peace but I also wanted to cry. It was my 18 hour drive home with Him when I let it all out, 4 days later. As I cried out to Him not asking why but thanking Him for whatever it is He has in store for me. His voice was so comforting 🙂 I know all of you ministers know that.
As months went by and more people found out about my EH marrying, my coworker began to tell me about these men who wanted to date me. As time went by more and more men were trying hard to get me to date them. This entire time I thanked them politely BUT told them all how I am in the best relationship ever and that I am sorry but they never could compare to Him 😉 speaking of my HH. I did however begin to gain weight for a few reasons, one is because I did not want to be attractive to anyone; I did not want anyone looking at me in the way only a husband should.
Now I understand had He restored me last year I would not be able to freely help my family members. I would not be able to freely travel (He has taken me to Bermuda, the Carolina’s, Up state NY a dozen times, Rhode Island and as I am typing I was just asked to go to Boston).
My FH continues to ask me for financial help and I have to say all the lessons I have learned through RMI has blessed me so much that He is allowing me to use them. Had I never been a part of RMI I would answer him in the flesh BUT He owns all that I have and I am able to just agree and bless.
There are times in my prayer closet that I tell Him I am feeling abused or used but He comforts me and shows me how He is blessing me even more.
He reminded me how when I thought I was going to lose the home He not only gave it to me but for the amount I had asked. He also reminded me that when my FH took alimony away from me that I thought I would not be able to survive BUT that I not only survived I THRIVED. He reminded me of all the places He took me to and that’s what I glean on every time my FH gives me less then what he said he was giving and on top asks me to help him financially and when I hear that he is going on cruises or to Rome.
How awesome it is to have Him as my Husband. FH is taking all the trips he said we would go on once our children graduated high school. BUT His love for me allows me to smile and not be hurt cause I am His and He is mine!!
I am crying tears of Joy how He has allowed me to THRIVE. I know that He is in control of all things and that He has a plan for me, without Him I cannot say where I would be but with Him I am so blessed.
I am truly taking this time and being with Him, putting to use all that I have learned. Blessing those around me. I do feel He is using my current situation to prepare me for my restoration but that I am having such a blast with Him.
Even though this precious minister is having "a blast with Him" and He is providing for her, comforting her, allowing her to travel, in her heart she is still longing for the restoration of her FH. The only cure to this addiction, to any addiction, to heal hurts and to give us ALL a future that is filled with joy—free from longings (unhealthy or true longings a woman should have, like having children)—is having a true Heavenly Husband.
Even though many women wait until later in their Restoration Journey to take our Finding the Abundant Life course, why wait to really find the Love that will heal and comfort and provide everything you need?
Just as this picture to the left shows, though you may have come to RMI because you wanted your marriage restored, you can find immense, immeasurable JOY right now, even before your marriage is restored. Consider taking our Finding the Abundant Life course and experiencing the LOVE that you've been searching for all your life
Honestly, Do the Principles in this Lesson Really Work?
"Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors"— Psalm 119:24
Restored to the Lord Marriage Testimony—
Husband Moving His Things Back Home!!!
I had been separated since August 2004, which would have been the month of our 24-year anniversary. When my husband first announced he no longer loved me and that he definitely wanted a divorce, it was the shock of my life and everyone who knew us as well. Yes, it seemed hopeless, like he lost his mind and would never find it again. But I am sitting here today witnessing the most awesome ongoing works of the Lord's mercy that I could have imagined!! I wrote a couple of months ago about how my husband had started showing signs of his heart returning to the Lord and me soon after I let go. But now, wow, that was excited enough...but now things have improved so much more even since then, in such a short amount of time I just couldn't wait to write!!
When my husband first made the decision to start coming around on the weekends to see more of me, watch movies and hang out, I was excited but I could still sense that his heart was a million miles away. I no longer was angry, I was clearly broken, and I began to pursue the Lord and that's when my husband began hanging around. He was treating me more like a buddy than someone he longed to be with and even though I was so happy to be around him, it still hurt me deep inside that I knew his heart was disconnected, which was like a light bulb went off in my head, my husband began to take the place that rightfully belonged to the Lord!
Well, I began to fast and pray again for Him to be first in my life. Up until I got desperate, I was only doing three-day fasts, making my pleas and petitions to the Lord, but I kept coming across people telling me or either reading that seven is the number for completion. I never could bring myself to attempt a seven-day fast because I was afraid I could not endure it and I remembered the scripture saying that it is better not to make a vow than to make one and break it. Last week, I just got to the end of my ability to remain in the "stuck condition" that I seemed to be in. I wanted the Lord first and I was willing to do anything to get myself there. We were close, but more like friends but I was just sitting on the fence not making any progress like I wanted to. It just seemed to me that my relationship with the Lord could have remained in this position happily forever, and it was just hurting me too much to not have all of Him.
Well, two days before my seven-day fast was over I experienced a breakthrough. My husband came by and without any warning, he began to reach over and pat my leg and give me those little looks as if to say he really cared even though he did not come out and say it with words.Though his advances were not really welcomed, I knew I had broken through! The Lord was showing me that my pursuit of Him, caused my husband's pursuit of me!
Then, out of nowhere he bought me a TV for my bedroom. He spent the night with me and we fell asleep watching TV together. He usually initiated intimacy with me, but now he seemed to respect me more. He was living with the other woman, and without him living with me and being committed to me, he knew he was using me. It's like the more convicted I was about my relationship with the Lord, the more convicted my husband was about his relationship with me and the other woman.
When he packed up his things to leave on Sunday to return to his apartment to prepare for work on Monday, he took both of my hands and looked at me so lovingly and said, "Christine I really, really had a nice weekend. I want to plan on taking half a day off from work this coming Friday to come over and help you take care of the pool and yard!" It was so heart felt and was exactly what I had asked the Lord for! He became my Husband, so I had been waiting for Him to take care of my needs. I stopped asking or even wanting my husband to do anything for me, but then that is who He chose to take care of them!!
I used to long to hear my husband say that he loved me again, and it used to be so hard for me to understand, like Erin said in her book. But as soon as I came to the place of not wanting to hear those words, he said them! And funny thing is, when I first wanted him back I probably would have leaped into his arms if he had said those words to me. When he finally did, I couldn't even return them to him. I do love him, don't get me wrong, but nowhere like I used to. And what's even crazier is that because I didn't and still have not said them, my husband can't stop saying them to me.
Thankfully I can see some of the very same steps that Erin said her husband had to go through, like a process and an order or something and although it is certainly not in my timing, the Lord has His timing for everything to come together. Thankfully I am in no hurry. The scripture says the Lord is not slow as some of us might consider slow. His intents are very exact and have a bigger purpose than our little minds can imagine!
My Lord, my Husband, is doing a great work in both of us and preparing us for His work once again (we were once full time ministers)! Ladies, please do not loose heart and get in a hurry. My marriage was one that we went from being co-pastors, best friends, and could hardly stand being apart for even one day. Those that knew us could imagine anyone else breaking up besides us, but it digressed to me fighting, and looking into spiritually adulterous things like counseling, which made me become even more contentious. Then it moved to a full blown separation that lasted nine months long until I understood why this happened!
Now every day I am just enjoying seeing miracles and the promise of God coming to pass, not the least of which is a restored marriage! And this is for not only the testimony, but so that we can minister together again and this time to help where the real battle is, spiritual adultery, that leads to physical adultery and marriages breaking up. The Lord has changed my heart both through conviction from His spirit and the awesome helpful instructions and insights of Erin's ministry!
There are only two months until my husband’s apartment lease is up and he will be living here full time! So I have no time to waste with my beloved Husband. My earthly husband has already brought a few of his prize possessions back home to leave here and I use them as a constant reminder that I don't want my honeymoon with the Lord to be over. I want so badly to come out and ask him if he shares my passion for the Lord and ministering to couples (since we've talked about it), but I am so thankful that Erin has taken the time to also instruct us well on how to win our husbands to do what is right without a word.
My husband has told me several times that he still can't believe how calm and quiet I have become! He notices that I do not ask a million questions when we watch movies any more and he loves it! Funny, I used to think I had to ask questions to keep up with him. The truth is, now I realize when I sit quietly I end up asking the Lord these million questions because He is my Husband who is closer to me who sits on my other side.
I love it when my husband tells me that it seems so much easier, non-stressful and relaxing to be around me because I know that this is the Lord assuring me my focus is on Him. Now he says that "something" has really changed on the inside of me and he wants it too. I can hardly wait for the next month or so, I feel certain that I will be writing back about him coming home and us ministering together!
~Christine in Texas