“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”– (Psalm 147:3).

Thank you for the opportunity to share my testimony, and thank you, Tammy Brown, and all the others who shared their life stories with us. I would also like to thank Vicki for being a great teacher, leader and friend through this process.

My husband and I have been married for fourteen years. Somewhere along the way we stopped investing in our “love account” and did a lot more investing in our “self-serving account.” We had begun drinking. It started with special occasions, then weekends, then before we knew it, it was several times a week. I was under the illusion that I was a much “happier” person if I drank. That was far from the truth! I usually found myself pointing an accusatory finger at my husband, followed by nagging. My husband would turn a deaf ear to me, giving me the cold shoulder. During this time we found ourselves in very unsavory situations, even dangerous. Our family life began to suffer, as well as our spiritual life. I very rarely went to church. Although I was saved, I felt very distant from God. By this point in my life I had already felt the cold sting of being molested as a child, and the fear of physical and verbal retaliation from a much older brother. But my fear, shame and guilt would not end there; life was about to deal me the biggest blow of my life—betrayal.

Betrayal was one of my biggest fears, and I shared that very openly in my marriage. I have learned that Satan works our fears against us, that is, if we give him the power to do so. My husband strayed for a moment, and in that moment our lives were forever changed. I found out about his betrayal from the person with whom he had betrayed me. I felt so hopeless. I screamed a colorful array of phrases at him over the phone. I found myself circling his car with a very large mallet, trying to decide which part was going to be taken out first. Eventually I relented and took my anger out on our picnic table, which, needless to say, did not survive. I spent most of that night plotting revenge, even swearing he would come home to an empty home left in shambles. The next day I drained our savings account and even went as far as going to a lawyer.

But as I stepped into the lawyer’s office, I knew I could not end things on those terms. When we said our vows it was “for better or for worse, in sickness or in health.” I had every reason—and God’s given blessing—to walk out of my marriage that day. But I didn’t. When my husband came home, we had a very long heartbreaking talk. I even went as far as giving my ring back to him and told him he needed to prove his love to me.

That was the weekend we began rebuilding. We began a couples’ devotional, and for the first time in thirteen years, we actually joined hands and prayed. I would love to tell you that our recommitment to God, family, and to one another made everything easy, and that we sailed on calm seas into the sunset. But it was the worst storm I had ever gone through in my life. I found myself in bed for very long stints of time. I began cutting. I felt so numb, and the pain hurt so bad. I had lost all control over my life, and cutting seemed to mask some of my internal pain.

During our struggles my mom passed away. By all accounts and definition I was an orphan. I knew I needed help. My bitterness, shame and hate continued to grow like a wild fire inside of me. Then I began the Healed and Set Free Bible study. What a blessing it has been. It taught me to see my “roots of bitterness” that began to spring up within me. It made me see that my choices, no matter how much I felt justified in that moment, were not OK if they were not the will of God.

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15). Forgiveness is for me as much as it is for the person who has wronged me. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15). At many points during this healing process, I would find myself pointing out all my husband’s failures only to have three fingers pointed back at me. I needed as much forgiveness and grace as I thought my husband did. I gave my pain, bitterness, shame and hate to the Lord, and in return He has given me peace, joy and love. Pretty good trade I think!

Finally I have begun to heal and be set free from all my burdens. It does not happen overnight. I still sometimes pray with clinched teeth for those who have hurt me so deeply, but it’s getting easier. God has done great things in me, in my husband, and in our family. Since the first day we joined our hands in prayer together, there have been very few days we have missed a day of prayer. We have seen both our kids saved and baptized through our journey, and it’s only been a year! I can only imagine what other blessings He has in store for our lives. My husband was and is my best friend; I love him with my whole heart. I am thankful for God, for His abounding grace and for second chances.

– Teresa