♕ Today's Promise: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Connie, how did your restoration actually begin?
It is difficult to specify the moment when everything started to get worse in my relationship with my husband, but personally I believe that after 5 years of marriage and with the birth of our first child, we were little by little having less time with one another. As it became more difficult to find time to be with each other, the frustrated discussions started to increase and our patience began to decrease. We love our children very much and my husband has always been an excellent father but the "we" started to fade and be forgotten behind this new reality that was us being parents.
We were very immature and even though there were always people around us to support us (other Christian couples with more years of believing and married, to whom I continue to honor a lot and to whom I owe a lot of my spiritual growth even though I don’t rely on their help any longer), we started looking more and more at each other's defects, feeling misunderstood, tired, unmotivated and when we started looking with the eyes of the flesh then everything began to be compromised.
There are many more reasons that led to this point of exhaustion but there came a time when we were both feeling miserable. I felt that he didn't love me, he didn't value me, and he felt that I didn't honor and respect him. So we started to throw these mistakes in each other's faces. I (stupidly) pressed my husband up against the wall and without being aware of the strength of the words (and above all, unintentionally) I asked him several times if he wanted a divorce! Oh how I regret it!! In addition, in my despair I was becoming more and more contentious. I screamed a lot, I cried, I did not listen to him. I thought he was wrong and that is why when I felt attacked, I attacked with my weapons of the flesh with words that hurt (and much more).
One day he decided he couldn't take it, he said he didn't love me anymore and said that we weren't meant for each other, we were completely incompatible and that together we were going to be nothing but unhappy. My husband suddenly left the house!
At that moment, I completely lost my way. I literally felt that I had been sawn in two—nothing else made sense and I just became apathetic and didn't know what to do. I couldn't handle our children. I couldn’t be close to them with the strength and spirit to comfort them and I was like this for more than a few weeks. But God is so good. The same day my husband told me that he didn't love me anymore, my mother (in another country) had a vision I was in trouble, and she began to pray.
How did God change your situation, Connie, as you sought Him wholeheartedly?
The first month was very painful but I was daily in prayer with my mother, with two couples (from our neighborhood who’d asked me if they could pray when they saw my husband moving out) and with some people from our church. Each of these blessed people that God used, never stopped praying for me for my well being, for the boys and for my husband (although they didn't have much faith that he would return that began to unravel my faith). However, without a doubt I had two women who were my great support, two women who gave their lives for me (my mother and a sister from my church). Still, with all that help, I was unable to cope with the spiritual pressure and I went down very easily, because in fact—I had no hope that my husband could or would come back to me.
I knew that God loved me and saw His hand and His supply in my daily life. God was already revealing Himself to me by His Word and in dreams and that was helping me to move forward and getting stronger for the sake of my children but something was still missing—there was no hope that my husband would return home.
I didn't have true hope, on the contrary, the whole drop in my faith was sucked away by the constant comments that everyone said to me. I already had it within me that I would never go through a 2nd marriage, nor did I want a divorce, but around me the comments (even in the Christian community) encouraged me to go on with my life, telling me to move onto another relationship or else I would follow the path of loneliness. Instead, I knew I belonged only to the Lord, and ultimately it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me!
However, in the midst of this confusion with my feelings, thoughts and endless barrage of advice I decided it was time to let the Lord work on me. I didn't know my future, I didn't know if my husband was in it or not, but I realized that I certainly needed to be restored as a person and as the Lord was clearly my only Source, it was Him and no one else I wanted to be with, who should I cry out to. I had so much support it was destroying me.
So, in prayer, I told God that I was ready for Him to show me where I had failed, what was my responsibility in this mess. In making this decision, I thought that the way forward would be to look for a Christian counselor/psychologist to help me in this new stage of my life and I also asked a friend to get in touch with a Christian institution who specialized in marriage. However, the waiting list was long and I never heard a response from the counselors again. Thank God for that!!! This was not God's solution or plan! Later I found they never encourage restoration for couples! I had no idea this notion of moving on to find someone new was so predominant in the churches.
God was so faithful that the day after my prayer—I found this ministry—RMI! In fact I had already received an email from a friend some time ago with a link to this ministry, but at that time I was completely indifferent. It took feeling smothered by so much “help” to actually talk to Him about what He wanted for me! On the day that I decided to look at myself—that’s when God reminded me of that email from a friend and as soon as I started to read Erin's testimony—my heart felt like it was about to burst! Yes! There is hope, glory to God, there is hope, finally (without a doubt!).
I immediately filled out the Marriage Evaluation Questionnaire and started taking Course 1. Finally I had Hope! What a blessing! What I liked most were all of the verses that Erin presented—the more I read, the more seeds of faith and hope were being planted in my heart, and the joy began to return little by little. Everyone around me could see my excitement for life again!
Furthermore, I immediately felt the confirmation of the Lord, when I read that in this course they were going to focus on “me,” on my responsibility, my sin and that was what I had asked God for! I was so grateful because I alone would not know where to start, but God gave me a map, provided by RMI, and I remember perfectly that from that day on—I felt that I had a purpose! I no longer felt lost because the next few months was where I wanted to be!
What principles, from God's Word (or through our resources), Connie, did the Lord teach you during this trial?
The first was to hope. God not only hates divorce, but for Him nothing is impossible and He has the power to incline the hearts of our husbands and ours towards whomever at the appointed time. Another hugely fundamental principle since there were so many who told me the same thing: God does not interfere with free will, so if your husband does not want to be with you, there is nothing that God can do. Those comments killed me the first month and then Erin shared His truth about God turning the heart!
The second principle was to shut up! I meditated and prayed and confessed over and over again the Bible verses that talked about knowing how to keep silent and how a bitter woman ends up being alone (it is so difficult to live with her). I was humiliated (in a good way). With God even correction and teaching became easier to accept. As I was confronted with the truth, I felt shame and regret. But I was able to look at myself and realize how much I needed God to take care of my heart. To change me.
After dealing with this sin, I came to the third principle and the most difficult of all for me. I was available for God to work on me, but I couldn't let my husband go, in fact, I didn't even realize what that meant. I think that practically every week I would pray again to let my husband go and although I wanted to do it and knew how beneficial it would be for me, I confess that it was very difficult. It only happened when I found a new Man. Having a new Man in my life, one I could hold on to, who held onto me, this caused me to stop thinking about my Earthly Husband and soon I no longer wanted my marriage restored.
And finally, the final principle, to give! The Bible says: Give and it will be given to you. After letting go of my church, I started giving my tithe again, but to my true storehouse. My church never prepared me for being a Wise Woman nor did they correctly advise me when my marriage fell apart. So why was I so adamant about attending and giving me tithe to where I’d been starved of the truth?
Also, not just giving financially. RMI taught me I needed to give hope! At first it made me confused. How could I be a blessing to another woman if I myself was feeling so confused and fragile? But God was confirming this in many ways that it was His will that I start to make myself available—me, in my present state—to encourage other women who were facing a marriage crisis. And so, once again, I prayed and asked God how.
It was uncanny because I began having former sisters from the church I once attended asking me to help them or help their friend. Wow, I had the total confirmation that it was God's will. Each of them, almost all the women I spoke to told me after I gave them chapter 1 of Restore Your Marriage that I sent them, they said they felt peace, that they felt so much better after they spoke to me. After I prayed and asked God, He had acted and since then I have become much more radiant because I wanted (and want) to glorify the name of the Lord and it was so good to feel that He was using my life to bless other women!
Lastly, in order to go through this whole restoration process (which is not over yet, it never will be, we go from “glory to glory”), I followed Erin's teachings and made my 3x5 cards with the verses that God was revealing (His promises to me, the verses about my children, my family, protection, fear, faith, in short—everything that God was revealing to me in His Word. In addition to the cards, I meditated on Psalms and Proverbs, I praised the Lord a lot and I submitted many praise reports along my journey.
What were the most difficult times that God helped you through, Connie?
As I said before, my husband was very distant, but even so, we kept in touch and talked about our children. But often it was me contacting him, so the moment I realized I shouldn't call or pressure him to see the boys (again letting him go), I guess it was for two weeks or so I was unreachable. I not only didn’t contact him, when he contacted me I waited to reply and for about a week I stopped replying altogether. It was only after God confirmed to my mother that it was time to send him a message and said what I should write and one of the things God said to write is that I loved him (I think that this message was the last blow for the wall of hate to fall completely). I obeyed what I sensed was God and my husband responded in a way he had never done before. He asked for my forgiveness. He thanked me for my understanding of what he’d done and said he wanted to talk to me about everything that was going on. We didn’t get together at that time because I had one more test to go through.
One day, I received a letter (which I shouldn't have received, since my husband had given me the address of his new home) from his job, but I didn't realize that the letter was for him, I really thought it was for me (I believe that God didn't allow me to notice at first). When I opened it and realized what it was (by general lines) when I read the first lines, I sensed God telling me to stop reading it. So I immediately stopped reading though I confess I was tempted to read to the end, but then God gave me wisdom to understand that if I did, it would be violating any remaining trust that my husband might have in me. I was able to say in all honesty that as soon as I realized that the letter was not for me, I didn't read it anymore—and that made all the difference when I told my husband!
When he realized that I had received the letter and that I had not been searching in his privacy, it left him more comfortable with me.
The following week we agreed to have dinner here, at home, and after dinner, lunch and after another lunch, the long-awaited conversation happened at the end of the day (after the boys went to sleep). My husband ended up confessing that it didn't make sense to be separated and that this situation that he was going through at work only made him think about us even more and that he would like to come home!
I was not expecting anything at the beginning of the conversation. We started talking about friendship, then dating and finally reconciliation—it was all so fast! I was very happy, but it took me a full two weeks to write this testimony because the change I was waiting for did not happen. It’s entirely the enemy who convinced me that what happened was not restoration. But now I know that this is a lie, it is played by the enemy to make us slip in our judgment.
I publicly apologize to God for looking again at the flesh. “Help me, Lord, to stand firm in Your promises and to present a meek and peaceful spirit that pleases You (1 Peter 3:1-7). I want to glorify Your name by loving as You love, forgiving as You forgive, expecting the best from others as You want for us—hope in a love that believes in everything, suffers everything, waits for everything, endures everything! (1 Cor. 13).
For all this, forgive me, RMI, for not having written this before and now I see, I understand that, in fact, the restoration continues. God in His faithfulness has already restored my marriage—HE brought my husband home, He saved my children, me and my husband from living apart. God knows everything, He does everything and I know that He has something new for us every day as we, as a family, continue our restoration journey with Him!! Thank you my Lord!!! Thank you so much for bringing my husband and father of my children back to his home. Thank you my Beloved, how grateful I am, how I love You, how faithful You are!!
Would you recommend any of our resources in particular that helped you, Connie?
Would you be interested in helping encourage other women, Connie?
Yes. My ministry encouraging women will always be part of my life!
Either way, Connie, what kind of encouragement would you like to leave women with, in conclusion?
TRUST HIM. Follow the well laid out plans He revealed to Erin and what this ministry gives freely. Freely give to other women if you want to see restoration in your life and family!
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.