Paul moved in with a friend of his. We were both hurting. I thought I was right and he thought he was right. At the time, it seemed more important to be justified in our anger than it did to try and work things out. Surely I didn't deserve to be treated so poorly after all I've done for him. (I hope you can detect the self-righteous attitude, because believe me ... I certainly had one.)
There wasn't much communication going on. We both worked full time and were now living about 40 minutes away from each other. Neither of us had anything good to say so we simply said nothing. My husband wasn't getting any positive attention from me and became vulnerable to the affections of a very attractive divorced woman that he worked with. When I learned about the affair, I decided that the only thing for me to do was to get a lawyer to draw up divorce papers. I gave my lawyer all the necessary information and couldn't wait until she would just "get this thing over with." For some reason, I thought a divorce was the answer or at least what was expected of me under the circumstances. The weeks went on and the lawyer seemed to be dragging her feet. Eventually she told me, "Judy, I have to be honest with you. I walk with God; and, because I do ... I can not proceed with your case. I will not be party to burying something that isn't dead. I believe if you will be patient, your marriage can be saved."
Never have I felt such despair. What would I do now? I had no lawyer and I certainly didn't want to go through providing all that information to someone else. I have to admit, the time that I was pursuing a divorce were some of the blackest, most hopeless days I've ever lived. I had no peace.
I sought help from a beloved Christian friend who had known me for some time. She asked me, "Judy, if God were standing right in front of you and asked you what you would like Him to do for you ... what would you tell him?" The words came easily as my eyes filled with tears. I said, "I would ask Him to bring my husband back to Himself and back to our family. I would ask Him to use our family as an example of His ability to heal and restore." My friend, Jeanne said, "Well then, we know how to pray ... don't we?"
All of a sudden, everything
seemed so simple. Within a few days God spoke to me and said, "Yes, Judy.
You do have grounds for divorce and I will permit it if that is what you want.
However, if you are willing to walk with me through this time, I will bring you
great victory. But ... it will be very difficult."
As I waited on the Lord to bring me the great victory He promised, I began to be able to identify with His suffering and the rejection He had felt. Yet, He chose to love anyway. He did not throw stones at the adulterous woman, He offered her mercy and forgiveness and as His follower, I needed to treat my husband the same way.
People thought I was crazy. Why in the world would I hold on to someone who was treating me so? Certainly, God does not expect me to suffer in this way. Even Christians, counseled me to get a divorce ... God had someone better for me. Over and over again, God gave me the grace to put more faith in His word than the words of other people. Three of my four children didn't understand why I was holding on to their father and praying for him. My son, Mark, who loves the Lord and walks with Him was given a vision that someday his dad would be back. He was a constant source of encouragement to me. My other children focused on the pain that we were all going through. It was stressful being a single parent, having to be both Mom and Dad work full time and take care of the house, etc.
As I was burdened down with single parenthood, my husband was living the life of a free man. No cares, no commitment. He would spend most of his time with his girlfriend and her three children and whenever he wanted to take off for a ride on his motorcycle, he was gone.
Paul had become very bitter
about the things of God and said to me. "I bet you think that GOD is going to
do some great big miracle in my life ... don't you?" I did not answer, but in
my heart I said ... YES!!!
After three and one half years, my prodigal husband returned to the Lord and our family. It took a long time, but God has made a new man out of him and we are both very grateful. Our children rejoice as well and are now fully healed from the pain of that difficult time.
I pray that this testimony
brings you hope, peace and encouragement. What God has done for us, He can do for
you. May He put your marriage on the solid rock of His word.
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