We serve an amazing, loving, merciful God. This side of heaven, I don't think I'll ever truly grasp His greatness. However, six years ago, the Lord did redeem our marriage in such a way that I got a glimpse of His immeasurable glory like I had never imagained. You see, on December 17, six years ago... I decided I was going to walk out on my marriage. Emma Grace was only a toddler when I scooped her up, grabbed the diaper bag, and ... I left.
Some of you know our marraige testimony, and some of you know pieces of it. But today, I want to share our testimony. (And I have to admit, I'm a little nervous! But God has laid it on my heart for some time now to write this story as a record God's work in our lives.) It is a story of two imperfect people, sinful and selfish, who are deeply loved by a perfect Father. It is only by His grace that this story has a beautiful ending. wink.
When we got married, I was very early in my Christian walk. I accepted Christ only six months before I became Mrs. David McNeill. We had a small income (David was finishing college and I was a school teacher) so money was tight. I was not being mentored and we were not attending church regularly. Basically, our marriage was brewing the perfect storm.
I can't even tell you what we were fighting about on December 17, 2006. I don't have the slightest recollection. But what I do remember is that I felt like our marriage was hopeless and I wanted out. I wasn't walking closely with the Lord; I hadn't been studying His Word. I wasn't praying and I wasn't seeking Godly counsel. Instead, I was relying on the influences of the world and I was listening to Satan's lies. Because the Truth is this: God wants us to seek holiness, not happiness. God wants us to experience true joy, not temporary satisfaction in things that do not last. I wasn't being the wife that God had intended me to be; in fact, I don't know that I was being much of a friend to David, either. I wasn't honoring my husband, I wasn't encouraging him, and I certainly wasn't being a blessing to him. I think that deep down, I knew I was failing as a wife and I didn't know any other way out.
Our separation lasted only a few weeks, and in that time, my husband fought for our marriage. He went to talk to a marriage counselor (without me because, isn't this awful- I refused to go!) and he prayed and prayed for our marriage. Then, he truly dazzled me with the love of Christ. David blessed me so much during this time, even though I was being very unloving to him and even though I was seeking a divorce. The state of North Carolina requires a one year separation before a divorce is granted, so I was scouting out apartments that I could rent. When moving day arrived, I was completely set on my decision to have my own place with Wubs. I was staying in South Carolina with my parents but I decided my apartment should be in Raleigh so that David and I could share custody of Emma Grace. David had come to South Carolina that weekend and we were all caravaning back to Raleigh for the moving day. David was driving his Jeep, my dad was following in his truck, and then I was driving in our family car with my mom and Wubs.
We had been driving for nearly two hours when the Holy Spirit absolutely gripped my heart and God very clearly spoke to me. And, for the first time in a long long time... I listened. I heard His voice and I clung to every word. He told me to go home. I remember driving became so difficult because I began to sob. My heart broke and I was filled with an overwhelming desire to truly trust God, even when I didn't understand and even when it was hard. I knew that I needed to go home, to my husband. I called David's cell phone and I asked him to please take the next exit. That's all, no explaination, just a request to pull over our caravan. We pulled over and I was crying so hard that I don't remember if I even told my mom (who was sitting in the passenger seat of my vehicle) why I needed to pull over. I jumped out of the car and I ran to hug my husband. And he knew. I didn't even need to tell him, he just knew. My parents drove back to their house in my dad's truck, and David, me, and Wubs went home! We went home and together, we sought Christian marriage counseling. (And interestingly enough, our marriage counselor and his wife are some of our very dearest friends to this day! ) David and I committed to becoming part of a church body and we joined Faith. We were mentored by Godly men and women that the Lord put into our lives. And we began to pray! God blessed our marriage immensely and He healed our hurts and His word gave us the tools we needed to have a Biblical marriage. We still make mistakes and we are always learning, but God is back where He should be- at the center of our marriage. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast, it is not proud."- 1 Corinthians 13:4