“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”Romans 5:17
Life can be challenging. Maybe that’s an understatement. Let me explain. Just after Nan’s and my fifth wedding anniversary, we were struggling in our relationship. I had just completed a master’s degree at Southwestern Seminary, and we were ministering at a church in South Carolina. Nan had given birth to our second child, and I was immersed in ministry.
Things should have been going well, but our marriage was going south. Nan helped me realize that if we didn’t get help, our relationship wasn’t going to survive. I was wrapped up in ministry activities, and she was home with two little ones, in a new town and a new church, with no friends or family nearby.
As we tried to navigate the difficulties in our marriage, Nan recalled something she’d heard in a seminar at a church in Fort Worth. I placed a call to the couple who had presented the material. I explained our situation, and they directed us to a counseling ministry in Atlanta.
The receptionist at the counseling office in Atlanta turned out to be our pastor’s sister-in-law. Through that connection, she fast-tracked us into a five-day intensive counseling session with the director of the ministry. God provided more than we could have imagined through that experience.
Nan and I had both trusted Christ as our Savior as children, but we were not experiencing the freedom and abundance of the Christian life. We were caught up in legalism and performance-based acceptance. At last, God’s Word became life-giving, not only for salvation but for daily living. His Word came alive in a way we had not previously experienced it, for which we are eternally grateful. And by God’s grace, Nan and I recently celebrated 38 years of marriage.
God instructed the children of Israel to establish memorial markers at pivotal times in their lives. This intensive counseling experience became a memorial marker for us. We continue to look back upon that event and season in our lives and thank God for His patience and provision. He healed, restored, and breathed life back into our marriage. There is an abundant life to be experienced when we walk with Christ…all because He lives!