This journey began just over 7 years ago. To some that is still the honeymoon period- to us it has been a long and very windy road. A lot of the journey documented in journals, late night phone calls and yes even these blogs.
I knew 6 years ago that the Lord said He would heal my husband- deliver him from his heart of stone and give him a new one (Ezekiel 11:19 & Ezekiel 36:26) but what I didn’t know was how grueling the next 6 years would be. There were moments and even months that I would forget what God had promised or I would second guess it- assuming I had created it in my head. There was no evidence in the natural of any shifting or change of heart….at least nothing that remained visible to the eye.
I always knew I would “know” in my heart- but because I never knew in my heart with each passing year, I became more discouraged. The Lord however was always faithful to reel me in and give me a reality check on my own heart condition, a condition that needed Him more than ever, a condition that just like my husband’s needed change and growth. I am thankful that I cooperated with the process because it would have been far easier to wander off the path of obedience because obedience is sometimes very painful and especially if others don’t understand why you would “put yourself through such agony by hanging in there if even from a distance”. I didn’t always do it cheerfully or even triumphantly but I did it. I pressed in and I clung to the scriptures to the best of my ability.
My closest friends and even some family members moved on and that was extremely painful. Not necessarily abnormal, but yes, extremely painful to watch other’s lives “go on” as yours sits in the furnace being scorched beyond recognition and you have no idea what to do with what remains and is known as the ash heap.
I cried many nights…and days. I fought relentlessly to offer up disdained thoughts and broken dreams to the Lord to be purified and made new. I battled staring at couples who held hands, laughed and openly swooned at one another. I dodged the fiery darts of temptation to covet the good things the Lord was doing in the lives of those I loved and even those I didn’t know. There were many days, weeks, months of imbalance, injustice, heartbreak, ache and scorn.
Oh the many seasons that came and went, came and went. Jesus was with me through every one of them- whether I was submitting to the process or not. He held my hand when no one else was there to do so. He spoke to me through nature and strangers and those I love. He wiped my tears and He held me close at night. He truly has been my all in all. I realize that to those who do not have a relationship with God this seems strange but I tell you- it is what kept me going.
Early last month my mother became ill. She was suddenly hospitalized due to lack of oxygen to her heart. She had a heart catheterization, a stent put in and is doing remarkably well now but during this time something happened with my husband. Well actually it had been happening but because we’ve been legally separated and had spent little time together, I was not aware of all that God was doing in his heart along the way. You see, I like most in this situation tended to be devastated by the “failures” that my eyes (and heart) were not always able to see beyond them. BUT GOD SEES THE HEART. And God can move on another’s heart to see things that they wouldn’t normally see. When my mother became ill, I needed to leave town immediately. I called my husband to ask him to come stay with our four dogs because obviously I could not take them with me. I was taken back by his countenance- his voice- his being. I cannot put it into words- but I’m telling you— a wife knows when she knows. I have seen this man at different stages throughout the years and when I tell you my spirit was bearing witness to something even I could not explain or understand, I am serious. I have seen glimpses of this in the past because I did have the ability to see who my husband was in God but this… this is just indescribable.
To those who have never been joined to someone enslaved and driven by sin you wouldn’t understand- but to someone who has, you just know. There is a joy present in my husband that was previously non-existent. There is a zeal and a vision and a declaration of purpose. There is a love for the Lord and His Word and he is embracing simple truths like a child. There is a hunger for righteousness and a desire to prove his repentance by bearing fruit that will remain. There is a seriousness of the reality of what has gone on and a desire to turn that around no matter what that entails. There is a demonstration of daily prayer and daily Bible study. There is an outward manifestation of an inward change.
My wedding rings have not been on my hand for over a year- not because we were separated but because two prongs on two of my diamonds were broken. For whatever reason I grabbed my disabled rings (a true representation of what our marriage has been) when I headed to my mother’s. Several days after my mother was released from the hospital I took my rings to a man who had been my jeweler for many years when I had resided there. What I was not prepared for was what would happen the day I picked them up. I walked in and he said “Michelle, you are going to love what I have done.” I thought “yeah-OK”…he handed me the rings and I could not believe my eyes. Then he said “you’re rings have been totally restored.” He showed me the things that were repaired in addition to the two broken prongs (all the prongs needed replacing) and then he said “turn it over”. I was baffled. I turned the ring over and underneath the ring stood out as if a spot light were beaming on it. I will try to describe in typed words: Three gold “stitches” (for better lack of words) that sat vertically on top of the three bands of gold that belong to my engagement and wedding rings. He then said “Do you see what I have done? You only had two chords here and I have added a third in the center. This will bring more security and stability” WHOA! Did you get that??!!! Right out of Scripture! Three chords is not easily broken!!!
Ecclesiastes 4:12: “And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
The Lord was clearly showing me the most important part of marriage: God at the center (and at the center He is)! Needless to say, I could not hold back the tears. I couldn’t wait to get to the car to call my husband and tell him what had just happened. I was even more floored when he told me that he had been looking for my wedding rings because he had just gotten a bonus from work and felt like the Lord was suggesting he use the money to fix my wedding rings!!! Guess how much the bonus was for? You guessed it- just enough to cover the cost of the “restoration” of my wedding rings.
Now I am not saying that you have to have outwardly signs like this with my rings to know that GOD is at work but it sure is awesome when He does stuff like this! The outward demonstration of an inner heart change is more than sufficient- this was just a “bonus”.
It is very soon to know what the future holds but as a dear friend recently advised- just rejoice in this season- don’t doubt or wait for the bottom to fall out- just rejoice! I am rejoicing today. Oh… and my husband joined a new church and immediately sought counsel on everything… tomorrow we are meeting with the elders of his church who will being praying over us for the restoration of our marriage. God is good. I will leave you with this:
Luke 15 – The Lost Sheep
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”.