Wendy, how did your restoration actually begin?
Fortunately, I found the RMI just three months after my husband left us on Christmas Eve. I believe I was guided by God to go on the Internet and search for restored marriages, which was my Divine Appointment. I'll never forget that day when I found hope.
At first, I just signed up to receive the Praise Reports, just something to feed my spiritual arrogance. I believed that I was in control of everything, until the end of March. Everything changed, after I'd been following another ministry and did everything they said was my right as his covenant wife. I dutifully and eagerly was chasing my husband, sending him texts and emails, showing up where I found out he'd be.
Due to my separation, my Visa had run out, so I had to return to my own country, to live with my parents with our daughter, while my husband stayed in the United States, where we had lived. After I was back for a few days, I got an email from him saying that, for him, everything was done and finished, and there was no chance we could resume having the kind of life we'd been living. I was in shock; I just never saw it coming.
How did God change your situation, Wendy, as you sought Him wholeheartedly?
God had my attention, so instead of just entertaining myself with praise reports, I began to read the book How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage and A Wise Woman. As I read each page, He began to uncover my mistakes and sins, like peeling back the petals of an onion. During our marriage, there was adultery, not just on my husband's side, but I, too, had committed this sin and kept it hidden from him.
As I was reading each book for the third time, I started writing in both books, not just highlight portions. I started to write notes near each verse and principle, in the margin, every time my Lord showed me another sin and the mistakes I'd made during our marriage. I wrote, and each time I did, my heart broke. At the end of the book, with my heart totally broken, I drafted a single email to my EH asking for forgiveness for everything I had done in our marriage--each time I'd accused him, confronted him, for all my contentiousness, self-righteousness, and for being a "Pharisee." I asked him to forgive me for having complained about everything and for not respecting him as my husband.
Instead of getting a reply, several days went by, and he did not answer me, so I went back to my old ways and started chasing after him, and, of course, it only made things worse.
My husband's silence was another wake-up call for me. God made it clear that I had to rely on Him for everything. I read and studied the testimonies; that helped me a lot and got me to the point of realizing what was missing—having a relationship with the Lord. I began the first Abundant Life course, and, by the end, I got to the point of waking up thinking only of Him, which I had thought was impossible, and believe me--it is not! I never in a million years believed I could be someone who called herself His bride, and I want Him even more than I wanted my marriage restored or my husband back.
I changed the people I hung around; I changed the sort of clothes I wore, not just because it was something that my EH always said he wanted, but because I wasn't doing it for him anymore. I was doing it for my new Husband, and, for the first time, it was no longer about what I wanted. I became submissive to the Lord--doing things I did not do in marriage--knowing that the Lord was looking into my heart and pouring His love into me, made me different.
As my journey progressed, people at first believed I'd had a mental breakdown, but as time went by, they began to notice the change was more of a transformation. I became a very happy person, content, and aware of other people's needs, not just my own. I knew that I was reaching the place that God had for me all my life. I was becoming the servant, the friend, the woman, the mother and the wife (as His bride) that He had designed for me and that I did not know how to be until He led me here.
What principles, from God's Word (or through our resources), Wendy, did the Lord teach you during this trial?
There were many principles that I learned. I am flabbergasted because although we read the Bible as Christians, we think we can just live our lives, ignoring the Lord, never apply the principles in His Word, but it's not supposed to be like that!
Today, I read the Bible with a Concordance nearby, and when I encounter any negative feeling or thought, I quickly lookup a verse, find the original word, look up more verses and then write it all down on my cards. For the first time, when I have an encounter "with my enemy", I speak less, and I listen more and remain agreeable. I learned to have a meek and quiet spirit that is precious to the Lord, and, as He says, I have learned to be content during my Restoration Journey, whether it's on the mountain top or in the deepest of valleys.
Today I know that I can win my EH without words, and anything I need to know I can go to God to give me wisdom. Before I decide in any given situation, I stop and speak to Him to know what to do. And unbelievably and incredibly, each and every time the Lord "creates situations" to answer me and leads me along the correct path to take and to the decisions I should make.
"Letting go" is the most difficult, just like everyone says, and it is the most important for us to succeed in to complete the restoration journey. Now I understand letting go, this one act of the heart shows our "FULL TRUST" in the Lord and in God's ability to restore our marriage.
Many things have changed in my life since beginning this journey. I constantly read the books and reread lessons, rather than entertaining myself by watching the telly or surfing through social media. Even after restoration, I continue to go back to renew principles (primarily in the Abundant Life books) to make certain I am not sliding down the slippery slope of putting my marriage or EH first. I must continue keeping Him in First place, remaining a work in progress, in order for this to succeed and to keep the blissful happiness I experienced as His bride. After restoration, as before, we all have to refresh ourselves in the principles we have learned here, for our own good, for our families and for those who are watching our lives.
What were the most difficult times that God helped you through, Wendy?
Without a doubt, the most difficult time that the Lord helped me through was to resist pursuing my EH. It felt so good in the flesh, and from associating with all the other Stander's, it was like coming off of drugs. There were many hours I was facedown on the floor praying, begging the Lord for help to forget my EH and to want only Him. I wanted with all my heart to keep my mind on the Lord and have Him the only person in my heart. I wanted to love Him as never before and to feel His transforming love to be all I wanted and all I needed.
I knew God needed to work on me, and I was not willing to back down. I simply didn't want to slip into my old ways, which is so easy to do. It finally happened, but it became very difficult once again when we began to communicate and talk again. I did not know how to deal with the situation, of having him around, how I should speak and deal with having totally changed my way of communicating with him. But each time the Lord directed me, after much fasting and time in my prayer closet, just being alone with Him.
Today, I know that everything becomes easier and second nature, once we have a deep connecting with our HH, because all the direction comes from Him, as we naturally want to walk according to His will and not our own, free to flourish and no longer living a life that is so destructive and useless.
Wendy, what was the “turning point” of your restoration?
Without a doubt, it was when I let go, no doubt when I put Him first in my life and heart. Also, when I realized it was the salvation of my EH that was at stake if I stayed living as I'd been. Also, when I was no longer fasting for the restoration of my marriage, nor for myself. One day, I woke up and decided to begin a 40-day fast, for his salvation and to have a genuine encounter with the Lord like never before. On the first day of fasting, in just one hour of praying for his salvation, he contacted me.
I want to remind each of you reading my testimony that as you are changing, being transformed, your spouse will also be. I never believed that was true, but it is. And it's done without a single word from you, due only to the change He's making inside of you, dear ones. So let it go; let God do it. Let God restore your marriage, as the book says.
Tell us HOW it happened, Wendy. Did your husband just walk in the front door? Wendy, did you suspect or could you tell you were close to being restored?
Yes, I suspected. The day before it happened, God had shown me in His Word (Isaiah 38:1-7 and 2 Kings 20:1-7) about when King Hezekiah receives a death sentence from the prophet and how he wept, and then he says, God will pardon him and give him more years.
In fact I had other signs, because the situation in my EH's life became very complicated professionally, after our separation, and with that his financial situation had been compromised; then I also noticed that God was talking to him about the restoration, because he told me he'd been thinking about it, but he was still resisting, due to his financial ruin. I believe he was embarrassed, yet at the same time, he did not want to lose contact with me. Let me assure everyone, this wasn't just because of my transformation, but because the closer I became with my HH, the more He was to me, the further away from my EH I stayed. I completely ignored him (and this was the state of my heart, not just my actions with the intent of faking Letting Go), which is when he first started sending me emails, asking me, then begging me to write back (because I would never reply to his emails).
I no longer looked for him; I did not ask anyone about him. It was he who wrote, pouring out his regrets. One email he sent included one of the prayers we were taught in one of Erin's books, in RYM, about praying the thorn fence around your husband, so he could not find his way. He said exactly what we pray: "I have come to the conclusion that I must return to you, because I have always wanted you from the beginning!" When I read that, I remembered the prayer I'd prayed (because I’d let go of praying for him or restoration), but He'd heard, set an appointed time (when I would want my HH more than anything), and He did it! Thank you, my precious Husband!
I learned to take all my promises about specific things to the Lord and speak His Word as my own. Doing this in my everyday life, I declared His promises over everyone. When the Lord gave me a Word about anything, I remained steadfast in it, until I saw the promise materialize. With this, I learned a new faith, an effective and precious intimacy, and peace only increased. So when I was first asked to return to the United States, and then he pulled back and said no, I was at perfect peace, and I readily agreed it was for the best. Sure enough, the next I heard was to watch for my tickets to arrive, and we boarded the plane and were reunited at the same airport where I'd left, alone. I was a different person this time, and so was my husband.
Our HH makes everything perfect, and His word does not come back empty.
Would you recommend any of our resources in particular that helped you, Wendy?
I have and will recommend forever, not only during a crisis but for the maintenance of each and every marriage: How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage, really studying A Wise Woman workbook, pouring out your heart in each lesson when taking the courses, review the Be Encouraged eVideos, and--especially--reading through the Bible during your fasting.
Would you be interested in helping encourage other women, Wendy?
Yes. Not only am I interested, I already have a group of 10 women that I meet with, where we share only praise. We discuss the many ways our HH cares for us throughout the week, and each of us leaves with our faces glowing! It also serves to keep Him first in my life, so that I do not fall into the trap or onto the slippery slope of focusing on my EH.
Either way, Wendy, what kind of encouragement would you like to leave women with, in conclusion?
I understand that "Letting Go" is what most women fear. Yet, you must believe in the Word of the Lord and put Him first. It's His love that will make all the changes in your life. We must focus on what God created us to be, and it's not just to get a husband back.
In addition, if God is demanding something from you, give it; do not hesitate; do not delay, because each time you do, you are only postponing your blessings from happening. Don't be like the people of Egypt who stayed 40 years going around the same mountain. God has conditions to work in your life. At first, it will hurt, but His love is the healing balm that will soothe your soul and spirit, calming you of your addiction of wanting a man and marriage no matter what. Marriage and a husband is what He wants for you, but not when you're obsessing over it.
Trust what the Word says, and remain there, in His truth, and with that, you will receive what He has promised you! Believe, He is always with us, even if we do not feel Him; He is there right beside you! Acknowledge His presence, and your life will change.
I pray that your heart will be changed, your mind renewed and that you will live the fullness of the way He has called you to live—as a bride of the Lord—with Him as your Husband!
God bless you on this beautiful journey! Your life will never ever be the same!!