I thought this testimony from Rejoice Ministries did a great job of sharing the real life ups and downs of reconciliation and how persistence can payoff.
In the article that follows, Tina shares her story of standing. After ten years of marriage, her husband left her and their five-year-old daughter for another woman. During the seven years Tina battled to keep her marriage, her husband, James had a baby with the other woman. In 2007, James finally came home to stay.
I met James twenty-two years ago. “Who’s that new salesman?” I asked my co-worker. “I think his name is James, but why do you care, I thought you were done with guys?” Coming off a bad relationship at 20 years old, I had sworn I was done with guys…but he had caught my eye. “If he is from New Jersey, I’m going to marry him,” I told her. She thought I was crazy. It turned out he was from New Jersey, near where I grew up outside of Philadelphia, and we DID get married! Three years later in Florida, we became husband and wife.
After four years, we moved to South Florida, and were blessed with the birth of our precious daughter, Avery, in 1995. Like many young couples, we struggled as we grew a life together, but with the birth of Avery our whole world changed. I began asking the big questions about life. Perhaps the biggest question of all…”God, I know you exist, but who is this Jesus?” God answered that question and many more through a local Pastor. In 1996, James and I both gave our lives to Jesus Christ. We had found a new life in Christ, and a new purpose as a family. James’ purpose was found in his passion to serve others as a firefighter/paramedic and we celebrated as he was hired by a Fire Department about 60 miles away from our home.
At the same time, I accepted the call to teach at a new Christian school our church had started. The same year, Avery started Kindergarten. It all seemed to be coming together, a new life in Christ, our careers were established and Avery flourishing in school. Then our family’s peace was shattered when I found out James was having an affair. For the next seven years, James and I went back and forth, up and down, in our relationship. We struggled with our sinful nature and what God would have us do. We both had times we wanted to just give up on our marriage, but when he wanted to quit, I would stand fast, and when I was ready to set him free, he would not leave me. From my perspective it was the most painful, but amazing season of my life. I learned the true meaning of sacrifice, faithfulness and love. On Valentine’s Day 2008, after years of pain and struggle for both of us, James planned a special night. He took me to the beach, served me dinner, and gave me a beautiful new diamond wedding ring.
God’s love never fails. God’s love toward me, even in my sin, humbled me so that I could love and forgive James during the toughest season of his life. That love, as God promises, “covers a multitude of sins.” This man not only loved me, he was finally able to accept God’s love and forgiveness…which changed his life.
From that Valentine’s Day on, James loved us and served us selflessly. My husband and Avery’s dad, was the man I always dreamed he would be, the man I prayed he would become. We renewed our wedding vows on March 26, 2008, and began what we expected to be a long and wonderful new life together. Then came that tragic, but glorious day, almost one year later on March 8, 2009, when God took James home to Heaven. Traveling on his motorcycle to the job he loved as a Firefighter/Paramedic, James was killed. The day he died, James was right with his wife, with his daughter and with his God. James stood before God that day and heard the words we all long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant…come and share your Master’s happiness.”
The promises God gave me through this journey were fulfilled. God promised me that James would “rescue souls from the flames.” His life and death are still accomplishing this truth. I continue to cling to His promise to me that, “Blessed is she who believes what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” The Lord also promised that He would “complete the work he started” in James, “until the day of Christ Jesus.”
James, God’s work in you is complete, well done. I can’t wait to see you again, until then you are finally home!