My daughter Christian came home from school yesterday and told me that her friend’s parents recently got divorced. We know the family fairly well because our daughter and their daughter were on the same Little League softball team for a few years. Her friend’s dad and my husband became pretty good friends.
Even when the two girls ended up on different teams, we still ran into them at various athletic events. Over time, we didn’t see them as much anymore, and the two husbands lost touch. So when Christian informed me that they divorced this year, I was stunned. We’d never seen any problems between the two of them. They had been married about 15 years.
Now their kids are scuttling between two homes. Even the dog is going back and forth. The kids don’t have one “main” home where they can hang their hats. And they’re trying to cope.
This kind of news hit way too close to home. That was very nearly our story only a few months ago. We were within a hair’s breadth of walking down the same road. I could almost hear Satan rubbing his hands together in excitement.
But then I chose to do something that has made all the difference: believe. I chose to believe that God is who He said He is, and that God can do what He said He can do. I asked Him not just to save our marriage, or to improve our marriage. I asked Him to make it new, because God makes all things new. (Rev. 21:5)
Paul also said that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. (Eph. 3:20) That means that however wonderful I think our marriage could be, God could make it far better.
So, do I believe Him or not? I’m choosing to believe.
Believing is not easy. In fact, it’s crazy hard, especially when you can’t imagine your marriage ever being something beautiful and romantic and nurturing. And just because I’ve chosen to believe in God’s promises doesn’t mean He immediately waves a wand and exchanges our tattered marriage for a sparkling new one just in time for the ball.
It’s quite the opposite. Believing in God’s promises is usually a long and arduous process, where weeks and months can go by without any outward signs of progress. There have been times when I’ve shouted out to God, “Throw me a bone here, would you? Just a little something to encourage me?”
And then, two of my friends, within a month’s time, said to me, “Wow, Gwenn, I can’t believe how much you have changed from a year ago. Back then, it was all your husband’s fault. Now, you are yielding so much more to God.”
I didn’t know that God’s work within me was so obvious–I didn’t even realize it was happening. But I have noticed subtle changes in my heart. I now have the God-given patience to endure–this has been the biggest change. It is certainly not from me–patience was never something anyone would have credited me with.
I am also more willing to show love to my husband, even when I am not shown it in return.
If God is working so effectively and so diligently within me, I know He is working within my husband as well, even if the outward signs are not yet there.
I just have to wait. Be patient. Pray. And believe in His exceeding abundance.