The Restoring and Redeeming Power of Jesus
by Rebecca Maanao
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It was in May of 2013 that my life began to crumble. At the time, I had been married to my husband for 5 years and we had a 4 year old son named Matthew. I was on my own path, living my own plan, and definitely not walking with the Lord. I believed in God, but that was about it. I didnít know much about him, honestly. I was raised ďChristian,Ē and I called myself a Christian, but looking back, I never truly understood what that meant. I most certainly wasnít living it and I most certainly didnít have Jesus in my heart.
A few years into our marriage, after the stress added onto our lives from poor financial decisions, we found ourselves living in a 1 bedroom apartment, seriously in debt, and seriously disconnected from one another. We were living separate lives Ė my husband is a music producer, so much of his time was devoted to that. I spent most of my time keeping busy and taking care of our son. We were separated from God, separated from each other emotionally, and the enemy was about to attack with his biggest punch yet.
Amidst our disconnectedness, our marriage began to spiral downward into a bottomless pit, both of us thinking we would be better off, and happier, if we divorced. We werenít meant for each other, it was a mistake that we got married, we are just two completely different people and we donít meet each otherís needs. This is what we had told ourselves, and we started believing it.
After several fights, several failed attempts at talking it out, discussions regarding child support and where my husband would temporarily stay until he got on his feet, we were on the verge of collapse. My family was on the verge of devastation. Nothing was going to be the same. How did we get to this point? What was going to become of my life Ė his life Ė our sonís life? What happened to the big dreams we had when we married, for a fulfilling and blissful life together, for better or for worse?
One night, while he was sleeping on the couch, and I was holed up in our tiny bathroom, in the corner on the floor, my heart finally shattered. Why was this happening? I cried out to God, not knowing if heíd hear me or if he really even cared, ďPlease HELP ME. PLEASE FIX THIS.Ē It was in that moment that God reached down and rescued me. My heart began to soften. And I began to pray. Something I hadnít done in a very long time.
The next day, I was in my car driving home from work. I turned to 95.9 The Fish for something to comfort me because I was feeling distraught and hopeless. As a song was playing on the radio, I canít even recall what song it was now, I began to cry and pray to God to take this burden from me. That I surrender my life to him Ė please take it and fix it. I prayed that if he got me through this, I would devote my life to Him. And God was faithful - He softened my heart, and with his Grace, He took control.
God began working immediately in my life. He put it on my heart to reach out to an old friend, our old neighbors, who attended and pastored at a local Calvary Chapel. When we lived next door, they would always try to encourage us to go to church with them, but we never did. For some reason, and not by any idea of my own, I tracked down his e-mail on the internet through the church website, and asked if his wife would meet me at the Wednesday night service; I wanted to go, but I didnít want to go alone. His wife didnít even hesitate to say yes. Little did she know God was going to use her in a very big way.
That Wednesday night, God changed my life. The pastorís message was preordained for me. There was no doubt. Godís grace filled my heart and began to transform it. But despite this transformation, at that point, divorce was inevitable for my husband and I, and I was preparing for God to help me raise my son on my own. I knew that God would help me, I just didnít realize how. As sure as my husband and I were that we werenít compatible and there was no salvaging our marriage, God had a different plan.
Angie, the pastorís wife who met me at service, became my soul sister in Christ. While everyone else I confided in prepared me for divorce, she encouraged me to not give up on my husband. Not to give up on our marriage. She reinforced that the enemy is not my husband; that we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy and he is doing all that he can to rip our marriage apart. He was succeeding. This idea penetrated me down to my core. How could I stand by and give up on my husband? I was not going to let the enemy win. With this new mindset, God gave me the words, the quiet and meek spirit, and the strength to endure the trial our marriage was going through.
Praise the Lord for Angie and the many other women who planted seeds in my heart, leading me to Jesus, and ultimately, leading me to Godís Word and truth. I dedicated my life to Christ on July 3rd, 2013 and was baptized on August 4th, 2013. Godís Grace was shining on me like a spotlight Ė opening doors, providing opportunities, removing the wrong people and bringing the right people into my life and to put his will into action and to strengthen my walk with the Lord. Church became my hospital Ė every message penetrated my heart, cleaning it out, renewing my spirit. My wounds were healing. My spiritual relationship with Jesus was growing, and he was molding me into the woman, mother, and wife he intended me to be. This can only happen with Godís grace.
Not only was God working in me, but he began to work in my husband. In time, God reached down and captured my husbandís heart, too, and completely restored our marriage. If you had asked me back in June if I thought anything could save my marriage, and Iíd have told you absolutely not. It was dead. But our God, the God of impossible things, gives life to what is dead. And he resurrected my marriage, making it stronger than it ever was Ė he restored my family! We are all growing together now, with the Lord. Itís not perfect Ė we arenít perfect. We still make mistakes, but we know that with God at the center, we can endure anything together. We were both lost, broken seeds, floating through the air aimlessly, until Jesus captured us, and transformed us into magnificent, beautiful dovesÖ all the glory to God!
Website: Doves and Dandelions
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