The Lord graciously allowed me to be raised in a "Christian" home sheltered from the world around me.
Yet, I was not a Christian because my parents were Christians and the Lord opened my spiritual eyes to this and my need for Him at about 13 years old. The Lord then softened my heart and gave me the desire to choose Him and surrender my life to Him - He saved me from my sins and His eternal wrath at the age of 13.
Little did I understand at the age of 13, I did not choose Him... He chose me.
John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit...."
The Lord has used the struggles in my marriage to reveal this to me.
Thinking marriage was all about me and how loved I would feel, I went into marriage all wrong, and when I set Josh up to be my god, God brought the walls crumbling down by knocking Josh off my throne.
Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Nahum 1:2 "God is jealous and the Lord revengeth..."
God is a good Daddy and disciplines His children.
Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
I was disobeying Him and He corrected me...and continues to correct me. I am so thankful He loves me enough to keep me on His path!
The Lord knocked Josh off my throne...
It was during this purifying season of Josh and I being separated multiple times and eventually divorced for 1 year that the Lord wooed me back to Himself.
He showed me my sins and my need for Him to be on the throne of my life. God softened my heart and He revealed to me how much He loves and forgives me in despite of my sins.
I was an adulterer and a murderer to Him setting up other gods, yet He loved me and forgave me.
Jeremiah 3:20 "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord."
Jeremiah 3:25 "We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God."
He chose me in my sin and "sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;" 2 Samuel 22:17; and "he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..." Isaiah 61:10b
I was in my sewage deserving hell and eternal separation from Him yet He took the wrath I deserved upon Himself so I could be in His presence and in a personal relationship with Him.
The Lord kindly gave Josh and I a second chance, and we got remarried after being divorced 1 year.
Believe me, since then, it has not been "happily ever after".
(That is a lie the devil puts in our head when we are little, watching Disney movies.)
God loves me too much to let it be all bliss here on this earth.
Psalm 66:10 NIV: "For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver."
1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.."
If this earth is the only hell I will ever know, then so be it. Because of Christ work on the cross, my happily ever after is in heaven.