♕ Today's Promise: “Neither eyes have seen, nor ears have heard, nor has it ever penetrated into a human heart what God has prepared for those who love him. " 1 Corinthians 2:9
Bernadette, how did your restoration actually begin?
I am writing this testimony after much inner struggle. I am still ashamed that I am not officially married in the church but I still felt it was important to praise, magnify, exalt and glorify my true LOVE, the One who was, who is and who is to come. Hallelujah!!! I’m so thankful for all He has done by helping me understand that I should marry, not live pretending I am married, for turning the heart of my partner to want to ask me and then accepting his proposal all due to the Restoration Journey He called me on and walked with me on!
At the appointed time, I know that my Beloved is going to give me a beautiful wedding, in the meantime, my Heavenly Love and I are encountering an even more intimate relationship.
When I arrived at Restore Ministries International, I came from years of misunderstandings and breakdowns, following various advice, and being carried away by different teachings, where people misused the gospel that were nothing more than lies, lies I believed. When I became a teenager and sought the Lord for the first time, I studied, I went to seminaries, I took a pastor's courses, I even held positions in the church and yet I was ignorant to the truth about marriage. The entire church is ignorant of what God’s Word actually says because no one is encouraged to read the Bible for themselves, but worse, to not make having a relationship with the Lord as the most important thing that they teach. Something that all women long for, to feel in love from their Heavenly Husband.
I grew up without an earthly father, my mother got married several times and “whoever” would become the "man" of the house in the absence of my mother who was always the financial provider. Because of this, I became rude, bitter, irritable, overly concerned with everything and even when everything seemed to fall apart, I thought I had to fix the mess. I carried the world and its worries on my shoulders.
A few years ago, I started a psychology course, which was one of my life's dreams along with having children, training leaders, having a home, and my own ministry. I pressed forward with all my strength, and that's when my world started to collapse. I walked away from the church and met my partner, my son's father. When I got pregnant, he came to live in my house as he had also just recently left the church and turned away from the ways of the Lord.
After our baby was born, we moved to another city, and I went back to church. It is important to clarify that I soon became even more bitter when the spiritual leaders began to press me to get married. I threatened my partner and after a big fight, we went on for another year and a half without intimacy, me holding out as a threat. I thought that I could force him to marry me in this way, and I could thus get “right” with the church and church leaders. I never did it for the right reasons or with the right heart. And as expected everything went wrong. A great crisis occurred and we had to start living in separate cities, with him returning to his mother's house and me living at my family home. He came to visit our son once a month, and although he helped with expenses, and was patient and showed respect and a little affection towards me, I discovered some of his unfaithfulness and started to not care. I told myself I needed the status, MARRIED. I didn't want to be seen as an abandoned, single mother. Everything was becoming a burden and there was no shortage of people who advised me to abandon this guy and move on finding someone new. I am not talking about people in the world, but people in the church and my church advisors.
As I said above, I learned at an early age to carry the world on my shoulders, and naturally take on all the responsibilities. I used to tell everyone that I had two children (my partner and our son). I was quarrelsome, contentious, the queen of knowledge and all truth, a Pharisee, full of self-righteousness. I finally came to the point of having my partner come to gather his things and never come back. Only then did I realize that I was following the path my mother took, what I witnessed as a child, that I was going to leave my son without his father, keep finding new men, that I would continue to be bitter and overwhelmed. So because I didn't want to see my son go through what I went through, and be raised by a bitter and contentious woman, the breadwinner, bringing in one new “dad” after another, I cried out to God to show me the way, to help me find the truth and that’s when I discovered Restore Ministries International.
How did God change your situation, Bernadette, as you sought Him wholeheartedly?
When I came to Restore Ministries International I immediately took the Finding the abundant life course and met my LOVE for the first time. I knew Him as my authority and Savior but no one told me of the Love I'd been missing. The Husband I needed and the bride I needed to be. Also the Father that I'd desperately needed in my life!
The day I found Finding the Abundant Life, I knew He called my name, He showed me that He still cared about me and I felt so guilty. I begged, cried, asked Him to come to me again and do whatever was necessary for His plan to be fulfilled in my life and in the lives of our family. After I found that I didn't need to beg Him and finally understood His love for me. I started taking the courses on marriage and I realized how wrong I was. So as Erin teaches, I immediately called my partner and asked for forgiveness for my behavior and for how I had behaved up until then but with my newly-found relationship with the Lord as my Husband, I hoped to change.
Day after day, teaching, after teaching, reading How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage a dozen times in the same week, and was shocked that I started to struggle with my behavior, again. Until my Love showed me that I had already fought too much and tried to do everything myself. I asked my Darling to teach me, to mold me, to help me to really have the meek, gentle and quiet spirit. Then people started to be used to test me, so I ran to Him and poured myself out, and kept quiet while fasting to kill my flesh. I started to study the Word daily and instruct my son in the ways of the Lord, teaching him everything I was learning. We memorized verses and recited them together every day.
I realized that I no longer trusted my leaders, who did not see that although what they taught wasn't in God's Word at all, so I started reading A Wise Woman to learn how to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, and as I was taking this course, I began to study the various testimonies of restored marriages and share the daily encouragement with a friend who was facing a personal crisis. She faced a crisis in her marriage, including physical abuse (this I hope to share later, how it stopped once she had her relationship with her Heavenly Husband and exhibited a gentle and quiet spirit causing conviction on her earthly husband who no longer abuses, praise be to God).
I let go of EVERYTHING, my fears, anxieties, self-pride, the desire to finish the psychology course, which had already been interrupted twice and confirmed later when I did the psychology lesson. I knew it was Him sparing me from ingesting more lies. I learned not to justify myself and turn the other cheek and also the power of fasting to be able to give my life completely to the Lord, without reservations, without panic, without being anxious.
What principles, from God's Word (or through our resources), Bernadette, did the Lord teach you during this trial?
It began with finding my Husband while taking Finding the Abundant Life, then I studied the books How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage, A Wise Woman, and then passed on the encouragement, devotionals, videos and courses to women I met.
What were the most difficult times that God helped you through, Bernadette?
When I realized that I had destroyed the family that I always dreamed of for my son because I never wanted a husband or a marriage. Also, the difficulty in learning how to submit and be emotionally healed.
Bernadette, what was the “turning point” of your restoration?
It happened when I let go of the fear, the shame and just shut up and stopped commenting on everything. The burden fell from my shoulders.
Tell us HOW it happened, Bernadette? Did your husband just walk in the front door? Bernadette, did you suspect or could you tell you were close to being restored?
It happened the day that my partner came to our son's school party and brought his parents. He asked for forgiveness and sought intimacy with me, which I said would come later. That day we reconciled. That weekend we went to the courthouse and were officially married and although we were not married in the church before God, we are a family who attests to the promise in Joshua 24:15 "...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Immediately after that, everything began to turn in our favor, we started planning a move to the same city where my earthly husband works. We moved back and live in the same house again, but this time I am without a job and I’m a worker@home. At this point we had no idea how to pay for our son's school but since coming to Restore Ministries International I have always been faithful in tithing to my storehouse and since then, even in the midst of a “financial crisis” in the country where we live, I have increased my tithing to include an offering even though I had not received a salary we have all the money we need—proof that tithing works!
Ah, our Beloved does not allow us to be ashamed, and now that I am no longer an abandoned woman, I know that I am His beloved bride, I can rest easy knowing that He will orchestrate everything without any effort from me.
When we moved in, when we were all living together, I let go of church, but my husband goes while I stay home to teach our son the ways of the Lord. Because I don't work, I can go to school with my son and I am at home to educate him when he comes home. I have everything ready for my husband when he comes home, the house is in perfect order by studying workers@home. Most importantly, I have a set time for me and my BELOVED. Because I have no income, I spoke to my husband about tithing to Restore Ministries International, the storehouse who has been feeding me, and PRAISE GOD he has set aside a separate tithe to give to RMI for feeding me who is feeding my son! He also gives a portion to the church that is feeding him.
I know that my situation is not the Restore Ministries International norm but I know that there are so many women who are living with their partners, being advised by leaders to leave them and find someone new because they are not married, and to destroy the family when there are children who will be left without their father. Only after rereading the instruction again for those who never married legally did I discover the testimony that opened my eyes Married to my Son’s Father. I hope you will write more for women like me as it seems that your material is written for single women, without children.
Of course, this is because everything has changed so much in the world and the church is not helping women like me with this trend. What made the most difference is when I wanted to be married, when the idea of marriage was no longer a mystery once I found my Love and my Heavenly Father. I wish so much that I had included marriage as part of my dreams, to have a husband. I thought it was a needless accessory to have children, but then not wanting to be a single mother and to be ashamed, most do as I do and make themselves self-sufficient and felt as I said, not needing a husband, just a new father for my son when you get fed up with the last one.
But now I want to honor my Beloved through my marriage, and to teach women that the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. I am trusting Him day after day, for us to show others what He wants for us. I know that the Lord will complete the good work that He began. Darling, I am Your beloved Bride and I live just for You.
“Neither eyes have seen, nor ears have heard, nor has it ever penetrated into a human heart what God has prepared for those who love him. " 1 Corinthians 2:9
“Because God is the one who works in you both to want and to do, according to his good will.” Philippians 2:13
“Like a stream of water is the king's heart in the Lord's hand; it tilts you wherever you want. Every man's path is straight in his eyes; but the Lord weighs hearts.” Proverbs 21:1-2
“Sing joyfully, O barren, who have not given birth; rejoice with joyful singing and exclaim, you who have not had labor pains; for the children of the lonely woman are more than the children of the married, saith the LORD. Enlarge the space of your tent; spread out the awning of your dwelling, and do not hinder it; lengthen your ropes and secure your stakes well. For you will overflow to the right and to the left; your posterity will possess the nations and cause the desolate cities to populate. Do not be afraid, because you will not be ashamed; do not be ashamed, because you will not suffer humiliation; for you will forget the shame of your youth and you will no longer remember the reproach of your widowhood. For your Creator is your husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you as a helpless woman with a low spirit; as the woman of youth, who has been repudiated, says your God. For a brief moment I left you, but with great mercies I received you again; In a rush of indignation, I hid my face from you for a moment; but I have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. For this is like the waters of Noah to me; for I swore that the waters of Noah would no longer flood the earth, and so I swore that I would no longer go against you or rebuke you. For the mountains will go away, and the hills will be removed; but my mercy will not depart from you, and the covenant of my peace will not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. O thou, afflicted, bold with the storm and disconsolate! Behold, I will set your stones with colored mortar and will set you on sapphires. I will make your bastions of rubies, your doors, of carbuncles and your whole wall, of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord; and your children's peace will be great. You will be established in justice, far from oppression, because you will no longer fear, and also from astonishment, because it will not come to you.”
Would you recommend any of our resources in particular that helped you, Bernadette?
Would you be interested in helping encourage other women, Bernadette?
Yes, it’s the only way to really live the truth by sharing it with others.
Either way, Bernadette, what kind of encouragement would you like to leave women with, in conclusion?
Seek the Lord, let HIM reflect His face on you, let go of all deception, walk away from the lies even if it means leaving the church. Trust Him to teach you, don't let all that you know about Him be by what others tell you, let our LOVING Husband reveal Himself, and present Himself through HIS sweet forever Love.
Want even MORE Restored Marriage Testimonies to study and learn the linked principles to encourage you?
There's a lot MORE to read in By the Word of Their Testimony Full Series Packet: 7 eBooks or by purchasing them in paperback By the Word of Their Testimony Full Series COMBO Packet: Paperback & eBooks.