I've mentioned me and Michael's story on here a few times, so forgive me if you're sick of hearing how broken and tattered our marriage used to be (on it's last breath), but we were given the opportunity to do something wonderful with what we've been through last week at church. We got plugged into a wonderful bible class about a year and a half ago, comprised of around 50-75 young families like ours (on up into parents with middle schoolers primarily). We love the teachers, we love the subject matter that's covered, and we love the people we get to see and fellowship with each week. Some of my closest friends are in this class.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
For the past three months or so, the class has covered marriage, and more specifically, helping marriages heal, work out problems, and grow stronger. The two couples who run our class alternated weeks covering different topics, and it's been good to be encouraged and to get pointers on marital issues. There were also two couples who shared their personal testimonies, and we were one of them!
This was our first time to share our story publicly together (I have shared it alone once before to a ladies' class), and it wasn't easy. Not just because of the story itself (although it's painful to remember all of that, of course), but also because Satan did NOT want us to tell it, and I mean DID. NOT. The two months leading up to our doing this were the darkest, most difficult months Michael and I both have been through in years, both as a couple and as individuals. For the first time in my life, I felt the need to cling to Jesus' name and proclaim it for protection. My emotions and senses were assaulted daily, and Michael had really tough struggles as well. Sometimes we would just look at each other and say, "Really?! This is RIDICULOUS!" And we joked (but were really serious!) about how glad we would be after giving our testimony was over and things went back to normal. I even had conversations with Satan telling him he could bring it, but that God wanted us to share this, to give glory to His Holy Name for the miracles He still does, and to help others, so that's what we were going to do.
And the enemy sure did bring it. In addition to all of the heavy, hard personal stuff we experienced, last weekend, the Sunday we were scheduled to talk, Jasper got sick with a solid fever, and on Saturday night, I lost my voice completely (which could not happen since I would be talking half the time the next morning). I couldn't even sleep that night. I tossed and turned, feeling literally tormented (the oddest, scariest feeling). I prayed myself to sleep, knowing that others were praying for us as well.
The next morning my voice was still scratchy and rough, but it had strength and enough volume, and Jasper's fever was gone, thank you Lord. While getting ready, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to comfort us and give us peace, and for Him to speak through us, so it would be God's words, not ours (the night before we'd thrown our outline in the trash and decided to stick to a more basic powerpoint, because it was coming out sounding stilted and rehearsed rather than authentic).
We got to church and went to service first, and Every. Single. Song. was for us. Truly. To encourage us, to lift up our heads, to proclaim praise for the miracles God does in the lives of those who love Him. Every. Song. I cried as I mouthed the words (saving my voice for class) and knew that God's hand was on us and blessing us for what we were about to do. Is there anything more amazing in life than knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be, doing exactly the thing He wants you to do, exactly when He wants you to? It's a spiritual high to walk in the pure will of God.
We shared our testimony in class, and there were friends - wonderful, precious, familiar faces - who came to hear us share our story. That meant more to me than any of those people will ever know. God used them to give us courage. God was there. He was there. And when we were finished, we knew that God had been glorified through the telling of it, and that others had been helped and encouraged. Praise Him!
I write this to remember this time, to remember how hard and how joyful an experience it was, and how God held our hands and held our heads up and protected us the entire way. And I write it to say thank you, thank you to those of you who were there, to those of you who prayed for us, and for those of you who have loved us through all the ups and downs our relationship has taken over the last 7 1/2 years. We are blessed, and are excited about continuing to share our story to bless others.
Posted by Jennifer at 12:33 PM