Testamonies of how God healed these three marriages!
When our first child was born, my husband became jealous of my attentions toward our new baby. From then on, things went down hill. Our relationship became so bad that I felt miserable most of the time.
I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ when my daughter was almost 10 months old and I had a new outlook on life - hope. But as the years went by things kept getting worse. I began to hate my husband.
Through all this time, about every five weeks I would get really bad diarrhea and stomach cramps. After five years of this I had tests done. The doctors could find nothing wrong with me and diagnosed the problem as stress.
Our deteriorated to the point that all I wanted to do was to leave him, or hope that he would leave me. But God showed me 1 Corinthians 7:10,11; "A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." Because God’s Word is the truth, I obeyed Him, but in my heart I hoped that my husband would leave me. He was an unbeliever and 1 Corinthians 10:15 says, "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace."
God knows what is best for us. He left us both together. My husband became violent. He had always emotionally abused and threatened me, but only a couple of times had he physically hurt me. Until one night! I didn’t leave him but wanted to more than ever. Numbness came over me and I put up walls around my emotions. I became depressed and we went to counseling. My husband went away on a work-related course for five weeks. I enjoyed this time so much that I didn’t want him back, but God brought me back to His Word again.
As the time grew closer to his return I asked for prayer. As my pastor prayed for me, it suddenly dawned on me that I had to go through this suffering for my husband’s sake, for his salvation. When I got a grip on that I was fine. I understood WHY. I also had prayer at my study group and for the first time I was able to forgive him totally for all the hurts he had caused me. Previously I had prayed about forgiveness, but I hadn’t really forgiven deep down, until this day. This same day my husband phoned my pastor and I realized that my unforgiveness had held him in bondage. On returning home he met with my pastor frequently until finally he asked Jesus Christ to come into his life and be his Lord and Master.
We now have a happy marriage. My husband is now a husband in the true sense of the word. Previously he had no time for the children or me, but now he is a father. God knew what our marriage would become. I just had to hang in there.
Oh, and the five-weekly sickness stopped as soon as I had truly forgiven my husband!
ONE WHO KNOWS THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Canterbury, New Zealand
GOD GAVE US HOPE!
My wife, Jan, and I have been married for nearly 13 years and have been blessed with three wonderful children. We have a better marriage than we thought possible, but it wasn’t always that way.
Jan was from a small town in southern Louisiana and I was from Tennessee. I was born into a preacher’s home, but at age five, my father left, and then divorced my mom. He moved to New York State, remarried and I have not seen him since. During my childhood, we moved a lot and my mom remarried three more times. The last of my stepfathers came into my life when I was 13 years old. He and I had a rocky relationship to start out, but I’m thankful for him and he is a great grandpa. Through it all, the one constant thing in my life was church, and during my teenage years I developed a real desire to live for Jesus. As a result I went off to college to prepare for the ministry…just like my real father.
Jan was also born into a home that was broken by divorce, but hers was not Christian. As she puts it, "Some people are raised Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic. I was raised heathen." Jan’s life fell part during her teenage years. During this time her parents got divorced. Her father’s depression and alcoholism increased, and an older brother became heavily involved in drug abuse and trouble with the police. During all this heartache she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. She developed a strong love for Jesus and after High School came to Bible College in Missouri to prepare for the ministry. This is where we met.
We were married in March of 1985, finished school in 1996, and moved back to Tennessee to work on staff as Youth pastors. Over the coarse of the next seven years, I worked really hard to be the best Youth Pastor I could, climbing the ladder of ministry success. There was however, one big problem. I was giving almost all my time to the ministry and almost none to my wife and growing family. Jan recognized this, but the only response she got from me was, "This is the ministry, it has to be this way." As much as I loved God, my working to please the ministry, the church, and the denomination was not His plan. God’s plan was, and is, for me to be a godly husband and father first.
By the time we were expecting our second child everything fell apart. We were struggling with our finances, our relationship was in real bad shape, and I was a mess. I was carrying secret sins that were getting harder to hide and deal with. I couldn’t make Jan happy, I couldn’t make myself happy, and one day I quit. While she was away from the house, I packed all my belongings, loaded them into my car and drove away. I was running away from God, my family, and the ministry.
"How could you do that?" you ask. How could a Christian, and seemingly successful minister, abandon his wife, son and unborn child?" One thing is sure, it didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen and it followed a familiar pattern. Going into the ministry was not the only thing I did…just like my real father!
It is only because of God’s love and forgiveness that our story ends differently than my father’s story, and unfortunately many others. So here’s the rest of our story, or better still, ‘His" story.
After I left, we were physically separated for one year. During that year, divorce papers were filed and served, and our second child was born. It was a little girl named Hope (an event that I missed.) I continued to live in sin and rebellion, claiming my independence and freedom.
Jan lived through the hardship of being a single parent, trying to support herself and the two children. She turned to God, not away. Everything she did prospered. No matter what I did, it fell apart. I got further in debt and made a fool of myself at every turn.
Toward the end of that year, after much misery, I quit again. This time it was the right choice. Like a modern day prodigal son, I left my sin behind and headed "home" to try and make things right.
Jan and the children had moved to a small middle Tennessee city where they had become established in a wonderful church. I moved there and slowly, as we allowed Him, God began His miracle. For seven months, we remained separated. Jan and the children sat on one side of the church, and I sat on the other. Our divorce was still pending but God was working.
The church began to experience an overwhelming sense of the presence of God. During this time I discovered God as my Heavenly Father, something I had never allowed Him to be. God rebuilt me as a man, a husband and a father during some wonderful and humbling times of waiting in His presence. As the time of our divorce got closer we both realized God was healing our hearts and lives and would heal our home if we let him.
In November of 1994, almost two years after I walked out, we had a "renewing of our vows" ceremony. It was such a celebration of God’s love and power to heal and restore that a person who stopped by the church to use the phone during our ceremony accepted Christ as her Savior!
Since that time, God has not stopped doing miracles in our lives. In September of 1996 God blessed us with our third child, a little girl named Beau Victoria. She was born at home and again God’s presence was very real to all who were present. Her name means Beautiful Victory and she is all that, and more.
Although Barry got all the facts correct, the story is not quite complete. All of my life I have searched for security. I found a loving Christ in my teenage years and He filled the voids in my life. But when I married my husband, something got off track. As I watched the ‘ministry’ get more and more demanding, I grew unsure of myself. It all became very draining to me and I hated church. All the expectations and meetings smothered me. I transferred by desire for fulfillment from Jesus to Barry. This is a terrible place to put a husband. No human will ever fill the needs of another.
Then one day I found myself a pregnant, unemployed mother of a four-year-old, whose husband was gone! I was totally lost! I ran to my Heavenly Father and He began to draw me to Himself. It was a very hard time for me at first, but God gently provided. His precious Word became my strength. I gradually transferred my security to where it belonged. The Lord became my husband. Barry left us in November and Hope was born in April. Her birth was a wonderful time for me and seemed a turning point in my life.
By the time Barry returned, I was no longer interested in our marriage. But I dearly loved the Lord and knew in my heart what He was trying to do in my marriage. I struggled with all these things in prayer and one day at the altar God asked me to go beyond the "law" and see what His mercy would do. Twelve days before our divorce was to be final, I put it off. God gently led me through everything, even though the pain did not minimize.
Even after we were restored God continued to heal. We want you to know that God is able to take anything, any situation, and turn it into peace. His grace, His presence and His mercy can change any situation, and I repeat any situation, no matter how bad it looks. Just look what God has done in us.
BARRY AND JAN HAGERTY
Walls, Mississippi, USA.
GOD BECAME THE CENTER
Steve and I met in October 1988. I thought he was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. Everything was going great. In 1989 Steve proposed and we were married in 1990. We had a fairy-tale wedding, including a horse-drawn carriage.
We settled into married life. Steven had a great job, a nice car, and we built our own house. In March 1992 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Cohnan. It seemed we had everything we could ever want.
However, in 1993 things started to turn sour. Steve got heavily into drugs and he had no time for Cohnan or myself. I became attracted to another man. Our perfect life was a mess. I took Cohnan and moved out. During that time Steve lost his job and the house. Everything fell apart.
In the midst of all this mess, Steve gave his life to the Lord and he changed completely. It was amazing. I continued drinking and getting into the party scene. I thought my life was great. In 1994 our divorce came through. Our life together had legally ended.
One year later in 1995 I gave my life to the Lord. Steve and I were still leading our separate lives but were together in the body of Christ. The following year in May 1996 we were married again. We had a very simple but very powerful wedding. God is now the center of our marriage. Our lives together are so special and beautiful. When you think there is no hope, God comes in and does the impossible. He is the God of impossibilities.
St. Helens, Tasmania, Australia
Steve and Vanessa and Cohnan Davis. Steve and Vanessa have since been blessed with another son, Drew, born 30th July 1997.