Several years ago Lynette was asked to share her spiritual journey for her school’s staff devotions. She agonized over that for days. The following is what she wrote and read to her co-workers. Many of you have never heard her journey of restoration.
Well, I am the 3rd – third grade teacher to give devotions….I follow my friend Wendy who entertained us, made us laugh, and even shared a song with us; then my friend Barbara who brought us to tears, but then left us filled with hope.
Like many others life stories, my journey has been one down a broken trail. Up until 1999, I had a pretty uneventful life. I was married to a pastor with three wonderful boys. I lived in Colorado where I grew up, with all of my immediate family nearby. Life was pretty good. However in the fall of 1999, because of sinful choices of my husband, my marriage was in crisis and my husband resigned his church.
Heartbroken and confused, I asked God what I should do. I asked, “Lord, should I forgive him? Should we stay married? My heart was filled with such mixed emotions! I wanted to work on our marriage, but at the same time I was so hurt that I didn’t want to be with him. Here is what God said to me, “Whether you leave him or forgive him, I will be with you and bless you.” I decided against bitterness and chose instead to forgive and work toward restoration.
We made a move to Washington in November of that year. My brother-in law’s little church in Sumner opened their arms and hearts to us. They used money they were raising to build a new building and paid for our move & counseling for a year. They raised some more money to pay for our oldest son to attend Cascade Christian School. They gave Joe a job tearing down a condemned house next door to the church for $10.00 an hour.
They loved us back to life as a couple and family. It was a very hard year, yet God was faithful in restoring our marriage and mending our family.
Our life from that point was never the same. God gave me a husband and a relationship unlike I had never had in the 20 years prior. My oldest son married the girl he met in that little church in Sumner when he was just 14, and now we have a beautiful one year old grandson named Oren. He is now in seminary following his grandfather and father’s steps in entering the ministry. God gave me a wonderful job at Cascade Christian School where all three of our sons were able to attend. He gave us loving and supportive friends and provided for us for 7 years.
Then, in the summer of 2007, God gave my husband an opportunity to re-enter the ministry. God led us to a small church plant in Mukilteo, first as a supply preacher over the course of a few years where we quickly grew to love the people, then a year and a half ago as executive pastor.
I was overjoyed for my husband, but at the same time, (because I am a person who does not like change) I did not want to go. After all I had a wonderful job that I loved very much. Great teachers and dear friends I had grown to love …I just did not want to start all over again. But again, I had a choice to make. Do I dig in my heels in and stay in Puyallup with my secure job, or do we take a leap of faith and trust God with this new venture and begin working in ministry again. Either way I was confident of His presence.
Well, again, we made the choice to trust God and dive into yet another new beginning.
Little did we know that within a year, the lead pastor would resign & move on to another church, and this church would consider my husband to be their next pastor. Last Sunday, the transition team unanimously recommended him to the church for that consideration, and this Sunday the church body will vote.
Throughout our journey I have learned that God is a God of restoration, faithfulness, and grace. He doesn’t promise us it will be easy, as we have witnessed with so many other life stories, but he promises never to leave us and that if we will trust him, he will give us what we could never imagine.
Throughout this time, my life verse has been:
I have been confused, hurt and scared in my life, but because Jesus promised to never leave me, I know that he can take what we mess up and use it for his good. So, if you are struggling with forgiveness, I highly recommend it. I have never regretted my decision to forgive and am proof that he can take that choice and honor it, restoring a broken life and using it to fulfill His purpose.