Michelle’s Journey: From Considering Divorce to…. May 28, 2013
“I was losing hope and desperately wanting to leave my husband because our problems seemed insurmountable. I was seriously considering divorce.” Michelle is the mother of two teenage daughters at home. At church, Michelle and her husband had been referred to GSM for classes and counseling.
“While waiting in the lobby at GSM, I was completely struck by the warmth and a culture of love in the office waiting area,” Michelle said. “Many of the staff members I found out later were volunteers. I was completely touched by this and experienced that same warm loving feeling every time we arrived.”
Learning to Listen and Share our Hearts: As told by Michelle, we began the six-week marriage workshop led by Bettie and Jerry Mitchell in 2011. They shared very openly of the challenges that they faced during their ~60 years of marriage. Bettie made us all laugh, and I loved how she was able to get to the heart of sensitive subjects. It was exactly what I needed to hear! We were also given very practical tools for effective ways of communicating that we still use today. I love the “card game” it brings honesty and clarity, without judgment or strife to our marriage! Blessing to you Jerry and Bettie!
Our counselor: He had a rare genuine quality about him—warm and friendly, smart, humble, and confident. (Kind of like how Abraham Lincoln might have been.) He shared the importance of honoring our hearts and the hearts of others. He reminded us that the heart is a sacred place and that each of our hearts have a voice that needs to be heard. This proved to be foundational for me!
My Heart: To be honest, I was completely out of touch with my heart and true feelings. In fact, during one memorable counseling experience, my counselor asked a simple question and, strangely, I had a panic attack. I had built such a fortress around my heart and repressed my feelings for so long. I couldn’t breathe, and I actually thought I was going to pass out right there in the office. However, my counselor calmly and gently talked me through the experience—helping me get back to a calm state. At first, I was totally embarrassed, but then I saw the concerned look on my husband’s face. —It was at that moment, I realized that he still cared. It is funny how God used a panic attack to begin the healing of my heart. The question my counselor had asked me: “What is it that you need from your husband right now?” The emotion came from my expressing my heart: “I just need him to understand.”
My Thoughts: During the latter part of our couples counseling, I joined Celebrate Recovery at Rolling Hills Community Church. It was there that I truly surrendered to God’s will for my life. I joined the 12-step Recovery class and I began giving my heart a voice. I also started to see that I needed to “… take all my thoughts captive unto the obedience of Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. By starting my healing journey with the GSM and learning the importance of opening up my heart, it made it so much easier to share my heart in my women’s step studies class—where I am experiencing God’s acceptance, His amazing love, and transformation.
Glory to God: I am happy to say that my husband and I are still married and our marriage is truly blossoming. This year we will have been married for 18 years. We now have more effective communication, a deeper level of intimacy, and we have started dating again. In fact, I refer to my husband as “my boyfriend” because in many ways it feels like new love. It has taken a lot of work on both of our parts, but we were only able to persevere through God’s strength and love. What a blessing to have been led to Good Samaritan Ministries.
Photo: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Spring 2013 courtesy of Dave Gilmore