Tom and Mary's Story
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony with others and want to thank Pastor Eifert for asking us to share this with in hopes that it may be a help and encouragement to them. We had a recent marital trial that could have ended differently. It’s by the Grace of GOD that my husband and I are together today with a joy filled marriage.
On Feb. 4th, 2015 I left home – I didn’t tell my husband where I was going – I just disappeared. I had told him on several occasions that I wouldn’t live “like this” (with the sins that were making him miserable to live with and were hurting me deeply). I felt I was being cheated on. It was the most difficult time in my life and leaving was the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done.
My oldest daughter was newly married and I had a daughter in High School here, just about to graduate. In hindsight, I probably should have counselled before leaving home with no explanation and no forwarding address but, I was scared beyond frightened. I couldn’t live at home another day, knowing in a few months when my youngest daughter would be going off to college I would be home alone with Tom.
I was gone for about a month and a half before I finally came home. During that time I prayed for direction and wisdom but I found myself just tripping over my thoughts and was consumed by fear and anxiety. I needed clear direction from the Word of God. It wasn’t long before Pastor Eifert brought the two of us together for counseling. Pastor used great wisdom in his timing. There were so many things to consider. Were we ready to trust? I was still wondering if I could ever trust my husband. I was sure I couldn’t. Was there still anger? Was my husband just telling Pastor Eifert what he wanted to hear or was there a heart change? I was still afraid and leery.
We hadn’t communicated well in our marriage for quite some time, so I didn’t know his heart. What I saw in him was bitterness, anger and selfishness. Was there any humility now? Was there any willingness to change? Beginning sessions were awkward. However, each session we had was another step forward. I always left encouraged and hopeful through the homework assignments he gave us: Scripture memorization, books to read (Calm My Anxious Heart and Created to Be His Helpmeet), meditating on scripture, and the key points which highlighted each chapter of the books we were to be reading!
The Lord revealed himself to me during those sessions and time alone with God in such a way that I never wanted to go another day without that time with Him. Instead of worrying about trusting my husband, I began to trust God. Instead of worrying about pleasing my husband, it became clear to me that all I needed to do was please God and everything else would fall into place. It was a slow process as I look back, but a lot has changed! I don’t live with fear and anxiety anymore. I know God’s will for my life and I pray specifically daily and trust God with everything.
One huge change we have learned through counselling is how to communicate with each other. I see my husband’s heart when he prays, when he looks me in the eye, when he is OPENLY honest instead of brushing me off or lying. I am so thankful for how those counselling sessions were so carefully designed to move us forward at the right pace with the exact scripture and guidance we needed at the time.
I don’t know where we would be without the counselling ministry and Pastor Eifert’s diligence, wisdom and patience to make a difference in OUR LIVES. For today, I live with joy and thankfulness, and every morning anxious to open the Word of God to hear from heaven. What Pastor taught me and what God is God saying to me each day is life changing. I am learning how to apply this daily knowledge to my life. Life is so exciting with the Lord in control!
WELL, THERE’S STILL ANOTHER SIDE TO THE STORY!
While I was gone…here’s what God did with my husband’s heart thru the many counseling sessions with Pastor Eifert and the word of God.
"We have devotions together daily and have fallen back in love with one another like never before because it is based upon the love of Christ in us that motivates us to love one another passionately and unconditionally."
After Mary left, Pastor Eifert called and asked if I would be willing to come in for counseling. I responded, “Absolutely.” He confronted me with the details of what Mary said I was doing and I admitted to what she had said. Pastor Eifert and I agree to meet for counseling. We talked at great length about how I got to the point where I was. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart and my heart was broken. I had let man get between me and God. I was discouraged, then angry, and then bitterness set in. Pastor Eifert got up and visually showed me what I was doing. Like a boxing match, he showed me how I was keeping everyone away from me. I emotionally cut myself off from everyone. My priorities were wrong. I had removed God from the throne of my heart and this resulted in a train wreck. My life and marriage were out of control. I was basically telling God with my distance from Him, without saying it or realizing it, “I can’t trust You to protect my heart. I’ll take it from here.” That’s PRIDE… and from there nothing but a downhill ride. I started reverting back to the “old man,” before my salvation, because I cut myself off from God’s Word and God’s power. The Bible is true and says in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
It was at this point I was given a book, Humility- True Greatness, to read and study. I finally came to the realization that I was butting heads with God. The author’s description of pride was an honest assessment of the insidious nature of man’s prideful heart and how far it can take us from God. This caused me to look into my own heart and helped me see the reality of what I was doing. I began to realize that I had lost faith and trust in God and my spiritual leaders. This caused me to pull back and shelter myself in my own little selfish world. God was no longer in control of my life but my anger and prideful heart was on the throne. What ultimately captured my attention and pricked my spiritually hardened heart was that I tried to usurp the sovereignty of God. This was my “ah-ha” moment! I realized my sin and immediately put the book down and repented! I confessed my sin of pride to God and committed to putting Him back on the throne of my life. I proceeded to get my life right with God by regular church attendance, reading my Bible, and attending weekly biblical counselling sessions!
I began to spend time in God’s word, listening to sermons, and doing the counselling homework prescribed by Pastor Eifert. I had immersed myself in pursuing my new relationship with Christ. I began spending a few hours a day with the Lord in prayer and my Bible. I actually looked forward to begin alone with the Lord and began to sense the transformation He was doing in my heart. My heart was being filled with a love for Christ, Mary, and my Christian brothers and sisters at church. I lost the “attitude” I had developed over the past few years and humbly surrendered myself to God’s will for my life.
Mary returned six weeks after she left and thankfully noticed she came home to a new man. I wanted to show her that my transformation with Christ was real and lasting. She saw my change in demeanour, my language, and my bitter spirit. I had the joy of the Lord. I gave up my anger! I gave up my alcohol and I gave up the pornography that was ruining my marriage and destroying my testimony.
I am so thankful for God’s grace and patience with me that he didn’t give up on me. I’m thankful for my dear wife who let me back into her life and loved me through it all. I am thankful, too, for a church that offers biblical counseling and for a counsellor that used God’s Word to challenge me to give up my sin and allow God to have control of my life. Today, I have the joy of my salvation restored! Mary and I are restored! We have devotions together daily and have fallen back in love with one another like never before because it is based upon the love of Christ in us that motivates us to love one another passionately and unconditionally. All glory to God!