49: From Chaos to Restoration

49: From Chaos to Restoration

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

From Chaos to Restoration

By Andrea Arthur Owan

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God…”

~Genesis 28:20-21

While studying simplicity, our women’s Bible study instructor asked us to determine our individual focus. I laughed outright. Focusing — on anything — was impossible.

In October, my husband, Chris, left a secure job for self-employment, but ensuring the company’s success meant grueling work hours, and my younger son and I rarely saw him. He seemed oblivious to the destruction his obsessive behavior wreaked on our marriage and family. Work and success had replaced us, and the rejection felt final. Then my father died, and Christmas was marred by grief. My younger craved his dad’s presence; my older son struggled uncharacteristically in college. In April, I battled injuries from a car accident and a hostile insurance company. Finances were shaky, and my marriage hung by a thread. One word summed up my life: chaos.

We’d weathered rough times before in our twenty-seven-year marriage, including our daughter’s death, and God had shepherded us through every inch of life’s difficulties. Yet now everything seemed to be unraveling. I was at the end of my coping rope, directionless and hopeless.

The one flickering light at the end of the tunnel was our upcoming vacation, but as the departure date neared, the business was at a critical, sink-or-swim juncture. Yet in my mind, this trip had been our last resort, a Hail Mary to save us. What should I do now?

No sooner had I cried out the question than God gave me an answer: go alone. Drive up the California coast? Alone? Having buried my own dreams for so long, I no longer knew my capabilities.

Go alone. It seemed as though God was giving me permission to cease striving and pleasing, to come away with Him. He seemed to say, “Let me take care of you, and everything else.” So, I stepped out in faith.

I discarded electronic devices and rejected guilt. I feasted on sunsets, seashores and vistas. I saturated myself with God. I prayed and really listened to Him. As I journeyed, stress dropped like scales from my soul.

And my eyes were opened to how I’d contributed to my marriage’s decline. I’d become weak and needy, unfairly expecting Chris to be everything to me. I helped too much, pushed too much, expected too much, enabled too much. I needed to get out of the way and let God work on Chris, so he could grow and become the man he was created to be. As clarity brightened the future, my spirit rejoiced.

Four days before the trip ended, Chris joined me. When I saw him standing curbside at the airport — duffle bag in hand, hopeful, expectant smile on his face — I knew my prayers were answered. Our three-day reunion was honeymoon-like. I shared with Chris everything I’d learned and asked for his forgiveness. Chris apologized for everything he’d done to the family.

Redeemed and restored, our future once again glowed with hope and purpose. I’d trusted God and taken a risk. He’d rewarded us with a miracle.

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