Barren For 10 Years!
Eight days after our 10th wedding anniversary, my husband asked for a divorce. I was devastated, but it took this to utterly break me before God. That night, I didn’t go to sleep, but the Lord led me to scripture after scripture. I finally fell to my knees before my own sin. I couldn’t look away, blame, or give excuse for all the selfishness, pride, disrespect, disobedience, and rebellion that I had lived in for all 10 years of our marriage. Instead of feeling anger or betrayal toward my husband, I saw exactly the unlovable person I had been asking him to love all these years and I understood. The Lord changed me that night. I didn’t become a different person overnight, but each day God would strip away another layer. Immediately, He led me to a group of women who were standing for their marriages! They led me to Rejoice Marriage Ministries where I learned that I was a “stander,” and my husband was a “prodigal” (Luke 15). I loved that! It was so apt.
I believed my husband when he said there wasn’t another woman, but the Lord was preparing me for a different story. After a month of standing, the Lord was asking me if I would stand, even in infidelity. See, God knew the hardness of my heart. If I had initially known my husband had found someone else, I would have never been broken. I would have raged against my husband and would have felt justified as I took everything he had. But then, I would have never stood in the gap for my husband’s soul. Now, I know that everyone around me knew about the other woman, but they wouldn’t tell me. That was God. It took His work in me and gentle nudges to show me what His marriage covenant really means. As you know, the covenant made before God has no stipulations. I did not vow to love until my husband cheated. I did not accept a ring only until my husband’s love disappeared. I vowed until death, and God was holding me to that vow. It didn’t matter that it was the worst day of my life when my husband finally told me about the other woman. The next day wasn’t much better. I helped my husband move out, believing that God would bring him back. All of this, my husband knew, but he wouldn’t “come to his senses” for a while yet.
I was commanded by God to do four things:
1. To Stand: When I was so overwhelmed with how determined my husband was in pursuing this divorce, I told God that I didn’t want to fight this battle and I didn’t want to have to try and find a Christian lawyer to defend my stand. God spoke 2 Chronicles 20 to me and let me know quickly that I wouldn’t have to find a lawyer, nor would I have to fight this battle. It was HIS battle, and He was going to win it for me!
2. To Wait: I thought this meant that I would have to wait for my husband to come home, but God said I was to wait on Him and the work He was going to do in our lives.
3. To Be Silent: Whew! If you only knew me, you’d know how nearly impossible this is! But God was working and nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). I tried so many times to reason with my husband and point out what God was showing me, but it wasn’t my place and it only hardened my husband’s heart toward me. Through this, God showed me that I am nobody’s Holy Spirit. I can’t convict, and I can’t change a person’s mind. That is God’s job, but He showed me that what He does lasts forever, so I’m glad I can’t change anyone…it wouldn’t last. God told me that no man could change my husband. He was the only one who could change my husband and I needed to let Him work!
4. To Be Still: This was the hardest command. As my husband progressed in the Far Country, I saw the state of his soul. I couldn’t believe a born-again believer could believe the lies Satan was telling him. Satan takes the Word of God and twists it to fit what the flesh wants, which Charlyne taught me only leads to doing the will of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26). My husband was trying to find biblical justification for all of his actions and what his flesh wanted. Obviously, he couldn’t but he gave it his best effort. Needless to say, and he finally admitted it after he came home, he was miserable out in the Far Country, even though he told me then how “peaceful” he was! (Standers don’t believe anything your prodigal says!) There were many days I would lie on the floor in our home begging God to release me from this stand. I didn’t want my husband anymore after seeing where Satan had taken him. I didn’t want a man who would cheat on me. I didn’t want any of this! But God would let me rant and rave, then remind me of all the promises He’d given me and remind me that this path, though excruciating, was His best for me. Daily, I had to surrender my will to Him, believing He knows what is best.
My husband works offshore. He sent me an email saying he was coming home in a few weeks when he came back in town. He told me he believed God had finally answered him. He sent an email to the other woman ending their relationship. I was amazed! The Holy Spirit told me to rejoice. Ah, but Satan wasn’t done yet! A few days later, I discovered that my husband was still talking to the other woman and was beginning to doubt coming home. As the days drew closer, my husband was determined that he wasn’t coming home and told me he may never come back. I was prepared for false starts thanks to your ministry, but the Lord reminded me that He had told me to rejoice. So instead of me telling everyone that my husband wasn’t coming home after all, I would say, “He says he’s not coming home…” Our God has a bigger plan, and thankfully, He’s greater than man (Job 33:12).
I invited my husband to our house for dinner the night he came in from offshore. Although he resisted, he finally agreed to come. I had a vision to run to him when he came home, just as the father did for the prodigal. When my husband pulled in, he parked in the back of our yard. I ran across our yard in my bare feet smiling the whole way. When I got to him, I jumped into his arms and bear hugged him. He was laughing and smiling. He now says that when he saw me do that he knew he wouldn’t be able to leave! That night he kept trying to leave, but God wouldn’t let him. I told him that I understood if he couldn’t stay…I knew God would bring him home! Finally, after watching him wrestle to the point of exhaustion, he started drifting off to sleep on the couch. I told him to come to bed, but he said he had to do something first. He went out to his truck where he left his cell phone and texted the other woman that he was staying home. Now I understand the struggle; she had told him that if he ever came back home, they were over. My husband told me that was the first night of sound sleep he had through all of this!
I have to admit, the restoration of our marriage has often been more difficult than the standing. God has reminded me that He is still working on the other side of that mountain, and He’s not done yet. I want to encourage other standers that God doesn’t work the way we think or expect. His ways are higher than our ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Lord has been revealing His truth in doses to my husband. I’m still learning to obey those four things God commanded me. Just because my husband is home and our marriage is better than it has ever been, it doesn’t change where we’ve been and who we are to become. I will forever be a stander for my husband and our marriage.
God gave me a lot of promises while my husband was in the far country and I look forward to God fulfilling every single one of them. The first promise He answered is the return of my husband. The second promise was recently confirmed. For 10 years I have been barren. We are pregnant with our first child! Standing and restoration have been hard, but I still believe my God is greater and He knows what’s best! “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45
“Six months ago, I moved with my daughter 400 kilometers away from my husband. I wanted to start a new life after my husband moved in with the other woman. But God wanted me to pray for my marriage. I was unable to find work and couldn’t work due to my daughter’s illness but God has always provided good supernaturally. God told me to do what my husband says. He wanted us to come back to our home. Two weeks ago, we moved again, and I got three job offers, and I wasn’t even looking. Praise be to God.” (Germany)
“Praise God and thank you for sharing Cari and Ryan's video. I can't wait to watch it again with my daughter. I've been standing for my marriage for many years now and my prodigal entered into a non-covenant marriage. Our daughter is about Cari and Ryan's daughter's age, too, and she has given up hope. Nothing is impossible with our God! Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him. I love You Lord!” (Pennsylvania)
“After standing for some years my husband came home! PTL! After lots of prayer, fasting and unconditional love my breakthrough came. The other relationship ended, the OW moved out of state. Despite a non-covenant child and things looking hard - my God put everything in place! My husband is home and it feels great and worth every trial. With God's help our marriage is being rebuilt. Thank you for your prayers and support. God does heal hurting marriages. Prodigals do come home! With God all things are possible, so keep standing!” (Florida)
GOD STILL MOVES
Years ago, when I was standing for Andy, I came across the verse, Song of Solomon 8:7, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” It had meant so much to me, speaking of the powerful strength of love. It not only spoke to me of my new love God had given me for Andy, but also Jesus’ awesome love for him that would never fail. I asked my daughter to write the scripture out and frame it. All these years I have kept this framed scripture. Andy was not aware of it.
This year our church was selling homemade Valentine’s Day cards, with the proceeds going to the troops overseas. Andy decided to purchase one of these cards for me instead of going to the store to get one. When I opened the card he had picked for me, I was stunned at what I saw! On the front of the card was the same scripture that I had framed for myself so many years ago, Song of Solomon 8:7!
Valentine’s Day was the day after we took part in the Rejoice Marriage Ministries phone conference. I wanted to share with you what my husband wrote in my card……”My Dearest Wife, Going through the RMM phone conference yesterday made me once again realize and appreciate your great love. Thank you so much for your lifetime of devotion. I love you very much. Your Husband, Andy.”
This comes from a man who once told me, “Sondra, I don’t love you anymore, my love for you has died—it’s dead. I want to find happiness before I die, I have found someone else and I want a divorce.”
I am here to tell you that God; the Creator can create a new love where the love has dried up….never give up on our amazing God! Never believe Satan’s lies.
One day you can say like David……”Come and hear, all who fear God. And I will tell of what He has done, what awesome miracles He does for His people.” Psalm 66:5 Like David, I am doing the same.
I met James twenty-two years ago. “Who’s that new salesman?” I asked my co-worker. “I think his name is James, but why do you care, I thought you were done with guys?” Coming off a bad relationship at 20 years old, I had sworn I was done with guys...but he had caught my eye. “If he is from New Jersey, I’m going to marry him,” I told her. She thought I was crazy. It turned out he was from New Jersey, near where I grew up outside of Philadelphia, and we DID get married! Three years later in Florida, we became husband and wife.
After four years, we moved to South Florida, and were blessed with the birth of our precious daughter, Avery, in 1995. Like many young couples, we struggled as we grew a life together, but with the birth of Avery our whole world changed. I began asking the big questions about life. Perhaps the biggest question of all…”God, I know you exist, but who is this Jesus?” God answered that question and many more through a local Pastor. In 1996, James and I both gave our lives to Jesus Christ. We had found a new life in Christ, and a new purpose as a family. James’ purpose was found in his passion to serve others as a firefighter/paramedic and we celebrated as he was hired by a Fire Department about 60 miles away from our home.
At the same time, I accepted the call to teach at a new Christian school our church had started. The same year, Avery, started Kindergarten. It all seemed to be coming together, a new life in Christ, our careers were established and Avery flourishing in school. Then our family’s peace was shattered when I found out James was having an affair. For the next seven years, James and I went back and forth, up and down, in our relationship. We struggled with our sinful nature and what God would have us do. We both had times we wanted to just give up on our marriage, but when he wanted to quit, I would stand fast, and when I was ready to set him free, he would not leave me. From my perspective it was the most painful, but amazing season of my life. I learned the true meaning of sacrifice, faithfulness and love. On Valentine’s Day 2008, after years of pain and struggle for both of us, James planned a special night. He took me to the beach, served me dinner, and gave me a beautiful new diamond wedding ring.
God’s love never fails. God’s love toward me, even in my sin, humbled me so that I could love and forgive James during the toughest season of his life. That love, as God promises, “covers a multitude of sins.” This man not only loved me, he was finally able to accept God’s love and forgiveness…which changed his life.
From that Valentine’s Day on, James loved us and served us selflessly. My husband and Avery’s dad, was the man I always dreamed he would be, the man I prayed he would become. We renewed our wedding vows on March 26, 2008, and began what we expected to be a long and wonderful new life together. Then came that tragic, but glorious day, almost one year later on March 8, 2009, when God took James home to Heaven. Traveling on his motorcycle to the job he loved as a Firefighter/Paramedic, James was killed. The day he died, James was right with his wife, with his daughter and with his God. James stood before God that day and heard the words we all long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant...come and share your Master’s happiness.”
The promises God gave me through this journey were fulfilled. God promised me that James would “rescue souls from the flames.” His life and death are still accomplishing this truth. I continue to cling to His promise to me that, “Blessed is she who believes what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” The Lord also promised that He would “complete the work he started” in James, “until the day of Christ Jesus.”
James, God’s work in you is complete, well done. I can’t wait to see you again, until then you are finally home!
God has changed our lives and the Lord has really blessed our marriage. We just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We have been back together seven years.
Charlyne has taught us to pray for what you may have done wrong in your marriage. God led me to Celebrate Recovery. I sat there and cried as I had verbally abused my wife. She could not forgive me, so she left for someone else.
I was at Cell Group and when I returned home, my wife, Vickie had returned home, suddenly with our daughter. That is when the standing really starts. Our Celebrate Recovery leader and the Assistant Pastor were over for dinner last month. When I called to invite them to dinner, I shared with them the most wonderful words my grandson had said recently. His words made standing for marriage restoration worth doing. Our six-year-old grandson said to my wife, "Grandma it's been a while, can I stay overnight?" My heart just melted. That is the best anniversary present anyone could ask for!
As your books say, "We can break the generational curse of divorce." Our grandson was born with our marriage restored and he is so cute and loves his grandma so much.
“My husband and I have been divorced three years. I had no thoughts of reconciliation because our marriage had been very troubled. But God! The Lord began to work and cleanse my husband during this period. He drew closer to Christ and began to pray for our broken marriage. Recently, I found Rejoice Marriage Ministries and I also began to pray for a new marriage. Praise God we have reconciled! We are more in love than we ever were and we will remarry soon. Best of all, my husband now has a real relationship with Christ. He now has rejoined our church and we attend as a family.” Restored in Ohio
A TESTIMONY OF A RESTORED MARRIAGE
I was a Christian or so I thought. I prayed when I needed something. I praised when all went well. I pursued my career and wasn’t a biblical wife. I would never dream of making dinner for my husband or straightening the house because he was coming home. After all, I had worked all day taking care of the children. And the house, well he was the one with the problem with it, let him clean it. Blessing him? Why didn’t he bless me? I did all the work. I sat through a class one time where a woman discussed this very thing and I scoffed. “What century is she from?”
But when he said he wanted a divorce, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. My friends told me he was a bum and to get on with my life. People at the church I started to attend told me divorce was okay. Some of the pastors had been divorced. After all he had committed adultery. So, as I lay on the bedroom floor, in the fetal position, crying so hard I couldn’t even breathe effectively anymore, I cried out to the only One I thought maybe could help. That was the start of a faith walk.
First I had to believe He was real. And although throughout life I had prayed, even praised, I really had never come to the core of…is God real? I set out to find out. (More likely He set about revealing Himself.) And low and behold, one thing after another fell into place. I reconnected with an old friend who knew so much about God and His Word. I soaked it up like a sponge. I was bone thirsty for the Word of God and His promises. As I did, the chains broke off and I started to walk in that freedom that I had never understood and strange things started to happen.
I could hold my tongue in heated situations. I could be humble and even apologize. I could even apologize when I wasn’t really wrong. Just because God asked me to do it. Just to keep peace. I could be right, and lay down my right and let the other person be right. I could just shut my mouth, and let God be my justice. I started to hear God and walk in obedience.
I prayed about selling our dream house. I clearly “felt” like I should sell it and called the broker. It sold in three days and we were able to pay off many bills. I called the tenants at our rental house and told them that we needed the house back. They found a place to live in three days and we could move in right away.
But the one prayer that eluded me was, “God bring my husband home.” I begged. I pleaded. I cried. The children and I moved back to the old house and the divorce was going through. One day I was sitting in the parking lot of a Christian bookstore, crying, waiting for them to open so I could buy some self-help book someone recommended. Suddenly I wasn’t in the car anymore, I was standing before Jesus. He held me in His arms, stroked my hair. I sobbed onto HIS beautiful robe, it absorbed my tears, and yet there was no dampness on HIS robe. He told me, “This is not what I wanted for you. I will contend with your husband for you.” Now that should have been the end of the conversation. I mean I had come face to face with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I had been given a promise from the ONE.
I continued to pray. I continued to cry out. In all of that crying out, praying, and most importantly worshiping, I learned a lot about God. God showed me HIS view of adultery, and how to stop looking at the speck in my husband’s eye and focus on the plank in my own. We had conversations about me, my self-righteous attitudes, and my view of HIM. About how I must think I am God. After all, my prayers were merely directives, telling HIM what I wanted and how He should do it. I knew He had changed my heart one day while I was thanking God for so much and out of my mouth flew, "Thank YOU for the divorce." I was shocked at what I heard my voice say, but truthfully without this situation in our lives I wouldn’t have gotten to have this very personal intimate relationship with God.
Through all of this, God was teaching me to die to self. He was teaching me to walk in obedience and be humble. Like that first Christmas I couldn’t afford a tree or anything for that matter. But God told me to go and buy one for my husband, the woman he was living with, and her son. I left work and drove toward their house. I said, “God where am I going to find a Christmas tree?” But as I approached their street, there was a Christmas tree lot directly across the street. I said, “God, what if they already have a tree?” He said, “Well then they will have two. But do you think I would send you out on a rainy night to buy a tree they already have?” Duh!!! I said, “God what if they are home? You told me to not tell them that I did it.” God said, “Since I set this up, why don’t you let Me worry about the details.” And sure enough, nobody was there. The next day someone gave the children and me a Christmas tree. My husband called to talk to the children, and asked to speak to me. He never asked to speak to me without something nasty to say. So I braced myself, and he asked if I had bought them a Christmas tree, I told him, “yes” and I saw one of the first cracks in my husband’s heart. With great pain, fear and trepidation I agreed that the children could go there Christmas Eve night and come home Christmas morning. With great pain, fear and trepidation. This softened Stephen’s heart even more towards me. I was at home Christmas Eve night, crying on the couch when he and the boys pulled in the driveway. He spent the night. We woke up Christmas morning together as a family. Apparently the woman and her son did the same at his father’s house.
There was a Christmas present under the tree for him because God had told me to buy it. Three weeks before Christmas my husband was not even speaking to me. Only cold stares, and mean comments, if he spoke to me at all. But God told me to spend every penny I had on a gift for my husband. I had doubts. What if she had bought him this item? What if he threw it back at me? But God said, “His response is not why you are obedient to me. You are obedient to me because of who I am to you.”
Much to my shock and pain, he came and went several more times over the next two years and continued to pursue hard after a divorce. The settlement was terrible. No child support and I was going to end up with all the bills. My gut ached. I knew I couldn’t swing the bills. I cried out in prayer and cried over that divorce. I said, "God what do I do about this? This is terrible. It is like he is getting everything he wants.” And then it occurred to me, “Yes, yes, he is going to get everything that he wants, like the prodigal son.”
Truly and honestly the number one thing that got me through all of this was to surrender to doing things the way Christ would have me do them. As for me, in any way a situation concerned me, I was to be at peace. If God asked me to do something He would provide a way to accomplish it. I learned to rely heavily on the HOLY SPIRIT to show me what to do in every situation. I learned that usually what I needed to do was not going to look anything like the church or others thought it should. I learned that God is a very BIG, BIG God and was almost always going to do something unexpected.
After more than two years he came home. It was another five years before we were remarried this summer on the beach. I always thought our situation was impossible. I read Charlyne’s story and I thought, well she didn’t face this detail or that detail...but the truth is it didn’t matter because the details are for God to work out. He can and will restore your family.
GOD IS A RESTORER
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
In 2009 when my husband was expressing thoughts of suddenly not wanting to be married, I did not know to turn to the greatest healer there is, our Lord Jesus Christ. I believed in God and knew I wanted to go to Heaven when I died but that was the extent of my relationship with Him. Instead of leaning on God and turning to His Word, I turned to friends and took into account their perspective on my marriage, my husband and how to handle things going forward.
Some people said, “Kick him out, he needs tough love” others said, “give him a taste of his own medicine, make him jealous” and some said, “Whatever you do, don’t let him think you’ll wait while he figures this out or he’ll just use you.”
I spent months trying all the above while my husband fell further into sin. I did not get on my knees and ask the only true and living God what He wanted me to do. As a result things got worse until I discovered there was another person and that is when I really showed the enemy at work within me as I lashed out and verbally abused and physically attacked the man God called me to love unconditionally.
But God! God has a perfect plan even through the storm. Just as David had to literally run for his life for seven years even though he had been appointed king, God used that time to strengthen his character and mature him naturally and spiritually until he arrived at his appointed position! God did the same for me as my husband took up residentce a mile away from home and continued the non-covenant relationship. All the well-intentioned advice had gotten me nowhere so I finally surrendered to the Lord, fell onto the floor prostrate and cried out about what to do.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
It was then that God began to speak to me through His Word, supernaturally with signs and prophetic messages and it was only then when I received peace about my situation. No, my fellow standers, it did not remove the excruciating pain I felt and things did not immediately turn around in the natural but I had huge hope in my heart and I had a mustard-seed size of faith that God would do what His Word promises He will do. My husband would say things in the natural that sounded bleak, but I’d smile and nod my head and give it over to Christ knowing full well that this was only a season and despite what the words were that came out of his mouth, God was still going to tear down the veil of deception from my husband’s eyes.
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6
I put my wedding ring back on and went to everyone who I had spoken an ill word about my husband and our circumstances and proclaimed what God would do. I immersed myself in God’s Word and the lessons from RMM. I went to church and weekly Bible studies, prayed, fasted, travailed and began to show my husband unconditional love, always seeking God on how to handle certain situations like holidays and our anniversary. So many days when my husband was around me, I had to restrain myself from reaching out and touching his arm or saying, “I love you.” In the midst of my husband’s sin, God put a love in my heart so deep for my husband it was staggering even to myself that I could love him while he was doing so many things to hurt me.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to me. God will always do what He says He will do. His Word will NEVER return void. Never! Do you hear that? He will restore your marriage and family. He will turn your spouse from darkness back to light. He will soften the hearts of your spouse and children and family members that may not be seeking God’s will for your life, marriage and family but rather is looking at what your spouse is doing and judging the sinner instead of the sin.
Stand in the gap for your spouse while they are in the far country having fall prey to the enemy’s trap of lies and deceit. It doesn’t matter if your spouse is still at home, a mile away or 10,000 miles away. The details are not important. Yes, I know your heart is wounded and every day that passes you feel as though you don’t know how much more pain you can take but go to the greatest healer, Jehova Rapha, Our Lord, and allow Him to heal your heart and wounds. Sekk God on what He wants you to do while He is your spouse this season. Yes, even the men that are standing, God will be your spouse. He will provide everything you need because He is the only one who can meet your needs. The awesome thing about this season you are in is, God will go to work on you too. While my spouse was gone and I cried out to Him to bring my husband home and remove him from sin, God did something wonderful and that was to bring to mind all the things I had done that were sinful and did not line up with His will for me as a wife and Christian. I was ashamed and felt so guilty but God allowed me to repent and ask for forgiveness and then showed me in the Bible how I was to be for my husband and how I was to be as one of His children. I’d search the internet for various things about marriage and found so many teachings that spoke to me on how God designed marriage. I wasn’t the wife God called me to be before but I am now.
Months after my husband moved out, suddenly, just as Bob and Charlyne have proclaimed in so many of their teachings, my husband asked me out to the movies. By the end of the day a simple movie turned to dinner before the movie and an invite to his apartment that I had never been inside before. Three weeks later he was back home and he had ended things with the other person. No one can tell me that God is not in the restoration business. He designed marriage and hates divorce. While He works on you and softens your heart and gives you time to turn away from bitterness, resentment, anger, malice and discontent, He is working on your spouse, gently nudging them, tugging at them and even giving them dreams. My husband said he had no peace and had constant chatter in his head to go home.
God has a plan. He will turn what was meant for your harm for your good and possibly for the first time, your marriage will finally be built the way it should have started out when we took our marriage vows in front of God inviting Him into our marriage but ignoring His will instead. He will restore what the locusts tried to eat and instead give it all back to you double and in ways you can never imagine.
What God is doing in our marriage is beautiful. There is a deeper love, a greater connection. Passion is back that had been lost among years of marriage, complacency, children and life. It is mind boggling because my husband has always been my best friend and I thought we had a great relationship before but it’s nothing compared to what we have now. I remember crying out to God and saying, “Give me back my marriage.” And Him replying with, “I will give you a new one.” I didn’t understand that and then thought, “I’d be fine with my old one, thank you very much.” But now I see. God doesn’t want to give you back your old anything. When He makes a way in something, it will be new.
I am now respecting my husband and submitting to him as the man of the house and my husband is praying over his family and leading our home in Christ. We would have never arrived here without Christ’s intervention. In the midst of the pain, God had a purpose, to bring us back to Him. God knows what He is doing and His will is perfect.
A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
By Mary in Missouri
As another Christmas is drawing near, I am filled with such excitement knowing it is the day we celebrate the greatest miracle of all, which is the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I can't even imagine how exciting it was back in time when everyone was awaiting the actual birth of Jesus!
I wanted to share with everyone my own Christmas miracle of 2010 which is that my precious prodigal came home after three years of being in the far country! Praise the Lord! It was a few hours after Christmas Day of 2010 at 2:00 A.M. I was still awake, sitting in the living room when I heard a key in the door and in walked my dear prodigal! I can't describe the overwhelming joy in my heart when I saw him walk through the door! He had listened to a sermon and the minister said, “Receive your forgiveness and go home” and that is just what my husband did!
I could write a book about everything that took place from the day he left until the day he came home but it would have to be just that, a book! Maybe someday I will write a book about my stand if God leads me in that direction. Anyway, through much prayer by myself, my prayer partner and many other people's prayers, God touched my husband's heart and my husband turned his heart back to God and back to me and our children.
The years that my husband was away were very difficult for me and our two adult children. There were many tears, trials and conflicts. In the beginning of my stand, I just wanted my husband back but later on I realized that the most important thing to me, because I loved my husband so much, was his soul and where he would spend eternity. He was a Christian but had walked away from God and in the process he was then deceived by the enemy and tempted by another woman whom he started a relationship with.
There were days when I just felt like giving up and moving on but by the grace of God I didn't. I am so thankful to God that He sustained me and gave me strength to stand even though I felt I was so weak at times but it was worth it!!! I was up against negative advice, even from my own children, to move on with my life. It got so bad that I didn't even feel like God could hear me talking or praying to Him since nothing ever seemed to change. I know now that He was there with me all the time and the Lord was working everything out for my good, my husband's good, and our children's good.
A few of the good things that came out of this attack by the enemy to destroy our family are that my daughter's faith in God and walk with Him has gotten stronger. My husband realizes how much he and I are alike in every area of our life where before he thought we had nothing in common, which was a lie from the enemy. Our family has gotten closer to God and to each other. God has blessed us so much and in so many ways since my husband turned his heart back to God and back to his family! God turned what the enemy meant for evil and destruction into so much good for us. I just can't begin to tell you all the blessings that God has bestowed on us because there are so many.
I read other people's testimonies and I would wonder if I would ever have one to share. I have to admit that sometimes when I felt so hopeless I didn't even want to read testimonies and I am ashamed that my faith became that weak.
So, I just want to say, in all humility and honesty,that no matter how hard it gets in your standing for your prodigal spouse, don't give up on them! They need your prayers and interceding on their behalf because they are blinded by the enemy and they can't see the way out without our prayers for God to remove the blinders from their eyes so they can see God's truth and find their way back to God and home to their spouse and family!
God bless you all and may He give you His strength, His peace, and His joy as you stand in the gap for your precious prodigal! Please don't give up on them! It will be worth every difficult day, hour and minute of standing and praying!
God be with you and bless you and I am praying for you all!
PRODIGALS DO COME HOME
“To stand. To fight on my knees in prayer. To suffer and be persecuted for the sake of Christ and my husband’s salvation.”
I never knew what these words meant before my life changed forever on November 6, 2010. Three weeks before our seventh wedding anniversary, my husband admitted to a very recent affair. Confused, thinking he was feeling emotions of real love, he left me and my children. We had a newborn baby and a three-year-old. Devastation and shock doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I was completely blindsided, weak, lost and in despair. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit inside me told me to cling to Jesus and to trust Him. I was so scared though, worried about my small children and fearing the future. I was desperate for answers and support. I tried to regain some control in an uncontrollable situation. Talking to family and friends, people gave me advice left and right. I tried to convince my husband we were God’s plan for one another but everything seemed to push him further away. I didn’t understand how and why this happened. I knew we had weaknesses in our marriage but I thought we always had time to make it better. I never realized how many ways God made me “one” with my spouse until he was no longer there. It felt like half of me was missing and I didn’t know how to function. I ached for his return.
Crying out to God day and night, I was so weary from caring for a newborn and my three-year-old on my own. I was completely drained from my fragile emotionalstate. As time went on, my circumstances were not getting better. I had to put a stop to listening and pleasing others. God was the only one I wanted to please. He alone was my true comfort. Psalm 62:5says:Find rest, O my soul in God alone; my hope comes from him.I so appreciated the loving people God surrounded me with during that time but God alone was my Rock. Thankfully, through faith, I never lost hope.
Early on in my stand, God led me to some wonderful scriptures.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:16-17
I needed to be patient. God would take care of me. God showed me to pray for my husband with all I had and to not give up. But my circumstances seemedto get worse and worse. I heard the words “I never loved you at all” and “the kids will be fine, this happens to people all the time.” I was so shocked and dismayed that my husband was acting like a complete stranger. He was now completely rejecting God along with me, his covenant wife. He had moved in with the other person and filed for divorce. My pain was so extreme. I would lay on the floor weeping, unable to pull myself up. I even tried a divorce recovery group at a local church. But I felt so lost and didn’t belong there. They didn’t talk about praying for our estranged spouses or standing for one covenant marriage, one spouse for a lifetime. It was all about how to make myself better instead. I left that group, crying out to God for support.
Looking online later, I discovered Rejoice Marriage Ministries. I realized with joy in my heart, that everything I felt deep inside was biblical and there was a large ministry full of people just like me. Many others were willing to love their spouse unconditionally and stand for marriage restoration even past a divorce. RMM showed me specific scriptures to pray for my spouse like Psalm 51 and Acts 26:18 which says, “‘…to open their eyesand turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins...’”I was emboldened to pray against evil. The devil had come into my home to steal, devour, and destroy. My prodigal husband was not the enemy!
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
I was reminded that we are called to love like Jesus, especially in the words of 1 Corinthians 13. I was to love my prodigal no matter how he treated me in return. This was my calling from the Lord! Praying these scriptures over my marriage and family gave me peace, strength, and perseverance to push forth. I clung to God’s Word like never before. Worshipmusic replaced any others. Fictional books and watching television wereno longer interesting to me. All I wanted to do was pray for my husband using God’s words and find comfort within the pages of my Bible. I knew God could do miracles.
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
I had let go of fixing my marriage by my own words and hands. I had to completely surrender my husband, marriage and family to God. I felt persecuted from believers and nonbelievers. No one could understand how I could love and choose to forgive such actions. But Jesus is that ultimate example. Through deep prayer and trying to listen to His voice only, I was led to Isaiah 55. God showed me that He would provide for me and my kids (v 1-2). He showed me that my husband would turn from his ways and be reconciled to God (v 6-7). God reminded me His thoughts and ways are way above and beyond my own (v 8-9). And that His will and Word would be accomplished (v 11). Finally, the other relationship would end, and our marriage would be restored all for God’s glory! (v 13). Praise the Lord! I had this complete peace my marriage would be restored in God’s timing. A peace filled me that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). As I prayed on my knees each day, I knew I had to be patient and love my husband from afar. My prodigal assured me it would never happen, but I knew God would fulfill His promise to me.
God was moving on the other side of the mountain without me knowing it. From the world’s perspective, my marriage had no chance. I heard of my husband’s engagement and saw a new ring on his wedding finger. I thought it couldn’t get worse. But as I prayed, God showed me this was the devilpulling out all the ammunition he had left to destroy my marriage and family. Satan was trying to convince me to give up on my prodigal! But it made me pray even harder. He came to visit and I had total peace and love for him. As time had passed, by the grace of God, my love had only grown for my husband. I knew he was lost in darkness (Ephesians 4:18-19) and I trusted in God who is mighty to save on His timing not mine. My husband’s eternal destination was more important than anything else.
A coupleweeks later, things started to change. My husband shared that he listened to some Christian music again and he wanted some of his old theology books. He started to be more kind, apologizing for his hateful words and for missing the beginning of our precious baby’s life. He started to “test the waters,” asking me questions. He still thought he had gone too far to come back home. I assured him of my love and open arms and that he is always welcome back home. On April 3, 2011 my prodigal husband walked through the door! It was completely over with the other person. He wanted to be my husband again and wanted to be a full time daddy to our boys. God had saved his heart and soul, praise be to God! My husband returned humbled and completely broken. I felt broken inside myself but God is faithful to restore our marriage and family completely. The cross and the love of Christ covers all sins, redeems all, restores all.
Now a year later, I am blessed to have my husband by my side. We have come through the fire and now work on our marriage day by day that brings glory to God. We are cleaving together as one in this new place, building day by day on the solid rock of Jesus. We now know the reality of evil and what it means to pray for each other, our marriage and family. I now pray the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) daily against the devil’s attacks so he never gets a foothold again in our home.
We have victory in Jesus! I have learned to persevere, to fill my mind with God’s truth and put off lies from the devil. I have learned to fix my eyes on Jesus and run this race He has called me to (Hebrews 12:1-2). I have learned to always stand and fight this labor of love for my marriage and family. Praise be to God who has rescued us from the darkness and set us on the solid rock of Jesus that cannot be shaken. Prodigals do come home, may all the glory be His!
My husband Joe and I were married for five years before he decided on a family vacation to Disneyland that he "just couldn't do this anymore." That was Halloween week and he had moved out of the house by Thanksgiving weekend.
My two-year-old daughter and I were devastated and shocked. Both of us claimed to be "Christians" and had a relationship with the Lord, attending church frequently, but never centered our lives and marriage around Jesus. I panicked at the prospect of being a single parent and immediately began searching Christian internet dating sites for a new partner. I met and began a long distance relationship with a man in a different state, seeking to fill the void in my life with this new relationship. I wandered as deep into the far country as my husband did until I was convicted one night by the Holy Spirit about being double-minded. How could I be actively praying for God to save my marriage when I was having an affair with a man "just in case" I actually ended up divorced?
My mother-in-law gave me a book shortly after that called "Can My Marriage Be Saved?" which is a compilation of stories of saved/reconciled marriages. One story referenced Covenant Keepers and when I looked them up online in a Google search, I came upon Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
Your materials captivated me; I had heard of covenant marriage but never this concept of "standing." Once I got a hold of it I couldn't get enough of the Bible and what it teaches about the covenant and God’s design for marriage. I started acting on these principles praying God’s truths over my marriage and family and I began to notice a change in myself so quickly that it was actually shocking. I prayed for the Lord to break me and mold me into the wife He wanted me to be. I didn't want to have an adulterous relationship any longer and became content having Jesus fill that space in my life. I made a commitment to honor the covenant even if Joe wasn't at the moment, and I took God at his Word that he is a God of healing and restoration.
Joe and I spent the holidays together and the further I got into my studies about standing, the easier it became for me to treat him with such God-given kindness and grace that my co-workers actually used to joke with me that we had a better relationship while going through a divorce than several of them did married. I took these little opportunities to witness to them about what I was standing for and what I knew God could do, and they would snicker at me and tell me to move on. I truly didn't believe that our divorce would go through...but it did. On April 20, 2010 a judge ruled our marriage "dissolved." I loved your teachings about praying over the divorce decree and that it is just a piece of paper, but does nothing to break the covenant if you keep standing (quite a concept for me to regard a court ruling as "just a piece of paper, since I'm a lawyer!!).
My little girl and I used to pray together at night and thank God for restoring our family and for the brothers and sisters that were yet to be born to Joe and me. She would ask when will Daddy come home and I would talk to her about God’s promises and tell her that we'd wait for him as long as it took. Thankfully, my story of reconciliation didn't take long. Literally two weeks after our divorce decree, there was Joe, who was on my front porch weeping over the mistake he had made and asking if we could "date.” Because of where my relationship was at with Jesus, I found it so easy to forgive him and confess my own earlier affair. God had given me a love for Joe that I had never experienced during our marriage.
We began an awesome time of courtship, healing, and inviting Jesus to be Lord over our relationship. I drafted a motion to the Court asking them to vacate our divorce decree and Joe moved back home last October. Our son was born on August 4 and is nicknamed "the miracle baby" by the same friends and co-workers who snickered at me when I told them God would heal and rebuild our family. As crazy as it sounds, I'm actually glad the divorce was final. I think it makes our reconciliation an even greater testimony to God’s powerful awesomeness than if it were just a divorce "close call!” Praise Jesus!!
“I am rejoicing! After a year of praying night and day, I finally had a breakthrough with my spouse today. Thank you, RMM for your prayers. I'm going to continue standing and praying for all of our marriages. God bless you!” (Arizona)
“I have been fasting and crying out to Jesus. I gave it all to Him, but asked, ‘Lord I don’t want anything that is not in your time, but Father have mercy on my broken heart. If it is Your will and time, O Lord please bring my bride back. If it’s not Your time then I'll deal with it, just have mercy, O Father, on my heart.’ That night I must have woken up ten times frantically looking for my phone, and I didn’t even know why, but I never found it. I woke up in the morning and I felt God telling me to go get my phone right now, so I did. When I looked at it I saw that I had a text from my wife. She said that she didn’t know what to do anymore. She knew what she was doing was wrong and that I am her husband and she loves me with all of her heart. She said that she wanted me to come home! I immediately broke down and began to cry and praise the Lord. Praise the Lord for all of His power and majesty, as well as His mercy and grace. I know we still have a long road ahead of us to full recovery, but the Lord will get us through! Thank You my Lord and Savior, my rock and my refuge, I love You Jesus!” (California)
“PTL, we serve an awesome God. My husband came home suddenly. He called and said that he was having problems with the OW and he admits he made a very big mistake by getting into a relationship. He confessed his faults and asked to come back to his family whom he missed deeply. Charlyne, you are so right; our miracles do come suddenly. One victory God fulfilled as He promised. Now I am praying for my husband's salvation that will be sure to come suddenly, too. Thank You God; You are faithful to Your promises.” (Canada)
I GOT MY MIRACLE
My husband left in March 2010 right after I had lost my mother to cancer in December 2009. I begged him not to leave me at this time but he was blindsided by Satan’s lies. The road was very hard. I filed for divorce in June 2010 and he didn’t like the fact that I filed the papers. I was so angry with him that it didn’t matter what he said or did, I was not ever going to take him back. We were trying to come to an agreement about the divorce decree. He never would sign the papers. He would make up excuses as to why he couldn’t sign them. I then realized he didn’t want the divorce, but I didn’t care; I was going through with it anyway.
I know God was giving me every sign in the world about me stopping my divorce. By September, I clearly heard the Lord say to stop the divorce and that Marcus was going to come back home. The Lord gave me Isaiah 54 to stand on. I called my lawyer and he asked me if I wanted to put a hold on the divorce. I told him I wanted it stopped. He was very confused but I shared my stand with him.
The next months I began my journey to work on myself and get my relationship back on track with God. I told people that I was not going to give up on Marcus and he was going to come back home. They just shook their heads like I was crazy, but I knew God spoke to me. God changed my heart and He really started blessing me for obeying Him. My husband began to see the change in me also. He started communicating with me again.
2011 was the year that I really began to cry out for my husband’s soul, at that point it wasn’t about him coming home. I knew that if he died he was going to Hell and I had to fight for his soul. I began fasting and really doing spiritual warfare for my husband. By October 2011, I really began to see a change in him like he was tired and ready to come home. I would ask him to come to family functions and he would show up. Marcus would still refer to me as his wife. I knew God was working on him. The enemy knew his time was about up so he would try to bring out some big guns. I prayed and pressed on.
My miracle came in April 2012! Marcus suggested we renew our wedding vows in a little ceremony with family and friends who helped me pray for my marriage. God did just like He said He would. He brought my husband home and we celebrated our wedding anniversary on a cruise. I am the happiest I have ever been. To God be the glory for all He has done. I would like to thank Charlyne and Rejoice Marriage Ministries for all the encouraging emails sent daily. I am still reading them and praying for all the standers and prodigals. I will forever be a stander.
“I am confessing that my covenant marriage is restored! God made me a promise and I believe in His Word. He is not a God that He should lie. After some years of separation and months after the divorce, my husband said he loved me too! Praise God! It is not by anything I have done or said, my Lord gets all the GLORY! We are attending a family wedding in the near future, as a family. I am in awe of the unconditional love that He has for me and my family. Forgiveness was hindering my prayers and now I have a testimony that God does heal. Blessed is she who has BELIEVED that what the Lord has told her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45.” (Pennsylvania)
“After several years of standing for my wife to come home, two weeks ago she texted me saying she couldn't do it anymore by herself. My suddenly has happened. We are now planning on getting remarried in February of next year. I am still in awe at God's power. I had given up towards the end and started to try to move on with another woman but God wouldn't allow it. I tried but God told me, ‘What makes you think I'm going to give you more or less than what I already promised you.’ Now we are doing great and there is blessing every step of the way. We have a long ways to go and, as she said, a lot of catching up to do. God is so wonderful and gracious. Please never give up standers. You never know when your suddenly will come. Stay faithful and wait on God. Make Him your spouse as you await the arrival of your broken spouse. God will restore if you just wait on Him. Thank you RMM for all your support and help. May God continue to use you in a mighty way like He has in my life. God bless!” (Louisiana)
“Praise God, He is worthy. After standing for some time, my husband has purchased a ticket to join me and our family in my home country at the end of the month. I was given Ezekiel 36:36 early in my stand and dreams and confirmation of what my God would do and He did what seemed impossible to man. God is still working on saving my husband but I believe my rhema word throughout my stand, ‘He is Able.’ Ephesians 3:20. I also thank God for my support prayer partner and dear friend. I thank God for leading me to this site and thank you Rejoice Ministries for all your support. I have grown with my Savior and can now say He is my idol and not my husband. Our God is a jealous God!! Standers don't give up, keep praying, fasting and believing. I will still continue by God's grace to do my fasting and prayer for God is not finished. My testimony and my marriage and myself and my husband will proclaim to the people round about us that God's name will be PRAISED!!!” (Saint Lucia)
"One year ago tonight, I thought my world had come to an end when my husband left me for the OW. I had to take off work for a couple of weeks before I could function. I fasted and prayed like never before. I was led to RMM through a friend who stood for the restoration of his marriage. My husband and the OW told me I was delusional (speaking those things which are not as though they were). But who is delusional now? Tonight, I have my husband back in my life and it was SUDDEN, but the restoration is in baby steps. I am in awe at how God honors His word, praise, prayer, and fasting. My treasure is my relationship with my Lord from my stand. I learned from Charlyne that it does not matter what anyone says about my situation other than God. Ezekiel 17:24: "'All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'" (Georgia)
“My husband and I were remarried last month. He thought I was the enemy but it was just the opposite. He was tricked like the prodigal by his ‘so called friends’ and I prayed and heard from the Lord for 11 years that he would return. He divorced me and I never heard a word from him. I got many attacks from the devil and so did my children while I was standing for our marriage. God got us through them all, but it was extremely difficult. I never dated, and was faithful to the call. Finally, on the date of our first wedding, I saw him on Facebook, and he clicked me as a friend. He admitted that all the messages from the Holy Spirit, and all the scriptures were true that God gave me. He was in awe that I had prayed for him all these years. His journey was not easy either, and he suffered as well as we did. We are all so happy to be reunited as a family, and it was worth all the praying. God is Faithful and HE DOES KEEP HIS PROMISES!” (Florida)
"My husband came home almost one year to the day of our separation. I know I have been greatly blessed and not just because of his homecoming, but because God has transformed and humbled me. Life is still a struggle and many times I have to remember all that the Lord has done and promised to do and that He has not taken us this far just to let us fall down. I have weeks of being so spiritually attacked but thank the Lord Charlyne and Bob's devotionals are always right on for getting me out of my pity party. This ministry is such a life line to me. God's finger prints are all over it. God amazes me so much. I'm so glad He chose me to know Him more. Stand firm no matter where in the restoration process you are, God is so faithful to give faith, peace and comfort especially when you think your situation has reached impossible. The most important thing I can share with a stander is this: 'Make sure God is first, in time reading His word, in chatting with Him privately, in His will. Does He want you to fast, clean, read or love more? You'll see miracle after miracle when God is first. Praise the Lord. He is so good.'" (Florida)
"My husband and I are under the restoration process, I had the pressure of family, but our Lord led me each step. My parents are old and suffering and Dad urged me to divorce my husband. I told him that even if my husband is not worthy, Jesus is the only one "to undo the evil" (1 John 3:8). The love I have received in this trial has drawn me closer to God. I am still waiting for my prodigal, who is with me, but has not opened his heart with His Savior. God will open his eyes and heart." (Mexico)
"After several months of standing, my husband suddenly returned home two weeks before Christmas! We serve an amazing God. And thank God for Rejoice Ministries. They kept me standing when I did not have the strength to stand. Our reconciliation has been difficult but my wonderful Savior has drawn me so close to Him that I know He will restore my marriage to more than it was before this nightmare began. Keep standing standers! God will honor your stand. Stand strong!" (Kentucky)
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