Monday, November 3, 2014

our testimony PART 1

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and
seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
my people is us, and their land is our marriage.  
and my people is you, and your mess too.  

Maybe I could tell you first, that the reason I feel so connected to staying in a bad marriage through pain is because I was a kid on the other end, suffering the effects of my parents divorce. And I should tell you that at a young age, to calm the pain, I turned to food, drugs, alcohol and men. I have forgiven my parents and have relationships with both of them and feel nothing but love and gratitude for this journey I have been on...but the other part of my story is that I walked in unforgiveness for about 7 years. And it wasn't until I forgave and became present in those relationships, that God would allow me to walk into my destiny. I had to separate myself from the pain I was carrying and live in freedom and in the life that Jesus died for me to have.

Maybe this whole story will come out in detail one day. I hope so. But for now, the shell of it will be enough. Because on a day where I am thanking God for the amount of opportunities I have been given the past few years, as I am reflecting on all that God has done in my husbands life...reflecting on all of these things leaves me in a place where I want to tell you about the horrible sin that my flesh has committed, in order to better paint a picture of the love of God. that if he could love ME through all of this, if He could give ME new God. Thank you Jesus.

I felt a deep need to escape my life at the age of 18. I applied to work at places that would take me out of the life that I was in and would take me somewhere new. I got a job at an amusement park called Cedar Point, in Ohio. I was coming from Arizona. And at a goodbye party that my coworkers at the restaurant I was working at had for me, I slept with someone, woke up naked on the floor in the living room...gathered my things and walked to my car. I smoked a cigarette and drove home.
Weeks later, one week before I was supposed to leave, I found out I was pregnant.

I had an abortion.

My new job in Ohio allowed me to come late and I will NEVER EVER FORGET the night before I left. I was saved at 13 years old, but I had become very wreck less and I was not walking with the Lord. But that night, I prayed. I prayed that I would go to Cedar Point and either make a lot of money so I could start over or find the man I was going to marry. And God would never let me forget that prayer because for many years, that was all that I had to hold onto. And I thank God that he answers prayer, not in the way that we expect, but he answers. And he did give me the man I was to marry, but I didn't know that it would take us 10 years for us to be healed and reconciled to him. But he answered my prayer.

So I left. And my train and plane arrived into Ohio and I was standing at a dark train station at 5 am with 2 suitcases and a carry on. Some guy asked me if I needed a ride to the park I said yes...and he drove me. I showed up and it was too early for the park to be open so I found a park bench to sit on. As I sat there waiting, 2 guys walked by. I knew they had been drinking because what else would they be doing there at that hour...they said hi, we talked for a minute and they asked if once I was settled we could hang out. I said yes.

One of them was my now husband.

For the first few weeks at the park, I hung out with them...and it soon became evident that he and I were onto something. he was so cute and funny and he was the life of the party. And when work was over, we would drink until the morning. We had so much fun and everybody loved us. I felt deeply connected to him, he felt it too. It just made sense, we couldn't explain it but it was happening. We both loved music and sports and booze. We were always the last ones out...I would sing and he would write. I would draw and he would come up with beautiful poetry. There was more than just that thought, I knew that God had a plan. I didn't know what it was but I knew that he was part of it. We knew from early on that we would be together forever. I cant explain that in words so it makes sense, I just had a sense that God had a plan, for us. And today, I am grateful that even though I wasn't closely following him, he still knew how to speak to me.

My husband was also trying to build a new life...he was also heavy into alcohol. It was sort of our normal. After a few months, we left the park and decided to move back to Arizona together where I was living. I got us an apartment for $1, it was a special. Within months of knowing each other, we were moved in and living together and completely dependant on each other. I was financially dependent on him and he was emotionally dependent on me. He had sold his car for $300 bucks to buy a plane ticket to come live with me.. so when we arrived in AZ we only had my car.

We would spend the next several years in an alcoholic state. All we did was drink. I did it because that's what he loved to do. And I became depressed. And for one year, I stayed in bed. I began to feel physical illness. I felt too ill to work so Scott worked and payed our bills. My car got repossessed. We were down to nothing but he always got up and went to work and took care of things no matter how drunk he got or was. I was the opposite, I just shut down. It was a very weird circle of he needed me and I needed him.

His drinking was getting worse. I would find myself on our porch many times drunk along with him...trying to explain the gospel to him. After all, I was saved when I was 13. I felt like we were different. I would drink and be normal again the next day and he would be angry and confined and shut off to the was different. We would cancel plans and we would get into heavy arguments that sometimes got out of hand. One time, I was actually so angry with him for being so mean while he was drunk that I slapped him in the face. I called the police to come and help me because I was scared...and they arrested me. For domestic abuse.

He tried to get the cops to let me go but they wouldn't. He always had a feeling that even though my response wasn't justified, that he had something to do with bringing us to this place.
We kept on going though. Sometimes I don't know why. I had feelings of suicide, feelings of depression...I was angry at God. Why was I back here? Why God do you say you are my provider and my safe place but I never feel safe or taken care of?

I began to try to help him out of  his mess...the alcohol. All while I was still a mess. For some reason I just couldn't leave. He would tell me at times, that I was the only reason he was still alive. That my support and love was sometimes all he had...I just kept making a choice to stay. It hurt like hell.
Remember Kirk Franklin? I remember one day putting his CD in and sitting by myself on the floor rocking back and forth raising my hands to the lord..."he will take the pain away" I sang over and over again...

My husband decided to join the military. I spent many days pouring into his spirit about what he COULD be and WHO he was created to be instead of who he was being. We moved to Chicago and he joined there. And we found another place to live and we waited for him to leave for boot camp.
But before he left, we decided the best thing for us to do was get married. It wasn't something forced but it definitely didn't feel magical. We just did it because we always felt like that's what would happen. We loved each other deeply, but we didn't know what love was.

When he left for boot camp I remember feeling like it was the hardest thing ever. I had developed a very unhealthy notion of who he was. My husband became my God. I remember feeling like I had no identity outside of him. He went to boot camp and then we moved to Virginia.
When we got to Virginia, he worked at the hospital and I stayed home. I had no idea who I was or what I was supposed to do so I just supported him. I remember feeling so bogged down with fear that he would be deployed and he would die in war that some days I wouldn't even get out of bed. I would sit in the bath tub with panic attacks and I felt crazy. I felt like I was dying. I felt paranoia and fear like never before. I was scared almost to death. What would I do without my husband? It got so bad that here I was again...not working. Not moving. I would just exist and then on the weekends, we would go out and drink.

This is where my husbands drinking would get really bad. There were nights of passing out in the middle of the floor and I had to check if he was still alive. Nights of watching him angry and punching holes in things that I felt physically ill. What was I doing here God? Why am I here in this? Why do you have me HERE. Why am I married to this.  I was very angry.

The day came that my husband would come home and look me in the eye and tell me he was going to war. My response was to curl up in fear and panic and that led to more physical illness. Somehow I decided to muster up the strength to pursue something. back before I met my husband, I was in the health and wellness industry. I worked as a nutrition counselor for many years and decided while he was gone I would do something. I signed up to get a personal training certification and I would start my own business.

He left for war and I was in a deep depression. But then out of nowhere, I decided to start exercising again and I felt as if finally I could be myself. I noticed that the heavy weight of my husbands drinking and his anger and his mood was gone. When he was gone, my life was happy? I felt invigorated and full of life again and I started to study and complete my certification. But while he was gone...I was still dependent on him financially. And most of his money I spent. Clothes, the bar, concerts...anything. I felt like he owed me. I had an incredible spirit of entitlement over me.

The day that I finished my nutrition and wellness cert, the day I got that thing in the mail...I decided to celebrate by myself at the bar we always went to. My friend was a bar tender there so I walked there and had dinner. I ordered a few drinks and found myself sitting next to a guy who stared talking to me. He was drinking, but he was acting normal. He wasn't punching holes into walls and he wasn't saying mean things to me. He was interested in what brought me there. He asked questions about my life and we talked for a few hours.

I remember drinking more and more and feeling over the moon that someone was paying attention to me. Someone was actually interested in me. He was there on business with some friends so they all invited me back to their hotel room to have some more drinks.
Before I knew it...I was laying in his bed, drunk. And I remember looking out the window at the moon. I remember feeling a rush of excitement and justification and pleasure along with an intense feeling of disgust and regret and shame and guilt. I remember thinking to myself, this is it. At this point, I haven't done anything that I cant recover from.

And then he kissed me.

I hesitated and then felt a rush of pain and pleasure all at the same time. I felt like there was no turning back. And I felt a sense of owing him that because of the time that he had spent with me.
I cheated on my husband that night and I cried the whole way through it.

This would begin the cycle of months of my horrific experience with  Satan and lust and entitlement. It wouldn't be just once. It would happen many times with many people and I became so out of control that I did things that I only God and I know about.

Toward the end of my husband being gone something hit me. I had a sense of deep regret and shame that I had never felt before. I remember thinking, this ISN'T ME. This isn't the person I am. I used to love God. I loved my husband. I longed for a different life though. I didn't want to be in such a dysfunctional place. I began again to have feelings of suicide. I was on my way to check myself into the hospital because I was afraid of what I was doing to I know that all those times I felt that, that it was God intervening on my behalf.

I now know that satan knew that on November 3, 2014 I would sit here and type this out and he wanted to stop me. Glory to God for rescuing me.

On my way out of the door that day, my husband called. I answered the phone and began to weep. He knew what I had to tell him. FOR SOME REASON HE JUST KNEW. 
And I will never forget what happened next.

He was calm, he was quiet, and he forgave me. Right there. On the spot. He didn't care how many or how often...he didn't want to know everything, he wanted to help me. He wanted me to know that he knew that he had something to do with bringing us to this place. I had no sense of justification thought. I had a heart of full repentance. I knew that I needed to be forgiven.
He came home about a month later. I remember seeing him in the crowd and I ran up to him and he hugged me. I wasn't different, he wasn't different...but together we were on the path of healing. We weren't submitted to the Lord at that time, but God was there. He was starting something new.
A few months later, we were pregnant with Grace.

We were on the same playing field. Not one was better than the other. We started at ground zero. Sinner. Neither one of us could claim righteousness. We were both guilty. God allowed that on purpose. It makes the story about him, and not us and what we did to make it better. He is guilty, and I am guilty. Going through those years and coming out on the other side is what gave me freedom to forgive my parents for their divorce and the pain it caused because I could see how two people in the world could fall apart. I saw how easy it was, without God, to fail. And it gave me a sense of great compassion for the lost and the broken. I remember even from an early age, connecting to peoples pain and sorrow. I had felt it. I had seen it. I had committed every sin a person could...even murder. And I had experienced the precious blood of Jesus come into my body and cleanse me. I had met our God who loved me through it all. The God who said I AM NOT READY FOR YOU TO BE DONE. I have plans for you...and all of the suffering you have felt from those around you and by your own hands...I will use it all.

I am free.

our testimony PART 2

If Part 1 was a tragedy, Part 2 is hope. There is more pain and hurt...but this is where we enter Jesus. Part 1 was the ground work. God was showing me that no matter what my husband was going through or how horrible he was or however bad it got, I was too...guilty.

It was hard living in Virginia after my husband came home. It was hard because he had  forgiven me and we decided to move forward...but we were still in the place. Everything around me was a reminder of what had happened.

Very early on in our relationship we had talked about kids and I don't remember when or how but we always knew that we would have 2 girls. And for some reason, we knew they would be Grace and Lucy. And not soon after he came home, we got pregnant with Grace. I knew that it was God now...helping to protect us because at this time, Scott was still drinking and if I wasn't pregnant, we would have been back at the bars where all the people I had been hanging around with and thank you God for your protection.

And at around 32 weeks we moved to San Diego.

We moved to San Diego for a school that he was going to attend. He didn't really want to do this school but a lot of people were pushing him so we did it. We were only going to be there for around 6 months. We settled into a downtown high rise and at 36 weeks, I gave birth to Grace.

It was magical and wonderful and the worst time in our life. She was colicky for 4 months and cried for 17 hours a day. He was gone all day long and had a lot of pressure on him and HATED HIS JOB. I joke around with people I tell this story to...and say at one point, we were all going to jump off the high rise because this was bad.

My husband was miserable and drinking and shut off. There was nothing. I remember scheduling times to talk with him telling him that I  couldn't do it anymore. I just couldn't be married to this. There was no life. I was miserable and he was miserable...but in the back of my mind, what in the world would I do? Where would I go?

This is when I began to feel so lonely that I started talking with one of the people I hung around with in Virginia. We emailed back and forth for a while and it was a release for me. And even though nothing happened with this person back then, he was always really into me. He was always very sweet but it started to become an obsession on his end.

After a few months, it became a full on emotional affair.

My husband quit the school and we got new orders to North Carolina. We when moved there, I was still talking to this person and it made coping with my husband and his absence in our marriage bearable. It made all the nights I watched him drink himself into a passed out just made it better. My husband was still working and providing but I had a " emotional husband" too. Someone I could talk to and someone who cared.

I remember at this point, the Lord sent me a great group of military wife friends. And one day, this group met at my house. I remember one girl in particular who had long black hair and she sat quietly and listened. She never said a word. I complained and whined about my husband the whole time. And and she left I remember her asking for my number.

This is the point in my life where everything changed.

She came back later and she said she wanted to talk with me. So we sat and talked and she listed to me again, complain about him. " He doesn't know how to talk to people...he wont go anywhere with us...he just drinks and watches sports and we have no life...and he isn't interested in anything I am interested in...he doesn't even know how to light the grill." it went on and on...

I will never forget this. I will never ever forget what she said to me. "well, who do YOU think YOU are?"

My heart literally felt like it was being ripped out of my chest and my stomach was up in my throat. I was overwhelmed with a spirit of conviction that I had never felt before. All wrapped up in one moment I felt God who I wasn't even in a relationship with...I felt him speak to me. I felt him calling me. I felt him put the spot light on me and take it off of him...I was still a sinner. I was still having an emotional affair. I was just as bad.

She gave me a book. And I read it and it changed my life. I couldn't put it down and I read it and read it and read it some more.

It was called  Created to Be His Help Meet  By Debi Pearl.

This is where I recommitted my life to the Lord. This is where I began to hear him speak to me about my husband and this is where I learned 1 Peter 3:1.

We bought a house and moved into a different neighborhood. I kept reading and learning and I fought Satan hard. I still hadn't cut off the relationship with this other person but I was convicted. My husband was worse than EVER and it was the only comfort I had. I also was up to 232 pounds because all I could do was eat to calm the feelings of loneliness and anger.

But something strange happened. The person I was talking to started to go deeper into things and at one point started trying to convince me that my husband wasn't going to change and that I should leave him and come to be with him. We talked about me leaving and how he would be a great husband and he would take care of me...this is when my husband and I had our first serious divorce talk. It was around Christmas time. I remember sitting with him and we were making plans to go see the attorneys on base.

But then there was Grace. And I just could not do it. I JUST COULD NOT LEAVE HIM. I wanted to most of the time we were married but from the moment I saw him...I saw through him and saw to who he would become. I couldn't stop holding onto the glimpse of hope God kept giving me. I just knew that we were supposed to be together and I didn't know why but damn it...I couldn't leave. My conscience wouldn't let me. It was horrible. I fought it. But I couldn't separate my baby from her dad. That was the bottom line for me.

So I told my husband about the emotional affair and he again, forgave me. And I made a choice at that moment, after much reading in the break it off. It hurt like hell. I remember crying and it felt like I was dying. I really felt like the life was being sucked out of me. I quit smoking when I found out I was pregnant with Grace and I wasn't drinking...and now I had to get rid of the one thing that gave me comfort. But I did it. Because I just knew that God could not bless my marriage if I was not in it %100.

We made a pact that day, that we would never talk about divorce again. That no matter how bad it got, we weren't going to go there. That it wasn't an option. That we had no choice but to deal with what we had and take what we got. That no matter what, we weren't going to discuss it again.

This is where I began praying for him. But this is also where I began a cycle of spiritual superiority. I was reading the bible and I was receiving revelation and I was changing my life...but my husband...he was still drunk on the couch. And I began to become angry. And I began to feel entitled, again. But now, I was thinking...God, now I am a Christian and you want me to be happy right? You say that your husband should love you like Jesus and look at all these happy husbands and wives here at want that for me...right? So I would think, I deserve a Christian husband.

My preaching to my husband became full of selfishness and the Lord took him away from me again. Literally God said, I am taking your husband away again Melissa because you are going to ruin this.You are giving him the good news, but only so it benefits you.

So he deployed, again.

And this time I was scared. You see, this whole time I believe the root of my issue was fear. I felt this ever since I was a little girl. When my parents split up I was always in fear of losing them. My dad traveled alot for work and I was convinced he would die. And my mom, whenever she would leave, I was in such a state of panic and fear, I would have full on panic attacks. I would scream and cry to the point of throwing up. And when I met my husband, he became my steadfast. He became my God. I always put all my trust and faith in him and whenever he would leave I would feel that same fear. I was back to being a little girl again.

He had to go to training for several months away in California before he actually deployed. And when he came home, we had about 2 months until he was to leave and we decided to try for another baby. We got pregnant with Lucy in one month, one month before he left. And the day he left, was another one of the most horrible and amazing days of my life.

I remember crying so hard as the bus left, I watched it drive away and I texted my husband, I don't think I am ever going to see you again. He told me to stop it and that he would be back, and that he loved me. He was going to be embedded with the Afghan Army. He would be living with them, amongst possible terrorists and this was like a living hell for me. I remember coming home and putting Grace in front of the TV and I went and locked myself in our bedroom. I called my friend Melissa and began to tell her that I felt as if God has destined me to suffer, that my marriage, my husband...God was making me suffer on purpose. And that he was going to die and I would just have to die with him because as much as I hated him, I loved him. And he was everything to me. He was everything good and everything bad, he was my life.

And within a few moments, she had about 3 people on the phone, one was a pastor and I fell to my knees as they prayed for about 20 minutes over me. They began to speak life over me and my husband and began to speak the promises of God over me. I began to feel my physical body and my spirit submit to God. I felt it. Like I was so weak and so covered in lies and fear that God was breaking it right then and there, that day. And this was when the rebuilding would start. God took my husband away from me so he could heal me.

I needed it. My husband needed it. I needed to know who I was in Christ, and not in my husband.

I gave birth to Lucy while he was on the phone with me! It was amazing. And I took care of a newborn and my 3 year old for about one and a half months before he came home. And I rocked it. It was my call. He had restored me, he had shown me who I was...the word was speaking to me. Satan was backing off. And I knew I had a job to do. I had to love my husband. I had to love him no matter what. It became my job.

To love and support my husband, no matter what.

I remember this one day though, one day that I will never forget. It was way before Lucy, way before the deployment and it was a day that God showed me hope. Because no matter how bad things get I believe God wants to give us something. People were praying that for me. I just wanted something that said, your on the right track, and I am making all of this right. For me, it was the day that my friend asked me to babysit. And I thought here we go...its just going to be me and Grace and her friend and what are we going to do all day while my husband sits on the couch and watches TV and nurses a hangover? I decided to take the kids to the aquarium which was on the way to the beach. It was about an hours drive away.

And he came with us.

I will never forget it. We had so much fun. He was fun. For about a day, I got to be with my husband like we were a normal family. We were out in the world and we were doing something the kids wanted to do and not what he wanted to do. And my heart was so happy watching him with our daughter and it was a good day. On the way home we stopped off at the beach and took the girls shoes off and let them splash around and get messy and wet and I thanked God that day. That he showed me that he was doing a work in him. We stopped and got ice cream and the girls fell asleep on the drive home. When we got home, he carried them both in, they were both in diapers. And I have a picture of him carrying them in, all slumped over and sleeping and it will forever serve as a day that the Lord gave me hope.


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  1. You are so brave. And strong. Through all of out failures, He is merciful and He does love us. I feel that everyday and you sharing this will help some people who don't know of God's love be able to think about it and imagine its possibility.

  2. Amazing story. You are helping so many people, including me.