Only 4 years in and my marriage looked like a failure.
I had family members telling me it was time to separate; Christ following family members.
I had a pastor ask me countless times if I was sure I wanted to stick through this.
From the outside in, it looked as if there was no way we would be able to conquer this one.
When we said "I do", my husband was a youth pastor on his way to his dream of being a pastor. I could not wait to see this come to be for us and believed with every fiber in my being that He not only was gifted with a fabulous talent of helping people understand the word of God, but I knew in my heart that together God wanted to use us for something great.
How did we get here then?
My husband had sunk into such a deep depression that I could barely tell who he was anymore and the choices he was making with his life and mine were disgusting me.
Many around us had given up hope that he would ever get past this and that if I were to ever be happy or successful, it was time for me to leave him alone to his own choices.
I battled every day to find hope in this situation. I was pregnant with our first child at the time and honestly the only thing on earth holding me together were the many details I focused on to get ready for her arrival.
My days consisted of driving over an hour to work and then another hour back after a long 9 hour day. I would come home to my husband who was jobless and spent his time in front of the TV , gaming.
I would make dinner, clean the kitchen and then put my feet up until I fell asleep most nights.
Many times I would catch myself staring at this man who was so dead inside and beg God to show me what to do about it.
I cried out to God over and over on that long drive to work. I begged Him to change my husband, I pleaded with Him to give me wisdom and I cried to Him for deliverance from this darkness that had taken a hold of our marriage (I Peter 5:7).
Nothing would seem to change except that we were falling deeper in debt, further away and the lies I was being asked to believe from my hurting husband were getting bigger and bigger.
After our daughter's birth, family came in to help with the baby. One by one they would sit down and talk to me about the situation. I grew more and more confused and more aware of how deeply we were struggling.
However, I remember vividly one moment when I was given this advice by one of my closest relatives. "Leave him, move in with us and we will help you take care of the baby. He is not taking care of you and he for sure won't be able to take care of her."
Something came out of me that day that was only of God and I remember each detail because it will always stand as a breaking point for me.
As I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at them with my husband in the other room, unaware of the conversation that was taking place, I said this, "There is a king inside that man. I saw it when I fell in love with him, I know it was there when I married him and he will come back again. I believe it! I don't know what he is facing and I don't understand it but right now he needs me. FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE is what I committed too."
My marriage did not change that day, of course. We still faced many challenges, I had to set boundaries and my husband had to decide for himself one day that he had to get help. But, HE DID! I don't know if it was my faith in who I knew was inside of him or his fear of losing his family. I do know though that he fought for our marriage and for his heart.
I never stopped trusting that God wanted to heal him or heal the pain I had experienced. I kept believing that deep inside this man who was overwhelmed by fear and anxiety was a leader and the husband God had created for me.
Not one second of this process was easy and not one minute was delightful but in all honesty, if I was asked to face it again for the outcome I see today in our marriage, I would say "yes"!
Never give up hope. Never stop trusting that God has a purpose and goodness to bring through the pain (Romans 8:28). Most of all, NEVER STOP PRAYING for your marriage. Never!
Never stop praying. I Thes. 5:17
Cassandra writes at Raising Up Stones where she encourages mothers and wives to embrace what may seem like the longest days but are the shortest years of their lives. She has been married to her best friend, who can always make her laugh, for 11 years. Together they have three children with one baby girl due this November. She homeschools at her kitchen table(as the two year old destroys the house!). Her passion for making each moment count with her children, finding romance in the chaos and experiencing real intimacy with God is evident in all that she writes. She hopes to inspire and encourage women in each of these areas. You can join the journey on her blog, facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.