"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of THEIR testimony, and they did not love their life even to death." Rev. 12:11.
Dawn: “God Brought us Full Circle”
As I was sitting in church recently with my husband and children, listening to the preacher, God reminded me that we were in this same place two years prior, but with a broken marriage. God truly has brought everything full circle. As the preacher continued his sermon, I remembered being at the very same altar two years ago asking the Lord to please give me peace and to show me what I needed to do. I had no idea that everything that would transpire afterward would be for my own good—for I was nowhere near the kind of Godly woman that the Lord needed me to be.
I was not serving the Lord the way I was supposed to be serving Him. I was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. I was comfortable going to church and trusting God for things. However, I was not on fire for Him. I did not take pleasure in nurturing the ministry the Lord gave me (my family) through cooking, cleaning, and other household duties. I did not allow my husband to be the leader of our family. I did not listen nor respect him. I was clean on the outside, but filthy on the inside, and I didn’t even know it. I was gradually tearing my house down until my life and marriage ended up going down into sinking sand.
While deep in the sand, I humbled myself and prayed to the Lord and repented of my sins. I asked the Lord to make me a better wife to my husband. In my cries to the Lord, He had one of my friends send me the link to How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage, and my eyes began opening wide to the kind of woman I truly was and how I needed to be. I was disobedient to God’s Word -- rebellious, contentious, and a Pharisee. Though I asked my husband to forgive me, he already decided that he wanted a divorce and planned to move out of the house as soon as he could. Yet, I knew God would restore my marriage, despite how things appeared, and continued to hold on to His promises. Although I wanted my husband to stop his thoughts and actions of divorce and turn his heart back to me, I began praying and seeking for God’s will in my life.
As I trusted God more and more for His will to be done, He provided me with a complete makeover. He took away the victim coat and showed me that I was actually the perpetrator: I was contentious, hateful, bitter, unforgiving, deceitful and loud. I hated being home. The Lord had a lot of work to do within me. It was painful to look in the mirror and see that I wasn’t the person I thought I was, not the person others thought I was. Chaste and respectful, one of the lessons I studied while reading A Wise Woman, I was not. The Lord was gracious enough to show me that I hadn’t embodied any of these Godly qualities, and was a harlot in every sense of the word. The Lord removed all of my ugly, worldly traits layer by layer, and replaced them with fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of the biblical principles discussed in the RMI resources I didn’t know to begin with, so I had to re-study them multiple times to sink in. The tests that I underwent after learning and studying of His Word were much harder and painful than the ones from my school days, but they are also more rewarding. I struggled with several things - learning not repaying evil for evil, keeping my mouth shut, and not defending myself. Though difficult, the best part is that the Lord was always with me. He saved me from the fire, and although He may not have always spoken to me in the midst of my testing and trials, He never left me. These tests stretched my faith (especially when I couldn’t hear Him) and gave me the endurance that I needed to finish this part of my race.
The most difficult obstacle for me to overcome was fear. The Lord addresses fear many times in His Word. In Isaiah 40:10 NIV, it says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I clung to my fears - fear of rejection, fear of being hurt again. After the Lord allowed the divorce to go through and He began bringing the wall down between me and my husband and began bringing my husband around, my fear still grew within me and I pushed my former husband away. I pushed him away a few times before the Lord showed me what was happening. He revealed to me that my restoration journey was almost a year longer than it should had because I kept intervening, leaning on my own understanding rather than His. God was putting things back together again, but I was pushing them apart. God was bringing my husband around and allowing my husband to allure me, but I was pushing him away. Once I realized it, I asked the Lord to help me conquer my fear and restore my marriage if it truly was His will.
In His will for my journey, I ended up going through the seasons with the Lord as my Husband twice, due to my fears. The second time around, I learned to relate to every situation and everyone on a different level than before. Each season gave me a deeper appreciation for the Lord as my Husband. While I was going through the seasons with my Love, I was also going through the season with my then former husband. I was and am so in love with the Lord that I had let everything go, but He kept telling me that a life of singleness (as defined by the world) was not His will for me and my children.
The turning point in my journey came about when my former husband continued alluring me, and this time I knew what it was - God’s will. We were in Canaan Valley, ironically, when the Lord told me that despite my mistakes and fears that He was going to restore my marriage. Wow! There were hints hidden in different things the Lord was showing me. After the Lord’s revelation to me, my former husband and I talked even more, but all appeared to stay the same. Then my friend passed away. I was devastated! I watched his marriage get restored not even a month before he died. During this time, my former husband was there to comfort me and my daughter. The Lord used this sorrowful time in my life to bring us even closer together and make our relationship new.
The thought of remarriage to my former husband never crossed my mind. I was happy with the Lord as my Husband and very content living the way that we were. However, the Lord had other plans. My husband decided that he wanted us to get remarried as soon as possible and then the Lord took over from there. This was one of my biggest tests in my journey - overcoming my fears of remarriage and trusting in the Lord. The morning of our wedding ceremony, I was so overcome with fear that when the judge commented about never marrying a bride with cold feet, I nearly passed out. I was praying to the Lord during the entire ceremony to help me conquer my fear and keep obedient to His will; I wanted to run. He reminded me of 1 John 4:18 (NASB) which says that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” The Lord helped me through the entire ceremony which lasted two minutes, but seemed like an eternity.
There have been a whirlwind of changes that the Lord has made in me. Changes that I could not have made on my own. God has been using me to help others in their Restoration Journeys from the very beginning of mine. I always enjoyed helping others in their time of need, which is why I am a volunteer firefighter, and helping others with their journey is an extension and a new part of serving others through and for the Lord. I also love being home and serving my family now. I am learning so many things about being home, cooking and cleaning. I am still getting brave enough to learn how to quilt, sew, and crochet, as I love to learn. Although I am a work in progress, I am content with being at home and taking care of my first mission field, my family. This is something I always wanted to do, but didn’t know how until I was led to this ministry.
Now I am starting a new part of this journey with new tests and trials. I am so glad that I had RMI and all of their resources to help me be ready for this part of the journey. I know that this is a lifelong journey and the thing that I want everyone to know is that I love the Lord with all my heart.
I recommend every resource RMI has to offer. They are filled with the truth that every woman coming to this ministry needs. I read all of them at least twice, and keep them for future reference. I also suggest writing out the Bible verses that speak to your heart on 3X5 cards. The resources are so wonderful and give you the raw truth while you are broken to help you build a relationship with the Lord as your Husband.
When I found RMI, I was broken and looking for the truth. I found this ministry just when I needed it, which confirms that the Lord’s timing is perfect. I couldn’t take the RMI courses right away so I reread what I did have from the ministry, and then moved on to other books like Workers@Home about keeping up with my home -- another part of His plan.
During this journey, which will last for a lifetime, I found something I never had before, a real relationship with the Lord. When He took me as His bride, my life completely changed. Things that used to matter to me no longer mattered. I wanted and want to live to please Him, and do the things He called me to do.
Honestly, I would not change a single minute of the time I spent getting to know my new Husband. It was time that I needed with Him. He is still my everything and now that I obey Him and have a restored marriage as a result. He has been blessing me so much that I cannot even begin to tell you in just a testimony or praise report. He has given me back everything that I lost over the past two years ago—and so much more. Everything that I allowed the enemy to steal from me since I never tithed and was ignorant to the truth.
I hope that each of you all find Him in a deeper more intimate way, a relationship with Him is worth every tear, heartache, and loss that you will endure.
God’s plan is to bring everything full circle as we follow Him along our Restoration Journey.
“ReMarriage to EH is at Hand!”
My praise report today is based on today’s Daily Encourager, "Where Would I be Without Your Love", because I have been so encouraged by it. I cannot allow the enemy to steal the joy of what God is busy doing in my life right now.
“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
I have been thinking about what to write in my PR but have been putting it off thinking I would write my PR after my vows have been said, yes ladies you read correctly, my remarriage to my EH is at hand and I Praise God and give Him the Glory!!!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:12
“If anyone is in Christ He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Be made new in the attitude of your minds; and put on the new self, created to be like God.” Ephesians 4:23-24
What I would like to encourage you ladies about today is this: Don't be afraid to leave behind the old self, the old mindsets (thoughts), the friends, the family, in-laws, and embrace being alone with the Lord making Him your HH and allowing Him to be Your Husband, Provider, Comforter and Strength.
Do not be conformed by the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This verse resonated through me after feeling so far away from the Lord during a 3-day fast, and after SG, He showed me that I needed to have His Word stored in my heart and mind, that I needed His Word to fill me up and be my focus. So it was back to my 3 x 5 cards to not only read, but this time to memorize. When we have God’s Word filling up our hearts and minds, the enemy can't steal our joy in the Lord!
Ladies, I want to encourage you, many, many PR of Restored Marriages are at hand!! Stay focused on the Lord, make Him our HH and given Him the No.1 place in our lives. When my EH and I were dating, he used to tell me that “I'm perfect for him”. I wondered if I would ever hear those words said to me again. Well I did ladies! :), and for this I can only give the Lord the highest Praise!
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
At RMI we are taught Revelation 2:4, “For I have this against you, you have left your first love.” I am certain that this restoration journey will always and forever be a success when we “delight ourselves in the Lord” and we know that “He will give us the desires of our hearts”!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
~ Atarah in South Africa
“RESTORED in South Africa”
It all began in February, a couple of days after our 7-year anniversary. My sister-in-law came to tell me that my husband was involved with another woman and that a year prior had been involved in a relationship I knew nothing about.
Sadly I handled the situation all wrong from day one! Of course, I was devastated and heartbroken and had a feeling of unbelief like (IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING TO ME???). Unfortunately like so many women do, I confronted my husband and the OW at their workplace as they worked together, and just continued to handle the situation all wrong by snooping, asking questions and confrontations.
Of course, my situation only got worse and worse and a month or two later my husband asked me to move out and find a place for my daughter and I to live, while. He moved in with the OW. And because I continued to pursue him and again confronted the OW, the OW forced my husband to divorce me. During all of this I was seeking the Lord and I became a part of the "Stander’s Ministry", but there was a lot I still did not know and had to learn, but the Lord did give me peace regarding the divorce.
God did start changing me as I started growing closer to Him due to the heartache I was experiencing seeing my husband with another woman. As I desperately prayed, things started getting bad between my husband and the OW and a couple of months later their relationship came to an end and my husband moved in with me (but we were divorced) and it caused my contentiousness to worsen. I snooped on my husband’s cell phone and found a pic of him with a new OW and that’s when he moved out and in with a friend.
At that time I became heartbroken again, my heart felt like it had broken into a million pieces. I cried out to the Lord in desperation asking Him why? Why was I having to go through the pain and heartache of another OW, this was the third time— I could not understand! I thought after my husband moved in I was “experiencing” a restored marriage. It was at this time I truly believe the Lord heard my desperate prayers and led me to a woman who posted a prayer request on a website and sent me the RYM book. This was the turning point and from the time I read the RYM book!
Reading RYM is when I started understanding and started experiencing a peace that surpasses all understanding. God’s Word says that we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free, but I up until the point of reading the book, I was being destroyed for lack of knowledge.
God taught me to forgive, especially in the beginning when I found out about the OW, this was an area I prayed a lot about and it was not easy but I knew I had to. Now looking back I thank God because I now realize the new OW that entered my husband’s life was a chance for me to put into practice the principles I learned from the RYM book and a test for me to again work on my contentiousness and letting go.
After reading RYM, I also completed the Free Marriage Evaluation Questionnaire and received the Daily Encourager with it’s amazing testimonies of women going through similar situations. I was sent the lesson regarding “Intimacy when Divorced” and I started my first lessons with RMI.
When I came to RMI another important principle I learned was tithing, since embracing this principle and tithing here to my storehouse, I have not suffered lack, not a day went by that my daughter and I did not have what we needed! When I was without a job (another Praise as I started a new job in the same week I got remarried to my husband), I did not lack as whenever I was really low on funds and would not even have money for bread—my HH would always provide for us in the nick of time! What I learned was that when we tithe He does rebuke the devourer!
The most difficult times that God helped me through were after my husband left the second time (after I believed I had experienced a restored marriage) and we separated again. The very first month I lost a lot of weight and struggled to come to terms with what I was going through. I was very desperate and at that time I did not have such a close relationship with the Lord. In my desperation I asked God for a sign or to show me what I was going through or why I was going through it, anything. On two separate occasions God spoke to me.
The first time was through a vision where He showed me a leg that was infected, and the pus had popped and it was healing. Then He showed me a sore, then a scar and then the sore completely healed with no scar. Then on the second occasion God spoke to me through a colleague who told me about a sermon he had watched on T.V. The preacher was preaching about how snow falls on the ground and how it can destroy a crop, but that the destroyed crop is what prepares the soil for the next crop because it destroys all insects and weeds from the soil. I guess God needed to speak to me in these ways because at that time I was not reading and studying God’s Word like I do now through RMI. Now because I read the Bible everyday and do the lessons daily through at RMI, God gave me hundreds and hundreds of promises through His Word that I was reading and studying.
The turning point in my restoration happened when I started reading the How God Can & Will Restore Your Marriage Book. As I read, God started showing me the areas I needed to repent of that led to the breakdown of my marriage. Applying the "Letting Go” principle and the "Intimacy After Divorce" principle led to HUGE positive and immediate changes!!
I suspected and believed I was close as soon as I started reading the RYM Book and as I started doing the lessons. Being a “Stander” I suffered a lot of setbacks and frustrations where things seemed to be going well, but then something would happen and I would fall to pieces every time. You see my husband and I got along very well. Even when he was living with the OW, we would chat and were quite close. But the missing link was the principles I learned through RMI, which kick started my Restoration Journey to completion!!
I would recommend everything that RMI has to offer: the books, the videos, the Daily Encourager and most of all the Bible. Reading the Bible everyday in conjunction with doing your lessons everyday and praying God’s Word, packs a powerful punch! I would also recommend doing the 3 x 5 cards which RMI teaches us to write down and read throughout the day and to also memorize as many promises from God’s Word. Hide them in your heart so that the enemy cannot steal God’s promises.
I encourage every lady reading this to never, never ever give up!! Just continue to do your lessons daily and if you’re not doing them—sign up for lessons! And please don’t be just a hearer but be a doer of the Word and do everything that you are taught. You are so very blessed that the Lord has led you here to RMI to teach you the truth of God’s Word. So be sure to hide God’s Word in your heart, memorize as many scriptures as you can and always remember that FAITH moves mountains! God is a God of the impossible and He is MORE than ABLE! His word never returns void but ALWAYS accomplishes its purposes!!
“RESTORED After Falling into Adultery with my Ex-Husband”
Hello and may God blessed you with the desires of your heart as you begin to follow the Lord and His plan for your life.
My name is Sabrina and I'm 43yrs old and I have 4 grown children. What brought me here to this ministry was because God saw my heart that was full of sorrow and hurts. However through my separation, which led to divorce (and I was the one who filed the divorce), my heart bled for years and I could not understand it. But I ended up back with my former husband after all those years of separation, because I began to follow His ways. It was then God started my Restoration Journey and I began my journey.
Here is my RESTORED Marriage TESTIMONY.
I always had in my heart that I wanted to marry someday, but, I never knew that I actually would. When I met my husband I knew there was something special about him. I had always been very shy when I dated, but not with him. We began dating and my husband surprised me one day by making a statement saying, "You are going to be my wife.” I knew there was something about him, but marriage wasn't what I had in mind and from my expression he knew it too. As we were dating, GOD started dealing with us in regards to intimacy, since we were not married. We started reading a book that "scared us straight" and we quickly married and began going to church.
After 3 years we started having troubles and I became contentious. I constantly started asking him to leave and also began shaming him by my words, which resulted in him becoming distant. I just didn’t care anymore! Satan had a field day with me and boy did I suffer because of it! You guessed it! My husband just up and left me. We were separated for 5 years and after 3 ½ years, I wanted a divorce, even though a "still small voice" was telling me not too. But because I was rebellious, I went through with the divorce that my husband never wanted. Afterwards like most of you, I felt empty and lonely, so I began dating a married man (who was at the time separated) thinking it was going to help me to get my husband out of my heart and off my mind. But GUESS WHAT???? It didn't.
I can honestly tell you that I really don't know how I ended up here at RMIEW, but thank God I did. This ministry has brought me such a long way and has showed me so many things I never knew about. It's a wonderful place to be and to grow in the Lord and experience Him, believe me I know!
Now over the years I always told God I wished He would fix my marriage, and wanted to know why I could not get my ex husband out of my heart. This is something I just couldn't understand. I cried for so long and then soon after coming here I ran into him. I found out he was involved with someone else and had been with this woman for 4 and a half years (she was married but separated from her husband).
After seeing him, I realized I wanted my marriage back and then stopped messing with the man I was with. My husband, on the other hand, was still involved with the other woman so it looked pretty hopeless. As I said, I guess I always wanted my marriage and felt that is it hopeless until I ran across your ministry. I quickly read Erin's book How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage and boy did this show me so many things about myself and what I could finally admit, that the marriage mess was my fault. I felt so hurt because of my past actions. But reading Erin's testimonies and all the others made me feel wonder and hopeful that possibly mine could be restored too.
Soon God began helping me a lot, but I realized I needed someone to be there to guide me. I knew it would not be easy. Soon after I changed, I began to see my ex and talk to him, but knew this was not enough. I wanted to see God move just like he moved in Erin's situation and everyone else's. When I filled out my questionnaire I ended it with: Please help me.
Thankfully I never went to counseling, so I didn't make mistakes like that. On Friday, December 23, 2011, was a big turning point for me, it's when I decided I needed to begin helping other woman, and I filled out the Minister in Training Evaluation so I knew what I would need to learn to help women in crisis.
RMI has meant so much to me. When I applied to become a Minister in Training I wrote to the Team:
My heart is so still so overwhelmed because of things I have learned about myself. It has made such a difference in me, because I didn't know I was carrying all this stuff. It's been a challenge but what you all mean to me, words can't express. You all have helped me to see what God has probably been trying to show me but I couldn't sit still long enough to listen. You showed me it's not all about me and my marriage being restored, but it's more about helping others — thank you so much!
The reason I am interested in becoming a MITC "Minister in Training Candidate" is that even though I never thought of being a minister, I know I can encourage other women very well, even when I can't encourage myself. There have been many people who tell me that I needed to be a minister, but I thought "No, not me." But I really enjoyed just lifting people up, you know, it made me feel better when I did.
NOW, after being here almost a month, and going through your first course, I now want to be what GOD wants me to be, and if it's being a minister, wow, it will be such a joy to know you made a difference in one person life — that's joy!
When Jesus healed the ten lepers and only one came back, it make me look at myself. I want to be the one who came back and made the difference.
Now I need to confess that with all of this I tripped up! My husband continued to come to see me after seeing the changes in me, and we continued to see each other but against scripture, we started having sexual relations even though we were divorced. Deep down inside I knew it was wrong, which only led my husband to be confused between me and the other women. Then he left me again after 3 months after he had promised we were would marry. I was devastated.
Surprisingly, this time I was okay, and knew I just needed more time with the LORD. I went through storm after storm, but God was always with me. I confessed my involvement with my FH to the RMIEW leaders, and I was immediately set free from guilt. Then I began to move forward and put all my focus on the Lord—completely letting go of my husband. I kept my mouth quiet, fasted and constantly prayed to be closer to Him. That's when He helped me learn to depend on Him and Him alone.
It was at this time that I wanted even more to help other women with marital issues because I didn't want anyone to feel the way I was feeling. I wanted to share the peace I received after I finally put God first in my life and began seeking Him alone; not my husband or my children. I started trusting Him in everything because He wanted so much to be part of every situation my life (as well as yours).
The turning point came when my ex-husband and I began dating again but I also found out about the OW, that she was still in my husband’s life. I cried like never before to GOD, pouring my heart out to Him. I started talking to GOD and I told Him how I was feeling (not anyone else) and that I wasn't going to stop crying out to Him and He helped me.
As I said before, He first led me to find Restore Marriage Ministries and I knew it was GOD’s will to restore my marriage after I saw the heading How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage. I ordered the book and discovered God’s principles, and I learned how I had violated so many of them, which brought me to my KNEES. I immediately asked God to forgive me and went to all five of my children and confessed my faults instead of my husband’s faults as I had done in the past. Then I was led to contact my former husband and apologize for everything. HE said that he had forgiven me a long time ago.
Ladies, God is AWESOME! I first would like to thank God for what He is doing in my life and KNOW this; I had nothing to do with this. NOTHING!
On March 8, 2013, my marriage was restored! YES it really was! MINE! I was remarried on March 8th and believe it or not. Just before we remarried, my husband began opening up his heart to me and spending time with me but this time without us being intimate—I just couldn’t believe he wanted to wait too. WOW! God knows how to turn things around!!!
My husband even apologized and confessed that he never wanted to leave me. I can’t express enough how long I was not ready for all of this and why I asked the Lord if it is His will and He if wanted us to be remarried, then have my husband ask me again—and to my amazement—he did!
Yes, I still have a lot of work to do, but my GOD has got me. Ladies God is AWESOME and He is all we need.
Dear friend, never think the Lord doesn't hear your cries, He does. We can't help, but God is faithful in every area you need Him in. You see, this is why you are here now because He's heard you cry. Be ready to grow and know that everyone in this ministry loves and cares for you.
"Dear Jesus, guide and help this woman and let her know that, there's nothing to impossible for You and You are their new Husband now and trust You only. AMEN"
Cowboy Restored in Texas
A little over ten years ago I was diagnosed with MS Multiple Sclerosis. My wife left soon after. A friend got me 2 books - A Wise Man and How God Will Restore your Marriage. I read both books and learned so much, I wanted to help others. I soon set up a website and even had my email address posted on your website so that I would help other men. Within a month, I had received emails from over 6 countries and 2 dozen states. My health did not get better and neither did my relationship. I soon had to change some things in my life - mainly my work habits, but I never lost faith about my reconciliation with my wife.
My pastor during the time my wife left was a Godsend. If not for his spiritual leadership and help understanding scripture during my time of restoration, I probably would be writing a different letter. He was the pastor of the church I attended and later moved to a small town where he preached for several more years and felt a call to return to the military as a Chaplin. He is currently in Afghanistan serving as a Chaplain to our soldiers overseas. His knowledge of the Bible is deep and he has the ability to read and understand Greek and Hebrew to seek true original scripture interpretation to prevent taking things out of context.
During my troubled times, he took A Wise Man and wanted to build a men's Bible study from it. However, he ended up moving to another church. I stayed in contact with him throughout my restoration and visited his church after my wife and I remarried in November 2009.
I also had my prayer partner during my time of restoration. It was his testimony that gave me hope shortly after my brother passed away with cancer in May of 2005, at the height of my pain and separation from my wife. He told me about this ministry where I went to purchase the books he recommended, your books, and thus headed down the same trail he was headed.
His wife had left also. My prayer partner was a "poster child" for what someone should look like that wanted and believed that his marriage was on it's way to restoration! Well it was!! In 2006 his wife came home and they now have a happy marriage with a daughter named Grace! These men were vital men placed by God in my life that stood in the gap with me as I went down my trail to restore my marriage.
I was also blessed that my own parents and my children stood beside me and at the top of the list, let me mention them again, were the men above, for without their prayers and faith, it would have been a very tough ride.
Then in November of 2009 - my wife and I remarried!! Not only was my marriage restored, but my MS is in remission AND I have a new job. The road maps of scripture help me through some really tough times.
God Bless your trails!
"Be the kind of man each morning that when you wake up and your feet hit the floor the devil says "Oh crap, he's up!"
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work for the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:58 KJV
I was driving home late one night from a rodeo in the summer of 1982 after taking part in a riding competition. The rain was pounding the highway. The drive was slow and I found myself in a deep conversation with my Lord. My heart had been heavy over the last several months about a young woman whom I felt was going to be my partner for life. During my conversation with the Lord, I felt certain that this woman would soon be my wife. The rain became a cleansing revelation to me that I knew beyond all cowboy wisdom, that my Holy Pardoner, Jesus Christ, was about to open a gate into a new pasture for me.
The dirt road to my place was flooded. I quickly realized that the storm had nearly destroyed my home. A tornado had blown the barn over and hail stones had knocked out every window on the north side of my home. All the rooms were flooded as three inches of rain and hail blew into the house. Propane gas vapors filled the house, and all electricity was knocked out. I managed to find one room that still had a bed intact and was dry. I wasn’t worried about the propane vapors. The house was well ventilated at this point and everything had been shut off.
I located a dry bedroll and I soon found myself listening to the thunder and lightning as I lay down to rest. I felt a strong peace which affirmed the covenant I was about to enter into with God and my future bride. I slept soundly as the heavens rang out about my heart.
On April 16, I married Edie. I had been raised by sensible Christian parents. Family issues were simple for a family in an agricultural environment with a God-centered culture. Edie, on the other hand, had grown up under the shadows of an alcoholic father who had created a lifetime of turmoil, resulting in a broken family. But, I was a cowboy! I could do this.
Over the next fifteen years or so, my marriage went through many of the typical ups and downs. Our three children had become the center of our lives. They were becoming strong Christian leaders among their friends. To this day, they remain very close to their Lord and Savior. My cowboying, ranching, rodeoing and teaching duties had put a strain on our marriage. I had become a workaholic.
As the man of the house, I was influenced by the world and had become very different from the man that God wanted me to be. I thought of myself as a great cowboy, and I had a false sense of myself as being a sound man of God.
At this point, I had believed that my house had been built on a rock. My walls were brick and the roof had steel beams for protection overhead. I thought of myself as a good man and for all intents and purposes, the world saw Coke Hopping as a great man. But I had too much pride to see that my ways were destroying my family.
Issues began to arise within our home and slowly, the walls began to crumble. On occasion, the word “divorce” was shouted. On several occasions, my wife left on trips that involved drinking and staying away for several days. A slow pattern of peaks and valleys began in our relationship. Each time, the peaks were higher and the valleys were lower. It was only a matter of time before the valley became a pit.
In early 2000, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”). I had had symptoms two years earlier, but doctors had dismissed the neurological symptoms as having developed from spinal cord injuries from years of bareback riding. The burning sensations down my side were attributed to scar tissue on my spinal column in my neck. I soon found myself in the hospital with MS. Little did I know that this would soon become my very own “thorn in my side” just as the Apostle Paul had to endure.
The MS diagnosis affected my physical and emotional stability. My MS was relapsing/remitting which meant it came and went, but it was possible for the symptoms to worsen with each relapse. Physically, I was doing ok. But heat and stress would kick in, and I would often have to lie on a cot in my office at the end of the day, exhausted. My short-term memory became a constant battle. I dropped things, I tripped over things, I slurred my speech, and I became an angry man. My children could not understand why I was never happy. I argued frequently and lost many friends from my angry outbursts. And I lost the ability to be the man that my wife so desperately needed in her life.
In 2004, my wife was back in her father’s life. She was his “little girl”. Their relationship had been on and off throughout Edie’s youth and sadly it continues in this way to this day. He asked her to become a part of his auction business. My wife finally had a father in her life who took care of her and loved her as a father should, what she had always wanted as a child. Edie began driving back and forth to Amarillo every weekend to work with her father in his auction business. I could see that she was drifting away from me. Our finances started to collapse and I had to approach my father-in-law for help. I talked to him about my relationship with my wife and explained that I was worried because he had become the central figure of a man in her life, not me. He explained that as her father, he was supposed to be the central figure in his daughter’s life.
My father-in-law had quit drinking soon after my daughter was born. However, he was still pretty much the same individual except that he no longer drank. Some would describe him as a dry alcoholic. He was a hard man who had lost everything but he had struggled in recent years to build a strong business in the area. He was very well respected in the business world, and he seemed to be walking down a different path, thanks to a new relationship with his church. My father-in-law honestly believed that his relationship with his daughter should be ranked higher than my relationship with her, and he believed this to be sound doctrine. Yet, this was not scriptural. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Eph. 5:31 NIV As her husband, I should be the man in Edie’s life.
My wife continued to work at the auctions every weekend. In October 2004, I was hospitalized again. My wife brought up the issue of divorce again. It was the perfect time for her to do this. I was in a situation where I could not fight back. It’s sort of hard for a cowboy to follow a woman down the hall in a hospital gown with the back split open! Looking back, I can see God shaking his head at the situation I had put myself into.
Things did not change much over the holidays. In February 2005, I left home with my boys to attend the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. We had several livestock projects entered in the stock show. I recall calling my wife on the phone on Valentine’s Day to tell her “I love you.” The reply I received was just the opposite. My wife was driving to San Antonio to see her boys, not me, and it became obvious that she was not alone. She showed up at the stock show, watched the boys participate in their events and left soon after. I remember standing in the parking lot, crying and screaming at the devil. I knew he was behind this whole thing. Upon returning home, my wife had packed her bags and left.
Marriage was the first institution God created, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Gen. 2:23–25 NIV, and it is the last institution established in Revelation, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Note: Fine linen represents the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”” Rev. 19:7–9 NIV. Satan has had one mission since the Garden of Eden, which is to destroy every marriage that he can. It is his goal to do it and he knows that he is running out of time. It is at the very core of his overall battle plan to destroy mankind, to destroy the marriage covenant of a man and woman with God. Little did I know that my challenge to Satan would turn into the battle it did. It was “game on” and I was not well prepared at all.
In 1985, I had lost a brother to a motorcycle wreck and now in May 2005, my other brother was dying of cancer. I was working at the Sankey Rodeo School in New Caney, Texas, as a Saddle Bronc instructor when I received the call that my brother had passed away. As I drove home with my boys, I really missed my wife and thought that this situation would surely kick-start our reconciliation. It did not. In fact, my wife did not even sit anywhere close to me. It was clear to everyone that she was not part of my life. I tried to act pitiful and I did indeed look pitiful. I’m also sure that I looked pitiful to everyone else, including my children.
At this point, my wife had moved out, changed addresses, was partying in the town her father lived, and was pretty much out of my life. I had told my two teenage boys that their mother was not coming home. The youngest just shrugged his shoulders and said she was never here anyway. My attempt to get the boys to tell their mom to come home did not work. And I know that it was wrong of me.
It was at this funeral that a long-time friend showed up to pay his last respects. I have known Brice since he was old enough to walk and carry a rope. As a 10 year old little boy, he had attended Texas Tech football games with me while I was the Texas Tech Masked Rider in 1979 and 1980. Brice called me the following day and I brought him up to date on what had happened in the past year. To this day, I still recall his joyful attitude. His confidence was off the charts. AND to top it off, his wife had separated from him and she was living in Dallas.
Brice explained to me that he had been given two books—A Wise Man and How God Will Restore Your Marriage. He told me about the internet site and he directed me to find it. I told him that I only wanted to read what was true about divorce and marriage from the bible. He quickly explained that the books were not commentaries about marriage, but rather, roadmaps to the relevant scriptures throughout the bible. Every question I asked Brice, he answered with scripture. Jesus did the same thing when he was tempted on the mountain. Jesus had replied to Satan’s temptation three times with “It is written…” Matt 4:5–10 NKJV Brice described his situation with his wife and how their separation had happened. Every time I talked to Brice, he always spoke positively and was upbeat about his wife’s return. And he also talked about how we would all go to Applebee’s for a chocolate shake when my wife returned! All I could think of was how hurt Brice was going to be in the end.
His wife had an apartment and a good job. Brice immediately became my prayer partner. I remember Brice praying with me as his horseshoeing hammer pounded horseshoe nails into the horse hooves. Whenever I asked how it was going with him, his reply would be, “Great, living the good life! Can’t wait for my wife to return home!”
The summer was tough. My wife had changed her residence so that after six months, she could divorce me from the county she lived in. She was working for her father. I found out later that her father had paid for her divorce lawyer. My wife had also developed a relationship with one of his employees who would later lead her down very dangerous paths. My father-in-law went to church and was given a book by his pastor that supported the doctrine of divorce. My wife gave me a copy of the book and another copy to my oldest son. I quickly went to my pastor, Dewayne. My pastor quickly showed me the errors in the so-called manual. It was false doctrine presented by wolves in sheep’s clothing. “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Mal. 2:16 NKJV
The manual on divorce had originated from a Baptist seminary in Louisiana. I called the university and I was eventually directed to a professor who explained that the paper had been written by a student as research for his PhD. The student had been told that if the paper’s contents were stated as being doctrine from the bible, it would not receive a passing grade. Somehow, the paper had made its way out of the university and into several churches. Now, it was floating around churches supporting the interpretation that any divorce was biblical. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2Peter 2:1–3 NKJV Sometimes churches and counselors can do a lot of harm.
My wife and I sought Christian counseling for a short period. The counselor suggested that my wife go see a psychiatrist. Edie went and the psychiatrist diagnosed her as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (“BPD”). The session quickly turned to how I should act for my wife and it turned my wife off. The talks did nothing more than talk and blame. The woman who was our counselor was a Christian, but she was clearly way off scripturally in how to treat our situation.
In June 2005, I hired a lawyer, since my wife already had a lawyer representing her. Naturally, I thought I had to protect myself. Brice told me one day to get rid of my lawyer. I replied that I would lose the ranch. He quickly explained that I could not serve two masters. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matt. 6:24 NIV I could not pray on one hand for my wife to come home, and on the other hand, PAY a lawyer to fight for me in court. My lawyer had already won alimony payment of $500 per month for me to help with my two boys at home. My wife was already two months behind and was about to be hit with a summons that stated the amount was going to be deducted from her paycheck. I was doubtful about this issue for a long time. I had been served divorce papers and all hope seemed to be slipping away.
On many nights, I retreated to a pasture at our ranch where a ridge looked over a small creek known as Indian Creek. I spent many nights praying on this ridge and the bridge over Indian Creek that led to our ranch. I realized in August that I had to step out in faith and release my lawyer. I visited my daughter and my oldest son and explained the situation. I had earlier mailed the signed alimony settlement to my lawyer to start the process for collecting funds. I told my children that I just could not do it and that I was going to call the lawyer and instruct him to withdraw the papers and to withdraw from representing me. My children and I prayed together that Sunday evening.
On the following Monday morning, my daughter called to inform me that she had received a $500 gift from someone in her office for her real estate class tuition. We were excited. I called the lawyer and told him of my plans and he reluctantly agreed. By the end of the week, I had contacted my lawyer numerous times and he never received the signed court papers in the mail! God’s plan was in motion!
Over the next several months, I received calls from my wife demanding that I come to court. In Texas, a spouse can get a divorce without the other spouse. I knew that my wife just wanted to fight with me. The divorce was inevitable. I was served papers and I took them out to the pasture and burned them at the foot of a cross that I had set up to pray at. I received a cell phone call one afternoon while I was on horseback from a court officer telling me that I had to be in court the next morning at 9 a.m. I said, “No sir, I don’t.” He soon became very angry and said that it was my duty to come in. I just simply kept riding across the pasture and said, “Nope”. He said that my wife could get everything. I just said, “Don’t think so.” Now he was mad! And he didn’t even have anything invested. I never went to court and I never signed anything. I just looked over at the other cowboy with me and smiled and we rode off into the sunset. (Do note that divorce laws vary state to state.)
I made many mistakes over the many months to come. I pursued my wife when I should not have, which revealed things that God was trying to protect me from. And it created issues for forgiveness when my spouse returned home. My wife was still involved with the other man (”OM”). She had a job in her new town and she was able to secure 100% financing for a new home. I told Brice all about these new developments about my now divorced relationship and he simply said that she would lose her job, she would lose her house, and she would even get sick. All these things did in fact happen and my wife went down a very dark and tough trail. And once again, her father abandoned her.
I quickly learned that I did not need to pray for Satan to leave her. Our prayers are powerful and they work. Each time I prayed for Satan to leave my wife, he did. Often times, my wife would call me and be sad about our situation and want to come home, but Satan would return and find her house clean without the Holy Spirit for her protection and he would come back seven times worse and this was literally destroying my wife spiritually, emotionally and physically. “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24–26 NIV I soon learned to pray a hedge of thorns around her as Hosea did for Gomer. “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.” Hosea 2:6 NIV
In 2006, there were several instances when my wife wanted to reconcile and once, we even bought wedding rings. This too, went south. When we were purchasing the rings, I had a feeling of unease. Sure enough, the OM was not far behind.
This ole cowboy was sure enough in love with his wife, but I wasn’t listening to God. I was not reading scripture and seeking wisdom from what I read. I continued to check up on my wife and found out more things that God was trying to protect me from. I was like a dog in a fight with a porcupine, I just kept going back for more needles! Ever try to remove porcupine quills from a dog?
Brice never stopped “standing in the gap” and I never stopped having faith that my wife would return. But I had to develop discipline to stay in the Word.
2006 came and went. My rodeo company was doing ok. My teaching job was ok. Our divorce had not affected our ranch and home. But the stress and physical demands of my job and the rodeos was affecting my MS condition. There were several issues with the OM and my wife. He was constantly in trouble with the law and my wife was headed down a dangerous trail with him. The year ended with our family including my wife, going on a cruise. All three of my children went as well as my future son-in-law. The trip was five days long. The cruise was nice. My wife and I got along fine. But it was obvious that her heart was somewhere else.
On the other hand, Brice was experiencing a restored marriage with his wife. His wife had moved back to their home!
The new year was going to be better. I knew that my time as a teacher was coming to a close. The MS was making it harder and harder to get through the day. I soon put in my retirement notice and I was able to leave school in March 2007 with enough days accumulated so that I could get paid until June. A new job opportunity came up and I moved to the College Station Area. I put the ranch up for sale and my youngest son moved south with me. My daughter had just graduated from Texas A&M and my oldest son was attending Texas A&M.
2007 came in with me gaining new faith in restoration. The turning point literally came when I took my eyes off my wife and placed them on my Lord and Savior. I stepped out of what the worldly zone of emotions was telling me. I begin focusing on scripture. I fasted more to get closer to the Lord. I was willing to let God take control of my life.
By now, my books, The Holy Bible, A Wise Man and How God Will Restore Your Marriage paperback books were worn out. My roadmap through the bible was more clear and my priority became God first, not my wife. But best of all, I gained a new perspective of reading scripture and a new relationship with my ole Holy Pardoner!
MS was still an issue in my life. One thing that resulted from my struggle with MS was the softening of my heart. God had softened my stance on some old tough guy cowboy attitudes. I went back to several old friends that I had blown up at and asked for their forgiveness. This act also showed me that I was also supposed to forgive my wife. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.”” Matt 18:21–23 NIV And this meant that I had to forgive daily!
My actions in the early years had set the stage for the demise of my marriage. Yes, my wife had inherited a curse from an alcoholic parent and had parents who were divorced. However, scripture also shows that blessings can break curses. That was my job as a husband and head of the house.
We men underestimate the role that we are called to hold as head of the house. The husband is commanded to love his wife. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Eph. 5:25–26 NIV
The husband is instructed to treat his wife as an equal heir. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7–8 NIV
My physical home had been destroyed and the walls washed away, but my very existence stood on a rock. That principle is the foundational scripture that starts you down a trail to restore your marriage. To make it through the cacti, rattlesnakes, droughts, cows running off, and getting bucked off your horse, you will need the very Word of God to guide you on the trail that Jesus wants you to walk down. Most people will submit to the ways of the world and after a period of time, they will give in to the ways of this world and do what the latest reality show says AND they will not see restoration. Ask Job from the Old Testament. It does not say how long his ordeal took. Ask Hosea from the Old Testament. It doesn’t say how long Hosea had to wait until he was instructed to go back into town and acquire his wife Gomer.
Looking back and reflecting on my restoration process, it is easy to see the signs that I was getting close to restoration since I now have 20/20 hindsight. I think one of the hardest things for most people is to have 20/20 foresight.
Things started falling apart in my wife's life in the spring of 2007 when she injured her back at work which made it difficult for her to work, resulting in issues with her ability to pay the mortgage for her house. All I could do was just be there to answer the phone in a positive spirit, but I did not give her money because I knew that that was not what God wanted me to do. I did help several times to repair stuff around her house, although I saw evidence of the OM's stuff. At the end, when I moved my wife’s belongings back to my home, I only moved her stuff. I’m sure some homeless person benefitted from the stuff that was left on the curb.
The biggest thing I remember about this time period was not so much what my wife was doing but "where my heart was with the Lord." I had a sense of peace and the feeling of panic that I had whenever my wife went left or right did not affect me, as it had in the beginning.
This can be a dangerous time in the restoration process. It creates a sense of "OK, I don't think I want her back now, or I can live without her!" I always tell men to BE CAREFUL! Satan is now moving the pendulum back the other way. He knows he is losing the battle. Remember the scripture above from Hosea—God said that He would return Hosea's wife and HE (God) would remove the mouths of Baal from her. When this process starts, stay the course and let God finish his work and be prepared to accept your wife when she returns. If you don’t, then it will be you who has turned your back on the marriage covenant that you entered into, as God is restoring your marriage. The whole Book of Hosea is about the adulterous relationship of God's chosen people with their Lord.
The turning point for my restoration came when my heart became peaceful with my relationship with God. I felt a sense of "Ok, I’m going to be OK." I also recall feeling or thinking it was ok to move on without my wife. That’s when I had to stop and battle this. I think lots of couples do this and for this reason, I think that is why there are a lot of marriages that are not restored. The spouse that leaves will say something like "I don't love you anymore and I never will! SO move on!" And the spouse, the one on the receiving end of this comment, usually hangs in for about 10 months. This almost happened to me too.
Little did I know about all the little things that God was doing in my wife's heart. Had I moved on, I would not have been able to see the Holy Spirit flow from my wife's heart and mouth today as she gives praise and honor to her Savior! My turning point came about after two years. As I look back, it seemed to play out in phases that mostly paralleled my walk with Jesus.
My restoration happened in January 2007 when I had to make some changes in my job. My health was starting to affect my work, and could have been due to the stress from my marriage. Nonetheless, I knew I had to do something. As I started to move in a positive direction to fix things, I tried to do it in a way, which reflected a new Coke. I took my clothes to get pressed at the laundromat, I dressed in clean clothes and tried to improve my "first impression image" everyday. I tried to look positive and if I was having a bad day, I tried to fake it until I really felt positive.
When it came time to move, my wife contacted me and wanted to move with me. I was happy that she was ready to load up in my covered wagon as we moved to a different ranch. Things were pretty good. At first, I believe my wife moved because my boys were moving with me. It became obvious on a couple of occasions when I found stuff from the OM that she had been in contact with him. This is a tough time for lots of relationships, I am sure. It was tough for me.
It was obvious from what I saw where the OM's heart was and how Satan was pulling his strings. I could see very easily that this was not a man of God and this one fact gave me confidence that my Lord would prevail. I also think that knowing this kept me from doing anything stupid. I remember telling my wife at this point that we were leaving Sodom and Gomorrah and that I could not look back at my past sins and that if she did, I could not look back to help her. This was tough, but I also did my best to do it with a loving heart. Lot's wife looked back because she missed her past and she was turned to a pillar of Salt. (Gen. 19:21–26 NKJV)
Each man has his own trail to walk. Each man will journey down a different path that leads through different canyons and over different mountains. I tell you that scripture never changes and never contradicts itself. Some say you can read the bible a hundred times and it will tell you a hundred different things each time. Not true! The Word is, and always will be! Go out under a tree and place a plumb bob hanging from a tree limb so that is barely touching the soft sand underneath it. Gently move the plumb bob to one side or the other so that it makes scratch marks in the sand as it moves back and forth. Watch it move back and forth and sooner or later, the plumb bob will come to a complete stop at the BOTTOM DEAD CENTER every time. That is the Word! The Word may speak to you differently each time you read it, and it should. As for those scratch marks outside the center point, they are similar to how you interpret the Word to meet your own wishes. It is the living Word and it will speak to you, but you will need to understand true doctrine to keep the plumb bob centered. Because of the Holy Spirit that remains here after the Jesus ascended to Heaven in the Book of Acts, the Word will speak to you like no other book. It never changes! It never contradicts itself! It has withstood thousands of years of interpretation! AND numerous authors wrote it over hundreds and hundreds of years apart from each other. There is a reason why it is called the Holy Bible—It is the very WORD of God that was spoken and recorded by a very special group of writers!
Each man will have a different journey and each man will develop his own testimony. A friend of mine went through a similar set of circumstances as I did. He fought for restoration for about a year and then he remarried and had another child. Then one day, his ex-wife returned after five years and she commented that if he had waited, she thought they would have gotten back together. This friend of mine is now in another marriage with another woman and another child. He told me later that looking back, waiting five years was not a very long time to wait. But he had already remarried.
God gives each of us the tools we need and His promise of Salvation and Restoration and it never changes throughout the scriptures. So why do you think that your situation would turn out any differently? You must have faith and the Lord does allow for you to pray for faith. But there will come a time that we all must act on that faith! Saddle up whatever bronc the Lord has given you. Some of you will get bucked off. Some of you will make a great 8-second ride and then jump off with so much pride that in the end you will fall flat on your face as you walk out of the arena. And some of you may even get on a donkey, just as Lord did when he rode into Jerusalem for the Passover. But in the end, I promise that the horse you will ride in God's army will be a magnificent animal that you will ride next to Jesus on his Horse. It's time to enter the round pen and select your mounts for the ride ahead. Have faith in your Lord and Savior, and stand firm. If you get bucked off, I say to you, “Get back on!!!”
My wife and I remarried in November 2009. My wife now has a new relationship with Jesus Christ and it is because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I did have to sell our small ranch, but now I manage a larger ranch with a nice home. I was able to complete my Masters in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M and I graduated with my oldest son. My daughter is married and expecting their first child. My youngest son is now in college. My wife teaches 2nd grade now and is anxious to be a grandmother. My MS is in remission.
My home was washed away but not its foundation. I am thankful to my parents for establishing the Christian doctrine in my life. I pray that my life will do the same for my children. John Wayne said in the movie The Cowboys, “It’s not how you’re buried; it’s how you are remembered.”
It is your Savior, Jesus Christ who will get you through, nothing and no one else. Let these books serve as a map to help you find your way through God’s Holy Word—The Bible. God will lead you as you become “A Wise Man” building your home on a rock. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matt. 7:24–25 NIV
Stand Firm and may God bless your trails!
Coke and Edie Hopping
Brice, it is time we had that chocolate shake at Applebee’s!
Coke served our Men’s Ministry for many years. Just recently Coke, went to be with the Lord, He was just 55. He is greatly missed.
"Who am I?"
Just a man," I keep reminding myself. I am unable to control anything it would seem.
I look up and cry out "why?!"
Does He hear what we say?
Does my pain, the pain in my heart, somehow matter enough to Him that He could take it away?
Why doesn't He answer in the way that I want, WHEN I want?
"Save my marriage. Save my family, Lord. Please. I have messed things up past the point that I, in my own flesh, can fix. I need YOU to fix it. Please God."
How many times had I prayed that prayer on my knees... Pleading with God to somehow pull me out of this pit that I had dug for myself.
I had lost what was most valuable to me: My wife and son. She wanted nothing to do with me.
When I was able to see my son it was though I was reduced to more of a relative than his father.
So much pain.
I knew what the Bible said. I had read through it more than once growing up in a Christian home. Certain scriptures would come to mind and give me hope. Hope was almost gone though.
One day it left altogether.
I had reached bottom and knew it. I knew God was "there." I had seen Him in the lives that He changed. In the miracles that He did every day. It takes more faith to look around at the wonders of our world and say that it made ITSELF. No, I never doubted his EXISTENCE, only his PLAN.
I felt at times that I was not IN IT... That somehow everyone else around me had it better… They had the blessings and I didn't. Their prayers were being heard- while mine were being shoved onto some holy "filing cabinet," never to see the light of day.
I would love to tell you that my breakthrough happened right then. That my life turned around in a moment and God just delivered me in the most miraculous way.
But it didn't happen that way.
Months went by and I kept moving on. But not in a good way... My faith was shaken... My heart that was once broken became a hard, crusted-over brick in my chest. Not able to give out a tender “God breathed” love or even receive it. The scar tissue had become almost impenetrable. I vowed I would never hurt like that again.
God had allowed everything to be taken from me. My family, my job, my "stuff"- all replaced with self-loathing and despair. Some days I wanted no more of this life. I didn't want to wake up to "this" in the morning. To know that I had to live in this feeling of being unloved. Forgotten.
-But one day... There was a change-
God gave forgiveness. He gave love. He gave it all so long ago. I had forgotten what His son had done for all of us. If His blood could save us from all the sins that we would EVER commit - why couldn't that same blood cover my life? My marriage? My family?
"Take heart, have faith for I have overcome the world."
“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I was ready to try once more. Even if the outcome was to live a SINGLE life for Jesus- I wanted that. Did I want my wife back? Sure! My son? Of course... Did I have the faith to believe that it would happen? Wish that I could say I did, but I really didn't. I just knew that God COULD do all things. He WOULD be good and faithful in all things like His word said.
—I needed to be faithful to HIM as well—
I had stopped being faithful. I had always remembered to ask God for what I needed when I needed it—But what about remembering to give BACK to HIM? You may say, "Well God doesn't need anything. He's GOD. He made it ALL."
Well in a way this is true, this line of thinking is damaging and does not line up with the words He gave us to live by in scripture.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-12
He said TEST me - The ONLY place in the bible where He tells us to do that.
You're probably asking, "What does GIVING have to do with restoring my marriage??"
More than you know.
He told us to be faithful in all things. Not just some things.
o how can He bless, restore and give to us what we need and desire when we literally have His hands bound with spiritual "handcuffs"?? The answer is: He can't. We are limiting Him and His working in our lives. And the tragedy is, we don't even know it.
-What IS Tithing??
Tithing, as you read above, is giving God’s portion of our income BACK to Him. What is His portion? His word tells us that 10% belongs to Him. That is all He asks. You may say, "I can't AFFORD to tithe."
I am here to tell you that you can't afford NOT to! It cost me everything, literally everything by stealing from God.
Malachi 3:7-9 explains what I did and what most of you are doing too.
“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!
Ignore or dismiss His word and suffer the consequences. OR TEST God, just as He asked you to do and see how He will do MORE with 10% than YOU can do with the other 90% and how this will slam the door on the devourer who has stolen your life from you.
Where does my tithe belong?
Your tithe belongs where you are being spiritually "fed."
It could be your home church. It could be this ministry. Wherever that place is be FAITHFUL and give back to Him. I promise you will see big changes take place in your life.
It did in mine.
When I started to give that 10% of what I had (which, being without a job was very little and took all of my faith) to this ministry, I starting to see things happen. Breakthroughs started to take place. It was a journey that started with God showing me this simple truth: You can't out give God and it’s foolish to steal from Him.
Jumping to the "good part" of my story... Yes, my marriage was restored. Yes, my wife and I are in love and are better people now. Yes, I am able to see my son everyday and I even know what his favorite cereal is!!
These gifts I am so thankful for!
I will never forget what started this chain-reaction of events and blessings. An easily, overlooked command. To "give and it shall be given." To entrust all "worldly wealth" to Him. So that He can show you things that are more precious than handfuls of diamonds or bars of pure gold.
I am a rich man.
Not in earthly wealth, but in riches that will last forever.
UPDATE: This young couple was later blessed with a second son, a new home and a marriage that will last a lifetime.
If you are ready to make a commitment to GOD to finish the course, by CLICKING on your JOURNAL you've agreed, and are ready to document this next step along your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Take your time, sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and pour your heart into your Journal.
As an “Older women likewise…teaching what is good, that they may ENCOURAGE the young women…” (Titus 2:3) you will have the opportunity to speak to the younger women who are still single as part of your ministry.