Growing up as a child, my parents were in and out of church. However, my grandparents took us to church a lot when my parents wouldn’t. My grandparents were the foundation for our family. Also growing up my father was verbally abusive. When I became old enough to take myself to church, it became my hiding place from my dysfunctional family. Even though my family was dysfunctional I still knew I was loved by them but didn’t always feel safe. I prayed something as a teenager that I really didn’t realize and God reminded me of this as adult. I saw these people come to our church who had these incredible testimonies. I didn’t really see living in a dysfunctional family as being a testimony. But I prayed and asked God to give me a testimony and that he gave me.
I met the man of my dreams at the beginning of 2002 and was engaged by the end of 2002. We got married in June 2003. I thought we had a perfect marriage and in 2004 we discovered that we were expecting our first little boy. We were super excited. Several years later my perfect little marriage would be ripped apart by infidelity.
In 2010, my husband and I had separated because of infidelity and addiction to pornography that had gone on for years in our marriage. I was finished…DONE…Tired of being hurt… There was literally no hope, nothing to save, and nothing to try and work out. I had a 6 week old baby and a 5 year old to care for so I had to put a bandaid on this open wound that really needed surgery and stitches. Me and my two boys moved in with my mom.
Months had passed after our separation and the Lord began to bring Robbie to a place of hitting rock bottom. During this time of separation I had found a new desire for a relationship with God. I literally had nothing. I would spend hours on my face before God because I needed his provision…I had no job because I was a stay at home mom before we separated and I needed answers cause I didn’t understand why God was allowing this to happen. I needed to know how God could let this happen and why he had left me. I felt disserted and abandoned by God. My identity was so wrapped up in being a mom and a wife that I had no idea who I really was. So when everything in life was questioned my identity was also questioned.
For months I continued to keep a bandaid on this wound until finally it was so infected that something had to be done. I needed to know if God existed because I felt disserted and abandoned by God. I wasn’t getting the answers that I was searching for so I felt that he had forgotten about me. Robbie called me one day (He was living in Dallas and me and the boys were living in East Texas) to ask me if I had made up my mind about the divorce. I was a little taken back because I had made up my mind. I was kinda like, Are you kidding me?!?! Our marriage was over! Why would I even entertain the thought of restoring our marriage!! I hung up the phone that day irritated at him even more. The next several days he called and asked the same question. The third day he asked me I agreed to something that I really didn’t think would end up the way it did. Before I got off the phone I told him that I would put the divorce on hold till I got a clear word from the Lord to proceed or not with the divorce. I desired for God’s will to be evident in my life but I was still struggling with it all. Somehow down deep I knew that God would agree with me to divorce him and move on.
Several weeks later he went on this thing called Quest with Fellowship of the Sword (www.fellowshipoftheword.com). When he came back I could tell a change that had taken place. During this time he was still living in Dallas and the boys and I were living in East Texas, almost 4 hours away from each other. He knew he had to do something to try and rebuild what he had tore down. He started driving back and forth almost on a daily basis in order to rebuild his family.
Several more months passed and I had an opportunity to go on my very own quest. It was a time where 23 women from different backgrounds, denominations, and all different walks of life came together independently. It was a time literally in the wilderness with no distractions, no cell phones, no tv, no screaming kids, nothing but you questing after the Father’s heart and discovering who we were in Christ. Up until this point I had been a Christian for most of my life and was in ministry as a youth pastors’ wife for so many years but there was so much I didn’t understand. There was something missing. I didn’t know who I was. My identity had been wrapped up in my marriage and who I was in my husband that when my relationship came tumbling down I literally didn’t know who I was anymore. The purpose of me going on this quest was because I needed to hear from God. It had been 9 months since that conversation with my husband and I needed to hear a clear word to divorce or rebuild our marriage.
During my quest I spent hours upon hours on my face praying and searching for answers. I needed the clearest word I had ever had from the Lord. I needed something physical that I could see. I’m a visual person and sometimes hard headed. I didn’t want any doubts in my mind of God’s answer. I wanted to know without a doubt in my mind as to if I needed to continue with divorce or to try to allow the Lord to mend my relationship with my husband… One of the days we spent the entire day fasting in the wilderness. We were literally sent out into the wilderness on a 500 acre ranch with a backpack full of Gatorade, Bible, notebook, and pen. All day God spoke to me in different ways but by the end of the day I was exhausted and a little frustrated cause I still hadn’t heard an answer to my ultimate question. God worked on me and really took off layers of a hard heart. Was I supposed to try to work on my marriage or was I supposed to move on with just my two boys as a single mom?
All week I had worked on my heart of hurt and worked on things that needed to be dealt with. Specific things beyond the pain from my husband that had not been dealt with for years. As I walked back to the ranch house I was praying about the answer that I needed. I asked God to show me that He was still there and that he hadn’t left me through all of this. I needed to know that he still loved me and that I was still his daughter. I stopped to rest for a few minutes and looked down to the gravel road where I saw a rock that was literally in the shape of a heart. I dug it out of the ground and picked it up. On the side that was exposed looked like a heart but the inside part was deformed and didn’t look like a heart. God spoke so loud and clear almost as if he were standing in front of me. He said, “Christi you’ve worked on your heart this week, you came with literally a broken heart that I have pieced back together. You’ve sought me and you have found me!! You’ve allowed me to do surgery on your heart and stitch it back together in order for it to heal properly.” He said that “You came with a heart that was in a million pieces but I’ve put it back together and gave you a whole heart that has been made new. If you turn it over those things are still there and they are still ugly and still apart of your past. Your heart was made whole by ME not by your husband or your boys like you’ve tried to fill for a long time. Now that I’ve given you a whole heart you can take it back and give to your husband. I can’t promise that the healing process will be easy but I will be there with you every step of the way.”
I was completely blown away by God’s word to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. When I got home, Robbie and I sat down together and discussed what our next steps were. I gave him this heart that I had found and told him what God had spoken to me. He began to weep. He shared with me and showed me in his journal that when he was on his quest (8 months prior) he prayed that God would give him something physical that would show His love for him. God showed him a puddle of water that was in the shape of a heart but didn’t give him anything tangible that he could take with him until God had mended my heart.
Sometimes God calls us or allows us to go through things that aren’t easy and that are hurtful because He wants the opportunity to work and he desires to draw others to him through his willing servants. Sometimes that hurt can be caused by ourselves such as sin, or caused by others as in my situation or even unforgiveness which can cause a life of miserable chaos. I feel like God has allowed Robbie and I to go through what we’ve gone through to do this very thing…To have a voice and to allow it to be heard for healing to take place in other people lives. Let this be an offer of hope to your hopeless situation. We stand before you today with a whole relationship with God, and a whole and healed marriage. God is good and only through Him all things are possible!