Love, the CHOICE!
My husband and I have been married for six years. When we started out, we were young, crazily in love, and thought we were ready to embark on a Christian marriage.
Looking back, I believe we married for the wrong reason. Love (the feeling) is nice, but it only gets you so far. Then you meet the real deal. Love, the choice.
We were in our third year of marriage when we crumbled. A shameful addiction so many men face, a lack of communication, and a wife whose heart had grown cold, made for the perfect storm. I was eight months pregnant with our third child, when one dreadful night my husband committed the biggest regret of his life.
Our sex culture and the icy cold of a wife's bitter heart is a destructive combination, even to the strongest Christian man. No one falls away over night. I'm speaking of myself too. How many nights did I choose to withdraw from my husband’s heart? How many times did I choose to treat him based on his performance instead of seeing him with eyes of grace? Do I believe I drove my husband away? Yes, I absolutely do.
And so the rain fell on our home. Our young children lay helpless in the eye of this storm. A divorce filed. A family fell apart.
During this time, God would not let me go. I had made a promise to my God that I would love this man until I took my last breath, and I was still breathing. I was faced with a choice--to fight for the very person who betrayed me. Lay down myself and love him without condition. Choose to crucify my self-righteousness and win his heart back again.
Looking into the eyes of my children, this choice became easy. Never in my life has God taught me more about the heart of Jesus, and the heart of the Father, who holds to covenant with a vengeance, regardless of what we've done. This is when I was first introduced to Love, the choice.
I made a decision to love my husband as God loves me. A love that says, "It doesn't matter what you've done; it only matters who you are and you're my covenant partner." A little faith and a lot of prayer began to turn things around. I won back the heart of my husband, but more than that, God won back my heart.
When real trials hit and we're forced deep into the arms of our Father, we gain intimate knowledge of who He is, and who we are in Him. I am made in His image, therefore it is an honor and priceless privilege to mirror the heart of my God--a heart of mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
I'll never forget the night my husband came home. He's never held me so tight before or since that night. We cried together, and vowed a new life and a clean slate. Our past was behind us, as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more.
An added bonus. God put a desire in my heart for more children. As we sought to truly live for Jesus, we fell under the conviction to surrender my womb to God. We conceived our fourth child shortly after reconciling our marriage. Through him, God gave me a beautiful gift--a completely natural birth after three horrible c-sections. We are now pregnant with our fifth child and couldn't be more excited to see how many precious little arrows God has for us.
Today, my husband is my very closest, most treasured friend. He is my protector, my provider, my lover, an earthly manifestation of kingdom truth, and a reflection of Christ to me each and every day. He is a man after God’s own heart. I am my beloved’s, and he is mine. My husband cherishes me above and beyond what I ever could have imagined or dreamed. Today, my marriage is my absolute greatest blessing.
Do I regret everything we went through to get where we are today? This question haunts me at times. I can feel the breath of the enemy on my neck, and I choose to renew my mind in those moments. I have come to this conclusion: regret is our own inability to accept God’s forgiveness of ourselves. I don't allow myself to come into agreement with regret. Sometimes we can only get beauty from ashes. My hope is that by the blood of The Lamb and the words of my testimony, others too can overcome.
Gilmer, Texas, USA
Printed in Above Rubies #92.