So apparently God likes marriage? I didn’t realize just HOW much he liked them until I almost lost mine.
In 2003, I met Chris Federspiel online in yahoo chat. We stayed friends for about 9 months before meeting in person, deciding that we liked one another and we began dating. Shortly following this; we got pregnant, and not long after that we were engaged to be married. Within the year, a birth, a co-habitation and a civil wedding took place in August of 2004. In that order.
I was quite young when we married, just a fresh 20 years old. I didn’t have a lot of life experience under my belt and it showed. We struggled in our early years…in all facets really. I had come from a christian home, and had strayed in high school. Chris was raised in a secular home and often bugged me about my belief in God. I always felt in my heart that God was who the Bible says He is, however I didn’t bother to take any time to investigate this truth and continued to walk without the Lord for many years because of this.
I can recall a time in our early years, where I first felt God’s prompting. I was so fed up with my marriage to Chris. I had gone into it with an ideology about what a marriage should look like and it failed to live up to my idea. Our home had constant visitors coming over to drink, or lounge on our couch and a neither of us held a job for much length, it wasn’t a fun time. One day, I decided to leave. I packed up my things and left that night. Later I moved back home to Barrhead and spent the next three months staying with my Mom and Dad while Chris and I worked out shared custody.
One night I happened to be flipping through the paper, and came across a little clip for something called “divorce care” in a local church basement. All of a sudden I felt my hands get sweaty and my heart started to beat really fast. I felt like I wanted to go, it described in the ad that it was for people who were struggling through a separation, or divorce and that was me. For whatever reason that night, I felt what I now know was God’s gentle nudge. I was so beside myself over our separation that I had stopped eating properly and had lost about 30 lbs in three weeks. It was so taxing on my mind, that reading this little ad in the paper made me feel excited for the first time in weeks.
I walked myself to the edge of the parking lot of that church. I stared at it and turned around, only to walk back home and never tried to attend ever again.
This was the first time I encountered the Lord’s gentle whisper.
Miraculously God spared our marriage back then. We eventually got back together and proceeded to increase our family size by three more babies. Each of them a blessing, healthy and to full term. I thought my life couldn’t be better. That was until I decided to go to back to school, become a volunteer and do anything I could outside of the home so that I could just feel useful. Meanwhile…my marriage literally disintegrated before my eyes. Chris and I really only spent time together when he came home on weekends from his long haul trucking job, and at that it was limited to enjoying an entire bottle of wine together and falling asleep…or fighting? A lot of our doors had big fat holes in them…we could never really explain how they got there to others, so we began to cover them up with pictures that the kids would draw. This is sad…but none the less true.
Eventually we sat at the precipice of divorce again…we had thrown that word around like confetti for years, but this time it felt real. We both knew that we had become two separate people, with very different life goals. I hated the idea of spending the next ten years married to Chris. I felt like I had forgotten who I was over the course of our marriage and I was convinced I needed to go find myself. One day we sat down and laid it out on the table, we had agreed that divorce was the only way and like a business meeting, we both stood up and left the room. The next few days were a blur, although despite the circumstances, we did something very strange….we visited a christian school to inquire about enrolling our daughter there?? (nominal christian, plus buddhist practicing husband=successful union.)
At the end of our inquiry tour, the school rep asked the both of us where we stood in our walk with the Lord? this is the part that I recall nervous verbal diarrhea…much along the lines of “I have no idea….andiwenttochurchasakidandiknowaboutGod”
We left that school. We were even angry about the entire tour. “What a bunch of snobs” I said. “Who says that to someone? who does she think she is?” and when I got home, I stuffed that application package so deep inside the garbage can that my arm was elbow deep in trash and last nights supper.
We didn’t talk again that day. Chris left for work and we didn’t see him again for another two days. However, two days is a lot of time to think. I thought things….all kinds of things…I realized that I loved Chris, and that I didn’t want a divorce. I worried about being a single Mom, and I pondered whether or not Chris would pay support if we actually did divorce. These things terrified me. Scared the pants right off me. I didn’t want any of them. I just wanted what my parents had. A mom, a dad, a house…and a family. This is what I had always wanted. And here it was….blowing into the wind like dandelion seeds.
Quickly, I gathered my children and hauled them into the car. We drove into the city and we ended up at Chris’ work…I had a brilliant idea. I would offer to buy him a new copy of a book he had been pining over, and I’d agree to get him a dog, because those are things I knew he would love. All would be well and we’d be fine right? Because as you know..books and dogs are wonderful quick fixes for any problem. Yeah right? I was so wrong. Chris literally scoffed at me and left me sitting inside my van, feeling rather stupid for even suggesting something so silly.
That moment I knew it was done. I had no marriage anymore. I had become so selfish in my desires, and spent more time focusing on how my needs were not being met that now my husband had turned his back and walked away. There clearly was nothing left to say or do to try salvage what had become a big pile of ashes….we had sailed that ship and it wasn’t coming back.
Sadly and grievously…..I drove away that day. I drove west…I always drove west, because west was where the mountains were. I loved the mountains…and I just wanted peace. I wanted to feel something other than sorrow. As I drove I had this silly little thought pop into my head…”where are you in your walk with the Lord?”
It kept gnawing at me…stealing away my thoughts…this question appeared like one of those blinking OPEN signs, and it blinked and blinked inside my mind…I screamed for it to go away…I didn’t want to answer that question at that particular moment. I had bigger fish to fry! like housing, and child support payments, and trying to remember where the legal aide office was in Edmonton? but there it was…solid as a rock…not going anywhere…silly little question…silly little question.
“Okay fine” I said to myself…”IF you’re there GOOOOOOOOOOOD…(and I said this very sarcastically inside my mind) then what do I do????? If YOOOOUUUU have all the answers…what is your answer?”
This is what I saw and heard…sign for Edson…whir of green spruce trees…and then there it was…small…but steady….
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Like a gentle whisper inside my head, I heard this scripture….just as it is. I owned a bible…it had a rainbowy reflective cover that said “Adventure Bible” across the front and it sat in a box, in my basement, under the stairs…..so it’s safe to say that I hadn’t memorized this verse recently.
Love is patient…I definitely wasn’t that. Love is kind…or that either, it does not envy…check, it does not boast, double check, it is not proud…maybe I need a stamp or something for that one? I kept records and records and records of wrong doings, I used them like ammunition in a heated fight…the list went on, and every thing this scripture said love was…I was the opposite?! Imagine my horror at the realization? I couldn’t think of anything better to do, so I cried, and cried…How horrible was I? I was an awful wife…no wonder he wouldn’t accept my dog and book idea…how foolish I was?…how sorry I am….God…how sorry I am???? God…can you forgive me??? God…can you teach me to love the right way??? and then, weight…lifting up off of me…like a physical relief….a burden so heavy…was just gone.
That day my life changed. I went home and I raced downstairs and found that old bible. I flipped through until I found that verse in 1 Corinthians, and I began to practice living it out….Chris came home and I began to use this verse as a way to guide my behaviour, my words, my actions towards him and wouldn’t you know it, but Chris too was on his own little journey and had come to faith in Christ roughly around the same time. For whatever reason, we never spoke of divorce again? And not long after, Chris phoned me in the dead of the night as he drove in his semi, and asked if we could start attending church. We did, and we landed ourselves a nice little home at Spruce Grove Alliance Church.
God spared me that day…his ways are perfect and he loves marriage…most of all he loves me. I know that I need to share this with others, because somewhere out there…someone may read this and feel exactly as I did that year…and had I heard a similar story, I might have decided to walk a little closer with the Lord sooner in my life. So thank you all for reading…this is just a snippet of my story, albiet the most memorable and was the game changer for me. Please feel free to ask questions or comment…I hope that what the Lord has asked me to write, hits home for some of you…maybe you have a similar story? if so…feel free to send a message for prayer, or for encouragement.
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” – Psalm 18:30
I have included this video from a blogger named Courtney, who I have grown to become very fond of. Shortly after my heart change, I found her on youtube and discovered this particular video and it really spoke to me…so here you go, enjoy!
Father, thank you for Dovette and her honest words about her life. Thank you for the three fold cord that you bind us with in our marriages. I pray for people who are struggling right now with their spouse. Help them to remember that they are not alone and everything they are experiencing has been already happened to other before them. You are not a God who is not shocked or frightened by any marital situation and we thank you for that. Thank you we can come freely and ask you to help us. Please provide peace in marriages, especially during this season. Prompt forgiveness in hearts where needed, and help to take the burdens from people’s hearts.
In Jesus Name,