It feels like this was yesterday, but it was almost 10 years ago. I knew we were supposed to be married, I had heard from the Lord that this was the man I was to marry. I had never been so sure of anything before. So I did, I married him. I meant what I said when I said, “I DO, I will always love you until death do us part, for better or for worse.” I remember crying every night starting from the very night we got married until it happened.
Why is this happening? Why is he so angry? Why can’t he stop? These thoughts were continuously racing through my mind. I was unaware that my soon to be husband was an alcoholic. It could’ve been because I was in love and didn’t want to see it. It could’ve been because I was also drinking in excess and I couldn’t see that I was also clearly guilty of the same sin as well. It could’ve been this was all part of God’s redemptive plan but how? How could that be possible?
I would cry out to God every day asking Him if I had in fact heard from him? “Did I make the right choice?” I repented of my sins fearing I was being punished for something I had done wrong. I was miserable, and fearful and I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life in this war zone, always wondering when the next bomb was going to go off. Daily I was being wounded more and more emotionally of which I never thought I would heal. “I can’t do this please help me,” I would say to the Lord. One day I heard the Lord say to me, “I want you to keep your husband’s struggle with alcohol between you and me, don’t say a word to anyone about this, bring your pain, and your tears to me and me alone, and don’t ask him to stop.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was desperate to share with someone. I felt like I was dying spiritually, I felt like it would’ve been okay for me to share at least with maybe, the Pastor’s Wife.
Instead, I obeyed the Lord and told nobody, when I hurt I cried out to God. To my memory I never asked or told him to quit drinking. I just labored in prayer over his addiction and our hurts and pain. I was desperate for a miracle and we were bankrupt. We had maxed out all of our credit cards on alcohol and we didn’t have any money. It was Christmas eve and my husband had drank all day, I had lost all hope we were going to make it to the Christmas eve service. Out of the blue he said, “Get ready were going to church.” So we all got ready and we headed out the door.
I remember leaving the church after the service and my husband looked at me and said, “I am done, it’s over.” My heart dropped I thought we were finished. I thought he meant WE were finished. Instead, he looked at me and with tears in his eyes he broke down and shared his heart like never before. He said, “Babe I gave my heart back to Jesus and I gave him everything and that means alcohol, I am done drinking, it’s over never again.” I remember looking deep in his eyes to see if what he was saying was real, was it heartfelt, could I believe him? He had never said this before and I had never seen this look in his eyes or this freedom and relief he was so excited.
The next day was Christmas and we went to church feeling refreshed and excited. At church we were all seated waiting for the service to begin and my husband stood up in front of everyone and confessed his alcohol addiction and how he had been delivered the night before. He was crying and was so thankful to Jesus for his healing. I remember, sitting there and at that moment I knew it was for real. My husband had been healed and it was truly a miracle.
The next few days I remember were rough and he experienced some physical withdrawals and I was watching him close. We prayed and read the bible and thanked God. We stayed close together at home and were just amazed at God and the miracle he had done in my husband, in our marriage and for the testimony for our children. We cried and cried and healing began to take place. There would be a lot more changes in our home from that day forward now that alcohol had been taken out. The alcohol in itself wasn’t the sin, it was drinking in excess to the point of drunkenness that was the sin. You see alcohol had become our idol, it’s where our affections were. When we were happy, excited, hurt or sad we turned to alcohol to share those experiences to celebrate or stuff our feelings and emotions. God is a jealous God and He wants our hearts fully. He wants to be our ONLY, our all in all, our EVERYTHING. Jesus is ENOUGH He is SUFFICIENT. Jesus wants and longs for us to come to him and bring him our hurts, to bring our tears and fears to His feet, NOT to the bottom of a bottle.
Ephesians 5:15-18 says
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
The man I married almost 10 years ago, the man I fell in love with and gave my heart to is not the man I am married to today. I am married to a new man. It has taken all of the past 10 years for me to discover who I am married to. I still don’t have him figured out but I am desperate to know more and to dig deeper. It has been the most amazing gift from God to be married to my husband. He is everything I prayed for and more than I could have imagined possible. He has become a leader and we want to follow his leadership. He is tender and loving. He lays down his life for us daily in words and action. He is flexible and willing to laugh at himself. He surrenders his life to Christ minute by minute. He prays with us and for us. He is the same man outside of our home as he is inside our home. He is a man I can trust, and he has integrity. He is available and willing. All of which is not possible in his own strength, it is Jesus Christ in him and that is what we see. But, in this amazing miraculous gift it came at a cost.
The cost is this, daily both of us have to die to our selfishness. We have to choose to put Jesus first, above each other. We have to choose to seek out the other when they are hurting, when we don’t feel like it. We have to encourage each other when yet again the other is discouraged. We have to pray with each other and for each other when it’s uncomfortable. We have to always speak kind words about the other to other people. We don’t share personal struggles with other people, we share with each other. We are and stay best friends on purpose. We spend time together every morning sometimes more time than others. Sometimes it’s me talking and he is listening. Sometimes we both are pretty much silent and just read. Sometimes we pray but we are intentional about being together. Sometimes it’s really uncomfortable because I was selfish the night before and we fought and I am holding onto bitterness or unforgiveness but here we are on purpose working it out with Jesus as the focus. One thing I know is that the miracle always, always happens. Jesus shows up and changes our hearts and heals yet again. Sometimes it takes a long time sometimes it happens quickly but God has always been faithful, if we’re willing to lay down our own selfish desires and give God our hearts and love each other. There is no place His love can’t reach, no hurt His grace can’t cover, and no sin so big his forgiveness can’t wash clean. There is no wrong done to me that is bigger than any sin I have committed. God is bigger and we believe in His word and it says:
“If you can” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
I don’t want to sound pharisaical or like a person that lives a life of rules. I share our story because there is hope. Jesus can heal anything at anytime, anywhere, there is no place His love can’t reach. Our marriage is far from perfect in case you didn’t catch that. But we serve a perfect God who took two imperfect people and joined us together and is making us into something of a beautiful miracle. There is always something in our lives we seem to be waiting for, (a miracle) I am here to tell you, Don’t Quit, Don’t give up, Keep Going, Stand Strong, Keep Praying, Keep Asking, Trust God with the timeline and the details.
I know you’re thinking, that’s the hardest part. When I look back on my own life I thank God I didn’t give up. God is at work whether we see it or not. Our life is a story a glorious redemptive plan unfolding until the whole story is told and perfectly comes together one day in heaven. I have to remember to tell myself God is already on the other side of my story He sees the finish line. Our part is to trust Him with the miraculous part, the part we can’t do. The part we can do is, keep our eyes focused on Jesus, trust Jesus with everything, be obedient in everything Jesus asks us to do and live this life He has given us and thrive. We only have one life, one shot, no do overs, the past is the past it’s over but today is new. In this moment we don’t have to do what we did yesterday.
Today Jesus I believe in you I put my trust in you, my eyes are on you I give you my life your will not mine. Lord do miracles in me and through me all for your glory in Jesus name. Let everything I am point people to you Jesus. Let your living water flow out of me.