Two Easters ago, I pulled the shattered fragments of my heart together to simply survive that day.
The night before, my husband and I had the worst fight of our 14-year marriage. We both boiled over in ways without precedent. As the argument progressed, I put my heart in safekeeping, away from any further hurt. We ended the night with ultimatums and deadlines, turning our backs to one other in our king-sized bed.
At church that Sunday morning, I held back tears as I watched other couples show signs of affection. For our children’s sake, I sat through two family gatherings with a pasted-on smile. While they hunted eggs, I distanced myself as far as possible from my husband, wondering if this would be our last holiday as a couple.
It wasn’t the first holiday I wondered whether our marriage would last. We both had come from divorced homes. Neither of us had healthy examples to follow. Both of us had loads of baggage and broken hearts. We looked to each other for healing yet became dissatisfied only two weeks after our marriage.
Everyday spats turned into a vicious cycle. My hurt fueled his anger, and his anger fueled my hurt. After a few years of marriage our arguments disintegrated into emotional abuse. Both of us were broken in different ways. Both of us desperately needed a new start.
On that difficult Easter Sunday two years ago, I didn’t know that within two weeks my husband would pack his bags and leave me and our three children. My worst memories as a child of divorce came to life again, and I watched my children suffer with the same pain.
Even though that April brought destruction like a spring tornado, it also brought renegade faith to life. I was not giving up on our marriage without a fight. The day after he left, I called my team of supporters. They had walked beside me in the past few years as my faith had grown strong. They had seen new growth in me and prayed for new growth in him.
Every day of our separation, prayer was my food. I prayed for new life in our marriage. I didn’t want to go back and repair the damage; I wanted to begin again from scratch. I wanted us to start over with God at the center.
With renegade faith, I prayed that the strongholds would be broken and that nothing would permanently separate us. I prayed for God to show me what to do next.
I read several helpful books that spring, including one by Dr. Gary Chapman. He had seen a client’s separation turn around when the wife made a pie for her estranged husband. The healing began the day she delivered his favorite pie.
I heard God whispering to my heart when I read that story. You like to bake…what is his favorite dessert? I remembered how much he liked cheesecake. Working up my nerve, I invited him over for supper on a Sunday night. He agreed, and I prepared our home, a special meal, and my heart for his arrival.
He showed a jumble of emotions. Dejected and frustrated, confused and restless, he seemed to show signs of regret.
After supper, he asked me to take a walk while the children watched a movie. I knew he was changing because he never wanted to take walks with me before. On our walk he held my hand, and we both hugged and cried when we said goodbye. We hadn’t touched in weeks, so we crossed an important threshold that Sunday.
In the weeks to come God softened both our hearts. My husband put forth serious effort to change his destructive ways. I dialed back my expectations and began to appreciate the good things he offered.
In late May, my husband and I reconciled. We agreed to begin again as a new couple in a new marriage. We agreed to move forward in faith.
It’s been almost two years since that painful Easter.
Our God specializes in resurrecting the dead, whether deceased bodies or dead marriages
Two years ago I wouldn’t have believed this much change was possible. But with God all things are possible, and the total transformation in our marriage is proof.
God granted me renegade faith so I could fight for our marriage when it teetered on the edge of death. I give all the glory to God who allowed us to begin again on a healthy path.
Sarah Geringer is a self-published author and a wife and mother of three. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri. On her blog, she focuses on helping women find peace in God’s word. She enjoys reading, baking, gardening, and walking in nature. Her theme verse for 2017 is: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, for they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV