God Removed Divorce From Our Vocabulary
"I was a hypocrite," said Katie Moyer. "That became obvious when my niece, who had a clear window into my life, asked me some questions about faith. I shared some of what I learned about the Lord, but there was no evidence of trust in Christ in my actions. I felt useless to my Heavenly Father and His Kingdom.
"My return to the Lord came after a lot of pain and destruction. I knew from a young age that I was saved by God's grace, but I didn't know the 'why' behind the parameters set in God's word. In college I began breaking the standards I once valued, crossing the line on smoking, drinking and then inappropriate relationships. Soon I was finding my identity in my relationships with men.
"When I met Russ (now my husband), he was kind, affectionate and loving, and I thought he was my Prince Charming. There were bouts of anger and other warning signs, but I wasn't seeking the Lord so I ignored the red flags.
"I knew what I wanted my marriage to look like. What I didn't understand was that we both needed to walk with Christ in order to have a successful marriage. I thought that when I got married, my husband's anger and my promiscuity and destructive choices would end. In reality I turned to Russ as my savior rather than Jesus, so very little changed.
"I knew Russ occasionally smoked marijuana and drank, but I had no idea the extent of it until we were married. When we were dating I became Russ' drug. I loved the affection and attention because it fed my flesh. The novelty wore off after we married, so Russ' alcohol and drug abuse returned. The addiction grew so bad that some people who were close to me advised me to leave.
"When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I remember feeling so desperate I fell to my knees right in the front yard. I didn't want to leave Russ because I didn't know what I'd do with a new baby out there on my own. What had I done by marrying Russ? If our marriage was just one big mistake, where would I go?
"After the birth of our first child, God used the women I met at Watermark to change my perspective. I shared what was going on in our marriage at a class for new mothers called Square One. The women showed me so much grace and gave me solid, biblical council on managing an infant when my husband was someone I couldn't depend on.
"I don't really know how the rest of my life changed. God gave me the desire to start praying, reading Scripture and following Him, as well as the courage to face the truth about Russ' addiction. Rather than leaving my husband, the Lord replaced those thoughts with the peace that passes all understanding.
"At this point, Russ' lies were getting more and more extreme. I was reluctant to rock the boat because I was trying to protect the baby. But I finally sat down and told Russ that I was genuinely afraid of him and something had to change. Our community group was part of that whole process and helped me tremendously. It was evident that God was using His Word and His people to build into both of us.
"Going to re|engage, Watermark's marriage ministry, was pivotal. My leader, Sonja McCuen, was good at showing me my part in the marriage. I had cloaked myself in the victim role and rarely took responsibility for my own choices. Looking at my part was frustrating sometimes because it seemed obvious (at least to me) that Russ was the one with the problem.
"Russ continued to use drugs and alcohol after we finished re|engage. The truth is, I was just about done with our marriage. One night I went out to a bar and crossed the line by kissing another man. I think I did that just so Russ would leave me. What a mistake!
"I later confessed to Russ and our community group about what happened. To my surprise, I was met by God's grace when Russ forgave me. God used that experience to show me I was capable of almost any sin outside of His will. I had no business patting myself on the back for not making some of the choices Russ was making. I needed to focus on my identity in Christ. That was the beginning of confrontation and development of my character and heart in the Lord.
"I would not be the Christ-follower I am today if I had not recognized my own sin patterns. I've learned so much about faithfulness through God's Word. Because I've seen the ugliness of life, I am also painfully aware of where disobedience to God can go.
"I always knew that God had so much more for my marriage than to simply be undivorced. But Russ still thought he could manage his addiction on his own, so our marriage was not in a good place. The Lord helped me to love and care for my husband even as He was working on Russ' heart and changing mine."
"The lowest point in my life was the day my wife, Katie, told me she wasn't in love with me anymore," said Russ Moyer. "I'd spent our first years of marriage doing whatever I wanted to do – abusing drugs and alcohol, venting my anger at my wife and neglecting our family. My sense of entitlement ruined my relationships, but I didn't know another way to live.
"My biological father was absent for my entire life. My parents divorced when I was an infant, and my mom remarried several years later. Verbal, physical and emotional abuse in our home gave me a distorted view of what it meant to be a man. Resentment and anger led me toward inappropriate relationships and other struggles as early as 16 years old.
"A high school girlfriend of mine was the daughter of a pastor in our community. He regularly prayed that I would come to know the Lord. Through Young Life, I learned about the gospel and trusted Christ when I was in high school. I dug deeply into faith for six months, but my commitment didn't last.
"I spent the next 15 years doing everything I could to offend the Lord – sex, drugs, alcohol and more. By the time I met my wife, Katie, I'd been living selfishly for more than a decade. I was under the influence at our wedding ceremony – something I really regret. In spite of how wonderful the first six months of our marriage were I could not end my struggle with drugs and alcohol.
"By the time our first child arrived, I was regularly lying about my addiction. I'd tell Katie I was working when I was really drinking at a friend's house. I didn't care how my actions affected her. But in 2010, that changed when Katie told me she wasn't sure she could stay married to me any more. She seemed so ready to leave that I agreed to come to re|engage, Watermark's marriage recovery ministry.
"Reconciliation began in re|engage, where my struggle with anger and uncontrollable desire for drugs and alcohol were out in the open. That's when I got a look at how much I'd hurt my wife. I was everything she didn't want in a husband. God used the community we built there to show us that we could not solve our problems alone. Katie never gave up on our marriage or gave me an ultimatum, but true reconciliation couldn't happen until I was willing to get sober.
"I was still under the influence when I walked into my first re:generation recovery meeting at Watermark. I made several attempts to take part in re:gen, but I was scared of being fully known by other believers. Fortunately God really showed up by bringing a community of faithful men and women into our lives.
"When Katie and I moved, we found a community group in the Plano/Frisco area. After the group members got to know each other, the guys and I talked honestly about my use of alcohol, porn and drugs. Rather than being met with judgment or hostility, the men in our community group really loved me. They explained that God had big things in store, and if I was going to be fully engaged I needed to be sober for the first time in my life.
"Growing up, nobody ever said anything about my bad choices. It felt like they didn't really care if my life was swirling down the drain. So to be both confronted and cared for by my community group was a new thing. After that I made three goals: take a break from the friends who were on a destructive path, go through re:generation at Watermark and get sober. I'm happy to tell you that God helped those goals become a reality.
"By His grace, I finally went through the entire recovery process and was able to confess my pain and sin patterns to a guy in my community group. Talking about my past felt humiliating at first. But his response represented God's love, and I realized I was not the only one who struggled. That was the most freeing thing I have ever done.
"The Lord has poured into me through His Word and His people, and now sobriety is something I really prefer. I am actually present in my wife and kids' lives. Now I look forward to coming home, hanging out with Katie, spending time with the Lord and playing super hero with my daughter and son. After 15 years of hurt, addiction and suicidal thoughts, I appreciate that Christ's sacrifice and grace saved me from the pain of my past.
"My anger, pride, selfishness and resentment are all still there at times. But because God is at the forefront, my life and our marriage are both ten-fold better than where we once were. God removed divorce from our vocabulary. I never expected to hear my wife say that she is more in love with me now than ever. That is all possible because of God's love and grace."