Life With the Preacher

How fitting that my 17th anniversary should fall on the weekend we celebrate Resurrection. Let me tell you why.

There is absolutely no human reason why my husband and I should still be married today, much less serving in ministry. We married young – me almost 19, him 23. We were not saved and the result of our Godless actions and decisions had us filing for divorce two short years after the ceremony.

I was living with my dad and stepmom during this time. I despised the not-yet-Preacher and the truth is, I despised myself as much as him. We had hurt each other in a million ways and all I could think of was getting away from the pain and starting over. We were within two weeks of our divorce being final when one night I received a bizarre phone call from him. He told me he started going to church and that he had begun to pray about our marriage and he wanted us to think about what we were doing.

I went off the deep end…”So you are turning into a religious fanatic and you think that is going to fix everything?” I spewed. I was so full of hate and bitterness in those days and it still makes me cringe to think of all the horrible things I said to him about his new found “religion”. He continued, very patiently, to call and tell me he was praying as the clock ticked towards the day our marriage would be legally over.

I will never forget the night I had gone to bed, still resolved divorce was the only answer. For some reason, I woke up around 2 am and the tears began to flow. I missed my husband so badly I could barely lay there. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with you? You can not stand him! Why would you possibly be missing him? It is almost over, just hang in there.” I realize now that voice was Satan’s bent on thwarting God’s plan for our lives. If you ask me how I know prayer works, or how I know God can turn a cold, black heart into one that can feel love, laughter, and joy I will point you to this night because it is the one that changed everything for me.

I called the not-yet-Preacher the next day to say, “Let’s talk”. One talk led to another and we called the lawyer to say we wanted to stop the divorce proceedings. I tentatively moved back home with him and we began visiting churches. I was still not very thrilled about the ‘God thing’ but I knew for some reason I wanted my husband back and this would play a part. Would it ever.

One night soon afterward hubby came to me in our living room and told me he had just then prayed for salvation. He’d gone to church his whole life but it was only at that time he truly accepted Christ as His Savior. I grew up in a totally different denomination so this Baptist way of doing things was a little traumatic for me. I was glad for him, but I still wasn’t so sure what that meant for me. For personal reasons, organized religion held no real appeal so I was very afraid of how having my husband become so radically different was going to affect me and our life together. Suddenly I began having feelings of not being good enough for this new man and shame over my own sin slowly began entering my heart.

Salvation for me was not a lightening bolt experience but an intellectual process at first. I needed to understand it. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the Cross is foolishness for those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” I know the Spirit of God enabled me to believe what I was hearing because obviously I could have still walked away a scoffer. We had begun attending my husband’s childhood church and the pastor there became a dear friend and mentor to us both. He started a small group in his home and I was able to ask all my questions in a very non-threatening environment. That dear pastor was so patient with me as I asked about everything from “What does ‘once saved, always saved’ mean?” to “When do you think the rapture is coming?”. Finally, I realized that during those days I had already made a decision. That decision was for life – both for Jesus Christ and until death-do-us-part with my husband. I asked the Lord to ‘officially’ save me and soon afterwards made that public in the body of people who had prayed so faithfully for both my husband and me.

What a fitting way to celebrate Christ’s resurrection this weekend. Not only did God resurrect His Son, He brought new life to my marriage, my husband and me. And where God is the Great Physician, my husband is His nurse who continues to bandage the wounds of my heart until this day. The greatest gift next to eternal life I have been given is the knowledge I have a mate who would die for me and his children, and that he is for me – as a guardian and friend. I know that no matter where life takes me, I will never have to go alone. God has given me His Spirit and my husband as forever companions and I will never get over being grateful for either one. Everytime I feel love instead of bitterness, joy in the place of despair, peace reigning over turmoil, I know that it is not me who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

So, today I praise God for raising His Son and my family. And to my husband I say, “Happy Anniversary”. It has been 17 years – 15 of them wonderful. :) I adore you and am so proud of the man God has made you and the impact in ministry He is giving you. I am honored to be your wife and the mother of your four beautiful children. Though He chose us, you need to know I agree with Him – again and again. I choose life – His and ours.

I love you, Preacher and I’m expecting a real good dinner out of this…:))

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