It has been a year when a devastating truth surfaced in my marriage. It was a time I can remember as one of the deepest moments in my life. I was only hoping against hope because everything seems uncertain and fearful.
Now, after a year, that moment becomes a memorial of God’s faithfulness and goodness. As I look back to that time when my heart and hopes were broken and I was about to lose faith, God’s embrace of forgiveness and encouragement kept me through, kept my husband through, and is keeping our marriage intact.
The first year of our journey towards recovery was not easy. At first, I was so disappointed and angry at God. I was questioning Him and His promises. But, just like what He did to Job, God did not answer my questions. Instead, He provided more questions about Himself. I realized I don’t need to understand everything and I cannot fully understand God and life in general. All I need is to trust Him and desire to know Him more. These things require a lot of denying of myself. I have to put off my pride and my self-dependency.
As I took the steps towards healing, I discovered that it is filled with so much learning. I learned to rely more on the Lord than on my human reasonings. I discovered I can learn to take control of my thoughts and feelings (still learning, though) and that the reward of not giving into these poisonous ideas and emotions is a deeper relationship with the Lord and with those around me. I learned to pray more. I learned to sing “when the waves are crashing round me; when the fiery darts surround me; when despair is all I see”. I learned to forgive. I learned to trust again and to trust more. Again, “learned” does not mean I have perfected these things. It’s more like starting to learn them from their basics, as a child trying to re-learn her ABCs.
Now, after a year, I can say that my husband and I passed through this part of our journey only by God’s grace and all for His glory. Here are some of the milestones that are evidence of God’s goodness in our journey towards recovery:
God forgives and teaches us to forgive.
Though many would say that I have no fault in what happened, I still need the Lord’s forgiveness. I am a sinner saved only by the Lord’s grace. As long as I am not yet taken to my perfect home in heaven, I sin in my heart, in my mind, in my actions, in my words. Though my husband and the other person might be more at fault, as sinners, we are all equal in God’s sight. We all need God’s forgiveness every second of our life.
The good news about it is God is willing to forgive. He has sacrificed Himself for the sake of saying, “I forgive you”. Nothing is more joyful than knowing that the God of the universe takes notice of me and will embrace, forgive, and love me again as His daughter.
Before that discovery, I was in a ladies fellowship where several books were for sale. There was one book that I was urged to buy. I don’t know at that time why I had to buy it, but there was that inner voice which kept on telling me to buy it. That book, Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, was one of the books that I read through this year. I confess I have to cry for every chapter because I cannot simply forgive.
Forgiveness I realized is a work of faith. I cannot do it on my own. I need God’s power to be able to say, “I forgive you”. And I have to keep on forgiving. Every time the Enemy’s arrow hit my mind and heart and those memories return, I have to choose whether to give in to those thoughts and emotions or to cast these burdens under the blood of Jesus and say, “I forgive”. It’s easy to say, but my heart and my mind would sometimes wander and not easily bow towards forgiveness.
By God’s goodness, I am learning. I am learning to appreciate more God’s forgiveness and to extend such forgiveness to others.
God provides and He gives even those we do not ask.
What a God we serve! Joi and I would often stay late at night when the kids are already sleeping. We like watching documentary shows or simply talk about our dreams. Those months that we do not have work, moments like these strengthened our marriage (and we still love and look forward every day to this special moment!). Although we do not have enough, God provided more than we asked and we get amazed at how awesome God is.
Several months of our journey, we do not have a stable income. We were both looking for jobs and I have to accept several freelancing jobs just to make ends meet. Up to now, we are still in awe at how God used several people and several circumstances for us to be provided with a house, daily provisions, good health, and other needs. At present, God has blessed us beyond what we asked for. He has provided a permanent job, several online sideline jobs, a business, a prospective home (Lord-willing!) and opportunities to be a blessing to others.
Doors open toward us and we asked God in prayers if we have to step into these doors because we feel unworthy to receive such blessings. We can only praise the Lord because, in each step, we learned to wait. We waited in prayer and in faith. Up to now, we are still waiting as we take the next steps. Each step is a step of faith because honestly, we do not know what lies ahead in our journey, but we know He will provide.
Just like how the prodigal son was welcomed with loving arms by his father, then clothed with the best attire and given a ring, and celebrated with a feast, we feel the same joy as we look back at how God has provided and is continuously giving us His daily and future graces.
God’s provision leads us to a journey filled with praises towards His goodness. God’s provision makes us trust Him more. God’s provision encourages us to dream more. God is really good, only good.
God heals and encourages us to return to Him.
Another great blessing we received from above is to experience God’s healing in our life. He provides spiritual, emotional, and intellectual healing. He uses His ministers and His people to encourage us to return to Him.
We were failures. We were given a shot at this particular journey but we lost our way. Now, God is providing a detour that still leads towards Him. Isn’t He amazing?!
God is indeed a God of second chances! He does not leave His child after the chastisement. Like a loving parent, after He scolds us, He gently leads us to Him and embraces us and tells us He loves us in spite and despite our failures.
This journey towards recovery enabled our family to experience what the man robbed on the road towards Jericho experienced under the care of the Good Samaritan. We were wounded and helpless, but God came to the rescue and provided everything we needed. He even encouraged us with His promises that if anything lacks, He is able to give.
The journey that we have been through may not sound as joyful as it is, but God’s presence and His goodness made the suffering and the healing filled with peace and gladness. This part of our journey will always be set as a memorial of God’s faithfulness despite our sinfulness and weaknesses. To God be all the glory!
Ps 73:21 ¶ Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.