Things began to turn through a crisis. I had seen my wife struggle to parent my step-daughter over the years, and in about November 2016, a lot of information of our stepdaughter leading a double life came to light. My wife was deeply distressed by what she had come to know, and seemed to have been going on for years. She opened up to me about how hard that year had been and what had been happening.
To be honest with you, my stepdaughter having had to move out was the last barrier in my wife’s decision to us living together. We decided to be accountable to a new couple who had their marriage restored in the church my wife was attending. And we are doing that to date. I felt the call to come back home in November 2016. A dear brother found my wife and subsequently me on the web. My doubts of returning were extinguished when this brother from RMI reached out to me.
Isaiah 40: 29-31
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Having had to do the marriage restoration twice over, I did eventually witness family becoming exhausted, friends becoming exhausted and more people sort of give up on us. Even in the church family, Christians may start to rationalize and see the worst in the situation that you are going through. Then, the narrative you listen to, regardless of its good intentions, fills you with fear. But if you have a call from the Lord, to restore your marriage, I urge you to fear not. Instead, confront and lay to rest your fears with what the Lord has done and can do.
In God’s Word, we are told not to be afraid 365 times, one for every day or the year. So I also urge you, knowing very well where are you may be, fear not! In Jeremiah 30 the judgement of God has been passed on Judah but despite that, the Lord has told Judah not to fear because his restoration would once again come to them. (The famous verse in Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you” stems from this). After their captivity, calamities and exile the Lord promised to once again bring them to restoration. Again, in Jeremiah 42, the people who were not carried off into captivity went into supplication to the Lord and he reassured them against having fear of the Babylonian king who had captured their fellow Jews. The Lord said HE would protect them. However, they did not listen, and ended up paying with their lives.
Jeremiah 30: 10
Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.
Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.
The promises of the Lord repeat themselves when we do not fear our situations and circumstances. Do not fear because: the Lord would be with you; will save you; will deliver you; and strengthen you. Please claim this promise when fear of circumstances grips you. Mediate on it and repeat it in your heart when you are going through difficult situations, like I faced.
As if the first time wasn’t bad enough, I had to listen to my wife again insisting for a divorce. She would tell me how much better she would be without me. This shattered my zeal for prayer sometimes. It actually left me confused. I made a decision to shut out what I was hearing and seeing because it would increase my fears. I found that the effects of fearing on your marriage restoration journey can:
- Work against your faith;
- Grow into worry and anxiety taking away your peace;
- Make you forget all the Lord has done and will do;
- Paralyse you in your circumstances.
So I challenge you: What are you afraid of? I was afraid of my stepdaughters’ influence on my wife’s decision, I was afraid that I was wasting my time praying for my marriage because the Lord was tired of us. I was afraid the threat of going through a divorce settlement. I was afraid of being embarrassed and how it seemed to outsiders.
The only way to turn the fear around was I had to re-learn to just shut out all fears and say to my heart the truth of God’s word: the Lord is with me, He will strengthen me, He will uphold me, and He will save and deliver me.
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”