Astrid, how did your restoration actually begin?
First, I want to say that all of my testimony is for the honor and glory of the Lord! Without Him, His immense love and mercy, none of this would be possible.
It all started when I got married young, very immature, with little idea of what a marriage really means. I only considered the wedding and not how to live as a wife. And with no sense of being a "wise woman" as you can imagine, my husband and I fought A LOT, over small things, all the time. I didn't know how to shut up. I didn't know how to speak kindly. I always wanted to be right and I didn't accept "backing down" in any discussion.
The fights were really terrible and each time I opened my mouth, I pointed out all his defects, being blind to mine (there were so many!). Besides being contentious, I never took pleasure in taking care of our home, being a woman of God who builds her home, caring for others and even wanting children, I was like every woman in this fallen world we live in.
My husband always complained about it but I (knew) I was right, saying that I was not his employee! (Absurd!!!). Well, time passed and we were coming close to our 2 year anniversary. Due to failed contraception we had a child, a son and when our son was 1 year old, in another one of our heated discussions, I started to tell myself and God that I couldn't take marriage anymore! I didn't know what else to do. That I didn't want him in my life anymore and I felt lost.
A few days later, situations started to happen that I thought were "signs" God was showing me to separate! (How naive!). I did not know that God NEVER wants a marriage to be broken, that God hates divorce and that was not His will, but what I wanted! Well, a few weeks later, I (who was already super cold and distant to my EH), asked my husband to leave the house. It wasn't what he wanted, but he left. He asked me several times to rethink, to try again, saying that marriage was forever, that he loved me. And I, completely blinded by sin and hardened in heart, did not listen.
I think it was about 3 months later that he really wanted to come back and I said, no way. I filed for divorce. However, the lawyer sent it incomplete and we had to redo it. When we went to redo, I kept the papers in my car, and I didn't close the door right when I got home and it rained. All the papers got wet! And I kept putting it off and thank God this divorce never happened! Glory to God! He was already working in our lives.
After a year of separation, with one failed divorce attempt after another, my Nana asked me to take her to church. As I was sitting in mass, I told God that I was feeling lost, I asked Him to do His will in my life, that I was giving my life in His hands. Suddenly, everything started to make me want my marriage back! I never imagined this would happen to me. To want to do everything differently!
I really wanted to live together again and take care of our house with pleasure! I looked at my son and cried thinking how I was able to destroy our family! How blind I was! So I thought that when I went to talk to my husband, he would want to come back and we could remake our little family.
When I said, I’d like to talk! He looked like someone else! Extremely cold! He said he didn't want to have anything to do with me, that things had changed, he spent a lot of time thinking it over and that he was enjoying his life and that today he had peace he didn’t want to lose! I got scared! I always thought that if I ever wanted him back, he'd be there!
In a rage, I began to insist, tell him he was cruel, told him to come to church with me, sent him scriptures, but nothing, nothing worked. On the contrary, he felt increasingly distant and completely indifferent, more resolute in his decision. He told me he had no one, he just didn't want to come back, he couldn't imagine himself with me anymore. One day I saw a conversation with a "friend" on his cell phone. I asked who he was talking to, he was very angry that I touched his cell phone, and said that I hadn't changed as I’d claimed. We fought again and he was even more distant, if it was possible.
How did God change your situation, Astrid, as you sought Him wholeheartedly?
After that, I texted an apology, he was cold in reply. I kept looking for reasons to talk to him all the time. I went to talk to a man from my church and he prayed with me, calmed me down and encouraged me not to give up. I said that God would restore my marriage. I remained steadfast in prayer. I cried many, many, many times at the Lord's feet. With each cry, with each prayer, I felt transformed, I felt closer to God. I went through a real conversion, I started wanting above all to do the will of God, to follow His Word, to want to be closer to Him and do what was pleasing to Him. I was changing as a person, not only dealing with my marriage, but with everyone in other situations. I thanked God for the opportunity to be a new woman, for His mercy, for calling me to be close to Him even having sinned so much! I kept thanking Him for His transformation, even though I didn't have my marriage back, I was becoming a new woman.
It finally took a turn when my husband and I were talking about how to handle the holidays. Every year he travels to another country to be with his family and he wanted our son to go too, but because he was little, he couldn't stay long. So he proposed that I go with them. I was happy and accepted! I thought that’s when our restoration would happen and that we would return as a couple. How wrong I was, I got so frustrated a few times, but I quickly turned to God, knowing that His plans were better than mine!
What principles, from God's Word (or through our resources), Astrid, did the Lord teach you during this trial?
"All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose".
What were the most difficult times that God helped you through, Astrid?
This trip lasted a full month and a half and can I say that at times it was very difficult?! Quite different from what I imagined it would be. My husband remained completely cold, distant and indifferent towards me. He showed absolutely no desire to return to our marriage or show the slightest interest in me. I felt really bad and rejected because we were altogether in such tight quarters and with his family.
Many times he would leave me there with our son and go out with friends, go to neighboring cities, in short I was there as a nanny for his son. At times I despaired, but I knew God used this time to humble me. I’d been nothing but arrogant and self-centered and God needed to break me fully so I never went back to the way I’d been!
I began to think of it as impossible, that perhaps God did not want to restore my marriage. I asked my HH to support me, because I couldn't take it anymore! Every time I said that, after crying a lot and talking to God, I felt renewed and had the strength to continue. Until one day I put "restored marriage" on google and found RMI. It was what I needed! I downloaded the book "How God can and will restore your marriage" and started reading. Everything seemed to fit! I had already regretted the separation, but after starting to read the book I understood all MY mistakes during the marriage. I was ashamed. How contentious I was! I was unbearable, disobedient. I also tried to restore my own marriage rather than letting God do it.
Astrid, what was the “turning point” of your restoration?
When I started to understand my mistakes and learn the principles of shutting up, letting go, that changed me even more. The situation seemed the same, but I started to feel a lot of peace while reading the book, a lot of faith and a lot of certainty. I believed it would happen in God’s time, and He did plan to restore my marriage. It was only up to me to obey and wait and allow Him to finish transforming me. I couldn't force anything or try to do anything on my own, such as make charges in me I knew needed changing.
The book was the one that completed my prayers, then I found A Wise Woman and began rebuilding my life and my mind on His Word. When I combined my prayers with the principles I learned, things started to change!
Tell us HOW it happened, Astrid? Did your husband just walk in the front door? Astrid, did you suspect or could you tell you were close to being restored?
So, still on the trip, after more than a month of being away, while he was gone and I was at home, reading the Bible, studying lessons, pouring my heart into my journals, when he called me and asked if I wanted to go out with him. I was sooo scared! I had so much peace that I wasn't expecting it to happen! I said I would, so he came to get me and we left. And there he told me that he wanted to try again, that now he could imagine a new life with me.
He proposed that we still not live together, and I accepted, saying “I agree, I’m not ready.” He gave me a kiss and when we came back to his parents house we were holding hands! I was very happy!
However, in the following days, he remained cold and distant. I could not understand why. It hurt me, but I didn't want to be ungrateful, not only to him but mostly to the Lord. So I went on thanking and praising the Lord, knowing that there was a reason for this return to his old feelings towards me.
When we got back from the trip, we talked again and that’s when he told me that he really wanted to try, from the heart, but that he was not managing to be as he was, that despite wanting his family back, he was not managing to feel anything for me, not the way he’d thought he would feel and really how he wanted to feel towards me. I felt very sad about this, but I continued to thank God and ask Him to turn my husband's heart to Him and then to me.
That’s when he proposed that I come to live with him, and I did. Our son was so happy! And I started to put into action what I wanted our home to be built on. Caring for our home made me so fulfilled. I followed workers@home and got good at being a homemaker, a far cry from the woman who tore her own house down. I didn't force anything, I didn't charge anything. I kept going out to be alone with my First Love. We lived a bit like "strangers" in the same house, but despite a few moments of sadness, I was at peace and enjoying my Beloved Husband. Thanking and praising God became what I did all the time.
I knew it was the beginning of a restoration. Looking back, after 3 months of prayers for my restoration, we had already arrived, we were restored, it just wasn’t what I’d imagined. Yet I was thankful and I rejoiced even more!
Then a few days later, there was a crisis in my EH’s life and he started to get closer to me to reach out to me for support. He became affectionate. A day or two later, on Sunday, he asked if I’d go to church. There was a prayer group at the church he took me to and he asked if I’d go. When we walked in a man came up to pray for us, he said after praying, "God says your marriage has already been restored! Your crisis is over.”
After that day, which will be three months this weekend, everything changed! Everything! He is someone else and we are much more spiritually involved in our new church. He said that since that day he sees me again as his wife, as someone who completes him! I know we are still on our journey and we must always remain in prayer, praise and thanksgiving because the Lord still needs to work hard on both of us! But this time our house is being rebuilt on the Rock of His Word, and God is at the center of our marriage! God is perfect, my sisters! His timing is perfect and His works are perfect too! Trust! It seemed impossible to me ... and it really was! But with God NOTHING is impossible and He granted me this MIRACLE even though I didn't deserve it! My Beloved, I LOVE YOU !!!
Would you recommend any of our resources in particular that helped you, Astrid?
Would you be interested in helping encourage other women, Astrid?
Either way, Astrid, what kind of encouragement would you like to leave women with, in conclusion?
Stand firm in the Lord! Look at the Lord and not the circumstances. If I had looked at the circumstances, I would have given up, because everything seemed to be going the other way far from restoration. But our God works miracles when we give everything into His hands and trust! Trust! May the peace of God triumph in your hearts!