Recently my husband Charles and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary, compliments of the grace of God. I am totally serious, were it not for God’s intervention we would have dissolved our union within the first seven years. It pains me to reflect on that time of sin, yet it gives me confidence in God’s great ability to reclaim and recreate ANY marriage.
God’s redemption of our marriage began with His rescue of us as individuals. In the seventh year of our marriage through the conviction of the Holy Spirit I became aware of the disobedient and destructive path I was on and repented. Two weeks later God revealed to Charles his desperate sin sickness and he asked for forgiveness and became a new creation in Christ. God redeemed and redirected our lives completely. Nothing has ever been the same, including our marriage. I feel compelled to insert a caveat at this point and say God rescued us and our marriage, but there was a need for us to cooperate with Him moving forward if we wanted our marriage to thrive and be used to point others to Christ. Over the years there has been points when we obeyed and disobeyed. God has always been faithful and never left us without His Spirit to convict and compel us to return and receive Christ’s forgiveness.
One of the the things I’ve always appreciated about my husband since the day he became a Christian is his ability to lead, not push or shove me in the right direction. Most anyone will tell you that good leaders lead by example. From the onset Charles determined that surrender to Christ meant just that – surrender. His time, money, career, home and family, each one a resource now to be offered up. As I observed him in daily Bible study and prayer, I wanted to pray and study more. He never gave me the “From now on we’re going to…” speech. We talked about our finances and giving, church and being a part of the body of Christ. We sat down together and listed everything important and precious to us, including our children and then prayed over that list relinquishing everything to God’s care and purposes. That purpose led to selling our home, moving from Florida to Texas within three and a half years to attend seminary and back to Florida four years later to pastor the church we have been at for twenty five years.
During these many years Charles has led, not perfectly, but faithfully. Not pushing this fun loving, impulsive, often non compliant wife. That style of leadership would have brought out the rebel in me. 😁 Instead he consistently walked the walk of faith, loved me when I wasn’t acting lovable, spoke the truth and prayed for me often.
Charles would say our marriage has been one of partnership, mutual faith and pursuing Christlikeness together. He would insist I’ve encouraged him as much as he has encouraged me. I pray I have … because that’s what my leader taught me to do.