TestimonialGod's hand at work
“Learning to Love Again – the Strength of a Vow”
Sam, I wanted to share with you what happened in my life as I proofread My purple Pants into Swedish. As you have gathered from the story of my childhood and marriage that I sent you some time ago I left my husband on July 28th, 1999 and finally divorced him in February 2002, after 27 years of marriage. This was after I had left him four times and kept coming back to him, feeling bound by my marriage vows.
In my heart I despised him and rejected him and even hated him and yearned for a divorce during all the years together. I was ambivalent from the very beginning and had we not gone too far sexually before we got married, I would never have married him. After having confided in a friend about what had happened she told me it was now too late and I had no choice but to marry him. I do not think she would give this advice today as it is not the sexual act but the marriage vows before God and men that binds us together.
Anyway, my poor husband who went so wholeheartedly into this marriage and who never once regretted having married me felt my ambivalence, my rejection and disrespect all the time. He came from a very ungodly, chaotic family but had come to know the Lord when he was 17 when an American missionary visited his school (once) in Lebanon, which was the country in which his family had settled on their way to Australia (!) from Montenegro in former Yugoslavia. The first time he ever held the Gospel of John in his hands and read chapter 1, verses 11 and 12, he immediately invited God into his life and had ten wonderful years with a clear sky in his Christian life after that. Then I came into his life, with a load of childhood scars and unresolved issues and it completely overwhelmed him and so he reacted in his old, non-Christian way with aggressiveness and abuse.
Two victims had got married and the result was disaster.
My husband, Predrag, never gave up. He still wanted me and only me and kept phoning me, writing me, mailing me, SMS-ing me year after year. I kept avoiding him and kept regretting that I had ever got to know him. Still I could not avoid seeing the change that was taking place in Predrag´s life, the way he was asking me and the children for forgiveness, reconciling with them, helping and loving them, the way he was serving the Lord unselfishly among immigrants during his little spare time (he is working as a high school teacher), the way he was regaining the confidence and trust of our church, the way he was constantly witnessing to people telling them about the Lord wherever he went.
Reading My Purple Pants made me aware of how very seriously God takes our vows before Him. I could identify with many of the things you yourself went through, including building your life on lies, but the way Peter decided to keep his marriage vows after God told him to read Joshua 9 spoke deeply to my heart and brought me to repentance. Then I also started to be conscious of my sin of never having loved Predrag, thus breaking another promise that I had given in front of God and men, to love and to cherish.
Finally I asked God for forgiveness and also, without expecting any bonus because of this confession, asked Predrag to forgive me that I had never loved him but always in my heart rejected him, though I had tried to make the impression of loving him. He had looked through this and always knew I was faking. Most people had taken my side when I left Predrag as he was loud and abusive. It was easy to see that he was the culprit. What people had not known though was that I had never loved him and thus no one admonished me, only him.
When I finally confessed my sin of not having kept my marriage vows (I had always had a bad conscience for breaking them) and not having loved him, the walls of Jericho just tumbled down and there was an avalanche of confessions from his side, things I had yearned to hear for 36 years! Ever since then (a couple of months ago now) God has kept bringing us closer and for the first time in my life with Predrag I do feel love, tenderness, respect and even admiration for this godly, utterly faithful and wonderful man he has given me.
God has finally given me a husband to love and to cherish but the way up [to understand this] required that I go down first [and humble myself]. God spoke to me about the fact that, when I will stand in front of His judgment seat in heaven, even though I will be wonderfully saved all by grace, He will not ask me what Predrag has done but only what I myself have done. I am only responsible for my own heart and God, who desires truth in the innermost parts, did not give up until I was willing to bend down and ask for forgiveness for so terribly having fallen short of His standards.
I wish you and Peter could be here when we get remarried sometime 2011 but understand this will be hard for you. Still I want you to know that you have a big part in this godly miracle. How God allowed me to be the very person to proof-read your book is amazing and shows His persistent love and wonderful timing. This book will have an unexpected influence in many lives and most of it you will not even hear about until you get to heaven.
Sooo many people have prayed for us during the years and they are now rejoicing and praising God with us. It is just amazing that God has not given these two very stubborn people up long ago but that He still has a plan for us.
There are so many facets to your book, the way God kept his hand over you from your earliest childhood, the Salvation Army person he sent to pray for you, Heidi and many other people. The wonderful work of restoration in your life is astounding and looking at the amazing person you have become, one can only praise God for His love and power to transform and heal. Your story is giving and will keep on giving hope to many a broken heart and life.
But the message about Peter and the marriage vows is also so strong, powerful and incredibly much needed in our time, where even in the Christian world people are constantly breaking their marriage vows that they have given in front of both God and men and divorcing and remarrying someone else and thus also making a reunion impossible. I am so thankful that neither Predrag nor I had the freedom to look for someone else during the 11.5 years of our separation, though I was very much tempted to do so and many people advised me to take that fatal step. All our five children declare how very thankful they are that we did not look for someone else.
Thank you for praying with us! What a privilege to have you as our siblings in the Lord!