Several years ago, in the middle of my church-led reconciliation attempt, we were in a meeting with several church leaders who had been trying to put our cracked marriage back together.
And one of the men said this, “My prayer is that someday down the road, our prayers will be answered for a miracle and I will be able to tell other couples who are on the verge of breaking up to go talk to you two…that your marriage and lives will be shining trophies for Jesus.”
I knew he meant well. Every person who told me they were “praying for a miracle” meant well. But this is what I said in response, “Please take this with all due respect, but whether or not this marriage ends, I fully intend for my children and for me to live lives that are shining trophies for Jesus. If this marriage ends, my kids and I will not be straddled with God’s plan B for the rest of our lives.”
I had so many people tell me that they were praying for a miracle. And when they said this, they meant only one thing: that my then-husband would come around, and that we’d reconcile. I want to be careful not to discount that because yes, if we would’ve reconciled, that would have been a miracle; trust me.
But here’s what I know now that I didn’t know then: reconciliation wasn’t the only miracle for our situation. I was programmed to believe that it was, but it wasn’t.
(Do not get me wrong: RECONCILIATION IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF EVERY HURTING MARRIAGE and I AM NOT A PROPONENT OF DIVORCE.)
But think about the implications of staunchly believing reconciliation is the only miracle. If that were the case, then this would be how that would play out:
reconciliation = God came through for us
no reconciliation = God dropped the ball and abandoned us and our kids
Thank God it doesn’t work that way.
So, here’s what I’ve learned, and this applies to anyone really, but my heart is really beating hard for those of you in hard, hard marriages who are praying for that one very specific thing to happen (read: your husband to change and your marriage to heal).
Yes, sweet girls, that would be a miracle (each and every time a marriage heals is a sweet miracle), and you just keep on praying for that.
But as a woman who didn’t see that specific miracle play out, I can attest wholeheartedly that there are thousands of other miracles that can happen.
Things like, my children being given the gift of wrapping up their childhoods in a home finally filled with peace.
Things like, knowing my children are more than okay now and are going to be more than okay in their futures.
Things like, my healing, my coming back to life.
Things like, me having the chance to become who God always intended for me to be.
Things like, a handful of private Facebook groups being created that have reached over one thousand women who are hurting and felt misunderstood and judged, who now have support and the realization that they’re not alone.
Things like – gasp – my meeting a good man who loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with the handful that is me.
I do not know why God chose not to intervene and heal us. I believe he could have. And yet I equally believe he loves us enough to give us free will and he won’t just swoop into our lives and make us do things we don’t want to do. To quote Tall-Shadow, “God works on us, it’s our choice to listen and follow him.” A marriage being reconciled takes God PLUS two human beings, not just God and one spouse.
So what I am choosing to believe is not that God withheld a miracle from my family (remember, Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds no good thing), but that he instead has allowed many, many sweet miracles into our lives that I never would’ve expected or hoped for…like wholeness and deep peace and a new appreciation for grace and closer friendships and a honed-in new ministry and a second chance at love.
And not only do I not believe my life is over, but Psalm 85 promises that God wants to give me a fresh start…a resurrection life.
There is life after pain. There is life after sin. There is life after failure. And there are thousands of different kinds of miracles that God is willing and able to deliver into your life, if your mind and heart can be open enough to receive what God has for you, not just what you want for you.
If this post resonated with you, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage will bring you more hope and help.