by Renée (Customer Service)
I’ve been married for a lot of years and throughout those years God has always been with me. Right from the start I asked for Gods guidance and that’s how my husband came to me. It’s always been my testimony, how my husband and me met. I wasn’t born into a religious family but I do remember my Mother telling me to pray each night. We prayed together early on…now I lay me down to sleep..I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. I could still smell her jergens (cherry almond) long after she left the room while I clenched my eyes tight praying the Lord wouldn’t let me die that night (and take my soul). And we prayed at dinner time too..God is great and God is good, let us thank Him for our food..
That was pretty much it though. We went to church a hand full of times, but we moved a lot and really didn’t settle into a church. We lived in a tiny (beautiful) German town in high school just outside of Munich, and there I actually sang in the church choir on base, but only a few times. I am a terrible singer; trust me…only my hubby can enjoy my singing, lol.
I lost my way after high school. I was just LOST. I put myself in some terrible situations and I couldn’t seem to find my way out of my the mess I’d made. I was smart in school, it really came easy to me, but now I found myself divorced, a mother, and unable to make enough money to support my baby girl and myself. I was living with my folks. I really didn’t even understand what a blessing that was for us till years and years later. And I was so lonely and sad. To top it off I had some medical problems and ended up having a fairly major surgery. It was painful. Painful to recover from and painful to pay for and I just didn’t know how to move forward.
My folks got this little book in the mail one day, “A Power For Living.” My dad said he got this little book and I could read it if I wanted to. I didn’t. But I remember soon after that these “church people” came over to our house. They were just going from door to door, and I answered ours. I don’t remember where my folks were, but I let them in and listened to them talk about how great their church was. They were young like me…so I told them I was completely lost. And I cried. A lot. And then I remember waiting for a response, maybe a bit of advice, or compassion, but they just said they had to be on their way. I was crushed and embarrassed.
I thought about joining the army. I even went and talked to a recruiter. There was a catch though; I’d have to sign over custodial rights of my daughter to my folks. That was something I wasn’t willing to do. Lost. Just so lost.
I thought many times my daughter would be better off without me. I imagined life for her without me. She was perfect, so smart and so sweet and beautiful. I wanted to do right by her.
One night on my way upstairs, I grabbed that book, that little blue book. Very thin unassuming paperback book. And I started reading story after story of celebrities who had found God and His life changing power, Power for Living. I read it over and over. Then I said “God, if you’re real, please, PLEASE, please help me find You. Please send someone to me who can help me make sense of Your word.” I would read the Bible and think “what have I just read. What does this mean, Lord, help me! Send someone to me who can help me find You!”
Three days later, I had just started a new job working for the government. It was a risk to take the job because I would be making less money than I was making at my current State job, but the payoff would be better opportunities for promotions and a chance to go back to school. I was new in my job there when he walked in. I loved him from the second I saw him. Funny thing is he was new to his job too and he was lost and was only there to ask directions. When I saw him I couldn’t breathe. I could barely walk. I was smitten! It took him a bit longer but we were married a few weeks later.
My husband was a preacher’s son and a devout Christian who had studied the Bible his whole life. We would talk for hours on end about many things, but especially the Bible. I was amazed at his capacity of biblical knowledge and within a few weeks I joined his church and was baptized. I was completely devoted to my God, Jesus Christ, who had answered my prayers and brought me my perfect mate, my perfect love, who explained the Bible to me in a language I could understand.
Now with my prayers answered, life would become easy! Nope, no, not at all, there were SO many challenges. I’d married a soldier. We had a child straight away when we got orders to Germany. Of course he went first then months later my little girl (who he adopted) my baby boy and I headed to Germany to meet him. Once there my husband was always gone either training or deployed. On one of his training exercises I discovered I was pregnant again. I had to call him in the field to tell him. Desert storm happened. I remember saying goodbye to him with two crying children, 8 months pregnant on Christmas Eve. His son would come three weeks later. He finally met him 5 months later. We didn’t live on base. My family wasn’t there. But God was with me, with us.
Just over a decade later..after a tour in London, we landed in Georgia. We had only been there a few weeks when he got orders once more for Iraq. We had just moved and I had not made friends yet. The boys were in a new school. Baby girl was in college in Statesboro. I fell in a bad accident in the kitchen and split my head open. I still feel horrible, guilty, learning my son cleaned up all that blood after I was taken to the hospital. And then that month my husband left for Iraq. I thought, one more time and we will be done. One foot in front of the other..and I got sick. And I wasn’t getting better..I was going to doctor after doctor only to have new terrifying symptoms all the while. At least my husband was able to call this time…but there was a new desperation in his voice. And then once while we were on the line I heard an explosion and my heart sank. He was okay. The explosion was in the distance but the reality that he could die was a weight I couldn’t bear. I remember walking upstairs and thinking I’d reached my limits. I couldn’t bear it another second..and then standing there at the top of the stairs I felt it. It was like a nudge really. But then I heard it. It was clear as day. “It’s going to be okay…I am with you.”
I had HEARD it. That happened! Joy! I don’t know why I was blessed in this way (oh me of little faith) but I had HEARD it and I knew it was going to be okay. It was really at that moment that I realized being a believer doesn’t mean you have a perfect life, or a perfect spouse, or perfect children and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect. It means that God is with you and even when you forget He doesn’t.
God has always been in my marriage. Thank you Jesus! Has life been perfect since that moment on the stairs? Nope. There have been many dark days that followed, but He has seen us through them all and He will till the end. In fact it’s in those dark days that I have found the light. The Light that comforts me and pushes me ahead, no longer lost, not perfect, but humbled by His grace.