Editor's note: A female believer called S for short is the wife of a pastor who passed away unexpectedly. As her marriage was once on the verge of collapse, in desperation, she prayed to God no less than 20 times a day. Though with an attitude of exclusion, she fell in love with her husband again. Now she serves God full time after she was healed by God from the sudden death of her husband.
The following is her story.
Lack of communication with deepening misunderstandings
S and her husband met in the workplace and got married after falling in love, but without much communication. After half a year of marriage, her husband studied in a Chinese medicine school for three years. Later, her husband became a believer, studying theology in his spare time. He was getting busier and busier, as he evangelized during his off hours and rest days.
S felt that she was not valued, for the pastor spent most of his time and energy on the church and believers. She also felt very aggrieved as she thought that he was too strict with her and the children plus without proper communication with them for a long time.
Often quarreling with her husband, she was unsure of his love without a sense of security, even if he said he loved her.
Once S said in a fit of resentment, "God and me, you should choose one."
The pastor replied, "I choose both because I love both."
S said decisively, "No! Only one can be chosen."
The straightforward pastor was frustrated that his faith prevented him from making the choice to deny God, so he had to answer, "Then I choose God."
Being an unbeliever at that time, she suffered mental breakdowns, thinking he did not love her as he chose God.
Cry out and pray in times of despair
With extreme pain, she thought of divorce, but after all, her husband hadn’t done anything wrong to her. With affection towards her husband, she couldn't stand that he was busy preaching the gospel every day with respect and love from believers, but then speaking coldly at home, sometimes without saying a single word.
When there was no way out, she thought she could pray. She called on the Lord no less than 20 times a day, saying one or two or a few sentences each time.
Touched by the Lord after many prayers, she began to feel the presence of God and His love. Nourished by the love of the Lord, she no longer worried about whether her husband loved her or not, believing in the Lord after praying for half a year.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, S learn to change
Having been comforted through prayer, S began to change herself, as she had been in conflict with her husband for a long time without communication. She tried to say "I love you" to her husband with an apology, finding the good qualities in her husband to accept him.
She was asked, "How did you come up with the idea? Who did you learn these methods from? What book did you read or what class did you take?"
Her answer was surprising. "I learned it through prayer rather than from others. I rarely read books because of a lack of education. It was very difficult for me to read the Bible at first, as I could only read one chapter per hour. Then I gradually read seven or eight chapters in an hour. The Holy Spirit may lead me when I ask Him what I should do. I once fasted and prayed for marriage, and my husband asked why I didn’t eat and whether I was too angry to eat, as he didn’t know that I was fasting. Although I knew that I should not be angry when fasting, my husband's blunt attitude made me sad. I asked him, 'What should I do to make you happy?' And he said, 'You need me to become gentle, so do I.' After hearing this, I realized that I was too hard on him."
"I used to always criticize him that he kept repeating his bad habits over the years. I was often angry because of this, but I changed my way of speaking and attitude. If I gave him advice, I would use metaphors or jokes. For example, he often came out with water in his slippers after washing his feet, never using the foot washing towel or floor mats prepared beside him. I said, 'your feet are singing.' He went back to wipe it immediately after hearing it."
"In the past, he said that I spoke bitingly, but I blamed his fierce attitude. Reflecting on myself while reading the Bible, I realized that I liked to find fault with others, then I repented and asked God to remove the plank out of my eye. I used to think I was better than anyone, but after reading the Bible and praying, I began to see others as better than myself. Just like this, I changed a little bit. I originally prayed for my husband to love me again, but the Lord comforted and changed me first. I learned to love him, which brought about changes in our relationship."
Empathy and mutual confession
She shared, "The time we felt the closest to each other was a few months before my husband died. That year we participated in a couple camp activity, during which I was asked to talk about my own shortcomings. I said that I liked to speak ill of my husband behind his back. After hearing it, my husband felt humiliated. I also felt ashamed as I thought it was not good for him. The counselor asked me to describe my feelings with a picture. I said I felt like a wounded bird that fell into the water and was rescued, desolate, lonely, fearful, hesitant, and helpless. My husband was asked whether he knew my feeling like this, and he said never. I felt very sad after hearing my husband's answer, but on second thought, I thought my husband might feel the same way. I suddenly learned to put myself in his shoes. The amazing thing was that my husband had also realized his own problems and changed a lot.”
"He started responding to my expressions. I said 'I love you' to him every day, and he said the same words to me. Chatting and walking together, we would hug when going out or in the door. During that time, I felt very happy. The love sweeter than honey had completely healed me, helping me face the death of my husband," she added.
Facing the death of her husband, S relied on the Lord to be strong
The unexpected death of her husband was a huge blow to her.
"I prayed to God, saying, 'Why did you take him away? I originally planned to serve full-time with him.' He said, 'Do you serve me under certain conditions?' I asked again, 'My husband is not here, so how can I serve you by myself with a son to support.' He said, 'My blessing to you exceeds your husband's life, so please wait.'... He comforted me personally."
"At that time I was the only one at home, for my son was in college. When I went out to other believers’ homes, they all said, 'You are alone, so stay for dinner.' During that time, I almost ate at other Christians’ homes, taken care of by them. My son also thought more deeply about faith after his father died. The Lord helped him overcome his grief and clear up the previous misunderstanding about his father. He began to realize that it was not easy for his father to ride a bicycle to the countryside to preach the gospel to many people and establish many gathering sites starting from scratch. He felt that his father couldn’t do it without God."
Finding a good job after graduation, his son let S live together with him and her daughter-in-law, who are both filial and serve in the church in their spare time. Her grandchildren have received Christian education since childhood.
Enter into service after the tribulation
Because S experienced difficulties in marriage, many believers come to her for marriage counseling, as she can understand those in difficulties.
S said that it was the power and wisdom from God that helped her counsel others in their marriages. In counseling, she once met a couple who were going to divorce, using some words which were effective. But God worked when she sat down to pray for them. After being comforted when hearing the prayer, the wife repented with tears, apologizing to her husband. They were going to the civil affairs bureau for a divorce but later reconciled. S thought it was a gift from God who comforted her and let her comfort those in all kinds of trouble.
Someone recommended her to lead the group meeting, and she did not refuse. During the epidemic, she learned to surf the Internet to help believers online, becoming a servant of God after the death of her husband.
- Translated by Abigail Wu