From Brokenness to Whole: A Journey of Faith, Love and RedemptionNov 09, 2023
God's Warrior Woman ~ Nicole's Story
I paused in the parking lot as the faded blue Honda Accord drove by. Glancing over my left shoulder, a reflection caught my eye from the fish sticker on the rear window. I smiled.
I had recently turned my face back towards God, inviting Him to guide me and walk with me. I had messed up so many things in my life, but I felt God’s love and forgiveness, and I finally felt safe again.
The last few years had been the most painful time in my life. My dad had died in a car accident, I dropped out of law school, and I hadn’t been living a healthy life. I felt like so many things had let me down, including myself.
Four years earlier, I met Jesus at the end of an aisle in a little church in San Antonio. I felt him smile and say, “Hey there, I’ve been waiting for you.” He stayed with me through the thick and thin of what would happen over the next 30 years. Way closer than a friend.
Later that day, I sat on the pool deck, reading a book, while a group of people played water volleyball in the pool nearby. After a while, one of them asked if I wanted to play, and I said, “No, thanks.” Talk about high anxiety; I didn’t like volleyball, and I really didn’t like jumping into spontaneous social situations. But they persisted, saying the teams weren’t balanced and they needed one more player. I was pretty sure one of them was the cute guy driving the old Honda, and I felt guilty just sitting there reading, so I joined the game.
I was excited when the ‘Honda guy’ asked me out, happy that someone who seemed like a Christian would be interested in me, yet a little scared to tell him about all the brokenness I brought to the table. I thought of the Christian fish on his car and felt like God had led me here.
I remember sitting down with him one night and telling him every detail of my life. I wanted him to know my whole history. If we were to have a future together, the truth needed to dwell between us, and I felt he had a right to know.
Could the rest of your life really be as simple as a ‘chance’ meeting at the apartment swimming pool? For me, it was. We stood at the altar 18 months later, committing our lives to one another.
I had just started going back to church, and I was trying to wait patiently for my new husband to join me. I thought if I did ‘everything right’ as a Christian wife, he would eventually become the strong Christian leader of our home.
I waited. I prayed. I submitted.
I waited. I prayed. I submitted.
But nothing seemed to change.
He didn’t want to talk to me about his relationship with God because he said it was private.
I acted brave and unphased by this disappointing turn of events.
I put on my ‘good Christian wife’ face and showed up at church, answered everyone’s questions about my missing husband, and literally felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I was so lonely.
When my faith struggled, I pushed harder with good works. I worked full-time and took care of our home, went to church three times a week, led Bible study and prayer ministry, and homeschooled our two children. I was exhausted from trying to do everything right to get my husband to partner with me in a Christian marriage.
I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say our marriage suffered.
At a certain point, I just cried out to God, “I can’t do it, Lord. This is too much.” And God, in His mercy, drew me close and wrapped His arms around me. I felt seen and heard, and I knew God actually cared about me.
I felt seen and heard, and I knew God actually cared about me.
My heart shifted, and I stopped trying to do ‘everything right.’
I realized this situation wasn’t about me, and for the first time in my life, I let go of trying to control the faith of my husband. If he wanted to join us at church, great, but if he didn’t, I would smile and invite him to meet us for lunch afterward. When people asked where my husband was on Sundays, I said, “He’s at home,” and just left it at that.
I decided to love and trust God no matter what. I finally let go of trying to muscle the situation and decided I was complete and whole with my own relationship with God, whether or not my husband ever became the strong Christian leader of our family.
I started giving thanks to God for a husband who was faithful, hard-working, kind, generous, loving, supportive, and encouraging.
All the things my sweet husband had been throughout our whole marriage. I started noticing the beautiful person God made him to be.
And you know what happened? Our marriage started thriving. And at some point, my husband met Jesus himself. He reached out for his own relationship with his Maker. I don’t pretend to know how God works. But I do know that He sees, and He knows.
Be encouraged, friends; God is always with you, always working, and always sufficient to meet all of your needs.
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Nicole Williams is an author, poet, and course creator who helps people transform their lives by letting go of bitterness, anger, and paralyzing unforgiveness. If you’ve experienced difficult family relationships and feel weighed down by grief, regret, or small trauma, healing is possible. Her passion is helping people see the image of God in all people and leading them toward spiritual transformation.
Nicole is the author of RISE UP: Believing God When the World is Falling Apart. It's 31 devotional prayers that model intentional praise in the midst of suffering. Intentionally praising God shifts our focus away from our problems and helps us meditate on the nature and character of God Himself. This is where we find peace.
Nicole loves the winter sunshine on her face, the hopeful strength of the morning light, the way a photo protects a moment in time, and the moment people truly grasp and believe that reading the Word actually causes their faith to grow. She lives in Houston with her husband of 29 years and is a mom to two young adults. Connect with Nicole on Instagram at @ms.nicolewilliams and grab her free gift, Take the 5 Day Reset.
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