Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Judging, Suffering

Are You Really Sorry?

In this episode of the Purposed Marriage Podcast, we discuss the importance of genuine repentance and the role it plays in the process of reconciliation.

“I Want to Say I’m Sorry” by Andrew Peterson
youtu.be/ZEjf0oOBbe8

Divorce, Forgiveness, Marriage, Suffering

I’m Sorry

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Coming to grips with the responsibility and role we may have played in helping create an environment fertile and ripe for divorce is a tough pill to swallow. Oftentimes we don’t become fully aware of how selfish and sinful behaviors can affect our spouses until it is too late. For me, when I finally looked in the mirror and became aware of what I had become, my wife’s heart had grown cold and calloused. Sadly, we hear so many similar stories from standers who waited too long before they realized the error and foolishness of their ways. So often it’s only when they’ve heard the words, “It’s over” does there become an awareness of the need for true and genuine repentance.

Shortly after being asked to leave our home, I desperately looked for ways to express sorrow and remorse to my wife. Phone calls, letters, text messages… I exhausted all the options I had at my fingertips. Nothing was getting through. I remember thinking to myself that if she only knew how sincere I was, her mind would change. But as the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and months into years, the more I realized and understood the unforgiveness reigning in her heart could not be brought down by mere words alone.

My pastor, who had been counseling with me at the time, shared a music video he thought I’d relate to. From the first moment I heard it, I was moved. So perfectly did this song capture what I was feeling and thinking on the inside, that it became an instant favorite and to this day, occupies a special place in my heart. The lyrics captured the very essence of my emotions at the time and effectively expressed what I was unable to with my own words.

Over the next several days, I found myself listening to this song constantly and felt a strong desire to share it with my wife. I hesitated and waffled back and forth over whether or not I should. Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and do it. In my text message to her, I remember saying something along the lines of, “This song was shared with me and I was deeply moved by it. It sums up what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time.” I sent the message on a cool Saturday morning with low expectations for a positive reaction from Amy. A little while later, while on my way to a local park with our boys, I received a text message back simply saying, “Thank you for sharing this…” There was no sarcasm or anything close to what resembled so many of the other messages I’d been used to receiving. I was very grateful for this and thanked the Lord the communication was received with the right spirit. I prayed that God would take the song’s message and use it to speak to Amy’s heart.

We never spoke of that shared experience until after the Lord brought us back together. When we did, I was surprised to learn how deeply the song had moved her. Amy informed me that after hearing it for the first time, she finally began to understand how truly sorry I was for everything. Up to that point, she would have told you that any expressed sorrow on my end was done solely with the motivation of fixing our marriage. In other words, it wasn’t genuine. But after hearing the message of the song, her perspective dramatically changed. I was also quite surprised to learn that she would often cry herself to sleep at night while listening to it. Although the piece wasn’t enough to change her mind about going through with the divorce, it did ultimately have an impact. Over time, it served to help soften and quell the anger inside her heart. God used this powerful song to touch my prodigal. There is no doubt about it in my mind. To this day, I still get choked up and emotional when listening to it.

We can’t ever be sure of what or who God is going to use to help bring our prodigals home. One thing is certain though. He can use anything or anyone, even a song like this. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you are living with sadness and regret over the role you may have played in hardening your spouse’s heart. If this is the case, please know and understand that if you have confessed the sin to God, He has forgiven you. If you have gone to your prodigal in the hopes of seeking forgiveness and your efforts have been callously rebuffed, do not lose heart. Forgiveness and healing can often take extended periods of time. The “quick fix” solution that exists in some of our minds must be overcome if we have committed to remain in this battle for the long haul. We need to acknowledge that it is God who determines how and when restoration will occur. Yes, we have a role to play, but we will never be in a position to control or manipulate the hearts and minds of our prodigals. Let the Lord do what only He can, and while you wait, continue to walk humbly and with perseverance as you travel down this road.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson

Christian Walk, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage, Waiting on God

Come to Your Senses

Before we started our ministry nearly two years ago, Tommy and I spent time intentionally praying and discussing how we would share our story and the life lessons we learned through our restoration process. One aspect we both felt strongly about was a desire to be genuine, to speak from a place of vulnerability and authenticity. In doing so, we never imagined God would use us to touch the lives of so many broken, desperately hurting couples that mirror our past. We are honored the Lord has provided opportunities for us to share our valley experiences in order to encourage other couples amidst their marriage struggles!

Sharing my personal testimony, as once a prodigal, has especially been humbling. When I look back and realize how patient God was with me, I’m often reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 15:9-10.

For I am the least of the apostles unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain.

Praise God, He did not leave me where I was. Our loving Father pursued me, chastened me and showed immeasurable amounts of grace along the way. He also used Tommy to demonstrate love for me as he continually stood for our marriage even when there seemed to be little to no hope. The more I share the heart transformation that took place in my life, the deeper the gratitude I feel towards God for providing my husband the strength to continue his stand.

Tommy’s primary motivation behind standing for our marriage was based on his desire to see God grant us both repentance and bring us back into alignment with God’s will. Part of that painful journey meant he had to patiently endure evil, evil from the one he vowed to love forever, in good times and in bad. I did not come to the knowledge of truth by Tommy pointing out my indiscretions and focusing on my sinful behavior. I came to the understanding of truth by the prayers Tommy and others cried out on my behalf. God heard their pleas and He also looked inwardly to the motivation of my husband’s heart.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26

The closer Tommy walked with the Lord, the more he relinquished control over our situation placing his faith in God to perform a miracle in our marriage. I couldn’t help but notice his full submission to the Lord. Tommy’s gentleness with me turned away my wrath allowing me to be vulnerable to the idea of restoration. I escaped the snare of the devil and I came to the knowledge of the UGLY truth. I had been used by the enemy to do his will! When that devastating reality set in, there was no more finger pointing, no more blame shifting. I came to my senses with a deep sadness which brought me to my knees before the Lord. There were tears of anguish and hurt as the veil was lifted and I understood I had been a participant in doing the devil’s bidding.

Dear friend, it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to prick your prodigal’s heart. The pain you are experiencing may be unrelenting and the natural response is to revile in return. But, keep in mind, your spouse has been captured by the enemy to do his will. Your prodigal will have to come to this realization on their own, in God’s perfect timing. Pray fervently and look to Christ as your example while you wait.

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23

In Christ,
Amy Larson