It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my husband so let me give a quick re-cap in the event you’ve forgotten or weren’t aware of our struggles.
My husband, Daniel, was a pastor of a small country church when my depression truly took hold of my life. There were many struggles, and depression nearly caused us to divorce. That was the moment I truly began fighting back to reclaim my smile from the enemy.
But our marriage wasn’t the only thing he tried to steal. My husband also resigned the church and said he was done with God.
That was almost two years ago now. I want to share a bit of our story with you all to both encourage and possibly even convict you.
The Empty Space
Going to church alone with four kids wasn’t an easy thing to do, especially after you’ve gone with your spouse for your entire marriage. Questions constantly about, “Where’s Daniel?” generally went unanswered as I would simply begin to cry.
One day, at a church we’ve never attended together, someone came to shake my hand. “Are you waiting for someone?” They asked as they gestured to the empty space on the pew to my right. I bit my lip and realized what I had done. Even though it had been nearly six months, I had still left a space right where my husband belonged beside of me. I shook my head no and the kind person said, “The kids can probably see better if they’re closer to the aisle there.”
I smiled the least fake looking smile I could muster and shook my head again. “Thanks,” I muttered, but didn’t move over or instruct the kids to. The person moved on with a strange look on their face.
When my birthday rolled around, I asked my husband for just one thing. To come with me to church. He told me no. But between Sunday School and Church sent a text saying, “Save me a seat.” I looked to my right and smiled. I already have I thought.
Sure enough, he came in a few minutes late dressed in a nice suit and we sat together throughout the service. But that was it. Months and months turned into a year. Then a year and a half. And he didn’t frequent the church again. And I didn’t ask him to. But I never could close in that space at the end of the pew. A few times I would sit near the edge and then scoot over. Not that I expected him to join me that day. But in the faith that someday that spot would be his again.
The Space Has Been Filled
A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I had decided we wouldn’t be going to church because Kirsten had been acting a bit sick that morning, and to be honest, I was just discouraged.
But less than an hour before the service started, Daniel sent me a text, “Get the kids ready. I want to go somewhere.”
Immediately anger poured over me. It had been a LONG day. And now I was supposed to get the kids ready by myself to go waste money or do something crazy. I was expecting going to see a movie or dinner or something like that.
But instead of snapping I said, “Why? Where are we going?” And got the reply moments later. “Church.”
My jaw dropped and I kicked myself into high gear wondering what was going on.
He came home. We got in the van. We went to church. And that empty space beside of me in the pew wasn’t empty anymore. God had fulfilled His promise. My husband was back, right where he belonged. And he let me know that that space will never be empty again.
I hope that one day he’ll be ready to share his story with you all.
If You’re Praying For Someone You Love
Don’t stop. I know things are hard. Maybe you’ve been praying for months or even years. But don’t quit. Fast, pray, and leave yourself a regular reminder of God’s goodness and the hope of an answered prayer. Maybe that’s an empty chair or a spot on the pew, maybe it’s not getting rid of their dress shoes or even their ties. But don’t give up!
If Someone Is Praying For You
Please know that it’s not just them that’s waiting for you to join them in the service of the King. God, the Creator of Heaven and earth has a space saved for you! He has a space saved for you in His Kingdom of Heaven. He has a space for you in His family.
He isn’t going to force you to be in your space. He’s waiting patiently for you to come to Him. Maybe you’ve felt his call to salvation but haven’t answered. He’s still waiting.
Maybe you’re like my husband. Maybe you’ve served God faithfully and have just, for one reason or another, stood up and walked away. God is waiting for you to fill that empty space.
He wants to show you His love, His goodness, and His mercies! He wants you to be a part of His family!
A Song About That Empty Space
I’m not generally one to drop links to Youtube, but I feel it’s appropriate here. Please take some time to listen to this great song by the Inspirations: He’s Still Settin’ My Place