Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography
On a perfect fall day nearly 10 years ago, God healed me and gave me a promise.
I was attending a women’s retreat focused on pressing into God and seeking to hear His voice. At that time, my husband and I had been married for eight months. He had a son from a previous marriage, and we wanted children of our own. I had yet to conceive, and I believed I was barren.
The first day at the retreat, I walked to my assigned table. There in the center was a sign, “The Table of Hannah.” It was then I had a renewed hope that God was going to heal me. Over the weekend I began to pray, “God, open my womb like Hannah’s.” On the last night, as we worshiped and prayed in the chapel, the Holy Spirit was very palpable. I was standing in the prayer line and every woman before me had been slain in the Spirit as they stepped up for prayer — every one of them. I had never experienced anything like that, and honestly I was a little scared and freaked out by it! I thought, ‘That is not happening to me!’ I started praying again, “God open by womb like Hannah’s.” Sure enough, as soon as I stepped up, the woman praying touched my forehead and down I went! It was the most wonderful experience I’d ever had. As I lay there enveloped in God’s presence, I heard Him say three simple words, “It is done.” These words were loud and clear to me. I stood up and began to walk to the side of the room, so others could be prayed for. As I reached the side of the room, just a few steps away, the director picked up the microphone and said, “It is done. Ladies, it is done.” I knew that it was done!
I went home excited and expecting great things. What I learned was that when God gives you a promise, the Devil gives you a war! A few months after that experience, in May 2013, we began the fight for our lives, the fight for God’s promise, the fight for our marriage. I can’t say I was unprepared because I am a child of God, and He fights for me. God equips me to fight the enemy. I can say I was naive and didn’t realize the magnitude of the battle ahead.
My husband and I married in February 2012. When we married, my husband had been, for several years, properly taking an opioid pain medication, Lortab, by prescription for a back injury. In August 2012, he was prescribed Oxycodone, and in May 2013, my husband confided in me that he had started snorting his pain pills. This began a three-year battle with drug addiction that got much, much worse before it got better. That was the first of many detoxes and attempts at sobriety that failed. Each failure led to a deeper state of addiction. For about two years, as my husband’s pain pill addiction worsened, I slipped further and further into isolation and I did not talk to anyone about what was going on. I was right where the enemy wanted me, isolated and discouraged. One particular night, after my husband came home high and we had an argument, I left the house in a state of turmoil and high emotions. As I drove aimlessly, I remember feeling an overpowering sense of being totally alone. I asked myself, ‘Where are you going? You have no one to go to.’ I would pick up my phone and think ‘Who are you going to call? You Have no one!’
It was the enemy hissing lies that I was believing. Then a small truth whispered through those lies and I thought, ‘I have my life group leader. I could call her.’ I had just recently joined a life group, and I knew of these people but didn’t really know them. Out of sheer desperation, I pulled over in the parking lot of Kmart and I called my life group leader, Tiffany. That phone call saved me, emotionally and spiritually. I began crying to her and told her what we had been struggling with for two years, I spoke of my anger and hurt and I told her I wanted to leave my husband. Tiffany listened and let me release my hurt. Then she said, “You may not like what I’m going to say, but I have to say it. You can’t leave him. You are his wife and you can’t leave. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight it out with him, but you don’t leave.” Then she said, “This is just life. We’ll get through it together.” For the first time in years, I didn’t feel alone.
After that phone call, I went to McDonald’s and got a vanilla ice cream cone. I drove home feeling a thousand pounds lighter and a little more hopeful. I wish I could say that life got better after that, but it didn’t. It only got worse. Yet, Tiffany was true to her word, and she didn’t let us go through this alone. She and her husband, Tommy, fervently and consistently prayed for us and encouraged us. Even in my husband’s addictive behavior, they showed love to him. Sometimes it was tough love, but they never gave up. They never passed judgment, they just showed love.
I also met in our small group another couple who had been where we were. The wife helped me through many tough days and became very special to me. Being part of this group brought me out of isolation and connected me to believers who encouraged me. I hope that in some ways, I have encouraged them, too. It broke a hold the enemy had on me — isolation — and put me in a family. I tell Tiffany that she saved my life. She always says, “No, God did that.” Yes, He did, but he used her to do it. Addiction creates a world of darkness, chaos, deception and lies. Living with an addict in his world made me seek God’s truth all the more. God is truth and cannot lie. That is a trait of the Lord’s that I cherish.
By the winter of 2015 my husband had really spiraled. I knew that something more than pain pill addiction was going on. I began praying for God to reveal the truth. I had expended so much energy and wasted so much time seeking truth on my own terms, in my own ways. This always led to conflict and more lies, to cover up the lies I discovered. But when God reveals truth, there is no mistaking the truth for a lie. I began to learn that God can fight these battles I had been trying to fight. All I needed to do was ask Him, then give up searching and striving on my own.
On a snowy morning in February 2015, God answered my prayer for truth. It hit me like a freight train. I walked up on my husband sitting in my car. He had a needle in his arm and a metal spoon and small blowtorch in the cupholder. I stood at the car window, in the snow — totally frozen in shock. Fury ran through me and I pounded on the window. It was like slow motion. He looked into my eyes, through the window with a needle in his vein. In that moment, every furious emotion I felt turned to extreme pity for this man before me. He didn’t say a word, but it seemed his eyes, full of shame, cried out to me, saying, “Help me please. I can’t help myself.”
Even as he was staring straight at me, he could not stop pushing the plunger of the needle, coursing heroin through his veins. My knees were weak and, as I opened the door, I collapsed into the seat of the car. I began praying and thanking God for revealing truth, no matter how painful. I learned after that, though, to pray, “God reveal truth, and prepare me to handle it!” Soon after that encounter, my husband went to rehab for the first time. It pains my heart to say that my husband was a heroin addict. But addiction knows no bounds and is not a respecter of persons. My husband was a heroin addict. His first rehab failed. He was there for two weeks before insurance stopped paying and we couldn’t afford to keep him there. So, he came home, and relapsed the very next night. We were right back on the merry go round. For the next 13 months, my husband’s heroin addiction ruled his life. It attempted to rule mine. It is a powerful force, but my God is more powerful.
Over these years of fighting addiction — the spirit of addiction — God showed Himself Faithful, True, Powerful and Enduring. God sought after my husband in his addiction. I saw God’s mercy time and again. He never stopped pursuing my husband, even if my husband had stopped pursuing Him. During this time, God never left me. He protected me in every way possible. I can’t even do Him justice in explaining what He did for me, for us. But I have to try, because He deserves it. He deserves honor and glory for what He did, and is doing.
God used my pastors and people in our church to sustain the wife of a heroin addict. I can recall many times that the Lord used sermons that were preached to remind me of His presence and power. During this time of addiction, although I had been taken out of isolation, I suffered from depression. There was a particular period in the winter of 2015 that was very difficult. There were days when I would lie on the couch staring at the ceiling or the wall for 12 or more hours, with nothingness inside. I would lie with my Bible on the coffee table, an arm’s reach away, and could not reach for it. My antidote was within arm’s reach and I couldn’t grasp it. Those days were agonizing. I would want to pray, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy, I didn’t have the strength. All I could manage during those times were three words, “Jesus, help me.” That was my heart’s cry, my prayer, that I couldn’t even say out loud some days. But God heard me, and He is my help. On one of these days, I had been lying on the couch all day, thinking about God’s promise of a child at the retreat. I couldn’t see a way for that to happen in the state we were in — the state my husband was in.
I felt myself giving up on the dream, the promise was dying inside of me. That evening I pulled myself up and managed to drive to a hospital ministry meeting at church. I planned to sit in the back and leave as soon as it was over. As I was driving there, I asked God, “Do you see me down here? Have you forgotten about me?” I sat through the meeting and as I was turning to leave, out of nowhere, there was the pastor of hospital ministry right in front of me. I didn’t say a word. She put one hand on each shoulder, looked me directly in the eye and said, “God sees you in your secret place. He has not forgotten about you.” She pulled me into a hug and I sobbed on her shoulder for a few minutes. God used her to answer my thoughts and make it very clear that He had not forgotten me. In January 2016, my pastor preached a sermon, and I can’t even tell you what it was about, just that he had an altar call at the end for people who were sick and tired of being where they were in life. He asked people to stand and then told the people standing and only the people standing, to come to the altar. I was standing. I was sick and tired of being depressed. I went to the altar and I stood in line praying for God to free me of depression. My pastor came by and touched my shoulders, praying in the Spirit and I literally felt the heavy spirit of depression leave me. It lifted right off my shoulders and I have not had a single day or moment of depression since that day! Thank You, Lord.
Nothing had changed in our situation at that point, yet my spirit was renewed and depression no longer had a hold on me! Another time, as I was driving, I was discouraged. I said in my mind, to God, “Are we going to make it through this?” I had reached into my purse for my lip balm (that’s my addiction). As I finished that thought, my fingers closed around a smooth stone in my purse. It was a stone my pastor had given us from a sermon called ‘If these stones could talk.’ It was meant to be a reminder of all the times God had been faithful in our lives. I held it in my hand and memories of God’s faithfulness to me flooded my spirit. God reminded me He is faithful, and we will get through this.
There were many other sermons that God used to encourage me, push me along one more step, remind me that He is always working, always seeking, always loving. Shortly after my husband came home from his first rehab, I found out we were pregnant. Within two weeks of learning we were pregnant, we had miscarried. My husband was using heroin during this time and it was a very difficult experience. He dealt with the loss in his way, by using drugs. And I was left to deal with my emotions alone, not as one in a marriage. It was difficult.
I knew and believed that God loved me enough. I reminded myself that when He fulfills the promise to me, it’s going to be in all His glory and blessing. Having a child with a heroin addict in active addiction would not meet the standard of a promise from God. I still tear up when I think of losing our first pregnancy, but I knew God had made me a promise and He would see it through.
In February 2016, it had finally reached a point where I had to ask my husband to leave our home. This was absolutely the most difficult thing I had ever done. This was so hard, because it involved his child as well. But he had done something that was a breaking point, and I knew it was time. We lived apart for a couple of months. We still spoke and sometimes saw each other, but we lived our lives apart.
On May 13, he came over to our house for dinner. At about 10 p.m. he said he had to go to Walmart. I knew what he really meant. He left and by midnight I had not heard from him. He wasn’t answering my calls or texts. So, again I was home alone, upset, angry, starting to get wrapped in that cycle of emotions that I hadn’t had to experience for several months. Then I realized I didn’t have to let these emotions rule me, that’s why we weren’t living together. So right then, I stopped pacing and prayed, “Lord, if my husband is doing something he shouldn’t, I pray he gets caught. I don’t even care what happens, just let him get caught. And if I’m overreacting and he’s not, then get him home safely. Amen” I went to sleep peacefully, and I got up the next morning to get ready for his sister’s wedding.
That morning, May 14, 2016, at 9 a.m., my husband called to tell me he was going to jail. I just sat the phone down, said, “Thank You, Lord,” and went about my day. After a few days passed, he called from jail. Even then, sitting in jail, having lost seemingly everything (most importantly his wife and son), he continued to lie about his drug use. Still. At that time, I knew it was over. I couldn’t do it anymore. If he could not be honest here and now, he never would. I told my husband he was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, and I hung up the phone.
Over the next two weeks, my mind was plagued with thoughts of divorce. It seemed the only answer. I could not see another way, and honestly at that point, I did not want another way. I was ready to be done. I wrote him a letter and told him I would be filing for divorce and wanted him to know from me first. I went to a divorce attorney’s office. That lawyer was good at his job and was selling me a divorce, telling me why my husband needed me to divorce him. I sat at that desk with pen in hand, but I could not do it. I could not divorce my husband. I did take the lawyer’s card, just in case. I went home and went about my day. I was in my closet hanging clothes, and everything just hit me like a punch in the chest. I dropped to the floor, unable to breathe for a moment. I began begging God to release me from His vows. I was asking God to release me from the marriage vows I made to Him, not to my husband. I couldn’t break vows to my husband without breaking them to God. I needed his permission and I begged him to give it to me. As I lay there on my side, crying and begging, I felt the Lord wrap me up and say, “Be still. Let me finish what I have begun.” I said, “Okay, God, do what You do.”
I got up off that floor and never thought of divorce again. My husband spent three months in jail, during which time he got sober and began thinking clearly again. God worked on him in that jail in a way that only God can. He brought deliverance from shame and guilt that kept him trapped in addiction for years. Only God can do a work like that, and only my husband can explain what He really did for Him. But I know, he saved my husband’s life — quite literally. My husband would not have lived much longer in heroin addiction. It would have killed him. In fact, he did try to kill himself several times by overdose, but God had a promise to fulfill.
After those three months in jail, my husband was furloughed to an inpatient treatment facility. We didn’t even know it at the time, but the facility that took our insurance was ranked in the top 5% of recovery centers in the nation. This place really helped my husband recognize his disease and helped him address underlying issues that led to addiction. He was able to get therapy for things in life that he had never addressed before. We were able to receive marriage counseling together, and we reconciled and forgave one another in a way that is only possible with God. My husband lived at a recovery house for six months, during which he became the house manager and helped others going through addiction recovery.
Today, my husband is more than six years’ clean! Praise God! God has since restored every breach of trust, renewed every destroyed relationship, and returned life to us. We have a deeper sense of who God is and how deeply He desires a relationship with us. God very quickly restored the years that the locusts destroyed (Joel 2:25).
In January 2018 God opened my womb and blessed us with our first baby boy! When we were praying for a name, God told us Josiah. It means “healed by Jehovah or supported by Jehovah.” What an appropriate tribute to what God has done for us! When I was pregnant, I prayed for a red-headed baby with blue or hazel eyes. When Josiah was born, before I even saw him the nurse said, “Oh, we have a red-head!” And, yes, he has hazel eyes. God answered my prayers in every detail. When I became pregnant with my second son, I told God I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful boy and just asked Him to give me whatever he desired. He did just that! In July 2019, we delivered our second son, Isaiah. He has blond hair, blue eyes and gorgeous bouncy curls! In November 2020 we delivered our third son, Caleb. He has blue eyes and brown hair with a cute little swirl of hair on the crown of his head! And in April 2022 we delivered our fourth (and final) son, Titus. He is a round-cheeked happy baby who fills my heart with joy just looking at him! God has brought us from a dark barren desert land to a place overflowing with life, love and blessing beyond measure.
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. – Hebrews 11:11