By a sister in Christ… I’m so thankful for her willingness to share for the first time in a post. I never get tired of hearing how our amazing God heals broken people and relationships:
Bare fingers fussed around the edges of divorce documents. Time had passed long and hollow since the sparkling bands of diamonds and emeralds had graced the ring finger of the two becoming one. I was ready for divorce. I felt done. Yet, I lacked peace.
When I’d last prayed the still, small voice had spoken into my spirit “six months.” Six months what? I’d thought. Six months until he changes? Six months until this nightmare is over? Six months until I stop crying?
I decided to meet a lawyer just to get the legal facts. I’m certain my jaw dropped when she said,
“It’ll be six months until you’ll even get to court. Maybe you want to think about it some more.”
I had felt God wasn’t working and had been thinking the dry season without visible change was His sign I should divorce. Now, I had a stirring of hope. I apologized for doubting Him and counted six months on the calendar – about the time of our vacation to the ocean. Tired of waiting around for him, I had planned it for the kids and me. I would pray about it until then and make my decision when we returned.
In the meantime, I read the book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” and the Peaceful Wife blog. April’s counsel was challenging: turn your eyes to Jesus. Stop making an idol of your husband. My heart was full of unbelief, anger, and unmet needs and hurt. And pride. Other wives felt the same. What sort of crazy road was this? we all wondered? Yet, the women who had gone before us were all singing the same song over our souls: turn to Jesus.
“God is sovereign, not your feelings” April would said. That struck a chord with me.
The time of the vacation arrived. A few days before leaving, we had an argument. Normally I would have been crushed. Angry. Confused. Oh, it hurt. But this time I didn’t give in to the feelings. This time I prayed. And again the still small voice reached out to me through the storm.
Put your rings back on.
When God speaks, the layers of meaning in one sentence, one word, can be endless. I knew immediately the command to put my wedding rings on was a call to fight, to humble myself before Him, to stand strong, to stop being lukewarm about my marriage. I was either all in or I was out. It was time to stop sitting on the fence and crying because things weren’t changing.
I slid the cool metal circles over my ring finger. I felt like an idiot. They were like a sword piercing my pride. He probably doesn’t even know where his ring is – if he even has it anymore. The bitter thought quickly receded, however, when in that one act of obedience I suddenly understood this moment was not about a marriage to a man, but a marriage of a woman to her God. The rings symbolized a vow I had made to my husband, but more than anything else they were an outward sign of a vow I had made to God to stand with Him as a helpmeet to my husband through life.
“I’m so sorry, Lord!” I cried out. As I repented of betraying the commitment I’d made to Him, His Spirit filled me anew. The rings sparkled and danced with life. I’d forgotten how beautiful they were. For a moment the pain of the years lifted and I was a bride once more.
What I noticed next was a prompting of the Holy Spirit to confess out loud that I wanted my marriage to work. This was difficult. Part of me wanted to be free from the hurt and humiliation. I had been encouraged by several friends to file for the divorce and move on. In my heart though, I knew I still loved him and dreamed of having our family together again. I felt ashamed at having this longing in the face of such unlikely odds. The prompting persisted, so alone in the car I would whisper, “I do want our marriage to heal, Lord. I still love him. I love our kids.”
This continued for several weeks. I watched War Room. I made a war room in my laundry room with pictures from my wedding day and each of our children. I posted scriptures and hand written prayers and simple words like Bring him home, Lord.
I stopped fighting against the guidance of the wives who had gone before me, both in the Peaceful Wife blog and other forums He had sent my way. I let Him make changes in me. I focused on being more sensitive to the Spirit and simply got closer to Jesus. I got out of the way and God moved.
It’s taken some time, but there has been a real softening in my husband’s heart. He has apologized for the years wasted in anger. He listens to me now when I share my heart. He even tells me he loves me and I can hear in the tone of his voice it’s true.
I’ve thrown out the divorce papers and have begun to dream again.
And, yet, more than anything, my heart has the peace of a woman who has put God first, a wife who has learned (and is learning) to die to self in order to be a vessel of His goodness and redemption in another’s life. I thought I knew how to be a good wife. But I never asked Him how to be the wife my husband needed. God didn’t just want my cooperation. He wanted my submission.
Playing at the park today, I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in a long time. She looked at my rings and said “Oh, your rings are so lovely.”
As I pushed my son on the swing, the light of the sun sparkled over them as if imbued with Heavenly majesty. “Thank you.” I smiled. “I think so, too.”
If you would like to share a struggle you have had for a post idea or how God has been working in your heart and light bulb moments God has shown you – you may leave your story in the comments or submit it to me privately on my Contact page. 🙂
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The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord by April Cassidy (book link to Amazon)