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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.
God has blessed us so much that I can’t even begin to describe the amazing ways! We still have hard days, and fear and doubt still arise, but we are seeing God’s hand in ways we never have before.
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?
Beautiful story of God’s redemptive work. I can’t wait to hear how he uses you and your husband to help others out of the pit! Thanks for the reminder that I need to give God his rightful place in my life, every day.
Brina Lynn says
Thank you, Brandi! Our prayer is that God uses our story to bring others to Himself. It has been hard, but I’m so thankful for what He’s taught me and continues to teach me!
Michelle Barichello says
This was truly enlightening, Brina. I love your comment about turning to God more than your husband for the first time. That really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing and being so open! Great writing!
Brina Lynn says
Thank you, Michelle! It wasn’t a lesson I wanted to learn, but I’m thankful God got me to that place.
Beautiful testimony Brina! God is so full of grace and love. He knew what needed even though it’s not the answer you would have chosen. I’m in that place. Not the same story but the need of God. Please pray for me. Blessings
Brina Lynn says
Thank you for your sweet words. God does know what we need, and He is amazingly good! My heart has been heavy for you since I read your comment, and I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Blessings to you!
What you’ve lived through is so valuable for all of us – no one has a “perfect” marriage, and we all need to have God in the right place in our lives.
Brina Lynn says
Yes, yes, yes! Thanks for stopping by, Lori!
Kelly Travis says
Such a beautiful post. Your words really spoke to my heart. We have had different heartbreaking circumstances in our marriage, but God answered our prayers the same way. Thank your for inspiring me to think deeply about what God was telling me through those times.
Brina Lynn says
I’m so glad, Kelly, but I surely can’t take credit! The Lord has shown me (us) so much through all of this, and we want nothing more than to bring glory to His name!
Jalina King says
I can relate to this post in so many ways, right down to the year. To put it short, my husband left me in June 2015 after years of infertility and a month after our first miscarriage. It was the darkest time of my life, but going through it I thought, “Well, I’m glad we don’t have children right now after all,” and now that we do, I’m glad we went through our separation and growing pains before that. I followed God’s calling to fight for our marriage, and he did come back a month after he left. He eventually admitted to a high sex drive, which had gotten him into trouble (not cheating or porn)… So much to say about this, but anyway, we are happily married, newly baptized, and expecting our second baby any day. “And we know that God works in all things for the good of those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:26. Thank you for being open about this.
Brina Lynn says
Jalina, I’m so sorry that I missed your comment a whole year and a half ago! But praise the LORD for the restoration in your marriage! Thank YOU for sharing your story. Blessings!
Thank you for your testimony. I am currently where you were. I have just discovered my husband has viewed inappropriate images for the duration of our perfect marriage periodically. We are both broken. I have no doubt that he will ever view it again. He didn’t realize he was breaking his covenant with me and is immensely remorseful. He viewed it as it wasn’t real. He is a believer and has rededicated his comment to me and the Lord. He wants to move forward and leave the past in the past. I do as well, however, I am being tormented. I am completely heartbroken, have feelings of inadequacy, and am just completely crushed. I totally believe with God’s help our marriage can be restored and I do trust my husband will never betray me again. I just can’t find joy and images (these women) are tormenting me in my mind. I know my joy comes from the Lord and the devil is toying with me. I have given my pain to Jesus and have forgiven my husband, but the sadness and depression remains.
Brina Lynn says
Oh, Jill! I know the hurt you are feeling, and I am praying for you, your husband, and your marriage. Please let me know if you need help finding resources to help. I’m here.