We were living the American dream and on the outside probably looked like the “perfect” couple. Our 401k’s were healthy. Good jobs. We purchased 50 acres of land with 1700 feet of private lake shore in April with the intentions of building a home and a possible pastor’s retreat on the island.
We had dreams of also planting a vineyard that my husband had creatively coined Whining Dog due to our love and passion of Labrador Retrievers. We celebrated 22 years of marriage in May with a long weekend in NYC and didn’t want for much anymore, except time. The present time, was a far cry from two 21 year old’s without college educations starting out with nothing except each other and love.
The sad truth is something was wrong and problems were bubbling under the surface of perceived copacetic existence. I felt in my core something wasn’t right for quite some time and asked my husband in October for the first time ever, if “we were okay”. He reassured me that we were. We weren’t okay. One week before my birthday on a Friday evening in November he told me by a campfire that he wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for a very long time-for most of the marriage. He loved me but wasn’t in love with me and he could stay but would resent me for the rest of his life. I can’t find adequate words to describe the emotions, pain and loss of that moment and hours and days to come; Unbelief, shock, despair, betrayal, confusion, self-deprecation, denial…my world came crashing down in the blink of an eye.
As his car drove out of the driveway I stood in our home empty and completely lost. 30 minutes later the phone rang and it was the husband of a girl that worked for him and he blurted out that my husband and his wife were having an affair and sent me some emails and phone records between the two of them. It felt like the blood drain from my body and weak kneed I held onto the counter. I honestly had moments thinking death would be easier. The explanation back from my husband when confronted was an emotional connection not a physical affair but the pain remained as he left the marriage and opened his heart to another woman. Many of the “why” questions burned in my mind….why wasn’t I good enough, what did I do wrong, why didn’t I see this coming, why did he do this to me….Why didn’t he tell me he wasn’t happy…Why…Why…Why…
I believed in God but wasn’t really walking with Him. If asked, would have expressed that I was a Christian. My husband introduced me to what it is, to have a personal relationship with Christ and his family was a wonderful role model with many of them living out pastoral callings. Deep down I was always a little intimidated by it, at a fully surrendered level. Since a small child I felt a subtle calling and was seeking something as I frequently felt an emptiness that I could never put my finger on. We never found a regular church home and found it easier to conform to the world I guess and just be comfortable, being. It was for selfish reasons but they were always justified by us.
I enjoyed listening to Christian music, attending an occasional Church service and felt moved by the Holy Spirit but I was missing the greater story that this trial revealed. On Sunday I called a church that we had attended and left a message through teara that I needed help. I met with two women pastors on staff first thing Monday morning. They listened and prayed with me. One of them said something that was God breathed and changed my life…When asked if I was a Christian I responded, “yes, I feel God’s presence in my life and we’ve been very blessed”. “Being a Christian is not a feeling” she replied. “it’s a personal relationship with Christ”. She gave me some literature and recommended a Christian counselor. Her last piece of advice was that I can’t change my husband, I can only change myself and to always put myself in a place of growth.
Also this Monday morning my Sister in Law and friend emailed me. She had searched the Family Life website and stumbled across a book that she thought I may find helpful; “Before the Last Resort” by George Kenworthy. I immediately ordered it and it arrived 2 days later. I was captivated immediately with the scripture on the opening page…I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27. I dove into the book…I Highlighted pages, took notes and tabbed pages. My Bible and this book became my lifeline of hope and truth.
The Counselor that I saw recommended that I start in the book of James and that I did. I read James, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3…I was so convicted and remorseful. It’s all right here I thought. What it warned could happen was playing out in our life. The revelation was The Bible was my rulebook and step by step guide to avoid the traps and lies that will happen on earth.
George’s book gave me such incredible testimonies and tools. I was filled with peace that transcends all understanding (Phil 4:7). The more I read the Bible and Georges’ book the more I realized how far away from right living we had been.
Though my husbands sin was public mine was private, from the world that is…not from God. I was not the wife He called me to be plain and simple! The repentance was painful and I wailed with tears lying on the bedroom floor and asked for forgiveness. I can remember it so clearly.
Once I repented and asked God to build an authentic and real faith in me things began to change. I was filled with hope and craved His word and teachings. I didn’t have any Christian friends and prayed to the Lord one night to please bring some into my life….
The blessings started to pour out amidst the trial that still ensued…..I started to write them down; little or big so I wouldn’t forget the sunshine during the storm. I believe I was given a gift from God and feel absolutely responsible to Him to share.
For any of you that doubt that He is real please don’t…seek Him and he will reveal Himself. All things are possible through Him (Mark 10:27) when we let Him take the steering wheel of our lives. Glimpses of Him and His handiwork have been such a gift in this new walk of faith I was on and because He made me He knew my insecurities. The nuggets He gives me to tangibly show He is real and working in all of this, regardless of what the circumstances looked like and it looks hopeless in the world but not in the Kingdom.
So I made the choice to stand on the rock and wait for God’s plan and purpose to unfold. I would forever regret if I gave up that I would miss God’s perfect plan and desire for my life and our marriage.
I was led and made the choice to attend a small Covenant Church out of respect to my husband and his upbringing. When I called and the Pastor answered I found out he knew some of our family. I attended and was introduced to a great Christian couple and found out they lived 3 doors down from me! Praise God! A dear lady that lived with them was the original owner of the land we purchased! Now it was getting interesting….
My Boss emailed me on a Friday night in December that while cleaning his desk he encountered a book that he thought I may find helpful – ‘BEFORE THE LAST RESORT’ by George Kenworthy and he and his wife know George! God are you kidding?!?! They put me in touch with Dr. Kenworthy but at this time he was too busy to see us and recommended another Counselor. I felt down but trusted God so after much prayer moved down another counseling path.
I was led to back to Evangelical Free Church yet maintained a deep friendship with those I had met at the first. I believe both Churches have been part of God’s plan. The second Church He lead me back to has brought me into an amazing small group and a group of friends that are also an incredible gift! Through these friends I was invited to a retreat that just so happened to be the 1 year anniversary of the night my husband left. God put me with a group of 25 believing women singing worship songs and hymns! He is so good!
In May, four months later from my first contact with George Kenworthy out of the blue Dr. Kenworthy made contact that he was going through some old emails and would now be in a position to help if help was still needed. Yes it was! He and his counselor Melody have been such a gift and are the first counselors that really provided tools and not just listening. George and Melody have shared amazing testimonies that give me tangible examples of hope and beauty can come from ashes. George told me “he can’t guarantee that my husband will return but he can guarantee that I will have joy again because of Christ”. We all continue to pray for healing and restoration.
So here is how crazy good our God is…my sister in law stumbles across 1 book, my Boss recommends the same book to me a month later and oh by the way they know the author and now I’m writing my testimony for Dr. George Kenworthy! Praise the Lord!!! God is good…all the time!
We have been separated for over 1 year with minimal contact and four counseling sessions that were held prior to meeting Dr. Kenworthy. My husband told me over 5 months ago that he wanted a divorce but has not yet filed. Praise the Lord for answered prayer!
I don’t know the end of our story yet so this isn’t yet a testimony of a healed marriage but I do know it’s a testimony of a healing girl. God has grown me and continues to do so. What I would tell anyone that is reading this and going through a struggling marriage, separation or divorce. Get to know our Lord Jesus Christ up close and personal. Immerse yourself in His Word, get involved with a Bible focused Church, seek good Christian counsel and friends and don’t give up!
Be ready and genuinely open to hear to what the Holy Spirit is convicting you about and always put yourself in a place of spiritual and personal growth. Please watch for little and big blessings of support to unfold to keep you hanging in there and humbly walk with Him!
Stand! Don’t give up, surrender it to Christ and pray with thankfulness on all occasions (Phil 3:1-7). Don’t let the enemy or world tell you to move on and make yourself happy… Regardless what the circumstances look like hold Jesus hand and hold onto your marriage and let our sovereign God’s plan unfold.
I can’t change my husband and his heart but our Lord and Savior can so I pray, surrender it to Him and walk in faith.
And, as Georges’ counselor Melody says…”Live in the light of eternity-“