Tag Archives: Restored Life

STRONG MARRIAGES ARE BUILT ON THE ROCK OF CHRIST

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The sun was setting as Michael and I were walking to the edge of Mobile Bay to see the fireworks in Fairhope, Alabama. As my husband held my hand gently with his strong hand, it felt blissful to think back over nearly three decades of being married. For the first time in years, we had gotten away alone. The family-friendly and quaint city of Fairhope was the perfect way to celebrate the independence of our country and the beauty we’ve found in our marriage.

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Looking back at the beginning of our relationship, I could’ve never dreamed of how incredibly beautiful our marriage would be after twenty-nine years of being married. My grandmother had prayed for my husband since I was an infant. She often told me that she was praying for the man I would marry. Because of her words, as a young girl I possessed a unique confidence in God to lead me to the special man who was somewhere in the world waiting to reveal his love for me.

Our Wedding Picture

Twelve days after my eighteenth birthday, my prince arrived. Within six weeks, I knew Michael was the man I would marry. I wrote about it in my journal with limited words in case someone got a hold of my diary, and I kept it a secret in my heart until four weeks later, when I received the surprise of my life.

Ten weeks after we met, Michael whisked me away to the breathtaking North Georgia Mountains. He planned a day of hiking for us, and led me to Helton Creek Falls tucked deep in the woods—a place he had discovered years before and had dreamed about proposing to his future wife. While I was sitting on a tree limb in front of the waterfalls, Michael got down on his knee and presented me with a magnificent diamond ring. In his knightly way, he asked, “Will you marry me?”

Even though I’d known in my heart, Michael was the one for me; the question caught me off guard. Words about marriage had never come out of either of our mouths. It had only been seven days since Michael had first told me he loved me. I didn’t know that he’d been having the same intuitive thoughts I was having about our destiny together. He knew if he waited much longer the element of surprise would be lost. His plan worked. I was taken by complete surprise. The word, “Yes!” popped out of my mouth quicker than my mind could fully comprehend what was happening.

I was overjoyed and utterly amused by the thought of being his bride. It was a dream come true—one I had replayed over and over in my head while pretending to be a princess when I was a young girl. Even now, it evokes emotions in me, remembering the beauty of the summer we first fell in love. It was everything screenplay writers and poets write about. It was magical. If I’d not been so young, we would’ve married the summer we met.

We got married twenty-two months later in April, 1985. We were two young people passionately in love, making a pledge to walk in oneness. Some of the memories are crystal clear to me, others are not as clear. I have a twenty-seven page memory book I wrote about our wedding and honeymoon that helps to fill in the gaps.

The one detail etched in my mind above all others is how the Spirit of God was so powerful the day we said our vows. While taking communion, I wept as I sensed the Holy Spirit so powerfully. It was truly a union ordained by God. In my memory book, I wrote about how many of our guests said our wedding was the most meaningful ceremony they had ever attended. I believe our guests were sensing the powerful presence of Christ Jesus that day.

After celebrating with our family and friends, we made our departure for our much awaited honeymoon. Within minutes of arriving at our destination, an enthusiastic, young man approached our car and introduced himself to us. With a huge smile, he said, “I’m Derek.” He told us that the Just Married decorations on our car had captured his attention. We were at the Quality Inn in Orlando, Florida and weren’t expecting to get special attention. But Derek helped us carry our luggage in. Then he prayed the sweetest prayer with us about our new marriage.

We never saw Derek around the hotel again, except for one other time. During our stay there, he came to our room, knocked on the door, and handed Michael a card. Inside the card he wrote what I believe was a message from God. It was as though the young man knew we would need the encouraging words for the road ahead of us. He filled the card with words of blessings. It ended with these words: “May you both be willing to forgive each other when difficulties arise even as Christ Jesus forgives you. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, but always seek restitution promptly. May your marriage be built on the rock of Jesus who ensures stability in trying times.

At the top of the card, he drew a picture of us standing on a rock. Next to it were the words, “The Rock of Jesus.” Many times I have wondered who Derek really was. He couldn’t have been more than twenty-five years old. How could he have so much wisdom? Was he really an angel in disguise?

On the Rock

This card has remained sacred to me since that day in 1985. I have kept it in a place of honor with our marriage certificate. Through the years when we were fighting storms that threatened to destroy our marriage, and all I could see was darkness around me, the Lord reminded me of the words of wisdom written in that card. When I felt like giving up, I held onto those words and God’s promises, and trusted the Lord to carry us through.

In the past—especially when our children were small and we had very little time for each other, the pain and disappointment in our relationship seemed impossible to recover from. But Derek’s words proved to be true, and we saw for ourselves that a marriage built firmly with Christ as the foundation will never fail. God’s love prevails no matter how much pain there is when we forgive each other daily through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Our recent trip to the Mobile Bay area will be forever etched in my mind as a time of joy and victorious celebration. As our hearts are now truly woven together as one in Christ, we celebrated and will continue to revel in all that God has done in our marriage to teach us about His love and forgiveness.

My heart is rejoicing because we made it through the fierce storms, the sun is shining brightly on our marriage, and our love is stronger than it’s ever been.

Michael and Amy

For those of you battling in your marriage I pray that you don’t give up. If my broken marriage could be restored and renewed, anyone’s can. I am confident you will make it through the heavy rains and strong winds that may come as long as you are standing firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock.”

— Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

THE POWER OF PRAYER

Rejoice in Hope

Sometimes it takes darkness to realize how much we need prayer in our lives. I learned this lesson during the lowest of lows in my own life.

It was springtime in 1997. It should’ve been a happy season for me as I had recently given birth to my second child, a son. But instead of feeling joy, I had an overwhelming sense of despair and a case of postpartum depression that I couldn’t shake off without a true, divine intervention. I was in a deep pita place of desperation. I remember wanting to die.

It seemed that everything good in my life had been lost. My marriage was broken, our finances were a complete mess, and my seven-year-old daughter was feeling the stress in our home. The weight of all my struggles caused hopelessness to fill my soul. Because of a busy life of church activities, working tirelessly, and striving to please people, my prayers had become last resort petitions to God instead of daily communion with Him. I felt as though I was surrounded by a thick, dark cloud. My personal journal revealed the desperation in my soul.

May 22, 1997: God, do You hate me? I feel so helpless. Please show me Your love. Please make a way for me out of this.

Deep in my heart, I knew the only answer for me was the power of the resurrected Christ to pull me up out of my desperation and awaken my soul with His healing light. Those desperate prayers were the seeds that eventually grew into a more disciplined life of prayer.

Visit crunchylibrarian.com to read the rest of the story. I’m so honored to have a guest post over at Amy Dane’s awesome blog!