This is a guest post by Ponder Woman. Here is an incredible example of a marriage that looked beyond hopeless by all human standards – but our God is a God of miracles and great hope! www.ellieponders.wordpress.com
I was baptized June 24, 2012, together with my husband, and this was my testimony. This is how I finally came to truly and completely accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.
For me, my baptism was an act of obedience to God, symbolizing my born-again spirit. Life has thrown me for a loop and sometimes outright taken me out of commission on a number of occasions because I was consumed with pride even though I did not realize it as such for a long time.
The way that I was prideful was that I felt that I was beyond the power of God. I was too wicked and too tarnished; too messed up for God to do anything with. I whole-heartedly believed that God could turn the vilest of sinners from their evil ways – redeem them to Himself – but I could not accept that His inexhaustible love could be inexhaustible enough where I was concerned. It was an inversely prideful lie that I believed when I told myself that He could never love me with the blackness in my soul. My inward beliefs came out through my words, extreme insecurity, depression, anger, anxiety, and my unforgiving attitude that eventually caused me to become bitter.
OUR MARRIAGE WAS VERY TROUBLED
My husband was rather difficult to love, especially since my idea of love came from the mainstream media. Our marriage began on a foundation of lies and extreme debt that eventually forced us to choose between groceries and bankruptcy. I often think now that we have remained married through the years only because we could not afford the luxury of purchasing a divorce. Our marriage was teetering on the brink of collapse basically from day one because we had nothing to build on.
To boot, we tried for a long time to hide all of the bad things that were happening. We had been separated four times in a six year period. Anger, strife, bitterness, and violence ruled our lives. I began attending this church almost six years ago through the influence of a couple of young ladies who I was working with at that time and have been coming here since then, although attendance has been sporadic at times.
I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Paradoxically, when I needed to be here most I avoided coming most frequently. I couldn’t stand the idea of being in the middle of all the good people in this church when my life was in complete shambles on every level. Somebody set me straight on the fact that the church is still made up of sinners, not a bunch of good people, a while back so I’m feeling much more comfortable.
I have believed in the existence of God my whole life and I have prayed the ‘salvation prayer’ as many call it about 800 million times, never believing that I was able to be saved, like I already said.
THE DARKEST DAY
The turning point in my life and marriage came earlier this year when a day came when a choice had to be made, one way or the other. My husband got so crazy angry one day that he attacked me verbally and physically in front of our children. I got out of the house and away from him only because I could run faster than he.
There has been a history of anger, violence and aggression in our marriage as most of you know – it’s not a secret and we don’t pretend that it didn’t happen, but our children had at least been spared witnessing it until then. The fact is that God is using it for good, even though there is still a lot of healing that needs to take place and the memories are still raw and painful.
Anyway, it was no longer possible to just try to keep my head above water after that day. Either I had to hand absolutely everything over to God and trust him wholly and completely or I had to continue trying to control myself and my life and take the children and leave.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
I had already had some experience being a single mother and I knew that there were some very serious issues there that I needed to face and evaluate. All day that day I sat at a coffee shop, trying to think logically and clearly, trying to figure out how I was supposed to redeem my own life and the lives of my two children. What was I to do?
As the hours passed, so did the police officers, tempting me to hand over my burdens and fears – unload my dark tale to them. I almost did because I just couldn’t see a way out. But I had had experience with this too and one thing was very clear to me – no governmental agency has the power to do anything except enforce laws currently in effect. They cannot change the heart and soul of a person.
My husband was criminally charged and convicted on multiple charges that involved domestic violence three years ago and that is how I knew that if I involved them again that our marriage was likely dead and over for good and my children would be effectively fatherless. This was a pleasant thought on so many levels but I had to put the best interests of the children in the forefront of my mind.
I MADE MY DECISION
Finally, I knew that there was nothing left to me but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I had come to the end of myself. I had spent most of my life trying to control my own self, my own life and my own circumstances. The worse it got, the harder I tried to control everything, hoping that I could fix it, make it better. Everything I ever did just aggravated my rocky circumstances still more.
That day I acknowledged that I had nothing left of myself and I could do nothing more. I told this to God and I kept on praying over and over as I went back home, ‘Help me, God; for the children’s sake, help me……’ I still didn’t know where I stood with God though, so what happened was that I slid into such a deep depression that I really didn’t care what happened.
My husband had somewhat calmed down and we mostly just stayed as far away from each other as we could. God was faithful even when I wasn’t and the very next Sunday an opportunity presented itself in church where I was able to just say something along the lines of ‘I need help, I’m not going to make it.’
This person encouraged me to meet with her and tell her everything. I asked her if she really wanted to hear everything because there is a lot of really dark and depressing stuff included in the package. She insisted and I figured that she probably wouldn’t be so eager to assist me when she did hear it but at least I would have the pleasure of totally rocking the axis her world was spinning on and possibly knock her socks off to boot.
It was I who was shocked when she not only listened to all I had to say, but still wanted to help me and walk with me as I began this journey of overcoming and healing even after she knew the darkest and most painful parts of my life.
That same day was when my husband was contacted about his behavior as well. He was not pleased but when he had had a meeting with the pastor and been held to account for his actions he came home and thanked me for getting help.
Through involving the church it was, thankfully, change and healing that came to our lives and marriage. My husband has gone from being an angry man prone to violence to a gentle man that rarely even raises his voice. It’s incredible. It’s miraculous.
Our lives have never been the same. There is a saying which speaks about the truth setting us free. Though I know that it is Jesus who sets us free from the bondage of our sins and liberates our souls, the Bible does quote Him as saying that He is the way, the truth and the life.
That day when I spilled out my whole life, everything ugly that had been eating up my life and my soul; I had the first taste of freedom. I am still healing, but I’m not trying to heal myself anymore – it is God who is the Healer and I am grateful I don’t face the responsibility of trying to make something out of the terrible life I was living, mostly in secret, for so long by myself because I would only succeed in making things worse. I still get times where I go back to the way I used to be because it is who I was for such a big part of my life that it is a default setting for me if I’m not proactive in remembering God and all He has done in my life.
A WORD TO WIVES WHO ARE IN PHYSICAL DANGER
I feel it very important to add that if any woman is reading this that is being physically abused, especially if there are children involved, that she knows that the best thing to do is GET OUT. Get help. You can always come back if you have had some time to think clearly and make changes in your own life and get support in building a healthy marriage, if he’s willing. You absolutely should never stay in a dangerous situation. Ever. Get out and get help. Your children are too important to keep in a dangerous situation.
ABOUT MY BLOG
I’m a die-hard “grace-aholic” learning to give myself to the healing hand of God as I labor to overcome my past and become a godly wife and mother. I’ve recently joined the world of blogging at www.ellieponders.wordpress.com where I will share a lot about my past and what God is teaching me as I’m coming out of the midst of all the ruin.
A NOTE FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
There may be times when women do need to call the police if a husband is very violent – or a husband may need to call the police on a violent wife. That will be something that each person has to pray about and seek God’s face about in order to decide what is best – and you may need godly counsel about such a big decision. But I completely agree with Ponder Woman that the police can’t change a person’s heart and soul. Only God can do that. Ultimately – we ALL DESPERATELY need Jesus! Only He can transform our hearts and minds and make us into the husbands and wives of His dreams!