A Weakness made Stronger all for God’s Glory

Ever dreamed of that fairytale life where your knight in shining armor comes to your rescue, giving you the perfect life, never letting you down, never hurting you, being the perfect husband, the one who treats you like the princess you think you are? HaHa…I’m not even sure if I ever “dreamed” of this fairytale life, but in all honesty… I thought I had it for several years! To put it quite simple, I almost “idolized” my husband and my children! At one time, I loved them more than I loved Jesus! I looked for my contentment through them.

About 4-5 years ago, Justin and I BOTH started having a longing for God we’d never had. We had been going to church for several years off and on…but something was different. We couldn’t get enough. We started praying for Justin to have a job where he could have off at least on Sundays so that we could go to church every Sunday as a family. He was always working and never had a set schedule, and he often had to work on Sundays. Well, he got that position! As a matter of fact now he didn’t just have Sundays off, he had the whole weekend off along with every evening! Wowzers, God is good! Not only did we start attending church every Sunday, but we were now going on Wednesday nights too and loving every second of it!

Some time during this time, we listed our home for sale. We felt we had outgrown our current home at the time and wanted to build a new one. Our home sold, and we started looking for land to build on. We looked and looked, but never felt like anything was jumping out at us saying, “Move here!”. I was overwhelmed with confusion. Justin came home one evening, and I remember crying to him, “I have a strong feeling that we’re not going to build here, but I have no idea where we will go! As a matter of fact, I’m not even going to stress over it anymore. I’m giving it to God. I just want us to pray about it.” He said, “That’s weird because I’ve felt the same way.” We sighed a deep relief and hugged. I quit meeting with builders and looking for land, not even bothered by the deadline we had to be out of our current home.

About a week later, we were offered an opportunity of a life time, or so we thought. An opportunity that no one in their right mind would turn down! I thought, “This must be God answering our prayers! This must be what He has been putting on our hearts!”

So Justin put in his two weeks notice at his current job at the time that he’d been with for about 7 years, and we up and moved our “little big” family to Boerne, Texas! A place where we knew no one! In fact, we’d never even heard of it! It’s a beautiful little town in the hill country where everyone invites you to their church! True story…lol, but a lovely story. I remember the first time Justin and I drove to Boerne, I was lying back in the front seat with my bare feet propped on the dashboard gazing out the window at all the glorious rolling hills. As we moved closer into the beautiful hill country, I perked up and asked Justin, “Is it just me, or have you noticed all the billboards for the last hour that say “Jesus”, “God”, or something “Holy” on them?!” He said he had noticed a lot of the same thing. I said, “Weird, it feels like we’re moving to “God’s Country” or something.” We both just laughed and my mind continued to wonder.

Let me go back a little and say that we had become part of a church and church family that we had come to LOVE! One where we always wanted to be. We had become “Jesus Freaks”, couldn’t get enough and liked it! And we liked the “other Jesus freaks” too! lol… We had a dear mentor couple that was always there for us and had walked along side us, helping us and guiding us on this new journey where Jesus was our center! These were just a few of the things I was scared to death of leaving back home, but at the same time I had this sense of peace I can’t explain, because I felt strongly that God was calling us to this unfamiliar place!

We get to Boerne, and start building in a sweet little neighborhood filled with a gazillion kids on every corner. While I was dealing with getting kids settled into their new schools and watching over house construction, Justin was ALWAYS working! Not how we had seen this “new opportunity”. As a matter of fact it only took a few weeks to see that this “life-changing opportunity” was not at all what we were told it was going to be. Justin was working more than 100 hours a week! The kids never saw their daddy because they were asleep when he left and asleep when he got home, and most of the time, so was I! You see the plan was for my husband to come in and “run” this company, build it up, then sell it in 1-2 years and the payoff for our family would be HUGE, we’re talking Big Bucks and for only 2 years of our time. So even though it was a big sacrifice for our family, it would all be worth it in the end! Right?

Well, I very quickly started to see things quite differently. I knew this was taking a toll on our family and even more on our walk with Christ! I was becoming fearful of what might come of all this. I was afraid we had taken the wrong path, that we were chasing things of this world, and that it was leading us to destruction! I joined every bible study I could, and did my best at holding down the fort. If I could just conquer this for 2 years, everything would be gravy! My husband was usually home on Sundays, so we church hopped every Sunday, only to usually end the day in an argument, because I felt my husband wasn’t really interested but just going with the flow. He was not happy. He stayed completely drained and stressed out! I was so sad that my husband didn’t seem to be where he used to be with God and I was scared! I would ask him if he still prayed. I even went as far as asking him what exactly he prayed, because I felt he was way to busy with work to even think about God. When he was home, he was not really there, but on the phone with work. We grew distant…I cried and begged him to quit, to take us back home. I screamed, “This isn’t worth it! All the money in the world isn’t worth losing our family!” “We can sell everything and move into a shack, just quit! Please, I’m begging you!” But pride and money had the best of him. He truly believed that if he gave this company his all like he said he would, then they would follow through with their promises, and we would be one big happy family when it was over. But the fact was, he wasn’t close to God anymore. He was totally consumed with work and the goldmine at the end of the tunnel. He didn’t have time for God or his family right now, but he “would have all the time he needs when this was over”. We were told that the company was going to sell in only two more months! Yay, it’s almost over. Two months came, and another two months passed, and another… We didn’t argue about it anymore. I had given it to God, was choosing to trust Him, and was going to stand by my husband through this.

I began to pray constantly about the situation.

“Dear Lord, if this job is where you want Justin, then please give us a peace about it and let us be content where we are. If it’s not where you want him, then please give us clarity on where you want him and where you want us as a family. I pray Your will be done, and I am ready for whatever You have for us God! I pray that you bring my husband to a place where we can be closer as a family, but more importantly, where we can grow closer to You God! In Jesus’ name, I pray all these things ~ Amen

I prayed more I’m sure, but I vividly remember praying this prayer for about 6 months, the last 6 months my husband worked at this job.

I was in a bible study at the time, “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voscamp, and I was sitting in my car one day jotting down things I’m thankful for. Out of nowhere, I decided to text my husband, “Hey baby, please don’t feel like you have to say yes, but that men’s retreat I mentioned to you a while back, well it’s time to register if you wanted to go? Would you go for me?” He text back immediately, “YES, sign me up!” I couldn’t believe it!!! I started to cry and couldn’t sign him up fast enough!!! I wrote once more in my gratitude journal, “Thankful for a God fearing husband!” There was hope! I mean my husband would actually have to take off from work for this (which he had refused to do) and he is NOT a men’s christian retreat kind of man! I knew this was God! The time came, and off he went, by himself, where he knew no one, but one of the speakers. The 3 days he was there I prayed hard day and night for God to speak into my husband in ways he could understand! He came home on Sunday a changed man! God had spoken to him in ways he had never heard. He had lots he wanted to share with me, lots he wanted to get off his chest, and lots he wanted to do differently. He wanted to be the leader of his family, something he felt he had never been. He wanted to be a Godly example for his children. He wanted to be a Godly husband. He wanted to put God first in his life, his family second, then work. He was on a mission! While he was there, he also met a group of christian guys at the retreat that were already friends and they basically took him right in. (Again, this was God! I had been praying for my husband to find some Christian friends!) After the retreat they began a group text/email where they would encourage one another with daily devotionals, scripture, etc. (something he’s never had – a group of christian men that hold each other accountable). WOW! Thank You God!

The very next week, he asked me if I wanted to have coffee at Starbucks before he headed to work, and he’d just go in later than usual. He was really trying hard to make time for us and to be a better husband. I had also noticed that he was taking time for God. I could tell he was trying to build up the courage to tell me something. The conversation that day led to one of the things I feared most… I soon learned about an emotional affair my husband had been having for about four months. The female had actually been working for him for about 6 months! The whole 6 months I had been praying! The word “affair” is hard for my husband because they weren’t ever “physical”. In fact the girl thought nothing of the relationship. But for my husband, we both agree it was an emotional affair. Something he kept secret and hid from his wife. Something he felt guilty about. Something he wanted to get off his chest. A friendship that was growing closer and was inappropriate. Another woman he enjoyed talking to more than he enjoyed talking to his nagging wife. Someone who actually listened to him and found his “oil-field lingo” interesting. To me, I do believe in my heart it was an emotional affair, but headed for more! It was enough for me to want a divorce! My heart hurt! Money and pride had gotten the best of our family, of our fairytale relationship. He quit work instantly, in an effort to prove to me that he loved me and only me, and that this was “emotional affair” was nothing more than a friendship that should’ve never been. But I knew it was going to take a lot more than “his” words to repair our brokenness! How would I ever trust him again?

I had recently chosen one particular bible study over another, because one of them was something about being “angry at God”. I remember thinking that was dumb. Why would anyone ever be “angry at God”? For the first time I realized what being “angry at God” felt like. I felt like I had tried to do what was best by being in Gods Word, praying, standing by my husband, trusting in God, and “this” was my reward?! I thought things like, “I’m done!” “I’m done with bible studies!” “I’m done with church!” “I’m done with God!” I couldn’t pull myself out bed. I was in what felt like the deepest pit of my life. Several days went by, I was lying in my bed, hadn’t eaten, had hardly slept, and I remembered something a friend had taught me about renouncing the enemy. Basically you renounce the enemy out loud in Jesus name. I was skeptical, but I was desperate. I cried out loud, “Satan leave, you have no place here, I am a child of God! In Jesus’ name!” That was all I could manage to get out. About half an hour later, my husband was sitting on the side of the bed talking to me, begging for forgiveness, and I was actually considering it this time. I just remember a calmness and thinking to myself, “oh my goodness, I renounced the enemy, and it worked! I’m not feeling like the devil myself! I’m actually feeling a glimmer of hope.” It still wasn’t easy. In fact, I was renouncing the enemy daily, several times a day! Every time fear or doubt crept in, I renounced the enemy again! I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I always included,

“I AM A CHILD OF GOD!”

because even though I wasn’t sure of a lot of things, I knew HE is who HE says HE is, and that I belong to HIM! And that I was not going to make it through this without HIM!

There we were…still at the bottom of the pit, with no clue where we’d be or end up, and with no money! He got a job offer from an old friend of his, but guess where? ALASKA! Cold, grey and a TEN hour plane ride! I was desperate, ready to escape all of our issues, and said, “Let’s do it!” Before we knew it, we were on a plane to Alaska. As the trip grew longer, I gazed out at the beautiful snow covered mountains, my head leaning on the window of the plane, and that’s the first time since it all went down…that I began to pray! To really pray, to give it to HIM! (Now I did have a many family and friends praying hard for us, and for that I will be forever grateful!) I know God heard every single prayer!

We decided not to move to Alaska, our family (our children) didn’t deserve to be put through another dramatic change because of our failures, so we didn’t . God provided. We now had financial means that we could live on for about 3 months. So we decided to stay put, be still, listen, and take this time to truly pray for God’s wisdom and direction in our lives.
In the meantime, Justin and I had more meaningful and intimate conversations than we had ever had our whole marriage, and were starting to feel a deeper connection than we had ever felt with one another, one we didn’t even know we really longed for, it was one with GOD in the center! On my bad days when the devil was trying to take me out and make me question things all over again, there was my husband praying over me, constantly loving on me, reassuring me. And I was constantly renouncing the enemy because I knew these thoughts and feelings were not from God, but from Satan who would love to see our marriage fail! I prayed without ceasing for God to restore our marriage in ways we thought impossible, and to protect our eyes, hearts, minds…and to draw us closer to HIM, and so on… It worked and is still working! God is faithful!

Some interesting things happened in the following weeks…

One early morning my husband was having breakfast with one of his “new christian friends” he had met at the men’s retreat, and Justin was telling him our story. His friend showed him great support and offered advice and so on and ask what Justin’s plan was for work? Justin mentioned to him that he had thought about starting his own company, but hadn’t gotten a business plan together for it yet. The friend encouraged Justin to get it together and let him have a look at it. Justin did, and guess what? His “new christian friends whom he met at the men’s retreat” called him up and said, “Hey man, a couple of us took a look at this, it looks awesome, and we want to be your investors.”! All God!!!

Also, while he was gone to breakfast that very morning, I was struggling with trusting him, and trusting God. I feared that he may not be going where he said he was. I began to doubt that God had enough power to restore us and our marriage. I started to feel hopeless again….I had just checked the mail and had received a rather unusual package. It was unusual because it was from someone I didn’t “really” know. I had taken pictures of this persons child a couple of times, but never had deep conversation with her. I’ll never forget that day. I had Christian music playing because I was about to clean, and I was trying to stay occupied. I opened the box. There were several things wrapped individually in tissue paper. The very first thing I opened was a little square plaque that read:

I AM A CHILD OF GOD

book4

It was as if I could hear GOD audibly speaking to me as I read the words! I just froze, and began to weep. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, yet I could! I went on to open the next bundle of tissue paper and it was a small book in which this special woman of God had gone through highlighting and writing things. I just randomly flipped through and the very first thing I read were these words:

Oh when love is put to the test it will defeat every enemy and torment that there is on earth. The God that closed the lions mouths in the den still lives today, my brother! 

book1

I flipped the page and read more.

You may say, “Oh but I am so insignificant to God,” but I say this – you are His child and God wants you, He loves you. He so loved you that when His love was projected, sovereign grace took its place and sent a Saviour to redeem you back to Himself; in this Saviour He was wounded for our transgressions because He loved you.

book2

Then flipping again, I noticed in her handwriting:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, & forever.

book3

I just continued to weep and began crying out to God, “I know, I know God! And I Believe in YOU! YOU are real! YOU are true to your promises! I know YOU love Me! I know YOU hear my every prayer, and I know YOU have never left me! YOU can’t make yourself anymore clear to me! Thank YOU Oh GOD! Thank YOU for loving me! Please forgive me for Ever doubting YOU!!!

Y’all! There was no way the person who sent the package could’ve known! Only God and myself knew that I repeated daily, “I Am A Child Of God!” And very few people knew what I had been going through! God is simply AMAZING! HE is all powerful! HE is the same yesterday, today and forever! I know He used this sweet woman to speak to me in a mighty way, a way she was even unaware of!

I know that God does have a plan for my husband and I and our family! I still feel that He brought us here for a reason! Maybe not the reason “I” thought, but an even better one. I believe He had me in the exact bible study that He wanted me in at the time. “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voscamp is about accepting what God has for you with open hands. Look for the good in everything, every trial and every tribulation. Romans 8:28 says, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. As hard as this trial was, I would not change any of it, because I know now that it was an answered prayer! I have a new respect for my husband I once never had. I know that God can and does restore marriages! For that I am so thankful! Pray protection over your marriage daily! The enemy wants marriages to fail! 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.   But GOD wins, and He wants your marriage to succeed with Him in the middle of it fighting for you! My eyes were opened to so many of my own sins! I no longer wanted to be the controlling and untrusting wife, but the wife God wanted me to be! I no longer look to my husband for contentment, but instead I look to my KING! HE is my true Knight in shining armor! The ONE who is coming on a white horse! HE is the only ONE that will never let us down! HE is the only way to true joy and happiness! HE is our real RESCUER! 

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Our weaknesses and trials grow us making our faith stronger if we trust HIM through it!

Share your stories. You have them for a reason and God has a plan! Make them count! All for God’s Glory!

Extend grace and forgiveness to others! When you do not, you are the prisoner. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Through this mess, God brought us closer together as a family, gave us a stronger marriage than ever, and most importantly brought us closer to HIM. HE grew us in our faith in ways we didn’t even realize how desperately we would need!

This is a little snippet of my story that I emailed to my cousin back in February 2014. 

Justin and I continue to stay in God’s word daily, we found a wonderful church home, and we know we are right where God wants us to be and that HE has much bigger plans for us! HE’s our #1 now and will always be, because without HIM, we are nothing! We can’t wait to see where God takes us and how HE uses us, but we have our armor on and we’re ready!

Little did we know, HE was just getting started!…

IMG_1682

IMG_1733

5 thoughts on “A Weakness made Stronger all for God’s Glory

  1. Cristi, Thank you for your heart and your honesty and for sharing something that I am sure was a bit difficult to share. God is using you in so many ways that you may never see or know. You touched my heart today and I can not explain the impact your story had for me today and how much I needed to hear this. You are a child of God and I am very thankful that you followed his nudging and started this blog…..thank you

Leave a Reply to Whitney Cancel reply