I sat motionless in my chair, listening to all the other women give their testimonies. I nervously shifted my feet back and forth. What would I even say when my turn came? I’ve never even truly thought about what my testimony would be. Their stories held me spellbound. They were stories of strength, of sorrow, of pain and of God’s grace. How would my little story of “I grew up in a Christian home and have always gone to this church” compare to that?
I left Ladies Bible Study that day inspired, amazed and frustrated. God had worked in these women’s lives and their powerful stories touched hearts. I’ve heard so many powerful testimonies over the years, all filled to the brim with God’s amazing grace. I left that day determined to figure out, think on, document and write my testimony.
I grew up in an amazing, stable Christian home. At nine years old, I prayed with the Pastor’s wife after children’s church and asked Jesus into my own heart. I can count on one hand the number of Sundays I missed church during my childhood. It was just a given, Sunday morning meant worship. I never went through a rebellious period and questioned that. I adored every part of church, from the Wednesday night teen group to sitting in the back pew Sunday mornings with all my friends.
Then it happened, that one thing that shakes you to your core and makes you step back and struggle with doubt about Christianity. As I graduated high school, a small get-together was held at church. A very prominent man in the church, an elder, one that people respected, came over to talk to me. He congratulated me and gave me a hug. During the hug he whispered in my ear “we know what you’ve been doing and it isn’t very Christian-like, we’ve been praying for you”. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I stood there, my mouth gaping open, trying to process what had just happened. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. The “horrible” actions he spoke of with such disgust were me dating a boy who wasn’t of our same religion. At that point Sunday mornings became a challenge. How could I go to church and face someone who felt so terribly about me? What if everyone felt that way about me?
My college years were spent pretty far from God. I might have been sitting in church Sunday morning, but I certainly didn’t take God along with me when I left. Church was really more of an afterthought. I would go if I had time or wasn’t too busy. It certainly wasn’t my first priority anymore.
Not long after college I met my husband. It was a whirlwind romance; met in February, engaged in May and married in June. I’m totally going to admit, I don’t think there was one time while we were dating that we spoke about God. We didn’t really ask each other what our religious beliefs were, what our thoughts were on church or how we wanted to raise our children. And here we were, a young married couple at just 20 and 22 years old trying to survive in a divorce-ridden world.
We had babies super quickly, one the first year of marriage and the next our third year of marriage. I’m sure glad that didn’t complicate our relationship (sarcasm). So now we were young people who hadn’t known each other very long, newly married, still learning how to live with each other and now raising babies. You can see the writing on the wall, can’t you? Throughout our first few married years, we might have attended church a few times a year. We were, sadly, what I like to call the “Holidayers”. You would see us on Christmas and Easter.
I always knew when it came to my babies, I wanted them to have the exact same Christian foundation and upbringing that I did. So I worked hard to instill those values and morals in them. I read them Bible stories from the same book my Mama read to me. I knew they needed that stability.
The first few years we were married, it was hard. We were living two separate lives, basically strangers simply co-existing in the same household. We had endured affairs, hurt, heartache and pain but yet it wasn’t enough to wake us up. We continued to take turns being the villain, shifting blame from one to the other. And we didn’t guard our hearts, ever.
Then it happened, the day I had dreaded. My husband left. He walked out the door and left the children and me. I was broken. Totally broken. But in that moment of brokenness somehow I knew exactly what I needed to do. Even though I had ignored God for years, in that moment He was seeking me. He was nudging my heart, telling me to come to Him. And I got on my knees.
One evening, not long after he left, I drove my car back a dirt road. I followed the road to the top of a hill and pulled in to the perfect spot, nestled among trees and open fields. It was a gorgeous, clear night and the sky was filled with stars. I sat there that evening and cried for hours while talking to God like He was sitting in my car with me. That evening the seed of forgiveness was planted in my heart.
I realized my relationship with Jesus had taken a backseat to life, along with my marriage. Actually, Jesus wasn’t even in the backseat, He was in the trunk and had been for quite a few years. I did not have time for Jesus to trip me up when I was busy living the ways of the world. Once I realized that, asked for forgiveness and started to nurture my relationship with Jesus THAT’S when things started to change, when I started to change.
Our love story didn’t end there. It did indeed have more chapters to it. The reward of restoration was well worth the wait. And I am eternally thankful that our love was rescued by God ♥ I adore the beautiful God-scripted love story I have.
God not only restored my marriage but He also drew this broken girls heart right back to Him. He mended my broken, angry, damaged heart. He picked it up, held it in His hand and put it back together piece by piece. God has drawn me closer to Him than I have ever been. God has changed me in ways that words can’t even begin to describe. He has transformed the way I think, speak, love and live. Things that were once important to me aren’t any longer. I am so thankful to be a daughter of the King!!! Do you know Jesus? Because He sure wants to know you!