Hold on to God and Let Go of Selfishness
P & C, Sacramento Area, CA
Married April, 1993
P & C met in May, 1991, over Memorial Day Weekend. Five days later, P started asking C every day for 18 months if she would marry him. He knew they belonged together. C wasn't so sure because she'd already been through one marriage that didn't work out. It had been an abusive situation, and she wasn't sure she wanted to get married again. A good marriage had never been modeled to C, her parents had divorced when she was young, and her parents had each been married five times. But P had a different perspective, and parents that had stayed together. He wanted to show her that it could be different.
They married on April 10, 1993. They had a great time in their early years, but it was all pretty selfish. In the circumstances they created for themselves, it was just the two of them, and it was all about "me". But they weren't hurting anybody else. They were completely selfish, and as long as nobody else knew what they were doing, they thought they were fine. They believed in God, but weren't walking by his Word. They found themselves separated from friends because they were hiding who they were from the outside world. Then they found out they were having a baby, and the two became three. They moved out of state for awhile after having their first child. After they moved back to California, their second daughter was born. Having become a family of four added even more responsibility.
P got a great job, but they were living in a bad area. They moved finally, and P found a different job that allowed him to do something he loved, while C got to stay home with the kids. They were excited when they bought a house, but six months later P lost his job. It was the first time they both cried about the same thing. With two kids, aged 6 and 3, P couldn't provide for the family and C was only working part-time. P decided to start a business. The business created a lot of stress over the next few years, and P & C started to grow apart. The pressures of home, business, and kids increased until it all became a feeling of chaos. They didn't know how to deal with it – there was a lot of yelling. They seemed to fight about everything. One of the struggles they had was over who was in charge of the family. Over the years, P had been injured in four different accidents that left him on disability for a period of time. C had to take over running the family, and the business. Because they had both shared that responsibility, there were issues that surfaced when the roles shifted.
When the situation was at its worst, their oldest daughter was invited by a friend to go to church. When she got home, she was so excited that she wanted them to go with her. P & C did not want to go to church. Instead they drove their oldest daughter to church, dropped her off, and would drive back to get her later. P & C's marriage continued to disintegrate. The situation became even more intense and they mutually decided to split up.
That same weekend, their daughter begged them both to go to church with her; she even said they didn't have to sit together. They went to church and sat in different parts of the room. The pastor stood up and said "God wants you to know that if you're going thru trials and tribulations in your marriage, and you're ready to walk out, God wants you to know that He wants you to stay married." C had the sense that God was talking directly to them through the pastor. Even with 2000 people in the room, C swears that the pastor looked right at her when he said that.
C realized that God was working in her heart. She sensed that God wanted her to let go of the anger and resentment, and to stay married. She knew God wanted to remove the "I" in her – the selfishness, and the "my needs" issues. P realized that he didn't want to be without his family, and that it would take God's help to make it happen.
P & C decided to give Jesus Christ control of their lives. They began to sense God's blessings fill each part of their lives. It wasn't easy and they had a lot to work through.
They began going to church every Sunday, and they still do. God has given them the gift of acceptance. If God has forgiven them, who are they to not forgive each other, or other people. God is working in their lives as they learn to follow the teachings in the Bible. P & C each realized that having God in their life means letting go of selfishness. C wants people to know that, "Even though you think you're not hurting anyone else by being selfish, you are. You can devastate the people in your life by being selfish. If God changed my life and my heart, he can change yours. And it's worth it."