I have spent the last couple of weeks praying for direction as to how to write this Praise Report, but the words did not come as easily as I would have hoped. Below is a brief portion of my journey. I hope it is a source of encouragement to the other women who are weary in their journey, or believe their situation is hopeless.  

In was long ago, in September of 2006, when I found to RMIEW upon learning my former husband was involved with his co-worker and chose to leave our family to start a new life with her.  To say I was caught completely off guard would be an understatement because I, like so many others, thought I had the "perfect marriage."

It was only after being left, broken, and confused then I was asked to read the, How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage Book.

My life has never been the same, and for the first time ever, I begin to understand the living hell I put my family through. As a young girl I was raised to be strong, take charge, speak my mind, and not take anything off a man, but the piles of rubble now called my life had taught me that kind of behavior gets you no-where in a marriage.  

For five months after my former husband left, I dedicated my time to reading some of the additional resources published by Restore Ministries International, including A Wise Woman and Workers@Home. God started to work in my life, and as I was enlightened to the laws of marriage, and how God really wanted me to behave. Instead of showering my children with unlimited gifts as an expression of my love, the Lord showed me how to properly train and discipline to truly express my love towards them.  Most importantly, He taught me how to really love my husband and honor him (even while he lived away from us). For the first time in my life and marriage, I really wanted to honor the man in my life the way the Lord wanted me to. It felt so right inside.   

In February 2007 after having very little contact with my former husband, he called one day out of the blue to let me know he was pushing through with our divorce and needed to come by to retrieve documents such as our tax returns, etc. I was completely devastated. At the time I did not know the "Facing Divorce" book existed, and instead of moving forward in my journey, I begin to pursue my former husband and begging him to NOT divorce me. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life as it only pushed him into quickly divorcing me, and immediately marrying the other woman in an effort to show me he was moving on.  

After my former husband married the OW, I fell into a depressed state and really begin to cry out to God to help me to get out of the mess called my life.

I felt betrayed, lost, confused, and angry with God and the world. My hope was for God to restore my marriage, and put my family back together again; things were not supposed to be this way. On top of coming to terms with my former husband's recent marriage, I was dealing with poor health (due to the "infidelity diet", I had lost 30% of my body weight), foreclosure, work-related issues, and my grandmother still working with my former husband and reporting back all the workplace rumors to me, even as I tried to find peace.

Ladies, but how many of us know that when life looks like it is at its worse, Jesus is at His best.   

 The day I received my divorce decree I remember praying and asking God to give me the wisdom to raise my children so that they would not become statistics of divorce or being a part of a single-parent family. My mother has chosen to divorce my father when I was 12-years old and not to long afterwards, I ended up pregnant with my first child at 15. In addition to my parents divorce, my grandparents, and also my former husband's mother and grandmother also experienced multiple marriages and divorces. This was not the heritage I wanted to leave for my children. With all of this in mind, my children's future, and knowing my vulnerable condition, I chose to resign from my position with our telecommunications company, and dedicate my life to being a stay at home mother and worker at home. It was at this time, the Lord led me to homeschool my children.  My life has never been the same.  

I wish I could report that this was the end of my trials and tribulations on my way to a restored marriage and family, but sadly it is not. Since my former husband was now married to the OW and had gone on to have two children with her, I felt like God was telling me to move on with my life. I severed my relationship with this ministry and chose to move on with my life in hope of finally close the book on this horrible nightmare.

To my detriment, I continued to remain in contact with my former mother in law, begin to confide in family and friends, and completely treated my former husband as a social outcast in an effort to "protect myself and my children" from anymore pain. This led him to breaking his relationship with me and constantly skipping out on the children when it was time for them to visit him.  By God's grace, he continued to support us financially which lessen the blow to our devastating condition.  

Things begin to improve in our lives in the fall of 2009 when I was able to get a job working from home and we finally got our own apartment. This was after living with my family for almost two and a half years. I had spent enough time in the desert of despair, homelessness, unemployment, and anger.

The kids and I were happy; and our lives were good. The Lord had brought different home schooling friends into my life and everything was finally coming together. Because of his rich mercy, God started to deal with me about the unforgiveness I still had in my heart towards my former husband. After such a long time, I thought everything was fine because we could talk long enough to exchange the kids, but that was it and God required more. To prove that he was moving me into the direction of forgiveness, my former husband started reaching out to me and wanted to become more involved with our kids.  

For so long the kids had been only mine, and now he wanted to come back. I did not agree with his request inwardly, and outwardly I did not welcome his efforts.  You see, in addition to mending his relationship with our kids, my former husband was making an effort to mend his friendship with me, at the time I was unable to get past my own hurts the see what he needed the most from me. My forgiveness. My former husband wanted to start making mutual decisions concerning our kids, and to reclaim his role in their lives, but I was not quick to let go, finally after continually brushing him off he tired of the tug of war with me and I was served with custody paper on December 22, 2010. I officially lost custody of my children December 31, 2010. It was the darkest moment of my life.  

To make a long story short, experiencing divorce was nothing compared to the loss of my children. It was at this moment that I realized the one person I was offended by the most, was the person who now had control of what I loved more than anything, my children. I knew only God could help me. My former husband still wanted a friendship, I wanted recompense, and the Lord wanted restoration. I prayed continually for God to soften my heart and help me to heal.

Even though I had been baptized many years ago, I believe this was when I became a real Christian. In learning about the grace of God and His love towards us, I was able to finally forgive my former husband and the other woman from my heart. I had tried to forgive many times before and did, but this time I was able to walk in the freedom of Christ without fear.  Once healed, it no longer matter to me that he was married to her, I was healed and Jesus had made me whole.

While I was not running into situations to see them together, God has taught me how to deal with our interactions with a meek and humble spirit.

Finally, in the summer of 2011, my former husband asked me to please forgive him for leaving me and admit to the mistake he had made. I never thought I would hear these words, but I was thankful to God that I did.  

After His confession, the Lord brought the ladies of RMIEW back into my life to protect me from making further mistakes in my restoration journey. After my former husband's confession, I was tempted in my heart to pursue him if for nothing else his friendship, but I learned in the RRR not to make this fatal mistake.

Also I pulled out of attending church, completely cut off my relationship with my former mother in law, and begin to open my heart to God's will for my life, which is the same as it has always been, to restore my marriage, and now my relationship to my children by restoring my custody.  

You see, even though my former husband married the other woman and had children with her, God's plan for my life has not changed. I simply got off the path or the narrow road as we have learned it is really called. A few months ago I was completely adamant about NOT being restored to my former husband, but God (who is so rich in mercy) has allowed me to see the pain my children would continue to experience if I did not open my heart to His will.

As the adult child of divorce parents, it is one of the greatest burdens of my life as feeling torn during birthdays, holidays, graduations, etc. By opening myself to God's will for my life, I finally have peace, no matter what He decides. Who knows what the future holds for me?

It was only in opening my heart to restoration of my family, that I was able to receive the blessing when my former husband insisted that I take our children for the entire summer. I am only "allowed" 30 days usually. This is the longest time I have possessed my children since losing custody of them. I am so thankful.

Also since my son had a hard time in school this year, and did not pass our state's standardized testing, I have the chance to home school my son over the break. It has been a desire for my kids to return to home school since they left. His terrible school year, led their father to sending them to me and the Lord has placed many things on my heart in order to help the kids over the summer. God has told me all year, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings," and my heart is resting in this promise.  

While the restoration of my entire family is still a way off, I am so happy at what God is doing in my life right now. Things are still rocky, but progress is steady.  What more could I ask for?

~ Charity in Oklahoma


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