The following testimony was recently shared by one of the FAM members who was blessed with sudden marriage restoration a year or so ago and I greatly appreciate his permission to share it here because I know it will bless many who read it and understand the truth of what MNO (member name omitted) has shared. So be blessed and encouraged by this amazing “After Restoration” testimony!*****
We Can’t Go it Alone!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s been way too long since I last updated or posted anything, and so much has transpired over the past year; so many blessings and yet so much time wasted wandering in the desert as well. Like the Israelites, we just extend our time in the desert when we’re filled with so much pride instead of submitting to God. So I want to share my testimony of how important it is to be obedient to God and to stay in His Word and to be involved with this ministry.
When we try to stand on our own, to lean on our own strength and understanding, we will fall. But do note that I said fall and not Fail! And that’s because God is always walking beside us. Yet as we all know too well, the problem is that we keep getting in His way. So I praise God for allowing me to fall and for the events of this past year because I now see that He still has so much work to do in me, and I want to share this with all of you to glorify God, His faithfulness and abounding love and to hopefully decrease your time in the desert.
The last time I posted, SNO (spouse name omitted) had come home and I was praising God for the restoration of my marriage. I was so happy and over whelmed that I let down my guard and took my eyes off of God, His Word and this ministry, and basically went it alone even though I knew from Linda and others that’s when the truly hard work of marriage restoration begins.
After several weeks of my wife being home, it was obvious that Satan was hard at work and didn’t want to give up, and she ended up going back to the NCP (non-covenant person) and her apartment. But instead of taking my thoughts captive and trusting in God, I immediately took on the victim mentality and was not the least bit forgiving. I kept focusing in on her sins and my loss and heartache, and I let Satan lie to me and convince me of how dumb I was to claim restoration, which made me feel embarrassed to be part of this ministry and that I was a failure.
I tried desperately to cling to the principles and lessons I had learned but didn’t realize at the time that this is not something anyone can do on their own. I even found myself missing church more and more over the year and spending less time in His Word. I was giving up and even questioned what I was doing; yet in spite of my weakness, God continued doing His work and brought SNO around and blessed us with more and more time together. So this past fall, my wife again broke things off with the NCP and moved into her parents’ home. I naturally sang God’s praises and gave Him thanks as we continued to spend more and more time together; but I still had not surrendered to Him and I wasn’t sold out to Him.
So when I found out that she had still been talking to the NCP, since I was not bearing the full armor of the Lord or actively involved in any ministry, I once again lashed out in anger towards her. I was not at all forgiving toward her and threw in the towel and completely abandoned my stand and had no interaction with her for nearly two months. I was so stubborn and prideful that I didn’t even go over to her parents’ for Christmas when invited; nor did I attend the annual family outing to go see our favorite play, A Christmas Carol, even though my wife texted me that she would really enjoy having me there. I was foolishly convinced that I’d show her what she was missing.
Well, I convinced her alright! I convinced her to take up the divorce proceedings once again, and a little over a month ago, she sent me an email saying that she’d be meeting with her attorney that week, and that I needed to gather all of the pertinent financial information for her. So that email was a real wake up call and I fell on my face and cried out to God. I realized just how far I had fallen and how I had made my restoration my priority and not my relationship with HIM! And I realized for the first time how I had been leaning so much on my own understanding; it was like a cloud was lifted from me and I could once again see the folly of my way. Instead of praising Him for my wife’s double mindedness, I whined about it. Instead of praising Him for our 25th anniversary, I cried about her not being with me. Instead of praising Him for and enjoying the moments we spent together, and there were many, I whined about the ones she shared with the NCP.
I was completely broken…I had fallen back to square one, so I immersed myself in His Word. I had received exactly what I deserved and yet God was not finished with me, even though I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I had let Him down. Yet His Word spoke to me stronger than ever before. And a week after getting that email from my wife, her aunt (who’s family is in their own valley right now) sent me an email and really encouraged me. She ended the email reminding me that the most important thing was to be Obedient to God along with reminding me of several verses; Philippians 2:12-13, Exodus 15:26 and Leviticus 26:3-43. Then God really put it on my heart that I needed to come back to this ministry and I read Shell’s post about God Examining our Motives. And that really got me thinking…had I made my stand for restoration my God? Yes, I had, which is so hard to see, but easy to do (Exodus 20:3 and Deuteronomy 5:7). And by doing that, I was just focused on my wife’s actions and the situation and my unmet expectations and timing. So my eyes were finally opened to that, and God brought me to the point of realizing that I was nothing without Him. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) It’s so true that on our own we can bear no good fruit, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19). And in John 15:5-8, Jesus very specifically tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches, that if we remain in Him and He in us that we will bear much fruit and that apart from Him, we can do nothing and will wither away.
Then God led me to the parable of the farmer sowing the seed in Mark 4:2-20…“He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
I think we all want to bear the fruit of seed sown on good soil, but in order to be that good soil, we need to put God first in our lives, we need to stay connected to a Bible based church and we need to be involved in ministry with others who encourage, support and strengthen each other. And we need to leave our pride at the door and put all of our trust and faith in Jesus and remember that God is faithful in His timing and makes all things work to His glory.
Well, not only has God been so good as to bring me back on my knees, broken and surrendering it all to him; He also continues to work miracles in my life and marriage. I had to go out of town for business for an entire week a couple of weeks ago, and I sent an email to SNO and told her that she was most welcome to stay with the kids while I was away and pointed out that it would be closer for her to go to work. By the way, the Lord blessed her with a job just five minutes away from our home after she’d been unemployed for nearly two years! She left me a voice mail that Monday morning and said that she didn’t mean to be rude for not saying hello when she dropped her stuff off that morning before work and saw my car in the garage, and ended the call saying “Have a good trip, Dear.” I just praised God when I heard her message; I had already left as I had taken a taxi to the airport, but she cared enough to call and used the term dear at the end of the call. Then she sent me an email the following Monday, asking if it would be ok if she stopped by on Tuesday after work to “say hello” and drop off some makeup she had borrowed from our daughter. So I responded that she was always welcome.
Well, as it happened, Chicago got hit with over two feet of snow that week which started that Tuesday. So imagine my joy and heaps of praises when she came over after work and it was the most relaxed and natural time because I just gave it all over to God. We ended up having dinner together, and as the snow got worse the later it got, I expressed concern about her driving all the way back to her parents’ home that night, which is about a forty minute drive. And she said that if it was okay with me, she was planning to stay for the night. Well, of course it was! We all had breakfast together the next day and spent the morning together as a family digging out our driveway, laughing and having a great time. And she asked if it was okay for her to stay that night as well and made us a wonderful dinner. She ended up leaving Thursday morning and thanked me for a wonderful week and not a single word was said about divorce!
As my wife left, I was praising and thanking God for such a miracle and for the first time in so long, not worrying about when she would come back. So I’m keeping my eyes on God and realize that He still has so much work to complete in me and I’m just enjoying being His child and each day as it comes. And I give all the glory to God and wish His blessings for all of you!