Good Morning all,
Hoping you had a great and fun filled weekend; firstly I must apologise for my absence over the weekend. My sister(the bride) arrived from Lagos on Friday evening and first thing on Saturday, we had to rush out to all her dress appointments; it was so tiring but we thank God! Yesterday, we had our last appointment and she picked the dress! Paid! Very happy for her, after which we proceeded to the RCCG Jesus House Annual Summer Picnic; which I helped to organise; it was an absolutely beautiful day and we bless God because it gave us an opportunity to open up our hearts to people we wouldn’t necessarily encounter and it was a great day and time to spread the love and Word of God! An absolute success in the end; thank You Father! Tomorrow, I’m off to Nigeria for a few weeks; to sort out some things regarding my relocation and to help out with the wedding planning; may the Lord be with us.
As you know, last week was the celebration of marriage week but I promised to share one last story with you! This is the story of a couple who had trials and tribulations in their marriage but by God’s divine orchestration, they found God and as they say, the rest is history! It is a really inspiring story of how God can change a person and by extension transform a marriage if both parties submit to Him and His will.
After being separated several times, everything was finally going much better for Tony and Ellyn – except for the great big hole in their hearts that nothing seemed to fill. Separately they found what they needed to fill the hole, together they found completion as a married couple. This is their true story of a marriage made whole and two hearts fulfilled.
A Couple’s Completion – From Emptiness to Fulfillment
After being separated several times, everything was finally going much better for Tony and Ellyn. They were moving ahead with their lives. Being previously married for nineteen years and then marrying Tony three months after her divorce, Ellyn had wondered if she had done the right thing by remarrying so quickly. But after their third time separated, she knew that she could not live without him. They didn’t know what kept drawing them back together, but they were happier now, and their lives seemed to be settling down.A new career was blooming for Ellyn and Tony’s commercial glass business was growing. Many of the material things they had always desired became a reality. Their relationship had taken a turn for the better. They were looking forward to a great future together. Yes, everything was going much better. Except for one thing – there was a great big hole in their hearts that nothing seemed to fill.
Life Had Become Boring
They were thirsty for something but couldn’t put their finger on it. Ellyn even tried several self-help books and Yoga. Tony plunged into fresh water fishing and became an avid tournament fisherman. All of the “stuff” and all of the activities were just not filling that hole in their hearts. They started to think that this was all there was to life – looking toward the goal, reaching it and starting with another goal. Life had become boring, and there seemed to be no end to the vicious cycle, no hope.
On the outside, Tony and Ellyn appeared very happy. But on the inside, they were becoming desperate. To make matters worse, they did not speak of their despair with each other.
One day, a different glass contractor asked Tony to help him with some extra work. During the first week, Tony came home and told Ellyn that this man was really strange. He was mixing his faith in God with his business, and frankly, it was making Tony a little uncomfortable. In fact, this man kept a Bible on his desk and referred to it often.
Tony’s background was Catholic, and he had forgotten most of his religion due to his drug-filled teenage years. Tony had turned his life around from the drugs but really didn’t want anything to do with religion. He didn’t understand some of the things the contractor was talking about, but he listened anyway. When Tony would relate these things to Ellyn, with her minimal Lutheran background, she suggested that if he was that uncomfortable, he should quit and move on. But Tony kept the job and also kept telling Ellyn everything the contractor said.
Something Was Changing
What neither of them knew was that the Lord was working on their hearts – on that big hole. Too embarrassed to tell each other that a change was happening, they avoided any conversation about the truth that the contractor was speaking. Once in awhile, Tony would pick up an old Bible. Neither of them could remember where they had gotten it. Just before they went to sleep at night, he would read some of the things that the contractor had talked to him about and then read them to Ellyn. They would say good night and both lay awake, mulling over the Word, fearful that something was changing in their hearts, and that the other would never understand.
And then it happened. One day, Tony was listening to a Christian station while driving his truck, and the speaker on the radio gave an invitation to follow Christ. Tony knew it was time and pulled over on the side of the road. It was there that Tony gave his life to the Lord. He cried and knew the hole in his heart had just been filled with the Holy Spirit.
A couple of hours later, Ellyn was in her office reading an email from a friend. It was a chain letter that she usually would delete before reading. But this one was about God and His love. She knew it was time, and she asked Jesus in her life. She cried and knew that the hole in her heart was filled.
They Could Not Get Enough
The next day, they went out and bought new Bibles. They could not get enough of the Word. They told Tony’s contractor friend what had happened, and he was ecstatic. But something was missing. They needed to find a church and be around other Christians. They really needed to learn what to do next.
After a few weeks of discussing churches, they decided they didn’t want to look at Catholic or Lutheran denominations. They wanted something different. One day, Tony was given a job to install a wall of mirrors at a house in St. Petersburg. He was invited inside by the owner and noticed there were no personal items around. The house seemed void except for a few pieces of furniture. When he asked the owner, Steve, if he had just moved in, he said, “No.” He had lived there for several years. Then Steve asked Tony what was new in his life. Tony told Steve the incredible story of how he and Ellyn had found the Lord. Steve was excited and asked if they had found a church yet. When Tony said “No,” Steve started to tell him about a small church meeting in a warehouse and how the pastor was the drummer in the band. Steve told Tony he taught in the Children’s Ministry, and everyone knew him. Tony said they would try it out.
So the next Sunday, they went to Calvary Chapel. It felt weird to them, since it was situated in a warehouse. There was a stage with rock and roll instruments and everyone was dressed in blue jeans. But they wanted something different, so they sat and waited for the service to start. Everyone was very friendly, introduced themselves and shook their hands. Then the music started. They both found themselves clapping and smiling, something they had never done in their previous churches. The pastor was the drummer and the message was exactly what they were looking for – truth in its purest form, direct from the Bible.
Getting into the car after the service, Tony and Ellyn looked at each other. Ellyn told Tony she really liked it, and he said he really liked it, too. But Tony was concerned. He thought it was a little rude that people kept trying to ask questions with their hands up during the worship! Ellyn agreed it seemed a bit strange.
Well, they kept going every Sunday, and the hole in their hearts just kept filling up. Finally they understood that people were praising the Lord, not trying to ask questions. They too started lifting their hands in praise! They inquired about Steve but were told there was no Steve in the Children’s Ministry. They wanted to thank Steve for leading them to Calvary. Tony went back to the contractor who had given him the job at Steve’s house to look up the address on the invoice. But they could not find the invoice. Tony went back to the neighborhood to locate the house; but all the houses looked the same, and he could not remember which one it was. They could only wonder what happened to Steve. Deep inside they knew God had been instrumental through it all.
A New Mission in Life
Soon they started going to church on Wednesdays also. They drank in every word and started to grow, as they were fed through the teaching. Being around other Christians gave them good examples to follow, as they started to mature in their faith. They felt at home and were led to volunteer at the Missions Café. Tony went on his first mission trip three months later. God put a burden for missions in his heart, and after going on a trip together, God put missions in Ellyn’s heart, too.
Someday they feel God will lead them to the mission field full time. Waiting for God’s timing is not always easy. In the meantime, Tony just completed his twenty-second short-term trip, and Ellyn has given up her corporate job to work in the church office as Missions Assistant and Office Manager. Thank the Lord that He never gave up on this couple – two people each with a big hole in their heart! Praise the Lord for filling up those holes with His love, grace and mercy!
That was an inspiring piece that just goes to show that with God, all things are possible. No matter how bad your marriage is, the Lord is ready and able to transform it if you submit to Him. I pray that for every marriage that is going through a storm right now, the Lord will calm that storm, He will part that red sea and give you victory! He shall bring healing, restoration and transformation to your marriage in Jesus’ Name. Amen. God bless you all! Have a great day!