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PassionIf I just listen to what God says but do not DO it, I am deceiving myself. I’m like a stupid person who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But if I continually pay attention to God’s direction and obey Him, I will have freedom (from my own doubts and fears).  God will bless my action (It is successful by God’s definition not mine). James 1:22-25 (paraphrased by me)

The Call

Thirty years ago, we were living in Springfield, VA. I was in our tiny kitchen with the pastel colored, tulip wallpaper when I took a telephone call that would change my life, although I didn’t know it at the time. When I answered the phone, I heard the voice of an old high school friend. I hadn’t talked to him in 4 years but it was one of those relationships where it felt as if we had just spoken with each other yesterday. He just called to catch up and we chatted for quite a while.  However, the only thing I remember about the conversation was he said he and his wife were divorced.  He was pursuing a relationship with one of our mutual friends. Of course I asked what had happened and he put all the blame on his ex-wife and said he didn’t know what she was really like when they got married. The rest of the conversation is a blank to me. I was filled with an overwhelming sadness that I couldn’t shake — during or after the conversation or even to this day.

Back in high school, this friend and I had many conversations about his dad, who was pretty much out of my friend’s life due to divorce.  Now, his own children faced the same thing. I don’t know why I was so overcome with grief. I had known many people who divorced, but in this case I pictured my friend and his ex-wife as they looked on their wedding day and when their son was born. What could possibly have happened to destroy that kind of love, hope and joy?

I would experience this same grief and question “why” many more times over the years, but this was the beginning of my passion for hurting couples. I have been puzzled at the consuming nature of this passion.  What I have learned is whenever you have an unshakable passion you MUST ACT on it.  It might be physically serving, praying regularly or even financially supporting it.

The Results

What a journey it has been to follow God in the ministry of MarriageTeam. I’m sure we have meandered along the more difficult path at times, made some poor decisions, moved too quickly here and too slowly there, but we have always persevered. We have seen miracles. There is no other way to explain how dead marriages come back to life; why two people, like us, who had such a terrible marriage were called to do this work; how we have exactly the right people on our staff; why couples are willing to participate in 24 hours of training to become coaches; how MarriageTeam has been financially supported; etc.

If I am saddened and disheartened with broken relationships, I can only imagine how much more it grieves God. After all, it is His plan for couples to complement each other and be a model of His relationship with the church. He knows that healthy families are the foundation of a society that recognizes and follows His truths.  When I think of this, I am filled with an even greater passion to do His will as he leads. How passionate do you feel about divorce?

If you found this helpful, please share.

Autumn Ray