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Have you ever prayed for something only to realize much later that you didn’t notice that God answered your prayer? Or have you prayed for something, and it was answered but not at all like you intended? Maybe you prayed for something, and the answer came after much trial? Truthfully, I’ve experienced all three, and if you’ve been a believer very long, I am sure you have, too.
Our ‘Perfect’ Marriage Was in the Toilet
For those who don’t know our story, two Januarys ago we hit the worst patch we’d ever experienced. My husband confessed to me his addiction to pornography, and we began to unravel. Our ‘perfect’ marriage began to fall completely apart. It has taken many months to be in a good place again, and still, there are issues we face–trust and insecurity, mostly. But overall, God has done an amazing work; in fact, He’s still working in our hearts and in our marriage.
On this side of broken marriage vows (yes, that’s what using porn is) and healing (I’m so thankful for healing), I can’t help but reflect. Our marriage has been greatly blessed; our relationship has been restored, but it was broken. I wanted nothing more of the whole thing; yet, I couldn’t leave. I hated with all that was in me what my husband had done, what he put us through. My mind and heart screamed silently, almost constantly. Yet, that Unseen Hand reached down into our pit and lifted us slowly out. As He brought us out, I began to realize some things.
That September (2015), we had left a pastorate and started going to a church in our town. What’s funny is how awkward we felt there…like we didn’t belong, yet we couldn’t leave, and we couldn’t not go. It was God drawing us and keeping us there. I know that now. This is a place where you are free to worship, in whatever way that may be. For us, at that time in our lives–I was 8-ish months pregnant with number 7–it was sitting together, heads bowed, tears streaming. We knew something was missing in our lives, and we felt that [in this place] God was pouring His word and His love over us.
My Prayer for Repentance
It was a few weeks later, after JBear was born, that our pastor began speaking on repentance. That 7 week series was for us, and I prayed, “Lord, please change me. Give me a desire to live for you. Forgive my lack of desire and grant me repentance. Lord, break me; do whatever it takes.” I begged for repentance and understanding–for want-to.
Ya’ll, I prayed for whatever it takes. Do you know where I’m going with this? I prayed for my marriage to be jacked up. No, not knowingly, but I did, in fact, pray for it. See, God knows our “whatever it takes,” and He knew that I looked to my husband more than to Him. God knew that flushing our perfect marriage would bring me to a place to solely rely on Him.
He answered my prayer in four ways:
He broke me. I was so completely broken and down and utterly defeated, and I had no one to run to but Jesus because who wants to share such a thing?
He changed me. For the first time in our married life, I cried out to God more than I cried out to my husband. The pedestal I had my husband on came down, and God was in His rightful place. My heart was changed!
He gave me a desire to live for Him. When God’s the only person you are talking to, the relationship grows and you want to know Him more. I wanted to know why in the world He let us go through that mess, so I searched His word. What I found there was how loving He is, how He watches over us, how He shelters us like a mother hen, and how He is always working for our good.
He granted me repentance. It took a long time (months) of seeking and knocking. For the first time in my life, I felt the gift of true repentance, and I could rest in Him.
Whatever it Takes
Did I pray specifically that God would snatch my perfect marriage out from under me? No, who would? But I prayed what I knew I needed, and God knew what it would take. Would I change all that happened over the last couple of years? No, I don’t think I would. I would rather not have gone through that awful time; I would rather my husband never been exposed to pornography. However, so much good has come out of it. I’ve learned so much about my Jesus, myself, my husband, our marriage.
Sunday, we’ll be sharing our testimony in a big way. I’m excited, and I’m terrified. We are so thankful that God can use us–broken people–to minister to others struggling through porn addiction.
So, yes, my “perfect” marriage was in the toilet, and it was a good thing! God has used it to do great and mighty things! Ultimately, God used this for our sanctification–for our good–because everything He does, and everything He allows is for our good. If life isn’t kind to you, know that in all things God is God.
Can I leave my heart’s song with you?