“RESTORED & Renewing Vows in Vermont”

“RESTORED in Vermont”

Looking at us on the surface, people thought my husband and I were the "perfect" couple. However, those who looked deep into our souls knew there was something wrong. I never really seemed or felt happy. My EH showered me with so much love and affection, yet it wasn't enough. I rarely reciprocated it, and at times I felt smothered. Because I never knew how to be in an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Husband, I wasn't able to be in one with my earthly husband. Even my relationship with my HH seemed "perfect" to those on the outside looking in, but I and my HH knew better. I always received so much from both my HH and my EH, yet I only gave part of me. I had a void inside of me dating back to my teen and college years that I tried to fill with my marriage, job titles, volunteering, owning a business, just to name a few. After the long journey to motherhood and the birth of our son, I became detached, aloof, and fell into a depression. While on maternity leave, I fell victim to a ravenous wolf - false teaching of well-publicized pastor. I acted as if I didn't want to be bothered with my husband. Eventually, we became roommates sleeping in separate rooms and living separate lives.

The Lord warned me so many times that I needed to change; to grow up and be the woman, wife and mother Christ needed me to be for Him and my husband. My EH told me on many occasions that one day he was going to wake up and not feel the same anymore. My mother would often tell me that I needed to close my business and focus on my marriage. However, I wanted my ears tickled and knew that I could have it all. I ignored all the warning signs. The Lord continued to warn me 2 to 3 months prior to the fall of my marriage. Three months prior to my journey, my Love warned me through a dream where I lied on the ground motionless and covered with grey snakes. I was disturbed from this dream, but not enough to seek wisdom in its meaning (until after the fact). In God's agape love for me, He gave me a final warning when my EH called me crying out to me. He said he was willing to give up all of his projects and business pursuits, renew our vows, and try for another child for us to be close again. I consoled him and said ok, but the next day I did not change. A month later, the Lord sent a big fish to swallow me up and 'removed my lover and friend far from me.' I was truly in darkness, alone. Now my Savior finally had my attention.

The next few days, I searched for advice online. Nothing really talked to my soul. I went to my Christian mother's online support board for advice. Everyone on the board had plenty of answers and opinions, but none of them seemed like THE answer. One of the mothers sent me a private message with a link to the first chapter of "How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage". I read the first chapter, and I began to cry. I purchased the e-version of the book, and immediately began to read it within 2 to 3 days. The scales were removed from my eyes. I finally saw myself how God saw me and it wasn't pretty. I was spoiled, self-centered, and immature who thought I had it all together. After finishing the book and sending in my marriage evaluation to take the courses, a weight was immediately lifted off of my shoulders. I realized that my HH had something better planned for my life than my plan. For the first time in my life, I was not only full of hope, but also my void was being filled with the love of Christ.

I learned that I needed an intimate relationship with my HH - it is how He designed us and what both He and I want and needed. I truly learned what a Christian marriage looks like, which should mimic our relationship with Christ. I understood what it meant to be a quiet and gentle spirit. I recognized and deeply understood my role as a Bride to my HH, a wife to my EH, and a mother to my son. As outlined so beautifully in the RMI courses and books, I let go of those things that were holding me back - Facebook, emails, my marriage, certain friendships, my business, the house, my church. The more I let go and let God, the more my tears began to dry up. My life was being destroyed right in front of my eyes for a new one.

It wasn't easy to let go of all the things that I was familiar with. But I knew I had to, for my HH, myself and my marriage. The most difficult times that God helped me through was seeing my husband's affections towards someone else. My EH became emotionally attached to someone else. The more I clung to my First Love, it seemed like the more my husband clung to the OW. They were times when I was shown signs that my EH was spending time with the OW for hours, but as Erin tells us, I kept it to myself and continued to look into the face of my HH. There were times when my EH would send me nasty texts telling me that he wanted to leave and make a new life with the OW or tell me to leave him alone. It was those times I cried unto the Lord asking Him to "take this cup from me if Thy will", but I knew the answer. The worse was when my EH called me in hysteria, sounding suicidal. I was frozen with fear, but I knew the Lord was calling me to Be Still. I remained still and continued to read my 3x5 cards over and over again. I received three more calls from my EH in succession, each time with him sounding worse than before. I was tempted to call my EH's mother and siblings, but I knew the Lord wanted me to Be Still, which I did. Eventually, it passed and the Lord showed me that my EH was just fine. I walked through this fiery furnace with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit right next to me, PTL.

The turning point of my restoration was several months after I walked through the fiery furnace. My EH never moved out, as he wanted to do, the OW became bitter as wormwood before my eyes, and the walls were completely down. My HH began allowing my EH and I to date again, with date nights to the movies, lunch or dinner, fitness club, and even a weekend away without our son. Prior to Lent, the Lord placed upon my heart that He wanted me to go on a 40-Day Daniel Fast. During this time, I got deeper into His Word. I took my 3x5 cards and did an in depth Bible study on them - one per night. He directed me to reread certain chapters of the Wise Woman Book - Gentle and Quiet Spirit, Winning Without a Word and Created Female. Yes, I did read these chapter before, but I didn't go deeper - I didn't truly act upon these chapters. The Lord also directed me to read other books and devotionals that were in line with Wise Woman and Workers at Home Books that emphasized how to be the kind of wife the Lord needed me to be for my EH. I found that I was enjoying this intimate time with my HH and looked forward to it. The Lord gave me many dreams and the power to interpret these dreams. I would have the same dream involving trying to cross murky waters for a few months. During my fast, the Lord gave me this dream again, but only this time, the water was calm and clear and I wasn't afraid to cross the bridge. After seeking wisdom, I realized the Lord wanted me to step out on faith and take the next step in my journey in truly becoming the wife He needed for me to be. I was fearful at first, but realized I couldn't go wrong with God on my side. Plus I had already buried my dear sister Fear and eulogized her in October through a praise report. The more intimate and obedient I became with my HH, the closer my EH and I became. We began sharing our most intimate thoughts which each other. Because I was able to share these things with my HH first, it became easy for me to share them with my EH.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my spouse and I were with our son at the store. He mentioned our 15th wedding anniversary in August. I said yes I know, not thinking anything of it. My EH continued and said that we had been through a lot and we needed to celebrate it by going away. I don't think I realized what he said because my focus was now on the Lord. It took a while for my EH's statement to process. Unlike our wedding 15 years ago, this time, we will be renewing our vows on a Caribbean beach with Christ at the center, me, my EH, the preacher with NEW rings symbolizing the new life in Christ for our marriage.

I cannot even begin to express how wonderful RMI's resources are to ALL women, no matter what their marital status is. No ministry that I came across when I was in darkness provided the type of spiritual guidance, truth and support I needed for this journey. The RYM book gave me the foundation for my new life with all Biblical principles. By Word of Their Testimony, the Daily Encourager, and my e-Partner/friend (thank God for her) provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to go on. The Wise Woman and Workers at Home Book allowed me to go deeper into His Word. Every day I thank God for Erin's blind obedience to God to carry out His Master Plan of this ministry. I hope that I can be just as encouraging to others, as others have been to me.

Ladies, please remember that God hand picked each one of us. It is no accident that we have all found ourselves on this road, entering through this narrow gate. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14). Don't just stay outside of the gate peeking in. Enter in to see what's behind it. Yes, it's painful at times, and lonely and dark, but well worth it. Use this time to get closer to our HH. The only way to find true happiness, contentment and to live life abundantly is through our HH. C.S. Lewis, a Christian author once wrote "Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him."

Allow God to be your all and everything so that your light can shine and others can see us through Him.

Phyllis in Vermont is a new Minister in Training who has encouraged all of us through her enthusiasm and AMAZING praise reports. Like almost all of us, she believed the world's lies about marriage until her husband had had enough. Then began this great journey with the Lord where she changed into who you will get to know and love as we all have.

“Vows Renewed with Christ at the Center”

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Well I had no idea what plans my HH had for my vow renewal/anniversary celebration to my EH. I was so nervous the week prior to our departure and the minutes leading up to my vow renewal to my EH; even more nervous than the first time we got married. But I knew that my Beloved could not fail! This anniversary was truly about love. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love: 1 John 4:8 (NIV). Unlike before, this time I truly knew God and thus I knew about love for both my HH and EH.

My HH planned the PERFECT destination second honeymoon for us. Perfect in every way. Even the best wedding planner money could buy would never be able to top what my First Love planned.

I want to take you back into time with me 15 years ago so you will understand the magnitude of my Love's perfect plan for this celebration.

Fifteen years ago, my wedding was not about my HH's love for me or my love for my EH. It was a production. Twenty-five people in the bridal party with over 110 guests, many of whom neither I nor my EH speak to anymore. I never considered what my Beloved wanted for me. I couldn't even enjoy the day; everything felt rushed. The honeymoon was more like a vacation between two best friends rather than a time to become closer to my HH and my EH. This set the tone for my marriage for years to come. A life full of selfishness and no sacrifice.

Fast forward to today, my Love left no detail unnoticed and gave us the most beautiful and intimate ceremony and second honeymoon - a Caribbean destination. When my EH and I initially contacted the resort about conducting our vow renewal, they gave a brochure with packages that were way more than we knew we needed to spend and with things that we didn't need. We asked the resort three separate times about the fee, in hopes that since we didn't want anything elaborate, we wouldn't be charged so much. The answer was always the same. Even the photographer we contacted wanted a fee that was just as much as the resort's anniversary package. Then my Beloved whispered, "Don't worry. I have everything all taken care of. "So my EH and I left without knowing the details for anything - not even the exact day, time or location.

But oh, my Beloved knew and had everything under control! Prior to our departure, I received wedding gifts that I did not even expect. He arranged for us to have private transportation to the resort at no additional cost with early check-in, though we were initially told that our room wouldn't be ready when we arrived. The weather was picture perfect. Our room directly overlooked the wedding gazebo leading to the beach, and I knew at that moment that my HH wanted us to renew our vows right at that gazebo. (Every day, I sat on the balcony and became even closer to my HH through reading His word and writing). We were even able to book a photo session with the resort's photographer at 85% less than if we'd booked with the other photographer! There were so many details that my HH provided for us that every time I or my EH noticed it, we both were praising Him!

When my HH revealed the time, day and location that our vow renewal was to take place, there was not a single soul around. Normally, the wedding gazebo is used by the resort for wedding ceremonies (bride's walk to the beach for the ceremony). When we arrived, there were a few ceremonies going on, but on our special day ordained by my Beloved, the wedding gazebo remained unused!! My EH and I sat underneath that gazebo overlooking the ocean and exchanged our written vows to each other with God as the preacher. He even provided us with witnesses as a few of the guests viewed us exchanging vows from their rooms. It was the most beautiful and intimate ceremony, which was focused on spiritual and not earthly things. My Love even provided us with a small cake in our room afterwards, and an intimate wedding reception!

The best part of this whole destination second honeymoon is not the location or the wedding gifts. It's not even the vows that my EH and I exchanged, though that was wonderful. The day before our departure and official anniversary, my EH gave his testimony to family and friends of his restoration journey and how God has been moving in his life. He testified that because I showed him unconditional love, it helped him to look at himself and change. So many couples reached out to both of us sharing their own journeys, and letting us know how our testimonies inspired them! Ladies, I say this not to boast because none of this was done by us. I say this to state that my Beloved chose me to be the sacrificial lamb; to go ahead of family and friends and pave the way for them to experience His intimacy, mercy, grace and plans; in other words His best for them. When I was at my worst point last year, my Beloved was at His best not only working in me, but working in my EH and others that I love. My journey, and yours, is a part of our HH's master plan to bring Him all the glory and honor, and to bring others closer to Him. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

~Phyllis in Vermont


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