In this world…

It’s very difficult to become a statistic. It’s particularly difficult when you’ve been sold on the completely unbiblical fantasy that being in the Kingdom will somehow shield you from the troubles of the world. It’s even more difficult when you’ve read and applied the concepts from all the Lifeway relationship books, attended counseling and seminars, and prayed with your spouse every night. Still, Christians get divorced, statistically in the same numbers of non-Christians. The daily prayers for my family’s protection, the Shaunti Feldhahn books, and the personal accountability group did nothing to shield me from the announcement that fateful night, three years ago, when my wife said, “I don’t love you anymore”, “I’m leaving”, and “I want a divorce”. There was no way to pray her out of it. There was no way to avoid the constant custody battles over the last three years. There was no amount of claiming the power of the Holy Spirit that would stop the freight train of bitterness and hatred and life-sabotage that is my ex-wife. The fact is, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We were never promised a pass on the shit-train.photo-1477295642034-731bf6bd37e2

Probably the only thing more damaging to faith than the breakup of my family and all of the related trials that have been my daily bread since, was my failed attempt to stand for my marriage. I found Charlene Steinkamp’s podcasts less that 24 hours after that initial announcement. I fasted… from everything. I spent a year taking in nothing but sermons, the Bible and Rejoice Marriage Ministries materials. I didn’t listen to music, watch TV, or play video games. I lived a life of constant prayer and meditation. I put Brother Lawrence’s practices into place in my life and never stopped talking to and listening for God. Admittedly, I experienced some amazing miracles during that season, and I still do. You will never convince me that God isn’t real and that He does not speak to us or act in our lives. After two years of standing, though, I was really struggling with the character of God… You see, He kept making it abundantly clear that my marriage would not be restored.

You see, I think that standing is great. I think that it’s something that honors God and the covenant you made before Him when you said, “I do”. The problem is, You can’t put God in a box that says He will or should restore every marriage. Maybe He has another plan and purpose. The rhetoric that calls anyone else who comes into one’s life after their first spouse a “counterfeit” or a device of the deceiver, sent to ruin your stand, denies God the ability to bless your life through anyone else.

I never thought I would be one of those divorced people, it’s true. I also never thought that anyone existed that could be such a blessing in my life as the woman I’m with now. I could never consider her a counterfeit. I could not have invented her if asked to create my perfect partner. She is nothing short of the most incredible blessing I’ve ever received. A blessing that I never would have experienced without the pain and suffering of divorce. Now, when I look back at my 10 years of marriage, I can see that I was tolerated rather than cherished. I was used rather than loved. I was abused instead of respected.

So, God is bigger than any box that we can put Him in. He loves to work in and through the lives of broken people. He delights to surprise us with joy in the midst of heartache and uncertainty. Take heart! Your marriage my be restored, or you may receive an unexpected and unfathomable upgrade. God. is. good.

…all the time.

Blessings.

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. After reading this article I just feel like you put a limit on what God can do to restore your marriage. How do you know 2 years of standing was enough? God answers at his own perfect time. You gave up. I’m happy you have a wife now though. I hope that you both have the legal grounds for divorce so that God can see your marriage as a true covenant marriage.

    Shelly

    1. Shelly, I don’t believe I’ve put any limits on God. I know that he can do whatever he wants to do… and likely will. I know that in my case he put me where I am now.

      As far as legal grounds for divorce, neither myself or my new love chose that… we were abandoned and divorced against our will. Saying that you “hope” I had legal grounds for a divorce that I didn’t want and tried to stop, is like telling a rape victim that you hope she wasn’t too flirtatious or dressed inappropriately.

      As I said in my post, I think standing is a good thing. I just don’t think the stander shaming is… I feel like I was really struggling with the whole shame issue back when I wrote my post on crying for encouragement. https://anotherstander.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/a-cry-for-encouragement/. Now, though, I have resigned myself to the fact that not everyone gets restored, women don’t come back (not one person was able to share a story of one that did), and perhaps not everyone should be restored. I must say that it’s awfully nice to be loved instead of abused and neglected.

      1. I just found your site. I do believe you were entitled to remarry if you chose (which you did) and that your new marriage can certainly be a blessed one but I want to address what you said about women not coming back and not one person sharing a story of a woman who did. It is true that there are many, many more husbands who return to standing wives but there are also many, many more long-term standing wives. But there ARE stories of wives who have returned to standing husbands. The wife of my elementary school crush returned to him after he stood for many months. They never divorced BUT I have 4 testimonies in my newest book from restored husbands whose wives did divorce them. I have pasted them below in case anyone is interested.

        May God bless you and your new wife in your life together.

        1. M. C. R.
        My wife and I will be married 15 years August 14… We have been on the rocks pretty much from the start due to my childish, selfish evil ways. Last September she finally couldn’t take any more heartbreak and gave up on us. It was truly over. We had separated before, but this time there was another person involved. It killed me.

        Finally October 29, 2013 I had had enough of me hurting my family and I committed suicide. God literally brought me back from the gates of hell and put me on a path. He completely changed my heart, thoughts, everything… No more of the complete self-gratification every minute of every day. He also gave me a hunger for the Word like you wouldn’t believe. I knew I was basically reinvented. So basically He helped me weather the storm of two relationships that I prayed through. I kept my head above water by focusing on Him constantly. I stayed chaste, pure of heart and completely loyal and faithful to my wife.

        My kids who had been poisoned against me were the first to return and forgive. They constantly told me to give up and move on. There plenty of family and friends trying to tell me what was going on on Facebook. I stopped them. I didn’t want to know nor did I care. I chose to not tell anyone anything negative about my wife or our situation. I was truly living as a happily married man. Of course my family got frustrated with me, but I was trusting God’s path for me… Which honestly I thought I was the only human on earth who was a stander for months and months… Little did I know, ha ha ha!

        I started learning about and practicing and made a conscious decision to seek a state of agape for EVERYONE… Yes even the other men. I prayed for them, I forgave them, yes I prayed for them to say or do the wrong things to show their lack of Godliness (they did) and for plans to fail… Those did as well.

        About a month and a half ago our car had some major issues. We really couldn’t afford to take it to the dealership to get it fixed, so I started driving my wife to and from work (a 45 minute commute) every day. Everyone of course saw the earthly challenge that I wasn’t able to work very much and my truck isn’t cheap on gas. I saw it as a total blessing. On those trips I stayed silent and only answered questions when asked.

        A couple of weeks ago I finally got the car problem repaired… A mystery loose connection in some wiring. We road tested it by driving around and she finally started opening up to me and reliving past hurts to her. I didn’t make excuses and only apologized. I gave her no fuel to keep that bitterness going. She started being more and more open with me… More than ever… In 15 years of marriage I was learning new things about her and I was sharing hidden things about me she never knew. It was painfully beautiful.

        Basically things snowballed from there and all of the sudden we are back together and completely in love! This isn’t a fantasy or temporary… I have been sitting on this just to make sure. The love we feel for each other is WAY different than before. Way way way better than I have ever imagined. I know the work of healing and rebuilding something more spectacular isn’t over, nor will it ever be, but we are secure, stable, and our dead marriage has been reborn into something beyond spectacular.

        I trusted God. He delivered in a way better way than I imagined possible. Of course this is only a very short version of events, but the wisdom I have gained that I can pass on to others is that if you hold onto God’s hand tightly, trust Him fully, Love Him more than anything else and stop living in the world and it’s darkness, He will not only pull you through, but He will change your heart, your complete being, and bring the dead back to life in way more amazing ways than any human could ever do or even imagine.

        Feel free to post it on your page if you think it may help someone. Thanks for your constant support, encouragement, and Godly wisdoms!

        2. E. S.
        My parents got divorced for three years and my dad started praying for my mom, they didn’t speak or anything and my mom was planning on marrying another man in three weeks. But God! God stopped that wedding and my parents have been together ever since, had five more kids and have been remarried to each other for almost 50 years!!!

        3. Scott
        “Words I Have Never Heard”

        As a boy growing up, people would occasionally associate greatness with my name–“Great Scott!” Though I liked it, great has never been a descriptor of my life. Pastors, friends, and former students have referred to me as a “good man” and my children have referred to me as “the best father.” But greatness has eluded me.

        Despite standing for 2 lengthy periods over 12 years, through 2 extended affairs, loving 2 non-covenant children as my own, the loss of my job and ministry in the fallout of our marital situation, 5 years of separation, 3 years divorced, being betrayed, rejected, and abandoned, as well as condemned and shunned by her family, I never heard these words: “You are a GREAT man!”

        Until last night… And from all people… My beloved… who through her tears after repenting and asking for my forgiveness for the hurt she has caused me, our children, and everyone who loves us…told me:

        “You are a GREAT man! I have been selfish and foolish not to realize it until now.” She went on to thank me for standing for her, for continually hoping for a miracle, for never-ceasing prayer, for always holding the dream of a resurrection of her soul and of our marriage, for showing her love when she least deserved it.

        There are not words adequate to describe how inspired and empowered I feel in the Lord today, following my beloved’s heartfelt confession. With those words, she has touched the honor, valor, and dignity in my soul. I have never felt more of a man that I feel today. I would give my life for her and our children in a heartbeat. Every tear crying out to God at the altar, every prayer, every ounce of anguish, the embarrassment and humiliation of divorce, and all of the lonely nights are immediately erased by the impact of these words.

        4. S. S.
        I want to tell a story,

        A story about how the world came crashing down on top of me one day and how I said things that drove apart a family that God had put together and ended my life. I had been injured at work, leaving my wife working 6 days a week at a men’s prison to make ends meet. How 2 operations later I found out I had relapsed with cancer and was given 1 year to live, out of the blue. My family did not deserve this, they deserve so much better. But what was amazing and what was yet to be lived was the rebirth of my life and the things that God had planned, he had to put on hold but what till you hear how he touched the untouchable, raised the dead in me, and did the absolutely impossible. When my wife and children moved out of the home we had spent the last two years in and went far away, where I could not find them, she was running from me, hated me with everything in her, had every intention of divorcing me and never looking back. I hurt her with the things I said that I could not take back and I knew it was over, I said to myself God himself can not repair this marriage, IT’S OVER!

        I knelt at the altar of my church, the same church my wife stood beside me in just weeks before and even heard my little boy talking from the nursery next door. I yelled to top of lungs as the whole congregation became silent, I screamed WHY! How could I have said that! Kill me GOD KILL ME NOW!!! Know how the bible says thou shalt not tempt the lord thy god. Well don’t, he did just as asked, he killed me, everything bad, all the pain, all the hurt, the anger the questions, GONE! He restored in me a new life, and one that I was destined to carry, one that I will carry never to forsake his guidance again on this earth and beyond.

        When he had finished with me in the matter of seconds it took him to kill the desires of the flesh and restore a new sense of purpose in me, I simply heard a small quiet voice say, “Be still, I will restore all things.” I knew he was work on my life and as long as I let him lead me, I couldn’t go wrong. The one thing I failed to understand and I don’t think I was supposed to, was all that did not belong was gone from me, but I still felt my wife and children there in my heart and soul. I even questioned this and only got the answer, learn from this, and never stumble on that rock again. My time is perfect and it is not yours. I had many people praying for me and I had NO idea of the work that was being done in the heart of my wife as I spoke. God led me to write her a letter and use my talents to make the family a DVD out of our photos. She left me the family photo album and I would later find out that it was all in God’s plan.

        One night over a month later the phone rang and it was my wife, she said she was hurt and was feeling for divorce, but wanted to thank me for making a loan payment for her that kept them from taking her to court and firing her from her state job. She was struggling to provide and doing the best she could, but just to hear her voice, to know she was praying and not rebounding into another man’s arms was a relief. I told her she was welcome and asked her if we could meet across the street from where she worked, at a station and get the receipt and DVD from me. She said yes after work tomorrow. I just continued to pray, and at 4am that morning she called and said she had spoke to friends that night and she did not think she needed to put herself through the torture of seeing me. I simply said if that is what God is telling you Ok I can accept it, but if it is what man or friends are telling you, maybe you should pray, I am going to be across the street and you let God lead you as to stop or not, She said OK I will.

        2:30 PM came and I watched as she came out of the parking lot and looked me in the eye, she turned right with her hung down and headed up the road, I stood there and whispered Ok God your will be done, suddenly she made almost an illegal U-Turn and headed back to where I was, pulled up beside me and unlocked the door. I got in handed her the DVD and papers, and asked her what changed your mind? She said I’m not sure, so I asked her, just promise me 1 thing, and that’s what ever you do and decide you will pray and let God lead you, I will be happy with whatever you decide. She promised she would, and I hugged her, when I released she grabbed me and kissed me like we were just married. I saw her close her eyes and felt what I can only describe as electricity pulsing through us. I got out and she drove away, waving and crying.

        A week went by and I really prayed hard, the flesh said the next time I hear from her will be from a sheriff with divorce papers, but the spirit that was growing stronger everyday, believed in my miracle working Lord and knew he was doing everything I could not. One night a couple of days later, M** from church and her friend also called me, she was crying and saying glory to God, “S** I just spoke to T**, she is going to call you in little while, she said against all her new friends and mother’s advice, she said she missed her husband and was so in love in with him, she said she needed you back and was scared you would not forgive her.” I dropped to my knees and looked up saying I will NEVER in any way doubt you again. She called and we talked for 2 hours total, she let me speak to our kids and we started making plans. We forgave each other, and even started right there on the phone rebuilding trust. She said, When she was laying down in bed, she heard Max, our youngest, talking on his play phone to me, saying ” Daddy you can come home now I be good and make you so proud. I love you daddy”, Zeb our oldest was on the couch watching the DVD I sent, that she put up and didn’t look at yet, he found it and played it and was crying. When they both sat down and watched it, he told her that he missed dad and wished I was there. She said do you want dad to come home, they both yelled yes. She thought all night of us and our good times, she even dreamed about or wedding and the judge holding our hands and saying that he and his wife had been married for 60 years and stood the test of time, for us to love and not ever let go. She felt God so strong in her heart and knew what had to happen, she ignored everything and everyone but God and went with her heart.

        I am in awe, God is so awesome, there is NOTHING he can not fix if you give it to him, work on your relationship with him and don’t make the mistake of taking it back out of his hands, but trust him, he WILL do the impossible right before your very eyes, and in his perfect time. We had split up twice, and I knew my relationship was OVER, finished, but God said no I joined you together and if you live for me, I will decide when you are finished. He has great plans for us and we will follow him wherever he leads us, and we will pray for those he leads us to and help whoever we can. I feel so different now, I am open and loving and ready to share God’s love, and want people to know what he did for me and what he can do for you, If you let him.

        God Bless each and everyone that reads this, please remember, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, you might think your marriage is over, but has God said it’s over? God Bless you all and this story is far from over, but to be continued…….

    2. Wow Shelly. You are incredibly judgmental. I read your reply and I thought, where is the love? I hope that the Lord will humble you.

  2. Never give up believing God is able.
    Never give up praying for your spouse who desperately needs your prayer.
    Never give up when you’re weary and want to bail out.
    Never give up when the battle is raging… you have an enemy who is out for your wife/ husband, out for your marriage and your family.
    Never give up Because he/she is worth it!

  3. Anotherstander, Thank you for your testimony. My story is similar to yours. I didn’t want a divorce. I begged, pleaded, then prayed, fasted, and fell in love with the amazing God who was there all along doing the miraculous. The ex went on his way without me. Several years later, God blessed me with a man who was also abandoned and in love with the same God. I’ve never known love like this love my now Husband and I share. We serve our God and purpose to serve and love one another. God restores the broken hearted! For those whose marriage is restored, hallelujah! For those of us with the unexpected and unfathomable upgrade, well, Hallelujah indeed! Blessings to you and your family.

  4. I’m sorry brothers and sisters in Christ, but the word of God makes it clear. Marriage is a one flesh covenant between one unmarried man and woman until death. Therefore, remarrying while your first spouse lives is adultery. I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel frustrated with how your spouse treats you, etc. But we have to remain focused. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus!!!!! And seek his perfect will!!!! Do you truly love God? Are you willing to obey him in all aspects of your life? Jesus was faithful to us wben we were sinners. The same concepts apply to our spouses. We are to act in the same way Jesus did. Patient, forgiving, merciful, and long suffering. Do not let Satan deceive you. Those who remarry while their first spouse lives have “hardened” hearts. Why would you cover your spouse with violence and break the covenant you made before God?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s