I have a story to tell. It was once only whispered here and there because it involved others whom I respect. However, God has given me two opportunities to share openly and I (as well as the others involved) have come to realize that doing so is important. You see, this story isn’t really about us. This is an account of something amazing God has done. This is His story and about how He worked in the lives of imperfect people. I’d like to share it with you.
Eric and I were about three years into our marriage when we found ourselves in a place we had never imagined. We had been struggling in our relationship with some family members for quite some time. We had all tried to muddle through the mess as best we knew how but the conflict, tension, and stress only seemed to grow.
With heavy hearts, Eric and I made the difficult decision to remove our family from the conflict. It wasn’t something we wanted or took pleasure in. We simply did not know what else to do when all efforts to work towards resolution had seemingly failed.
Hearts were broken. Trust was lost. The relationship seemed shattered beyond repair.
Months without communication went by and all involved carried the loss of the relationship. We were living in the pain of the separation. The more time that passed, the more the distance grew, and the more vast the canyon between us seemed to grow.
Something had to give. My parents were aware of the situation. One day, my mom called and told me about a biblical counseling center. They encouraged us to make an appointment and we called that day.
When I say “counseling” what image comes to your mind? How about laying back on a comfy couch with the counselor off in the corner taking notes and making you feel better about yourself? We wanted that. We wanted someone to listen, sympathize, tell us we had been wronged, justify us…. and then fix it somehow.
Eric and I walked into the small office for our first session and sat on a couch side by side as we talked with Johnny, the counselor. I quickly began to realize that his focus would not be on the others, but on us – on our hearts.
“Where are you at in all of this?” He asked. My answer came when he asked me to read Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” As I read the words, “the peace of God,” I completely broke down. Peace was not something we were experiencing, but we longed for it.
The Lord used the counselor to bring us to a place of brokenness and humility through the power of His Word. He humbled us in showing where we had wronged. In the areas in which we had been wronged, we came to understand and accept our responsibility in our response – in being forgiving, in seeking out reconciliation, and in living in peace.
After many sessions, the time came when we met with the others in Johnny’s office. We were sure that this would be the meeting that would turn everything around, but the end result was the exact opposite and resulted in us believing that reconciliation was truly unattainable.
However, God was not done with our story. He was busy working in ways we could not see and preparing to reveal chapters that we did not yet know lay ahead.
Come back to read Part Two tomorrow!