My friends, the comments on Friday’s post were amazing. All of them. Filled with honesty and truth and HOPE. I’m choosing to share this particular comment with the community because it’s a restoration story of epic proportions. Thank you Merlene for your courage and heart to share your life with us. Now here is Merlene’s comment to the young woman who is afraid to live her faith in her home:
This is a topic near and dear to me. My husband was raised in a Catholic home but was hurt by the church. When we married I was a Christian but not walking with God the way I should have been. We married six months to the day from our first date. I knew I should not unequally yoke myself to him but I was 25 and had never dated or had anyone show me any kind of affection. So I jumped in with both feet.
I got better about serving God and was not afraid to show it, but he was never on the same page with me and still is not. But I have watched God slowly change this man. Living in fear is not pleasant. Living with an alcoholic is not pleasant. Never knowing if you are going to set off a time bomb is not pleasant. But knowing God is always there at your right hand - Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
In 2008 he was transferred back to Iowa and left to get an apartment and I stayed in Illinois to sell our home. The market crashed and I eventually lost my job. Due to two DUI’s within a 13 month time frame, the distance between us became greater and greater. After 15 years of marriage it drove us apart and we divorced. It tore me up. It helped me grow closer to God that is for sure. And over time it also changed my husband.
Neither of us would admit it at the time but we made excuses to call each other from time to time over the 3 1/2 years we were divorced. I had a tendency during our marriage to be a very zealous believer. In many ways know I had a part in pushing him away from God because I was also very bitter towards sin (his drinking and smoking) and working a different shift and failing to be the dad his children needed him to be and it all was dumped on me. (I was his step mom to 4 children of which we had custody of 2) My answer to my pain was to throw God in his face. It was not my choice to divorce. However, afterwards I realized that I had as much to do with it as he did.
I say all that to say this. After 3 1/2 years apart and lots of digging into God's word and reading some great books on being a Godly wife, I realized I had not loved unconditionally. I realized that I had not respected my husband nor kept my vow I made to God to stay in sickness or health. Sin is a sickness. When I came to realize that, I bawled and repented.
I had never stopped loving this man. During our time apart God had put an older gentleman in my life that I thought was going to be my Boaz. Well ladies let me tell you something. Sometimes those men of God are just as unholy as the ones that aren't men of God. I decided I would rather be with the man who does not know God yet than with the one that does know God and is very critical and judgmental and unwilling to become the man God wants him to be. Real is better than fake.
At Christmas 2013 I stood face to face with the man I fell in love with in 1994 and confessed my part and we sat down and God showed me how he has been working to soften my husband's heart. We remarried in January and are committed to making our marriage work.
To this young woman with children I recommend that she not be afraid to share her faith with her husband or her children. I he doesn't like it then he has a choice to make. Don't walk in fear - 2 Tim 1:7 says God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Take small steps and do it in love. But let your light shine. We are all praying for you and know the path you are on.
Thanks Merlene for your testimony. Thank you for being part of our amazing community of SUM.
My friends, can you take an honest assessment of your life and see where you have been just as much of the problem in your marriage? Ouch. Tough to do but I'm thinking God wants to burn out some of the dross in our heart with this question.