Our season of life was indeed changing. We were shifting from a lonely, painful separation to finally stepping boldly into reconciliation and a restored home.
We had done the hard work. We had been open and transparent, met weekly in counseling, and shared tears and hugs and hope for our future.
We were trusting the God of Restoration to work miracles and bring dead things back to life.
But for some reason I couldn’t get my heart to catch up with my head.
I was supposed to be feeling thankful, relieved, celebratory. I was supposed to be rejoicing and overwhelmed with love. Instead, in those first few months I found that I was guarded, afraid of being left again; I couldn’t muster up the joy and appreciation that I thought I’d have when he finally moved home.
I didn’t feel like being grateful that he came back. I was still grieving. I didn’t feel like being engaged or forgiving or kind some days. My heart felt dead even though I was going through the motions of married life.
So I prayed that God would give me a new picture of my husband.
I prayed for dead parts of my heart to be restored. I prayed that I would feel for this man — the one doing everything right and working so hard and staying the course of rebuilding — what I used to feel for him. I prayed that his consistent actions and our hard work would start to pay off with a rekindling of our love.
I didn’t know how long this would take. I didn’t know how many dinners and date nights and meaningful conversations and counseling sessions it would take for my heart to catch up.
I didn’t know how to be grateful when all I felt was grief.
But then I started seeing glimmers of hope.
Appreciation for this man and our marriage started to bubble up again at the oddest of times.
The loving notes he’d leave in the morning with Bible verses chosen just for me. The long looping walks we’d take at night through our neighborhood as we talked about how our hearts were coping with all of this. The way his arm would brush my arm in the kitchen and how the warmth electrified me.
Trickles of joy started to return.
A weird stirring in my heart came one morning when I realized I actually missed him and I was looking forward to him coming home from work that evening.
The God of Restoration was in fact working miracles and it included giving me a grateful heart for my husband and his return.
I realized that in order to be grateful for something we must first know its worth.
We have to know what it means to us and I was finally reminded, through patience and prayer, what my marriage meant to me. I was finally beginning to feel appreciation and love for this man that God had gifted to me.
I realized gratitude is birthed in our hearts, not overnight, but sometimes slowly, like a bud opening. Love and hope and warmth were all starting to blossom through petitioning in prayer.
This, God was showing me, is how hearts are restored and gratitude born. For my marriage, I had every reason to be thankful.Leave a Comment
Lisa Swanson says
Such beautiful inspiring words!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you for sharing from the heart your painful story of separation and God’s ability to bring beauty from ashes and make all things new. My story shares the beginning story line of yours….abandonment, separation, reconciliation…but my husband’s heart was not transformed like that of your husband, and so mine left again. The beauty in my story is that, like you so wonderfully pointed out, I SO appreciated the true worth of the gift God bestowed upon me in the godly man who is now my husband. Not a day or even a half day goes by without my thanking God for this gift of such great worth. What if we were all “treasure hunters” – looking for the worth in the people and gifts around us? What a great world that would be. Thank you for pointing our hearts toward gratitude and blessings upon your marriage restored by a God in the business of redemption.
Kara Brown says
Thank you for your kind words, Bev! We can strive to be treasure hunters indeed!
Corena Hall says
Thank you for sharing. I believe we are in trials to pray and hope and above be transparent so the glory of God can shine through. Christians are always desperately hiding behind their faith and desperation and sorrow. It’s not easy to walk openly with Jesus when the times are hard but when we reach out to others He uses our testimony to teach and hope and restore. How can that not be anything but beautiful? God bless
Kara Brown says
Thank you Corena, my hope was that my transparency may bless others somehow but it is hard to be that vulnerable at times. I agree that spreading hope can only be considered beautiful, no matter how messy the testimony.
Beth Williams says
God bless you for being so open & sharing a personal story. It took God and myself 39 years to find this wonderful man of mine. We’ve had our ups and downs (many more downs lately). Through it all I concentrate on what my man is willing to do for us. He goes to a hospital on weekends (Sat. – Mon.) and works 12 hr. shifts doing CTs. He works alone most of the time and it can get hairy busy. Realizing how hard he is willing to work for us I truly love this man of mine! He has even allowed me to quit a good job and stay home for 1+ years to be more available for my aging dad. I thank God daily for him. I pray 16 things over him daily!! He is my answer to prayer!
What are the 16 things Beth prays over her husband daily?
Beth Williams says
I got these from a website-forgot which one. Here they are with scriptures to go with them.
Father, give my husband a discerning heart to know Your great love for him and the great plans You have for him and our family. Plans to prosper and not to harm, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…” ~ Philippians 1:9-10 (NKJV)
Father, give my husband the mind of Christ, saturate it with godly wisdom. Help him to take every thought captive that is not in obedience to Your Word, and in so doing protect him from pride and temptation. (1 Corinthians 2:16, 2 Corinthians 10:5)
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
Father, open the eyes of my husband’s heart to understand Your Word, so that he won’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind so that he may know Your good, acceptable and perfect will for his life and our marriage. (Romans 12:2)
Father, help my husband to trust in You with all his heart, not depending on his own understanding, but acknowledging You in all his ways, so he knows what direction our family should take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Strength and protection
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.”
~ Psalm 28:7 (NKJV)
Fear and stress
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
~ Psalm 118:6 (NKJV)
Walking in unity
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” ~ Ephesians 4:1-2 (NKJV)
Father, help us to live together in perfect unity by loving, honoring and respecting one another and serving each other for Your glory, honor and praise! (1 Thessalonians 5:13)
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
~ Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
The company he keeps
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
~ Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.”
~ Proverbs 15:33 (NKJV)
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
~ 3 John 1:2 (NKJV)
How to love your wife
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
~ Ephesians 5:25-29 (NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
~ Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” ~ Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV)
Father, may the favor of the Lord rest on my husband. Bless and establish the work of his hands and his heart. (Psalm 90:17)
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
~ Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
Rebecca L Jones says
What a wonderful story to share. I have seen people stay in counseling for ages, it was like an endless and vicious cycle . I’m glad God has done a work for you. I hope this helps others to be encouraged to receive from God and not just stay in a loop. Grief is a terrible pain. And wow, a writing professor. I too, have the writing bug.
I am genuinely happy for you. Thank-you for sharing your moving story of how He helped you restore your marriage. You have offered Hope to those who may otherwise of had none.
Thankful He has blessed me in mine, and prayers that you may continue to be blessed in your’s,
Thank you for sharing your story. I have been praying the same thing. My husband and I are not experiencing separation, in fact we are very much dedicated to each other. He has suffered for years with sexual addictions, and I was unaware of just how serious this was until recently. It felt as if our 3 years of marriage and 6 years of dating was all a lie. He is now in counseling (myself too) and God is truly redeeming my husband’s life and our marriage. Yet I have found it very hard to look at him the same way. Hard to trust, hard to love, hard to desire. My prayer has been that God would give me fresh eyes for my husband, and a new desire that surpases even how I felt for him in the early months of our marriage. And God is working. I’m not there yet, but I have these glimmers you expressed. It is such a comfort and encouragement to hear from someone who has walked a similar road. I am praising God for what he has already done and waiting with hopeful expectation for what he will continue to do in my marriage.
Thank you for sharing! Blessings on your marriage and your ministry.
Hi Jessica. I am so glad God is restoring you and your marriage. My husband and i went through a marriage intensive founded by a couple who have a similar story of sexual addiction. It was life changing. http://www.witministries.com
Mag God continue to bless you and heal all the broken places.
Kara Brown says
Hi Jessica, I do understand the pain of feeling deceived or living a lie. I can only say that the redemption you’ve begun to see through counseling knows no bounds and I believe all of those feelings you’ve lost toward your husband can be renewed and magnified ten-fold. I’m trusting this for your marriage and for my own as well! I’m so glad my post was encouraging!
Mrs H says
It blessed my heart to read your story. Your transparency is so important for us to even get healed. Also your courage to face your pain and be able to acknowledge it without blaming others. Thank God for His miracle in your marriage and thank you for sharing such an intimate part of you. I am learning. It’s my family, not my marriage that I still struggle with to face what you’d been through.
God bless you richly. Shalom!
Kara Brown says
Thank you so much for your affirmation… It was scary to share openly about such a hard season of our life that many don’t know took place this year but I believe that transparency and courage and being brave with our stories is how they’re supposed to be used to glorify God and point others toward healing. We’re all still learning! I hope you find the same breakthroughs with your family as well.
Mrs H says
Thank you Kara. Pls pray with me when it comes to mind. I’d made the first step like what you did, now I need to persevere and believe for that breakthrough without being impatient.
Terri Kyle says
Beautiful and hopeful. My problem is finding a good counselor. They work the same hours I do, they are not taking new clients, they only take addiction clients…. It is a struggle . I feel like my husband and I are roommates, living in separate worlds. I miss him.
Jessica Watkins says
Terri, I know the pain of feeling like “roommates”. I referenced this often in my first 2.5 years of marriage. It is so very hard – to be near them but not close to them, to want them but not want them where they are now, to desire what was once there or what you hope for.
Believing and praying with you that God will lead you to cross paths with a counselor that can help in the healing process and that you and your husband will be able to regain intimacy in your relationship.
I really liked the part you shared, ” I realized that in order to be grateful for something, one must first know it’s worth”. I also appreciated the section where you discuss how the good things blossomed through ” petitioning in prayer “. The more real messages that are shared, the mor relationships will be saved, or at least hearts healed to move on. Thank you for your story.
Thank you for the hope and encouragement! We’ve been separated almost 3 years, working hard on becoming individually healed, healthy and whole again. It’s been a long journey of ups and downs, hopes of reconciliation and fears of returning to the previous unhealthy relationship. We have both prayed that God would turn ours hearts back toward each other. I feel God doing this in me. I love being with him and I miss him when he’s not there. I find myself day dreaming about us getting back together. I am so thankful for him, even thankful that we separated because it forced me to seek the Lord with all my heart and learn to trust Him and grow personally. This warming of my heart began After he asked for divorce 6 months ago. Apparently his heart has not turned back towards me. Maybe it’s a lot of fear. But I Have Hope! Not hope that he will come home( even though I want that), but Hope in the Lord who is obviously working in my life and in my husband’s life. We are on 2 different paths to healing and wholeness. Maybe we’ll reconcile, maybe there will be another plan. God is good and He is working things for both of us for our good. For that I am thankful!
Kara Brown says
Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. I know the path to healing isn’t linear or simple or a quick-fix. I trust that all the hard work you’ve done over these years will leave you with lasting faith and priceless growth, regardless of what happens in your relationship if he doesn’t turn back to you. You sound full of hope and at peace with the journey you’re on and I’m so glad. Thanks for your kind words — I’m glad this post was encouraging!
Wow, that’s awesome! It’s great to know how God worked in your lives. I hope He will do the same for my husband and me.
Beautiful and inspiring! Thank you and God bless you and your husband ❤️
Cathy Chung says
Thank you for sharing so honestly. I’m in a dead marriage and can relate to your feelings of not wanting to celebrate or love. Your prayers for a softened heart are encouraging and the result inspiring. Now I have to want to soften.
Kara Brown says
Thank you Cathy, I know it’s hard to “want to” soften when you’ve been hurt or are exhausted by the death you’ve been living in. My only encouragement is that I fully believe God can breathe life into dead places. When I started shifting my prayers toward changing my perspective, a softened heart was the result. I can’t imagine everything you’re feeling but I’m glad this post was inspiring and I hope you find a second wind to gather strength in your journey as well.
Jessica Watkins says
Cathy, I know the struggle of not wanting to celebrate or love. Even now as God is faithfully restoring my husband and my marriage, I still find there are moments when I struggle to let go of past hurts.
I love the song “Dry Bones” by Lauren Daigle – God will indeed breathe life into our dead spaces. Praying God will work in your heart to soften it and in your husbands heart as well. I want to encourage you that it is okay to hurt, be sad, disappointed, and angry. Those are all emotions that are very reasonable if you have been hurt by someone you love. But know God is waiting and ready to cover your with his loving arms and bring you back to a place of life.
Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves
But we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah
As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
God of endless mercy
God of unrelenting love
Rescue every daughter
Bring us back the wayward son
And By your spirit breathe upon them
Show the world that you alone can save
You alone can save